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I was born in Liverpool, Merseyside, in the year of “Beatlemania” and first took an interest in music when my dad bought me my first two albums, “The Beatles 66-70” and “Ziggy Stardust”. I spent many hours in the front room of my house playing “air guitar” and could not decide whether I wanted to be George Harrison or Mick Ronson, a tough choice for a 10 year old, I think you will agree.

At the age of eleven I borrowed a beaten-up guitar from a friends dad and my cousin Mark O’Toole, later of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, taught me my first chords and I was hooked. My parents got me a better guitar, a Suzuki classical, and I fucked it up by putting steel strings on it as the nylon ones were not loud enough to play “God Save The Queen” or “White Riot”. I still have the guitar in my loft and it has a neck like a banana.

In 1977 punk rock happened and my parents bought me a white Les Paul copy and the George Harrison / Mick Ronson hybrid now thought he was Steve Jones. I formed a band called “Smuzz” with a schoolmate who insisted we had to have a name with two z’s in it so we could write it like “The Buzzcocks”. We did our first gig at a local church hall and “performed” ( read; “murdered”) five or six punk classics with me singing the lead vocal on the Stiff Little Fingers tune “Wasted Life”.

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