Left music isn’t just about expression, it’s a tool of struggle and I need it to be used to have an impact as well as to get things off my chest.
You can read what the meejah and co think of my music by reading my reviews here.
Bite Sized Biog
Main genre: Folk
Instruments: Voice, Guitar, Harmonica, Ukelele, a touch of mandolin
Favourite sport: Football
Early musical loves: The Beatles, The Who, George Formby, Johnny Cash, Madness, The Specials, The Jam
Teenage music loves: Billy Bragg, John Lennon, The Housemartins, Woody Guthrie, Ewan MacColl, The Pogues, Michelle Shocked, Tracy Chapman, The Levellers, Kirsty MacColl
Later music loves: The Saw Doctors, Roy Bailey, Leon Rosselson, Lonnie Donegan, Chumbawamba, Iris De Ment, Dick Gaughan, They Might Be Giants.
(Note: I kept adding, I never ditched anyone as I got older – especially not George Formby!) And I know I’ll have missed people out too.
How I became a protest singer: I simply wrote about the things I cared about. All any writer can do is speak their truth. The songs represent my view of the world. So I never became a protest singer. I always was one. I just hadn’t started singing yet.
I wrote my first song when I was 11, which was before I had my first indoor toilet (it was back yard and bucket still at that point!)
I didn’t pick up a guitar until I was 16. I am mainly self taught but used to go to a guitar group too that was run by an elderly man named George. So thanks George.
I was busking in Liverpool city centre within three weeks with guitar chords scrawled on my arm to help me remember them.
My first musical success was when I won the title of Liverpool Echo Merseyside Busker of the Year in 1989 at the Festival Gardens Site.
I don’t think they ever ran the competition again afterwards so as far as I’m aware that makes me the reigning Merseyside champion busker, but I don’t busk anymore.
I’ve since gone on to play support to some of my heroes, such as Billy Bragg, Chumbawamba, Roy Bailey, Dick Gaughan amongst others.
I set up and run the Woody Guthrie Folk Club which takes place on the last Thursday of every month in Liverpool.
I also run the Working Class Life & Music Festival which is the largest celebration of working people anywhere on the planet!
Politically I was once in the Labour Party (I left before Blair was even PM) and am now happily on the “homeless left”. In other words, I’m not a member of anyone’s party.
I’d say I was on the Labour soft left as a teenager but have moved a long way leftwards since those days.
My politics have been influenced by reading Marx and Engels, but I have a deeply libertarian instinct that means I have great sympathies with “those dreadful anarchists” (as the Daily Telegraph probably calls them).
Outside of music, I am the founder of fan owned football club AFC Liverpool, so check them out. They are Sugar Daddy free – owned and governed by their own fans, just as I intended.