Music has always been a huge part of my life. I started writing songs from a very early age. I went from one rock band to another; dividing my time between recording studios and out on the road doing shows and gigs.
But fifteen years ago, I noticed that my hearing was not very good. It was starting to be affected by all the heavy percussion that I was constantly surrounded by. It made me anxious. There was just no way I was going to admit to the other guys that there was something wrong with me. Since I was there to do vocal work, I thought I could just concentrate on what I had to do, get my job right, stage stuff, and be done with it. I thought, “well, I’ll just do the best I can”.
I started doing my best to lipread, but then I noticed that my singing was really being affected by my hearing loss too. When you’re on stage singing, you might sing a bit flat and just brush it off because it’s just a performance. It’s over after it’s done. But when you’re in a recording studio, you’ve got to live with it for years! I started to pull back in the bands that I was in and let other people do most of the lead singing and I’d do harmony work and things like that. It was my way of coping with what I had.
With time, it got to the point where I was very happy to just be on my own, in a quiet room, a quiet space, and write.
Writing songs became an obsession. I didn’t even mean to do it, I would just do it. I started to write novels and plays and film scripts and things like that and I thought, “gee, even if my writing is probably Mills and Boonish, at least I am expressing something and leaving a footprint for the future – a legacy of something”.
I decided that it would be great to share that with other people. And so from time to time I would set up little songwriting clinics wherever I was, just to help young songwriters to get their lyrics in order. I found that very fulfilling.
Four years ago, I set up a writers’ group called The Bayside Writers’ Group, and we show how easy it is to put pen to paper. I want to help writers who have probably gone through their whole life as a frustrated poet or a frustrated songwriter and never had anybody take any time to listen to them, have a belief system that they actually could be published. We’re not talking about the literary giants or anything, we’re just talking about people who in everyday life would just like to show to their family and grandchildren that they had that ability and that they had a story in them. Because I believe everybody’s got a story in them and it’s just a matter of having the ability to get it out.