My father, Geoff Garvey,
was a semi-pro sax player, and I grew up hearing Ambrose, Lew Stone
with seasonings of west-coast, bebop, Spike Jones and some classical
stuff from Bach to Stravinsky on 78s. And the test-card.
My parents professed to
hate rock 'n roll, but "6.5 Special" was on every week on TV and we seemed
to hear everything from Bill Haley to Jerry Lee Lewis.
My brother Nig and I
used to compose songs from an early age, latterly on our old piano, on
which I learned how notes fit together - barring those that were
missing. But once I heard Hank Marvin in 1961 it was the guitar I wanted to play,
ideally one with horns and a tremolo bar and a label saying "Fender Stratocaster - 160
teach guitar at Grammar School, though, and
that plus the ousting of the Shadows by the Beatles had me learning
violin and picking up Nig's taste in 20th century classical music. I
still listened to Manfred Mann, but thought of myself as a classical
violinist, if a poor one.
That is, until Cream's
final concert (which I was dragooned into watching on TV by a guy in
my zoology set) re-awakened me to the fact I ought to be a guitarist.
A loud one.
The week after I got my
first guitar a random encounter with a Rev Gary Davis tablature made me
realise the possibilities of acoustic guitar. So when I got to Cambridge I ended up in the folk club rather than a rock band, hearing
the likes of Martin Carthy and Roy Bookbinder, but particularly the
young virtuosos like Keith Christmas and Gordon Giltrap.
It was then I formed a
folk-rock duo, Peculiar
Lucan Sauce, and did
over 200 gigs performing our own Gospel-based songs.
This was only interrupted by my marriage and the breakup of the band.
Silly hospital doctor
hours excluded music for the next few years, but in 1983 I decided
to start afresh, finally bought a Strat, and began writing and playing
rock in the band i2i.
A couple of bands, and
three Greenbelt Fringe performances later
(I played the very last set in 1986!), I found myself mainly being a worship-leader in churches, which guided
my writing and playing for several years. Then I started recording my
In 2005 I started
learning sax seriously, using the same instruments left to me by my
father, plus a 1975 soprano. Nice to have a bit of continuity, isn't
Currently I play guitar
in a church band, sax in a couple of wind-based groups and both in a
rock/soul outfit. I'm still writing and recording stuff at home.