I was born in London, England a short while ago, June 23rd at the age of 0. I grew up steadily until, after three years, I reached the age of 3, at which point I was whisked away to start kindergarden, and THAT is when all the problems started. Just as I was starting to feel good about myself…y’know …no diapers, drinking out of a real glass, knowing real words, hell, I even had a new younger brother to beat up on in my spare time!
Anyway… I got a little guitar on my third birthday from a sax playing older cousin by the name of Leon and took to it like a butcher to meat! I decided to try to play it like a violin using one of my dad’s walking canes (into which I’d notched some strategically placed grooves!). This little musical excursion cost me about twelve years of violin lessons – which as it turned out was not a bad thing. I started playing the violin at 11, terminating a cacophonic seven years of melodicas, recorders and other cheap and annoying instruments. I took and passed all eight of my grade violin exams and, while I was at it, I studied classical music, composition and harmony; ……well I was good at it, and I had, and still have no concept of sports!
Enter ze first band… One day someone came into class with an electric guitar and a small amp. OUT went the acoustic, OUT went the violin, OUT went just about anything that did not have anything to do with loud music! (Actually I did put a pick up into a violin at one time, but it was awful). Born was ….. well, we did not have a name! but we had Beatles songs, and four guitar players! That was when I decided to pick up the bass guitar:
When I finally left college, deciding to abandon studies in career in medecine, I started with my first legit bands. I was now a PROFESSIONAL ! …boy, what went wrong! I played London in a post punk band called Terminal Rescue, touring all over Europe too, and then I did brief stints with the Cuddly Toys and Reflex, all the while running live sound for other bands to pay my bills.
In 1980 I got a call from someone asking me to come down and try out for a new band and it turned out to be Simon Kirke of Bad Co. He had put together a new band on Swan Song and was looking for a bass player. I got the gig, and with that I was into my first deal, with Led Zep’s label no less ! I was thrilled. We released a self titled album in about 1981 and set off touring around Europe (again!). Unfortunately things did not work out between Swan Song and Atlantic and the whole thing eventually fizzled out, but not without some great acclaim from our peers as well as some great tales and some new friends. Off in search of something new… I teamed up with various bands including some local guitar player, played on his record and toured Europe (I was starting to like it there!) but I wanted out!
Out of the blue I got a call from Swan Song owner Jimmy Page ! He wanted to know if I wanted to help him put a band together !
Hmmmmmm……… Let me think about this one!
For almost a year we ended up jamming and playing with various drummers; Chris Slade, Rat Scabies, Chris Slade again! and I was having the time of my life! Then I received a call after doing a live TV show with some band. Out of the blue this voice on the phone says “Hi…Phil, This is Ozzy…meet me at this f***ing bar ” After some long auditions I decided to leave Jimmy and go to work with Ozzy. Jimmy had still no plans to tour and was still finding his feet after having been out of the scene for so long. We talked about it and he wished me luck; he is still a wonderful friend and human being. The greatest guy to be stuck in Soho with at 5 am after being thrown out of every bar and unable to get a cab! No one believes he is who he is !!!
And so, enter to the realm of the Madman. I played on the Ultimate Sin album with my new bandmates – Randy Castillo and Jake E Lee and submitted a song I wrote a few years prior called “Shot in the Dark” We did the biggest tour of 1986, and I enjoyed giving Ozzy his first ever number one hit here (as well as in the UK). I ended up moving to Los Angeles as I loved it there.
After almost four years with Ozzy I decided to go seek my fortune and move on. I ended up playing with Billy Idol – not what anyone expected me to do, but I wanted to do something more diverse. I played on Billy’s Charmed Life album and when we weren’t doing that, we rode motorcycles all over the place!
Then came Beggars and Thieves. A great band, once again on Atlantic, with RON MANCUSO, BOBBY BORG ands LOUIS MERLINO. One album – self titled and the workings of a second in progress……. and then VINCE NEIL gets fired from Motley Crue. I saw it on MTV.
Vince, who is a very old friend of mine, calls me to see if I will do some writing with him for a possible solo album and I end up writing most of his record for Warner Bros. I also end up producing the demos that get the deal and that was really enjoyable. One thing leads to another and I end up leaving Vince due to some squabbling with Steve Stevens where he tries to lay claim to my work – I ended up having to sue them over it to get my rights back….blah, blah….Too bad, I HATE that kind of stuff.
