I was born into an Irish family where music was more or less an everyday occurrence. My father played in various Irish bands from the early 1970s. As a family, my Mother, Brother and I visited most of the main Irish pubs and clubs in the south of England. Although this seemed a major pain in the arse for me and my Brother, at the time, somewhere in my brain, was installed a fascination of live music. I can remember to this day when the drummer in the band (Colin) let me loose on his kit, I was hooked! Christmas time that year, 1979, produced a drum kit. I was off, practice, practice, practice; it bore the fruits of a drummer who wasn’t very good! However I still managed to get into a couple of bands.
One night at a top rehearsal studio in Farnham Common (A mates barn!) 3 hours, yes 3 bloody hours, into practice we decided we needed a singer. I thought to myself I’m first in and last out for set up with a drum kit (getting better but still not Keith Moon) or tip up with a microphone. So, I gave the vocals a go. I’ve never looked back! Fast forward through various bands, 2 will always stay with me. First, The Brass Monkeys an eight piece soul band. We played some top gigs and had a bloody good laugh, I loved it! And the Control Freaks, we played what we liked and couldn’t give a shit! Still haven’t heard a band play a better rendition of Black Betty. In the late 90’s I decided to go solo, I bought a keyboard/backing track player (yes I was not playing all those instruments at the same time) off some right dodgy bastard from Hayes! I will explain later. I went on to play at some of the best pubs and meet people who I am glad to call good friends to this day (I have to mention the Fat Cow in Denham, where I gained the unfortunate nickname, Barry the organ! Thanks Dave and Deb. That’s more or less how we arrive at the present.
In my book a good tune is a good tune! I don’t care if its soul, rock, classical, funk or Val Doonican if it’s good enough it will stand up. Although I did try and listen to capital radio the other day and I have to say after 10 minutes I would rather have had the rough end of a pineapple stuck up my bum! It’s not for me.
I still think if you have a family with a musical influence you're half way there, my parents didn’t push me to learn an instrument, I eventually found my feet playing guitar and singing . My talented daughter disappeared to her room with a guitar about a year or so ago and re emerged streets ahead of me, bloody You Tube! My son is getting better by the day on the drums too. Anna (the better half) comes from an unbelievably talented musical family. Every home should be blessed with music.
Onto The Stiles; I met John a few years ago in the Nine Stiles Pub hence the name of the band. I soon realised he was the dodgy bastard from Hayes who sold me that bloody keyboard! On we went to form a friendship and love for playing live music. The rest of the lads soon followed and here we are, 5 guys who love a beer and each other’s company, but above all love playing live music.
In conclusion, out of all the music I have listened to over the years, my main influence always goes back to one person. My dad, Tommy.