Not just another biography, I hope. I’ll try and pull in my main history as a writer, performer and as an artist. Maybe even a few nuggets more, besides. So, not a typical “Band bio”. Not the bio for my press kit, that’s for sure. Where to start?
After playing in bands for years as the main singer songwriter I’ve been more focused on writing and production for the last few years.
A spinal injury when I was 23 massively altered the trajectory of my music career. Hell, it massively changed everything in my life. My personal story is pretty complicated and would explain some of my decisions, but I don’t want to dwell on that here. It is enough to say that as a result I haven’t actively pushed my music for many years. I hope to change that this year, but more on that later.
Still, I did managed to make music, and I launched songstuff.com and actively helped musicians and artists with writing, production and marketing and promotion.
The last time I played on stage with a band was in 2000. It was broadcast on Radio Scotland as part of the 10th birthday celebration for the Cathouse nightclub in Glasgow. It was the one and only time I performed using my own name, instead of a band name. It felt very strange, yet the world is littered with artists performing as a named individual, even if sometimes that is not their real name. Who knows? Hopefully I’ll get back to playing live again in the not too distant future.
My main bands were:
- The Outside Edge and then Beyond The Edge in the 1980s
- Needful Things in the 1990s
- Bibi M in 1999 & 2000
I played in few other bands besides these. Notably two bands that never got to perform. One, a band with Nicky Langlands (between Beyond the Edge and Needful Things) and the other a Pink Floyd cover band. I’ll mention both of these bands because they played a significant part in my musical story.
Since then I have only played at a few open mic nights in local bars. Smaller gigs, but the intimacy with the audience is pretty rewarding.
The Outside Edge & Beyond The Edge
A wonderfully hairy folk-rock act first The Outside Edge and then latterly Beyond The Edge played mostly in the central belt of Scotland. We wrote approximately 40-50 original songs together, of which only a few recordings survive that we know of. On occasion a recording made by one of our fans, or even in one case a studio recording one of our fans had, will turn up. A blast from the past but a very welcome reminder of past adventures.
Below you can see a photo of Outside Edge/Beyond The Edge. Left to right are Richard MacDonald, me, Cameron Hall-Gardiner, and John Thomson.
Yes, that’s me, sitting on the wall with a guitar, hiding behind a blizzard of hair.
The band line up:
- Richard MacDonald – Drums and Percussion
- John Thomson (JT) – Bass and Backing Vocals
- Cameron Hall-Gardiner – Guitar
- John Moxey – Guitar and Lead Vocals
Initially we were managed by friends (thanks go to Tony Gourlay and Jaimie McKee), but after about a year we were picked up by Brian Harris. We recorded about 8 songs in a recording studio. Any other surviving recordings are either of live performances or recorded in rehearsal studios. I’d also like to mention Linda Milne for the very kind help for gigs, rehearsals etc driving us about in her blue van… and to the ever faithful JohnBoy Middleton for his help as our roadie for many, many gigs along with Alan Yule, Ken Mackie, and Paul Jeffery (Jaffa) to name but a few.
Writing With Nicky Langlands
During the early 1990’s I wrote and recorded with a talented blues guitarist, Nicky Langlands. We wrote quite a few songs together and played more than a few that we had each written on our own. No matter how much fun it was, the partnership never resulted in any live performances.
With Nicky I recorded a few demos, wrote and co-wrote a bunch of songs during that time. A couple of years after we split, I took my own songs written during that period and a couple of co-writes with Nicky, on to be performed with Needful Things. Nicky did the same with his own project.
As the 90’s progressed I wrote and recorded with Needful Things. We recorded 9 tracks, all originals I had written, with the notable exception of two songs that were written with Nicky Langlands, “Shine” and “Sip My Wine”.
We went through a few line up changes. The culprits were:
- Steve Greenock – Drums and Percussion
- John Thomson – Bass and Backing Vocals
- Ian Forbes – Lead Guitar
- Anthea Joice – Backing Vocals
- Steve Stewart, then Duncan Murray, then Fiona Colliss (Fifi) – Keyboards
- John Moxey – Guitar & Lead Vocals
Above is a photo of the 1994 line up of Needful Things. From left to right you can see Steve Greenock, Iain Forbes, Steve Stewart, myself and John Thomson.
Sadly, JT passed away on 18th March 2015. A much missed and popular big guy. He loved his motorbikes and cars, food, drink, music (especially Pink Floyd and The Who) and his Rickenbacker bass guitar.
Pink Floyd Cover Band
Yep, you read that right! It was at once a pain in the ass and massively good fun.
Between Needful Things and Bibi M the other project that didn’t quite make it to public, but was great fun, was a Pink Floyd cover band. It went through a number of line-up changes with a core of 8 members, but was occasionally as large as 11 or 12. The basic band consisted of a drummer, bass (JT), 2 keyboards players, 2 guitarists, 2 female backing singers and additional vocals by myself, JT and the other guitarist Russell (his full name escapes me). The line up experimented with a sax player, additional percussion (if I remember correctly), an extra female backing singer and others. Outside of pipe bands and youth orchestras or choirs, it was targets ensemble of musicians I played with. It was great fun from a playing and arrangement perspective (Pink Floyd is one of my favourite bands), but a bit of a nightmare logistically. Sometimes organising rehearsals with musicians can feel like herding kittens, on speed (the kittens, not me!).
The Pink Floyd project included Anthea and JT from Needful Things days in the line up..
In the early noughties Iworked with Barbara Mathieson, a singer and lyricist from Glasgow. We wrote several songs together and recorded 7 or 8 under the artist name “Bibi M”.
Barbara turned up at my home with a collection of lyrics and lots of ideas and together we worked tirelessly on the Bibi M tracks. You can hear some of those recorded in the site archives.
Although we received airplay on BBC Radio 1 we were never to play on stage together as Bibi M.
On My Own
I am busy recording. There is a pool of about 20 songs I have selected to record. I plan to release them via Red Circle 7 Records (RC7 Records) over the next 12 months or so. I might add some new songs to this pool, ones I write over the coming 12 months. My plan at this stage is to release a couple of stand alone singles, then an E.P. Followed by an album.
As I record them I intend recording more intimate acoustic recordings of either guitar and voice or piano and voice. I will also record full production version of each song.
I am currently selecting the candidate release order. I don’t plan to decide the full list, only the first few and particularly the first and second songs – the stand-alone singles.
More news to follow!