Next up, and we have an earthquake in Northridge during which I lose my home and have to walk away from it and so I am homeless! I decided to take a break and get my head straightened outand go work for five months for a friend restoring vintage motorcycles ( did I tell you I was a mechanic?) After this I went BACK to Europe; France to be exact. I had played on a record with the guys out of LITTLE FEAT for JOHNNY HALLYDAY; the French Elvis. This guy has been huge for 35 years and ONLY in French speaking countries! He is the fourth biggest selling artist in music history for the whole world!! Now THAT was a great gig. We did four albums, three tours playing to thousands every night and we flew around in helicopters, private jets as well as eating in the best restraurants in France for four years! “….St Tropez is nice this time of the year !” A wonderful band too – IAN WALLACE on drums, PHIL PALMER and ROBIN le MESURIER on guitars, JIM PRIME and TIM (Taz) MOORE aka “The Beast of Exmoor” as well as The Rev KEWLEY on organs and keys and YOURS TRULY on wine, armagnac, vodka and Bass.
One night of a 20 night stint at Bercy Palais de Sports (the Paris gig the size of the Forum) I run into my dear buddy Steve Lukather and I invited him up to play on stage with us, and later that night in a very sweaty club – the Bain Douche – was born the idea for us to work together.
This was a high point in my life as I had so much admiration for this guy. The most talented, funny, crude, vulgar, disgusting and good hearted person I have ever had the pleasure of subjecting my parents to. We worked an amazing record which remains to be the one album that I am most proud of and we did a great tour with the “fabulous cats” GREGG BISSONNETTE on drums, BRETT TUGGLE on keys and of course our fearless leader. Across the world we went from England to Japan and of course , …Europe.
The writing of “LUKE” was so enjoyable that we decided to continue writing together for the following TOTO album, the result of which was the opening cut “After You’ve Gone” from the Mindfields album. This song was nominated for a Grammy!
And so here I am, a little further on down the line, doing a mixture of playing, writing and producing.. I have played around and out of town with bands that featuring GILBY CLARKE and ERIC SINGER and have appeared on Gilby’s albums, I have toured extensively with JOHN WAITE and EDGAR WINTER and also with RICHIE KOTZEN.
I then started work on putting together my first solo album – VIBRATE. A collection of songs that I had been putting aside for years, I decided to call all my friends to have them help me record this compilation. SIMON PHILLIPS and GREGG BISSONETTE laid down the drum tracks and I started overdubbing at my recording studio. After contributions from SHANE FONTAYNE, RICHIE KOTZEN. DAVID PAICH, STEVE PORCARO and a great solo from LUKE the album was finished and released to some pretty good acclaim – I was really pleased with it.
Now for some BIG NOIZE! In 2006 I got a call from my friend VINNY APPICE, turns out that he wants to know if I would be interested in putting a band together with JOE LYNN TURNER and CARLOS CAVAZO. All of us are friends that go back many years so I jumped on the opportunity. I first met Carlos back in 1982 in London and I have been friends with Joe since just after then. We decided to go out and play our hits from the bands that we had been in, the setlist read like a classic rock radio playlist. Eventually we would parlay that into original material. BIG NOIZE has been a scheduling nightmare but when we get together it is a blast and the audience has almost as much fun as we have. We even went to Kuwait and Iraq to entertain the troops taking my friend ALEX VAN BUBENHEIM on keyboards; Alex is a film composer. I will never forget my time in Iraq – it was an amazing experience and I have so much respect for the military. We recorded our first original song dedicated to them and called “Battlefields” I recorded and produced the song at my home studio. We continue to work and to tour albeit sporadically.
And now I started my second album – this record is really great; all the songs are written within about a year of each other so there is good focus, and what’s cool about this is I played all the instruments on it; McCartney style! SIMON PHILLIPS encouraged me to play drums on it, and I actually did, apart from 5 tracks that I could not manage and so I asked GREGG to play those. On a sombre note I think that I was revisiting my life after the rather unexpected and sad passing of my father. The album is called “NO PROTECTION” and deals with the fact that there is no protection from life’s fate. I am negotiating a deal with a new label for this release.
I also started another new career – As a film music editor and re-recording mixer! Through my friend ALEX, I mixed a movie called “OH MY GOD”, working with the great RICK KLINE as a mix team for my first credit. We followed that up with JENNIFER LYNCH’s “HISSS” a Bollywood horror movie and I got my second editorial credit. (if you listen carefully, you will hear an instrumental version of “WATER’S EDGE” from the VIBRATE album in the film). 2010 saw us follow that with “13”, a Jason Statham, Ray Winstone and Mickey Rourke movie that is very dark. I was music editor and mixer on this with Gary Bourgeois. I am thrilled because “JUST BUSINESS” – a track from “No Protection” is featured in this movie!
So here I am – I just got a call from JOHN WAITE asking me to come out with him and play guitar (not bass!) with him on a few shows. I am looking forward to helping me old mate out.
….to be continued !