Music & Me with … George Davies (Wud Records)- 01 Feb 2019 -
Image: George Davies, Wud Records, from the heart of Europe
When were you first introduced to music?
Both my parents played music and were teachers. Mother played the piano in school assemblies and my father played piano, guitar, clarinet, harmonica and recorder in various skiffle and jazz bands from the 1950s to the late 1970s. I loved playing all the various instruments we had in our house, particularly the old upright piano in our front room. When my parents bought a Tandberg stereo system in the early 70s, I was fascinated by that too. I’d look through the vent holes in the back of the amplifier/tuner to try to catch a glimpse of the tiny people living inside who owned the myriad of voices we could hear. Later, I discovered that playing lead guitar in a rock’n’roll band brought lots of opportunities and opened a great many doors. Robert Fripp once said that playing contemporary music in a band was the best education any young man can have! You know all those stories you’ve heard about bands and the things that go on? They’re all true.
Tell us about your favourite teachers
My first piano teacher, Morwenna Edwards, who was probably already in her 70s when she took me on. She guided me from square one to my first three piano grades on her wonderful baby grand with three pedals. And more recently Stephen Yates, whose guitar workshops I recently attended. Stephen is a wonderful virtuoso who’s won many international awards for his classical guitar work, and his progressive rock is just as good.
What are your fondest musical memories?
Those eureka moments. When you’re in that special place called music, creativity is as easy as breathing. It’s when I feel closest to ‘the other side’ when there’s a good connection and everything flows freely. I don’t think it comes from me, I’m just the conduit. The rest of the world seems to disappear and the music is all that exists. Other favourite musical memories are of bands I’ve seen performing live, from Guarana and Watershed to Blue Oyster Cult, Rush, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore and Santana. I’ve also witnessed some of the most spine-tingling performances when working as a sound engineer in recording studios. One could argue that the most important job of the engineer is to elicit the best possible performance from their artist. I feel incredibly fortunate to have shared many extremely special moments with some extraordinary musicians and it bonds you together as humans. It’s powerful stuff.
What is your favourite TV theme tune and film soundtrack?
The now very obscure Cutty Sark which is in seven-time, the original Doctor Who theme, earworms like Monkey and Red Dwarf and Star Trek, and Tomorrow’s World and Sportsnight from the 1970s. A Few Dollars More by Ennio Morricone is my favourite soundtrack, with the Pink Panther films by Henry Mancini, and Pulp Fiction right up there as well.
What was the last download/ CD you bought?
Goodness, here’s a confession. I haven’t bought anything for years. We get sent quite a lot of music at Wud Records and there’s barely time to listen to it all – so buying music for pleasure never seems to happen. However, I do remember very clearly the last vinyl I bought from a wonderful second-hand record shop called Catapilla, a double live album and two studio albums by Santana.
Imagine you’ve been given GBP 250.00 to spend on equipment, music or tickets. How will you spend it?
Repairs! My 60-year-old Marshall head needs a full service and new valves. If anything remains then a couple of guitars need servicing too, refrets and so on. Or maybe a new digital tuner, one that can do 432 Hz as well as 440 Hz. Or maybe a marketing campaign for a forthcoming release. Hmmm, tricky.
How do you balance music with your other obligations?
It’s very very hard right now. In 2017, we were forced to leave the UK due to Brexit. Today, we’re near my European wife’s elderly parents. It’s great for them, it’s great for our miracle daughter and it’s great for us too. The upgrade in life quality here is beyond anything I could have dreamed of. At the moment I’m learning to speak the local language, and it takes time. Meanwhile music-wise, there’s a lot more to come from Flicker, Dark Company, Pok the Bard and The Bastard Sons of Dennis, as well as legacy material and a few archive bands with songs we’re hoping to share.
Happiness is… a new track finished and released! Ecstasy is a whole album!!
Dark Company on Musicoin: https://musicoin.org/artist/0xbb5b0ba41d68d6e206a969874c0804e817ea2c99
Flicker on Musicoin: https://musicoin.org/artist/0x3f8511b967adbea6812dd7b1b5bbaa401c9728ff