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I’ve always been in awe of people that can sing and play instruments. I can remember getting lost from my Mum & Dad whilst on holiday. We’d walked past this man playing the guitar busking and I stopped to listen, mesmerised by his ability to make the strings on that guitar make that sound. I was so lost in the music that when I became conscious to my surroundings, I looked up and my Parents were nowhere to be seen!! I know which family holiday that was and it means that I was 3 years old when that happened. Music already had me!

I must have been seven years old when I was sifting through my Mum’s record collection and stacking 45’s on her Radiogram turntable. I didn’t want the music to stop, so I always put several vinyls on top of each other, but as they dropped into place, the overloaded records would start to slip so the song slowed momentarily! I was listening to HER taste in music… Bread, Elvis Presley, Rod Stewart (Maggie May was her favourite song ever), anything I could get my hands on!

It was then that I came across it… A 45 that was thicker and heavier than the others. I put it on, and asked my Mum what it was… It was my Dad’s band that he had played the drums in… What? My Dad, made music like these other people I was listening to? He was a quiet and unassuming man and he just didn’t seem to have mentioned that he was a drummer up to that point.

I badgered him to learn to play an instrument. I think that he didn’t want another drummer in the house (just too darn loud!), so he got this flat box out of the loft. It smelt old and as he opened the lid, the inside was covered in this plush green velvet material.  And there it was, a lap steel guitar. The beginning of my musical journey!

This steel guitar had it’s own story to tell. It had been handmade by a member of Dad’s Band. And decades later, and long after all the members of that band have passed, I’ve still got that guitar!

So I set about learning to play, with My Dad as my teacher. He was learning to play this instrument, so he could teach me it. Now that’s dedication!

Suffice to say, that I never really took to the lap steel, and it was a couple of years later that I started learning to play the Piano. My lifelong love (as far as instruments go). Notwithstanding a fleeting visit for about 6 years as a drummer in two bands, Piano has always been my first musical love.

In the background, there was always this case. I don’t know why my Dad had it, as he never played it, but there it was. After he died, anything musical came my way, including his old Premier Drum kit, that Lap steel, A clarinet and the case with this Bass guitar in. I didn’t know much about the guitar and to be honest, it was so old, that when I had a dabble with playing Bass in the mid 80’s, I got myself a modern guitar that was easier to play and to record with.

The case moved from my Dad’s loft to mine and that’s where it stayed until recently. I was getting it down from the loft one day to take a look at it and the handle came away from the case as I was climbing down and it plummeted and hit the floor with a loud dead thud!

I was gutted… I nervously opened the case and there sat two halves of a beautiful looking Hoffner Bass guitar. It at snapped at the bass of the neck. In a way, it was fortuitous that it fell and broke that day, as it forced me to take it to a guitar repair shop, where he told me that I owned a rare Hoffner Bass and where the clean break had happened, he could even see the hand scribbled number where the neck is normally glued to the body. It was the 446 of this model to be made. Hoffner’s next Bass model was the violin shaped bass made VERY famous by Sir Paul McCartney.

Not only did he fix it, but I also had it completely refurbished. He asked if I wanted new pickups on it, but I wanted it to be as close to the original as possible, so he rewound the existing pickups.

It seemed quite poignant that during the writing of our latest album, a conversation with Ed about this bass lead him to say that we absolutely had to record the bass using my Dad’s guitar. It was exactly the guitar that bands would have been recording this genre of music on and offered an delicious extra slice of authenticity to the recording. Albeit, an incredibly difficult bass to play!

One of the songs from album – Real Love, started as a bass line that I wrote on that bass and is very much a bass-led song.

Here’s a video of Ed using the Hoffner to record the bass line for the finished track.

If you’d like to hear more of our new album, you can do so here


Pete x




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