What was the beginning pint for your music career? How did it all start?
Can I please first start by saying, rather than a band, I’m solo artist Steve Skidmore aka Skidders – song writer, producer and session guitarist.
To answer your question, you won’t like this Metal Heads, but when I was little, I saw Hank Marvin of the Shadows playing this amazing red Stratocaster and I just wanted one. My father, bless him. bought me a second hand electric guitar for Christmas and managed to wire it into our stereogram! I though it was fabulous, but couldn’t play it to save my life. I was around 8 years old.
Apart from the obligatory recorder at school, my first taste of playing live was in the Boys Brigade, playing snare drum and marching through the streets, dropping my sticks to the dismay of the lead marcher. A little later, at a seaside resort, I entered a competition and got on stage for the first time, accompanying the organ player on drums, to ‘Hey Jude’. So with this stardom, at 14 years old, I joined a social club band playing drums. In the meantime, I had piano lessons and taught myself how to play the guitar from the theory I had learned playing the piano.
One year later, I moved from drums to lead guitar and stayed there ever since. None of this is very interesting is it?
Was there any bumps on the road? What kind of challenges did you have to deal with?
Only with certain musicians. But with a “wrong” member it normally works out in as much as they tend to get the picture at some point and bugger off. I think I’ll leave it at that!
What was the most fulfilling and satisfying moment so far?
Most definitely, playing the Cavern in Liverpool – both stages. A little while on and Paul McCartney and Dave Gilmour were both on the same stage as I had played, only weeks earlier. Playing the Forum in Kentish Town was also fabulous – all the dry ice and a changing room of our own with a fridge full of Bud.
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
You won’t like this either, but it’s not all metal. Rock/Blues is my primary genre and I think you’ll like my latest single, “Aunty Bulgaria” which is a rock instrumental, dedicated to a specific nurse as well as the heroic NHS (National Health Service in the UK). Also, please check out “The Likely Lads”, “O’Larso” and “Skidders’ Row”.
I should add at this point and probably should have done sooner, that I can’t sing to save my life, so 95% of my music is instrumental. For ‘serious’ songs, I draft in people who have better vocal skills than myself and that is not difficult. Mind you, if I could sing, I would be dangerous.
What is your creative process like?
Great question! Firstly there’s a seed or a reason to write a song. It can be for any reason. For example, my latest album “Friends & Family Vol. 2” is dedicated to friends and family members past and present. Once the list of dedicatees was drawn up, hey presto, there was the raison d’etre for each song. The type of song, in this example, would suit the dedicatee. “The Likely Lads” a heavy slide instrumental dedicated to some heavy dudes.
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
Another great question. In some ways, the current model is a leveller in as much as anyone can publish music across the world. However, the record labels still have their say on which music is most successful. All in all, I don’t think we can complain. I would however, ban all “manufactured” bands and the likes of X-Factor. Make them do their apprenticeships!
If you were asked to give a piece of advice to upcoming bands, what would that be?
Plan everything – know what you are going to do to succeed. It’s a job – a nice job, but a job all the same. Love and respect all your fans and keep in touch with them.
What has been the best performance of your career so far?
I organised a charity concert to raise money for cancer care. I got Kevin Rowland of Dexy’s Midnight Runners to perform and we raised several thousand pounds. I drafted in some first class musicians and the event was amazing. As I recall, I had around 6 bands playing – all top notch acts and some good came out of it all.
If you didn’t become a musician, what would you be doing now?
I am a fully qualified engineer, but let’s not dwell on that.
What is new with the band at the moment? What are you currently working on and would like to share with the world?
I released my latest album in May (2022) and still busy promoting it. I’m also recording lead guitar for a writer called Kylolus who is releasing a prog-rock album. It’s really quite good stuff! My next and fourth album, “Feckam Hall”, I don’t plan to complete and release for a couple of years. In the meantime, I aim to gig more. We’re also moving house which is going to gobble up a lot of 2022.
Thanks for allowing me to talk with Metal Heads Forever – you all take care out there!