As the name says above the picture, I am simply called Bob.
This is, of course, not my true name but many people know of
my true identity already. And for the many who do not yet know
my full title, well you can always ask 'fish fans at the gigs.
And so a little background….
I'm the youngest (ages on a postcard please!) and also the quietest
spoken member. I started playing guitar at 15, back in the days
when Heavy Metal was king (I was a big Iron Maiden fan as a
teenager. The first gig I attended was Monsters of Rock at Donnington
I first got into playing the guitar with the help from a couple
of guys at school. Quickly picking up the basics, I wanted to
explore the possibilities of the guitar which at that time,
along with music, took over my teenage life. First, I sourced
private tuition from a guy called Tony Roach (for those in the
Salford area, Tony and his twin brother Chris Roach played many
a local gig under the apt name of The Roach Twins). Tony's background
was primarily the blues. Once I was confident improvising over
a 12-bar blues riff, Tony allowed me to join in with The Roach
Twins at local gigs. So at 16, I got the taste and experience
of performing live.
After 18 months with Tony, I decided to take my playing further.
I was put in touch with a guitar tutor called Tim Sawyer (I'm
not making this up, honest!) who was to show me the contemporary
side of playing. With my knowledge of the guitar extended, it
was time to venture out into the big wide world of musical possibilities.
Stage left: Strangefish
Near to my 19th birthday, a neighbour informed me that a band
that we went to see many months previous was looking for a guitarist.
The information came via Dave's girlfriend, now wife. With telephone
number in hand, I rang to enquire about the vacant position.
I remember, as Dave will, blagging about taking driving lessons
just to improve my chances of gaining an audition, but my playing
abilities were true to my word. An audition/meeting took place
at Paul's house followed by a rehearsal. Both visits proved
successful; I was happy, the band was happy, done deal. Yep,
I was now guitarist for Strangefish.
A little more background…… As a young lad (before teenage years),
Saturday afternoons was spent at home with Mum playing Elvis
and Bill Haley on the record player (don't you just love vinyl).
In the evening (hello Zeppelin fans!) my Uncle, who also lived
at the same house, would play his records in the backroom. The
sounds of 'GI Blues' was now superseded with Deep Purple, Led
Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, The Groundhogs, Shel Silverstein
(is there anyone out there with a copy of 'Inside Folk Songs'?)
and a little known band called The Beatles.
I must admit that I took some notice of what was being played
at home but I'm glad that it went to my subconscious for me
to rediscover in my teenage years. My teenage years were spent
listening to Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth and all things
metal. At 17, a neighbour re-introduced me to Led Zeppelin proving
to me that there was life after 'four symbols' (Houses of the
Holy is my favourite Zeppelin album).
He also introduced me to PROG. He loaned me Fragile by Yes.
And I lapped it up, loved it. It was so seventies, but I loved
it. It was when I joined Strangefish where my progressive rock
vocabulary grew. Paul introduced me to 'Selling England by The
Pound' by Genesis, plus more Yes with some It Bites to finish.
And this is the part where I say that Francis Dunnery is one
of my all time musical influences. Today, I listen to all kinds
of music regardless of whether it's pop or prog. From Led Zeppelin
to Prince, Frank Zappa to Air, Richard Thompson (who I also
admire) to Tenacious D, diversity is my middle name.
When you're in the presence of five guys that are not only band
members but your mates, and top ones at that, life in Strangefish
is bloody good. Friendship, support, comedy, and the fusion
of five creative and talented musicians are the qualities that
make this band stand out.
Thanks for your time!
Peace and a lot of love,