I went for so many auditions in 1978...the back pages of the Melody Maker had numerous ad’s, mostly for professional bands whose names ended in ‘er’...‘no timewasters or bread heads’, and I was desperate to break through what I perceived as the ‘circle’...once through it, I was convinced I would succeed. Thank goodness I had faith in myself even if some of the bands I failed to impress didn’t!
And then, one day, I saw in the gossip column of Sounds a small snippet saying that Brian Robertson and Jimmy Bain were looking for a second guitarist, young eager and fresh, to complete their new band. Me...obviously! So on 23rd August 1978 I went to audition up in London (can’t remember where) with the two main men and the drummer who at the time was Kenny Jones. It went very well and I got the job although by the time we played our first gig Kenny had departed and Dixie Lee, late of Lone Star, had taken over. He too departed after one tour, I think you’d call it ‘musical differences’ and was replaced by Clive Edwards who was a great friend to me at the time.
Brian was very young himself then and had been ‘replaced’ by Gary Moore in Thin Lizzy although he was still managed by their company. Jimmy Bain had been in Rainbow in what was really the classic line up, recording the excellent live album with them. I felt quite overawed to be part of it initially, although as time went on it was plainly obvious that the band were never going to set the world alight but it was extremely good grounding nonetheless. Being a new band we were into being ‘seen’ around town and I was introduced to the joys of ‘ligging’. The party never stopped and I got to hang out with the likes of Phil Lynott who was at the peak of his powers at the time. The band had a few good songs but I think were regarded as a pale Lizzy clone by the media. Looking back that probably seems a fair assessment but they were always good entertainment (intentionally or otherwise!). The first album was fairly well received and we played at the 1979 Reading Festival but I was keen to progress further.
It was during this time I got to know Phil Collen who was then in Girl and it was through him I was introduced to UFO... Rock trivia #1; At Wild Horses’ first gig in Sheffield in November 1978 the ‘humpers’ at the gig were some young lads who were in a band called Def Leppard and had just made their own EP. I still have the one Joe Elliot gave me, signed, and with his mum’s phone number on...how sweet.