Hey, thanks for visiting. Me? Just glad to still be playing piano and to be fully functional in most other respects at my age! I come from a 20th Century dinosaur age where musicians had endless work week in and week out (gigs we called them), where the chicks were cool and the booze and smokes a normal part of life. Now live entertainment has been replaced with screens, booze and tobacco is bad for you, and those cool chicks have artificial hip joints and varicose veins.
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SPECIAL WELCOME to guests from Soundclick.com - YouTube - Mixposure - Flickr Photos and MP3Unsigned Tony (pianoman.one)
I do really dedicate this Site to live performers everywhere ~ especially Musicians, Dancers and Singers, who practice their skills diligently in this world of mediocracy, pretence and fraudulent so-called "talent" we so often see on our TV screens. I dedicate my efforts to those who are infinitely more accomplished than I, as well as those who aspire to reach my standard of performance.
No regrets, - Music is a blessed gift that will enrich the lives of children and those learning to play. It will give a precious gift to those who succeed in doing so.
Thank You to all the visitors who come to my site.
CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org (not my everyday mail address so please allow a few days.)
Below: Here I play "The House of The Rising Sun" - just as I did at St. Annes RC School, Heaton Chapel, Stockport all those years ago!
BLOG: I can't imagine for one moment why anyone would be interested in my story, but hey, I pay for this domain each year so why not?
I was born and raised in Heaton Norris, Stockport UK. I attended Piano lessons as a pupil of Mrs Jessie Davies, also of Heaton Norris. I don't discuss dates online these days due to potential identity theft, - but it was a long time ago. I took Examinations with the Trinity College of Music, London, which were always held at Unity Hall, Greek Street, Stockport, near the Art Gallery. My results were always Honours or Merit. When I attended the then, new St Annes R.C. School on Glenfield Road, Heaton Chapel I was encouraged to play Piano in public, i.e. School Assemblies, and this is where the YouTube video I've done of "House of the Rising Sun" comes into play. I was a quiet, shy lad, struggling to even fulfil the role of a prefect in a school full of tough kids. As soon as I started playing popular Hits of the day on piano everyone wanted to be my friend. I have teachers, the late Gerry Mack and Tom Carroll to thank for this.
As a child I had been taken annually to Christ Church Schoolrooms, Heaton Norris to watch my Aunt's (my mother's brother's wife) dancing school pantomimes. Early in 196* my Uncle called to ask if my father's sister could play piano for a few events, as the then pianist, Emily Cheetham, was getting very frail. This was not possible so the attention switched to me! I attended with a friend of mine for "support"! a dancing class at the Guide Hall, Queens Drive, Heaton Moor, Stockport. I was sat at the piano stool and given a few pieces to play whilst Emily counted out the correct time (for the dancers), and my Aunt was delighted. She forced money into my hand for just being there for half an hour! So that was it, I cycled on my Triumph Palm Beach bike there for classes, a backpack full of music, and a new phase in my life had begun. I had no idea what was to follow, and early Summer the same year I was told I had to play at The Kings Hall, Belle Vue Manchester for my Aunt's annual Children's Ballet Show. This one was part of the National Railway Carnival held each year at Belle Vue. This took me through playing rehearsals at almost every Ballroom Suite at Belle Vue to actually playing in The Kings Hall. My Aunt incidentally was Joan Bates. Her school was then called The Melbourne School of Dancing. I stayed faithfully and reliably with the School until my early 20s - even being threatened with dismissal by my employers at The Stockport Advertiser for taking time off to play piano for Joan. But this was the grounding of my musical knowledge which still "cuts-it" on MP3/WAV Internet sites to this day. It also started a whole delightful lifetime of working with children.
I had been doing a few Dance Band gigs with Stockport drummer Geoff Stokes at the time on Friday and Saturday evenings. I also did a few gigs with Stockport gig bandleader Sid Chadwick
- a delightful gentleman from Brinnington. I was a member of the Musicians Union and joined the North West Committee in Manchester. Band gigs were coming in thick and fast and I'd made contact with former Prestatyn Tower Beach bandleader Jack Stone who ran a small Agency from Stretford. By this time I had Alan Yates on Bass Guitar/vocals and Gordon Beckett on drums. But never one to stand still I was teaching myself how to play the popular electronic organs of the day, and was taken into the Manchester Clubs by Stockport drummer Ronnie Oates. The very first note I ever played on a Hammond Organ with Leslie Cabinet I fell in love with these sensational instruments. Of course, doing Dance Band gigs I either had to rely on house pianos or attempt to find something portable. I bought a single manual Vox Continental Organ which fitted on the back seat of my VW Beetle. To be honest I found it a hideous sound and often reverted back to old on-site pianos. Eventually I bought a Wurlitzer Stage Piano and even though it was only a few octaves, all was good!
In 1976 myself and Altrincham Guitarist Alan Yates started the "Alan Anthony Set" - a 4 piece Band with vocals that could also do "pops". Through The Alan Arnison Agency especially we did brilliantly well. The Piccadilly Hotel? yeah sure - alongside The Andy Ross Orchestra!! The Midland, The Grand, The Portland - all the big Manchester City Centre Venues of the day. We had Eddie Hosey on Bass/Vocals, a Country singer who could put over a song magnificently. Alan on Guitar in his usual barnstorming "in your face" manner. Myself on Wurtlitzer Stage Piano with special effects pedals. Last but not least a couple of years before I'd met a wild Geordie drummer at The Picador Club in Manchester. He had one of the best left hands I'd ever heard and fooled around playing on empty pint pots and metal stair rails. This was Ronnie Arnold from Macclesfield who completed our Band. Later when Eddie Hosey left the band, his slot was filled brilliantly by Stockport Musician Pete Smith. Myself, Pete and Alan did a few reunion gigs around 2009 with different drummer and a good trumpet player. VIDEO on this page. Alan Yates passed away in 2013. I have no idea what became of drummer Ronnie Arnold (our youngest son's godfather by the way).
Musically, life was good. I'd turned Pro. and made enough to live on. In November 1976 I attended Auditions for a 1977 Summer Season. First for Butlins, then for Pontins. The Pontins guy, Jimmy Kennedy, really wanted me for the Prestatyn Sands Site which was buzzing with holidaymakers, entertainers and musicians back in the day. I was a bit disappointed at the state of the Pianos on Site, but hey, it was nearly 7 months of the year - with Saturdays off! It paid me more than the printing trade had done too. I eventually got them to hire an electronic organ for my Lounge, and some of the recordings are on the player on this site! I did 77/78/79 at Prestatyn Sands. Regrettably I did 1980 at Pontins Southport which I found quite hideous. I found the work hideous and the people I worked with demeaning. The clientele were hardly the Prestatyn Sands Snowdonia Lounge calibre either. Myself and Sue had a flat off camp thankfully. I didn't finish the season. I walked! But as always I never "walked" without something else in mind. The enquiries were coming in thick and fast for SOMETHING ELSE, and my mother Alice was kept busy taking Bookings!! back in Heaton Norris. But I nearly always kept my hand in with Music when ever I could. I still keep in touch with colleagues from Prestatyn Sands. If you worked there late 1970s drop me a mail if you want to. I've also come across quite a few 1960s-1970s Dance School pupils. Internet makes for a small world doesn't it?
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