It’s now May 1989 and I get a letter in the post out of the blue from a record producer. He’d come across a Malicieux Garde demo tape and was interested in working with us in the studio. His name was Mike Myers and he had worked with some very successful acts such as The Dooleys, The Nolan Sisters and Bucks Fizz. He had written songs for all of them, his most successful being “I’m in the mood for dancing” by the Nolan’s.
I got in touch to tell him what had happened with the band and that I was writing stuff on my own. He asked me to send him a demo of my stuff, liked it and invited me into the studio to work with him.
The plan was to record a couple of tracks to broker what was then called a ‘lease lend master tape deal’ with a guy he knew called Muff Winwood who was a Director at CBS Records. However, there was a caveat. He said he didn’t think he could ‘sell’ me as a solo artist, so I would need to put together a band.
I started making calls and quickly recruited the two Colin’s to the project. That was bass and drums sorted, so I just needed a lead guitar. Fortunately, Colin the bass player knew a good guitarist called Andy who was happy to throw his hand in the ring. It was most curious that Andy turned out to be an absolute doppelganger of my brother-in-law. I suspect it was my production of Hold on to Love that persuaded them to join with me the most
We went in to the studio and recorded two of my songs; I Wonder and Hold On To Love. Unfortunately things didn’t go quite as planned. Mike got involved in another recording project, one that I guess he thought had a better chance of success, so I got passed over and nothing further happened on that front. Such is the music business!
There was no longer any need for a band so the four of us went our separate ways.
“I Wonder” by Real World recorded at Monroe Studios.
I persevered with the Real World project; now as a solo act again. My first and only solo gig as Real World was at the Towngate Theatre in Basildon on Friday 22nd June 1990. I enjoyed the experience and my material seemed to go down well. Little did I realise that it would be my last gig for a very long time!
After that gig my priorities began to change. I now had two young daughters and I was rising rapidly through the ranks of the London Fire Brigade, with more responsibility and longer working hours. My job required me to stay within the Greater London area when I was on-call, so I was having to stay away from home for at least two nights every week.
Another house move was necessary. We sold up the Basildon house and bought a three bed semi in Hornchurch, in the London Borough of Havering. With two girls each wanting their own bedroom this meant there was no room for my studio, so all my equipment was wrapped in black plastic and put into storage in the loft.
My music didn’t disappear entirely though, it just changed direction for a while. I bought myself a brand new guitar and used that to write new songs. It wasn’t electronic pop music any longer though. The songs I was writing were more folk than pop, but at least it meant I could still perform occasionally when the chance arose.
Given how much my work life was now encompassing my free time, I was limited to the odd karaoke session on holiday or local talent contest when the opportunity arose. I remember winning a karaoke competition in a bar in the Algarve, Portugal.
I won a bottle of champagne. It didn’t go down too well with a large crowd in the bar who’s mate I’d beaten, so we had to get out of there pretty quickly.
I entered one talent contest that was held at a local hotel. The reason I entered was because I was told that there would be opportunities to play paid gigs in the hotel bar.
Taking part in my round was a guy who eventually became a well known comedian here in the UK. His name is Joe Pasquale. I won that heat singing one of my ‘folk’ songs and playing the guitar. I didn’t win the final and a never got offered a paid gig, but I guess I had got to perform there a couple of times.
Is this really curtains for my singing career?