A little change for this week’s blog as we thought it’d be fun for you guys to get to know a little bit more about us! We’re starting with Tom, our bass player!
What are your earliest musical memories?
Until I was about 5 we didn’t own a CD player, so my earliest years were filled with my mum and dad’s vinyl collection. I don’t think I heard anything released past about 1985 until I went to school, and even then I avoiding anything in the charts, it wasn’t till years later I heard anything from the 1990s!
How did you get started with playing?
There was always a half size acoustic guitar sitting around the house, which I spent many hours posing with. I also owned one of the classic ‘Casio’ keyboards until it was confiscated because I just played the Demo tracks and never really learned anything! I think my dad tried to teach me some basic stuff when I was 6 or 7 but I wasn’t really prepared to concentrate at that age, I just wanted to play Beatles songs!
In the first year of Secondary School guitar lesson were offered and I threw myself right in there! I borrowed my dad’s guitar which was unbelievably heavy and had a few lessons before I packed it in. My music career could have ended before it started, but I heard The Arctic Monkeys’ first album, and thought to myself “I gotta go learn me some of that!” It was fast, loud, and exciting, so I dragged the stupidly heavy guitar out of the case and sat down to learn ‘Mardy Bum.’
What happened next?
I got a rip off Stratocaster for my 12th birthday whilst we were on holiday in Whitby, which was much, much lighter than my dad’s one. I continued to suck, and decided I wanted to play bass too, receiving one for Christmas of that year. I’m pretty sure I asked for a drum kit too, but I think my mum drew the line at that. I was enough of a nuisance already.
At some point my best mates and I got together and decided we should start a band. Out of necessity I became the bass player, partly because I owned a bass, and partly because I was still absolutely dire on the guitar. I also became the ‘de facto’ lyrics shouter. I figured if no-one else was attempting to provide words for the racket we were playing, I might as well give it a shot. We rehearsed without a PA so I just screamed the lyrics over the top of whatever else was going on.
We played Can’t Stop by the Red Hot Chili Peppers every lunchtime in the music room as if it were some kind of ritual. I have no idea how anyone stood us playing that song for that long. We played a couple of gigs including some school concerts, and added some more songs into the set. Eventually the guitar player got good enough to play the entire solo to ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ and we performed on the last day of school in assembly. We were famous for about a week until we left. I couldn’t get enough of it!
Would you say college was a pivotal moment?
Despite having no formal music education I decided it would be a fantastic idea to study music at A-Level. I had to work very hard to catch up with everyone (I couldn’t even read a note of music before I started!) but I loved it. I also joined a pop-punk band, grew my hair out long and played a lot of terrible gigs to no-one.
Whilst researching about university, I somehow discovered you could study at an academic level what I loved to do full time. I applied to a couple of Universities, but my top choice was the University of Chester, were I was luckily accepted.
What was university like?
It was hard, partially because I still sucked. But I learned quickly, met a load of great people (including Tony, but don’t tell him I said that!) and loved it.
Life can be difficult for a musician after University. How did you cope?
I got a job working part time at Waitrose, so I could still live in Chester. I kept gigging in different bands at evenings and weekends, just trying to keep myself above water, so to speak!
Until, as those of you who follow Pedal Tones history, me and Tony got together one day and formed the idea of this band!
What’s your favourite thing about performing in The Pedal Tones?
I love the variety of stuff we play- I like keeping the setlist interesting and unique. What’s especially interesting for me as the bass player is keeping things sounding full, as being a 3 piece it’s essential we sound as ‘big’ as possible! I also having a lot of fun running round and making an idiot of myself on stage. I hope people find it entertaining!
This might sound cheesy but I also enjoying learning a couple’s favourite song, and seeing how happy they are when we play it! It makes all the hard work worth it!
What do you enjoy outside of The Pedal Tones world?
The Pedal Tones takes up a surprising amount of my time! I’m trying to write and record more of my own music too. Outside of music I’ve really started to get into videography and film making too. I try to spend time outdoors too, and I’ve really started to get into the world of scale models. I’m a proper nerd at heart!
What’s in store for the future?
More and more gigs, I hope! I’ve also bought a double bass, so I’m looking forward to incorporating that into the ‘festival’ band that’s coming soon!