It's no secret; I love what I do. I'm doing what I've always thought to be 'best job in the world' - playing music. I've been earning a living as a musician since my school days. You could say that I'm 'living the dream', but I'm also aware that my journey has been made possible by key people who've helped me along the way.
I want to use this page to pay tribute to people who have been important to me, and to publicly acknowledge their influence.
Alan Phillips (12/11/41 - 10/5/96) Guitarist and Educator.
Born in Rockhampton in 1941, Alan moved to Brisbane as a 16 year old, and soon fell under the spell of music after seeing Buddy Holly perform at Brisbane's renowned Cloud Land. But Jazz was Alan's true calling, and he was most inspired by the guitar of Barney Kessel, Joe Pass, Charlie Byrd, and local players George Golla & Don Andrews.
In 1969 he created the Phillips Guitar Academy, on the corner of Princes Hwy and Daisy St in Fairy Meadow (NSW) which he ran until 1996.
He was also a long time member of the Belmore Basin Jazz Band.
My parents enrolled me for weekly lessons at the Guitar Academy in 1972. I still remember the waiting room, gazing at the walls adorned with 'exotic' spanish bullfight posters, and record covers whilst trying to listen in to what was happening in the music room next door . My first teacher was Tony Strasser, followed by Tim Kersten, both inspirational young teachers. Not long after I 'graduated' to Alan, who introduced me to advanced Jazz concepts, and wonderful books by Mickey Baker, Ted Greene and Don Andrews (which I still review to this day) as well as classical guitar.
He was a brilliant teacher, he loved to 'dangle a carrot' at the end of the lesson by playing me something amazing (and just out of my reach) that would keep me motivated and buzzing until the following week.
He died in May 1996 from secondary liver cancer, and is survived by his wife Diane, and children Andrew, James and Danielle.
Brian Kelly – a pioneer of Tamworth, Country Music Capital – (25/11/34 - 27/7/12)
I met Brian in January 1975, when my parents took their annual holiday at Lake Keepit near Tamworth. I was a bit of a loner, just me and my guitar, and I was delighted to discover the sound of a band rehearsing in a caravan nearby. What a strange new sound it was: country music!
They invited me to listen, and I ended up tagging along to all their rehearsals, culminating in a visit to Tamworth to watch them perform in the 2nd-ever Tamworth Country Music Festival; these days Australia's largest music festival. They were called The Capital 3 Ranch Band.
I came home from that holiday fired-up and determined to form a band, which I did, and we named ourselves The Capital 4 !!
I've gone on to have some involvement as a player and producer in Country Music, and for many years I tried to locate Brian to remind him of the short time we had together, and the influence he had on me. I found him living just an hour away from me, and I finally spoke to him just before he died. He was thrilled to be remembered.