So here you go...... the answers to those burning questions from all you forum members!
Q: How did you get started and how old were you?
I got my first guitar for my 8th birthday, it was a ¾ sized nylon strung guitar. I had always been surrounded by the music my dad used to play on his record player and really wanted to play that stuff. I joined the school guitar club but I got bored almost straight away so I just started working out all the stuff off my dad’s records and taught myself to play that way instead. Although it wasn’t the best guitar to play guitar solo’s on, I made do until I got my first electric when I was 10.
Q: What was the first song you wrote, and has it ever been recorded?
The first song I wrote was an instrumental piece called ‘Rainmaker’. I was probably about 11 or 12 at the time. It is a bonus track on the end of the ‘All Or Nothing’ album.
Q: Which artists would you consider to be your biggest influences?
It always used to be all the guitar greats from the 60’s electric blues era, predominantly the English ones like Clapton and Peter Green, Mick Taylor. When I was younger, all I was interested in was the guitar. The idea of being an artist, singer and songwriter never came into it. Now of course, it’s a little different. I very rarely listen to guitarists for their playing, I tend to listen to music as a whole. I like stuff that has melody, of course with good playing but that is not the main focus anymore. I like good songs and music that takes you somewhere.
Q: Brian May said in an interview a while ago, his technique had pretty much formed by the time he was in his late teens/early twenties, and although he got much more experienced as he got older, and felt he could play a wider range of material, he felt his technique hadn’t changed, he was technically no better now than he was then. Do you think your technique has changed over the years, and do you think it will change? - I’m not talking about style, you can change your style to adapt to physical changes to say, instrument, but the basic way you play?
I would actually agree with that. Of course my style has changed subtly over the years but the basic framework of my playing was there very early on. I got my red strat when I was 12 I think and so I guess I pretty much developed my style with that.
Q: Can you tell us about the guitars that you use, which guitar in your collection would be the hardest one to part with, and why?
I tend to not get too emotional about these things. Of course if I were to lose any of my guitars then sure I’d be pretty upset…. The hardest one to replace would have to be my 335 because it’s a complete one-off. I bought it 11 years ago at a shop in Newark, UK. I was told it had been built by a guy at Newark College as part of a violin making course around about 1978. This is basically all I know. Other than that, there are my two other main guitars which are the red strat and the old cello guitar I use for slide. Again, with this one I know very little, it’s just a cool old guitar. I am quite happy to use any guitar really, as long as it’s a decent one. I have just stuck with the same three for most of my gigging time just because… well, why not?
Q: When not on tour, how many hours a day do you practice your guitar?
I don’t. I never have actually sat down with a guitar with the intention of practising. I occasionally pick up a guitar and noodle away just as anyone else might pick up a book to read or put the TV on! I have always played because it’s something I enjoy. If I try something new, then it’s usually on stage.
Q: Have you ever written some songs with the lyrics first? (if so which ones?)
Every song is different. Some start with a melody idea for maybe a chorus, some start with a chord sequence I like, others are a guitar riff, a drum groove or whatever really.
Q: Upside Down and Equilibrium are a world away from Pay Attention and Messin' with the Kid. Has this change been one of natural evolution or a conscious effort to get away from the blues to a more commercially acceptable sound?
It’s been a natural progression over the course of my career so far. I have never consciously tried to be commercial or get away from my roots, it’s just something that has occurred naturally as I have listened to and been inspired by different things over the years. I will always have my roots in the blues as a musician but writing wise, it goes way beyond the limitations of the blues format. I love to hear a good song that takes you on a journey. When I was younger, it was all about the guitar…. And so for this, the more straight ahead type of blues is the perfect vehicle for that.
Q: Would you consider re-releasing Pay Attention and Messin’ with the Kid, or recording your version of Purple Rain?
You never know! Maybe one day.
Q: Having been playing the circuit of pubs/clubs for quite a time now, do you still get a buzz from performing in front of a tightly packed pub, or do you prefer to perform the big festivals in front of a large crowd?
Both. They are very different. You do get a lot more feedback from a smaller tightly packed venue but then I love being on big stages too. I get a buzz out of it whatever really… as long as I am on stage doing what I love then that’s good for me.
Q: What benefits have you seen from switching labels and do you think there are enough finances available to get you to the next level and perhaps to the USA??
The changes have been fantastic. I had been with Ruf for a long time and we’d had our up’s and down’s so it was definitely time for a switch. Manhaton are doing a fantastic job of pushing the new album and me as an artist. For the first time in a long while, I feel like I have a really strong team of people behind me.
Q: Do you have any ideas to do any solo acoustic gigs as you have done in the past?
