At just 24, quiet, self-effacing guitarist/keyboardist Neil Carter has notched up a formidable slice of rock 'n' roll history, spanning stints with such wreckless rockers as Wild Horses and UFO.
But his musical career began in the more sedate surroundings of Haywards Heath Grammar School in Sussex where he trained classically on the joanna. Leaving school at 16, Neil passed his working hours in drab Dorking day-jobs while by night he trod the boards with his first band Wilder while somehow finding the time to teach himself guitar.
Wilder were tight and talented enough to attract the attention of Gilbert O'Sullivan who signed them up as his backing band. Neil's next 'name' act was considerably hard. After six months in various small-time pub comboes he signed up with Robbo's raucous Wild Horses.
Three years later, at 21, he graduated to one of the wildest rock bands of them all - UFO, notching up three studio albums with Mogg and Way's marauders before their sorry demise last year.
"I was sad that UFO had to end that way," Neil confides, "but I think it was inevitable after Pete Way left. I felt obliged to try and make a go of it but it was almost as if the band were jinxed. I did toy with the idea of forming a band with Paul Chapman and Andy Parker but when it got round to it we were just doing the same old stuff. It was UFO without Phil Mogg. So it was better in the long run to make a clean break of it."
With UFO behind him, Neil didn't have to wait long before Gary Moore was on the blower talking auditions. "I tried out and it was great," Neil enthuses. "I'm really enjoying working with Gary, he's such a talented bloke and there's loads to learn off him".
"The new album's marvellous, it's one of the most powerful albums I've ever heard. It's real heavy, heavier than anything I did with UFO. And that's the other great thing about Gary - he knows exactly what he wants and how to get it. After UFO being so slapdash, it's marvellous to be with someone so positive and who isn't drinking himself into the ground. With UFO there was no continuity, sometimes it'd be great, other nights, especially towards the end, it was more likely to be the pits. With Gary you know the shows gonna be of a certain consistenthly high standard. He never cheats the audience."
That's one thing we can all be grateful for.
Neil Carter uses
Roland JX3P, Profit 5, Korg Polysix, Pearl Polysensor, Korg BX3 Organ, Roland Juno-60, Yamama Mixer and Power Amp, Roland Effects
Washburn Guitars, Marshall Amplification, Dean Markley Strings