Frank Usher - Lead guitar

Frank Usher Date of Birth: 4th August 1949, 23:45 hours

Place of birth/Education: Gateshead, County Durham

Musical experience: Got into music in the early '60s with the Stones, Pretty Things and Them. I told everyone at school I could play guitar so I had to eventually learn to save face. I got an acoustic at 14 years old, got into Bob Dylan and started working as a sheet metal work apprentice at 16. Bought a 12 string Eko, played folk clubs, the Newcastle Arts Lab and Quay Club, playing contemporary blues instrumentals by Janah, Renbourne and myself. Played with Graham Bell (Skip Bifferty, Heavy Jelly), went to London in '67 for the first time, did half a dozen demos at Regent City Sound Studio in Shaftesbury Avenue (?), heard Led Zeppelin at a friends' flat and had a quick about turn in musical direction. Went back to Newcastle and met a girl who introduced me to a band. I played with the band for 2 years, married the girl and moved to Scotland. The band, Prelude, went on to have a hit with 'After the Goldrush', by Neil Young.I started playing locally in Scotland in '72 in a duo using my first electric guitar, '67 Telecaster, HH IC 100 amp and cabinet. Did a few gigs - just worked and played a lot. I had a cool funk/groove band with some Edinburgh musicians in '75.I joined Mike Heron in '76 for recording and tours and became a professional musician. The band split up in '78 and Mike and I moved back to Scotland to start work on another album which we recorded in '79. I'd become pretty bored with 2 years in the studio doing demos, album, an indie single and odd sessions so I started playing local busks and jams with The Jerks, Rockin' Horse, and ending with a band called 'Hud', after the singer, Henry 'Hud' Temple, who eventually married a Swiss, leaving behind a band called Hud Without Hud, the drummer doing the vocals.

Derek was at a gig we did and offered to do the vocals, had no experience but wanted to do it so we had a rehearsal or two and did the gig the next week, as Blewitt. Derek brought quite a few friends with him, had a party, got rat-arsed and did an enthusiastic but very dubious gig. It quickly turned into a good, tight band for a while until Derek got bored. So we made him some demos, which he sent off, got a job, and we kissed him goodbye.

Next came the Border Boogie Band, same drummer as Hud and Blewitt plus a couple of friends, ending up as a six piece 'more a total way of life' band which got bigger and bigger in a small area until it finally exploded in '83 leaving nothing but myths, legends and broken relationships. We reformed to support Marillion on their New Year's Eve gig at Edinburgh Playhouse in '83. Thanks lads!

I had a four track studio with Mike Heron in this period too, doing some things with him, Night Moves (Malcolm le Maistre from Incredible String Band) and Mike Heron and Savovrna Stevenson (electric clarsach, ie small harp) the studio eventually folding in '84.The next five years were spent making a living from making and repairing guitars, a hobby since '79. At one point I was in five bands at the same time and did three gigs a day with three different bands. Thank God the Big Boy came and rescued me from all that before I hit the self-destruct button. It's given me more time to do things I love; hang gliding, messing aroung with cars, making more guitars for myself, listening to Little Feat, Joe Satch, Vai, Floyd and everything and anything else.

66 Folk clubs with Neil Devlin
67 Solo, Graham Bell
68/9 Trilogy, Prelude
72/3 with Dennis Reid (vox & guitar) and Brian Appleby (flute)
75/6 with Dennis Kearsley (drums), Rod Haggart (guitar, vox), Paul Anderson (bass)
76/8 Mike Herons Reputation, Heron - Mike (guitar, vox), Malcolm le Maistre (vox), John Gilston (drums), replaced by Dennis Kearsley (drums), Mike Tomich (bass), Dave Sams (keyboards)
79 Jerks, George Inglis and Rockin Horse
80 Hud, Hud Without Hud, Blewitt - Derek (vox), Dottle (drums), Dougie Hogg (guitar), Andy Glendinning (bass), Robbie Wilson (harp)
81 Border Boogie Band - David (Dottle) Little (drums), Kenny Allison (guitar, vox), Sammy McCullough (bass, vox), Andy Keddy (vox), Hud (percussion, vox), Colin Hood (percussion), Jon Bavin (part time keyboards)
84 Night Moves - Malcolm le Maistre (vox), Jon Bavin (keyboards), Taylor Phillips (drums) Savairna Stevnenson Band - (for Edinburgh Festival) Sav (electric clarsach), Neil Hay (bass), Taylor Phillips (drums), Colin Hood (percussion), Circus (club band) - Pete Bowie (guitar, vox), Paul Anderson (bass), Taylor (drums)
85 Circus - Pete, Taylor, Gus Boyd (bass). Brothers - Pete, Taylor, Gus Boyd (blues band)
86 Ferrets - Colin Findlater (guitar, vox), Taylor, Gus, (Steely Dan-ish covers). Circus, Brothers, Double Trouble (country/blues duo)
87 Ferrets, Brothers and Circus (Jim Walker drums). Heron - Mike H (vox), Stuart Smith (bass), Taylor (drums), Neil Nicholson (keyboards) Jump - Elaine Heron (vox sax), Jon Scullard (bass). Tam White Duo - Tam (vox, guitar) (a good old blueser)
88 John Martyn - Jeff Allan (drums), Foz Patterson (keyboards), Alan Thomson (bass). Circus - Jim Walker (drums), Paul Manson (bass). Heron - Jim Hannah (keyboards). Kitchen Devils - as Jump
Tam White - 11 piece band, horn sec, female bvs. Charlie & Her Sheepdogs - Charlie Davidson (vox), Jon Scullard (bass), Ally Wilson (drums), Lawrie Ball (keyboards)
89 Brothers, Sheepdogs, Fish at Lockerbie - John Keeble, Mickey Simmonds, Janick Gers, Hal Lindes, Alison Jones, Neil Hays. John Martyn - Alan Thomson, Foz Patterson, Ted McKenna (drums), Miles Bould (percussion)

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