I will still do these every now and then. All being well, there should be a short solo tour at some UK venues this year.
Q: What are your favourite current bands and your favourite recent album?
I don’t really have favourite bands that I listen to. My ipod has a real mixture on it, kind of depends on my mood. It can be anything from some old soul classics to some loud rock to pop. Very very rarely do I listen to blues now although every now and then, I might listen to the odd song.
Q: Is the merchandise store going to be restocked and online again soon? If so, when?
We have some new shirts on there!!
Q: Where would you like to be, and where do you think you will be in 5 years
In 5 years time, who knows! In terms of where I’d like to be, I just wanna keep doing what I do and get out to as many people as possible. It would be nice to be playing tours to more people in bigger venues etc
Q: If a top producer came along and told you he could re-mix a rap style version of one of your songs that would be an enormous pop hit would you be up for it?
I wouldn’t have a problem with this. If someone liked one of my songs enough to cover it and make it a big hit, then that’s gotta be good hasn’t it? I’m not too precious about things and I’m sure if it was an alternative version then yes, it would sound different but again, I’m sure I would be cool with this
It will be be released in most of the rest of the world in the coming months.
Equilibrium can now also be downloaded from any of the following platforms: iTunes, Napster, Amazon, Tesco, HMV & Emusic.
The PR campaign is now also well under way.
The early reaction to the album as been terrific, the reviews will be available on the reviews page. As well as great reviews, there will be feature interviews coming up in many magazines over the next couple of months. Classic Rock, Guitarist, Guitar Techniques, Guitar & Bass, Record Collector, Rock N Reel, Blues Matters, Blues In Britain, Maverick plus many more still to be added.
Bob Harris is a confirmed major fan of the new album, plus many confirmed plays on local radio
The press in Germany & Holland has been outstanding and some big European Festivals in the offing. Aynsley is recording a session for Total Rock Radio this week.
Aynsley is now looking forward to his next leg of UK dates and giving everyone the opportunity to see the new band in full flow.
So the next part for the forum members is to help us in filling this next set of venues in the UK. Firstly make sure you’ve told all your friends about the gigs, secondly if any of you live in the towns Aynsley is visiting during April/May and fancy helping promote those gigs please let us know. I believe the Crawley gig is almost sold out, let’s see if we can get some more to that level, particularly London (please ignore the notices venues put up about ‘only a few seats left’ it’s very rarely true)
You can buy a copy of the album direct from Manhaton Records here
Well, that went swimmingly….. err.. the in store session at Nottingham’s new HMV that is! You see those things can kind of go one way or another but due to the guys at the store really working their socks off with promoting it, it was fun: I even got a Starbucks chocolate muffin thrown in!
So anyway, that was just one of a number of little sessions I’ve been doing on various radio stations and whatnot…. all part of the release campaign for Equilibrium. It’s all going very well actually, no – really! So, stuff that’s been happening recently… well, lots of great reviews in the press and media, plenty of airplay throughout Europe including U.K’s Radio 2 where it has had a good handful of plays by the likes of Bob Harris and Paul Jones etc,… this months Guitar Techniques mag which is the first of three issues featuring a video tuitional thing and other stuff inside… err… and lots of invites to cool festivals and gigs including one in Barcelona of all places!!! So there you have it! All good stuff really.
Now to the live stuff and the tour we just did in Germany, Holland and Belgium. Hmmm… the most notable happening that the guys will remember from that one? Well that will be the visit to my friend Thomas’ winery where we stayed for two days. Funny isn’t it how I can change the entire line-up of my band and still end up with three guys that love wine! Well, with two days off, what else are you gonna do eh?
The tour as ever went well and the audiences responded great to the new line-up and sound aswell as the album, which sold in truckloads. Tour manager for this outing was a guy called Felix… at 6ft 7ins tall and bearing a striking resemblance to captain Birdseye, we didn’t get too much trouble! Don’t ask me why but there are always gonna be moments that stick with you: the sight of Morg shaking his head in disapproval at the sound engineer who is clearly feeling quite smug at the ridiculous delay / echo effect he has just added to the vocals on Purple Rain and is now smiling and nodding at you! Needless to say, the effect was quickly turned off!!
So, to this months outings. Tuesday night was Chester and the first of this month’s run of UK dates. It felt more like a weekend gig with the turnout we had. I really like that place and the guys there always really look after us with some great food and drink. Of course, the best route to a good gig for me!! After yesterdays record store thing and the little radio session I did in the afternoon, tonight’s gig in Nottingham should be cracking. If you don’t manage to make that then check he gig guide for something else and make sure you check before travelling as I have had word a couple are sold out.
That’s all for now, more soon!