Early - Mid 1980s
It all started with Plastic Noise, I must have been about 11 or 12. It was in East Kilbride, where I grew up. I played a knackered guitar back to front, using it like a percussion instrument. We played 2 songs, one was pretty punky, a bit like The Damned's "Anti Pope", the other was a bit reggaeish. I got a taste for bands and starting teaching myself the guitar with the aid of a school friend. I was writing (primitive) songs. Over the next couple of years, I was listening to a wide variety of music - lots of punk, though. I also compiled a fanzine "Rock Is Sick" which featured local bands (I would go to see all these bands rehearse) and The Poison Girls. Don't know why, but the 2nd issue never made it to the typewriter, shame as I had an interview with Crass.
The first proper band was Reluctant Admission, we formed in the Spring of 1982. There were three of us, me on bass and vocals, a drummer (Davy Honeyman who started on tupperware; pots and pans, before progressing to kit) and a guitarist (Robert "Pugo" Traish) who shared vocals with me. We had a set, mostly written by the guitarist and myself. We received a good write up in the local press. We split up after about a year, then reformed 6 months later, I was now playing the guitar. We recruited a bass player and split up again 6 or so months later. In 1984, I worked with a few musicians and had some mini-bands (The Theme, Physical Mushrooms, 5th Column), made my debut live appearance at the School Talent Contest, we didn't win. There were still heavy punk/new wave influences. Later that year, Reluctant Admission reformed under the names Gary & The Honeymen, Wonders of And, The View, Pamplemousse, Men in the Attic and finally Where Next Columbus? (named after the Crass song). We were back to being a 3-piece - drums (same as above), bass (Jeff Cullen) and myself on guitar and vocals - we had a seperate vocalist (George Seymore) for a while and tried a few other guitarists and singers. Our major influences included the Stranglers, Pink Floyd, Van Der Graaf Generator, the Smiths, Velvet Underground and Joy Division. Lyrical themes included animal rights, anti-establishment, anti-war (lots of antis infact) and teenage confusion. Within no time we had an hour set of songs and played our first performance at a local church hall with a psychedelic projector show.
In June 1985, we recorded our first demo (5 songs). We were playing quite a few gigs. Our bass player, sadly, had to leave because of an illness. We recruited a replacement (Davy Bowles), and in 1986, we recorded a 100 minute 4 track recording. We lasted until Summer 1987.
Mid - Late 1980s
Early - Mid 1990s
When GDCC disbanded, I had by then released 3 solo cassettes under the name of Pearsongs Inc. They were very poorly recorded at home bouncing between 2 cassette decks - lots of hiss etc. but they are still audible. A diverse range of styles were used, from sheer pop to experimental improvisations. I used mostly guitars, voice and drum machine. In August 1990, I started a music technology college course and then had access to midi sequencing and multi-tracking. I pretty much used what I could lay my hands on and now the solo recordings were better recorded with the addition of layers of keyboards and rhythms. This included ambient, electro, dancey or industrial instrumentals. I stopped releasing solo cassettes in Summer 1994, I had by then released 7. I went back to basics for the last one with just guitar and voice.
I was pretty much into the DIY music scene and in the early 90s, I released 3 compilation cassettes featuring a diverse collection of unsigned UK bands. Along with my own cassette releases, a lot of this was sold via mail order, fanzines, festivals and punk picnics (Scotland hosted some of the best).
Back to 1990. In Autumn, I got another band together, drums (the same drummer, Davy Honeyman, from all the Where Next Columbus? aliases), Sloany on bass, myself and Michael Sullivan providing vocals and guitar. We called ourselves Temple Ball and supported Ozric Tentacles at their 1st Scottish gig in Glasgow. Davy Bowles (from the previous Where Next Columbus? incarnation) replaced the bassist and we resurfaced as Where Next Columbus? (mark 2) and played a few performances as a 4-piece, playing a mixture of old and new. That ended in late 1991. I was also playing and performing with other musicians at college and composed music for an anti-poll tax pantomine.
Mid - Late 1990s
Beyond the 20th Century
Songs piled up and I recorded the Walking With Pixies cd throughout 2003 on a 4 track, a mixture of new songs and re-recordings of the late 90s stuff. There is a of a pagan element in a lot of the songs and there are some of the mellowist stuff I have done on this. It is mostly acoustic with acoustic guitars and percussion (mostly congas) accompanying my vocals - a little bit of electric.