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A WEEK IN THE LIFE OF GWYN ASHTON

Gwyn and Mick Taylor. Pic by Arnie Goodman

Gwyn and Mick Taylor. Pic by Arnie Goodman

It was not a typical week in the life of expat Aussie guitarist, songwriter Gwyn Ashton but a mighty fine one all the same. Gwyn suddenly found himself anointed as ex-Rolling Stone Mick Taylor’s guitar tech for the night at a Jack Bruce tribute gig in London which featured Ginger Baker. It was a gig where he also got to hang out with with Lulu, Dennis Chambers (drummer for Jack Bruce and now Santana), Mo Foster, Neil Murray, and Bernie Marsden.  Gwyn explains the legendary night in his own words …

No two weeks are the same for me as I tend to live my life without too much routine. My life’s journey this year alone has taken me across Australia, Russia, Europe, The Balkans a couple of times and I’ve found time to record three recordings (an acoustic album with Chris Finnen in Adelaide, a stoner, psychedelic album in Czech Republic and a blues-rock EP in Serbia). I’ve been detained at Moscow airport for eight hours for overstaying my visa by two hours, forcing me to rebook flights back to Amsterdam. I had to pay a fine and pay for a new visa then fly to Amsterdam via Helsinki, pick my van up to drive to play a midnight show in the south of Belgium the same day, catching a HORRENDOUS overnight train that must have been 60 years old with no ventilation or air-con from St Petersburg to Moscow. I missed a flight to Portugal, caught ferries, was searched at borders outside the EU by heavily-armed border patrols in all five Balkan countries, performed live on radio and TV networks in 15 European territories and bought midnight burritos in Prague!

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I do my own recording, mixing, graphic design and even some of my own photography, so my weeks are pretty varied. However I can tell you about THIS week in particular. In between mixing my next album, I became ex Rolling Stones’ guitarist Mick Taylor’s guitar tech for a Jack Bruce tribute concert at Shepherds Bush Empire in London. He borrowed my Les Paul as someone broke his pickup switch and I helped him onstage with his gear. Even after all these years, he’s still playing like he always did, still one of the finest guitarists in the world and I admire him so much. We’ve played together through Europe a few times over the past 12 years or so and it was great to catch up with him and some of the other 60 wonderful musicians at this event, including Ginger Baker, whom I videoed playing a drum solo from 6’ away and his official Facebook page shared my footage. How cool is that? There were a pile of other musicians who I got to hang out with a bit that night: Lulu, Dennis Chambers (drummer for Jack Bruce and now Santana). Mo Foster, Neil Murray, Bernie Marsden and Terry Reid, who was Page’s first choice as lead vocalist for Led Zeppelin. A dream come true for little ol’ me.

Pete Brown was running the show, he wrote a lot of those great songs for Cream – White Room, Sunshine Of Your Love and many others. Pete was one of the first people I came into contact with when I moved to England, 20 years ago. Back then he invited me to his house and we jammed in his basement, Pete on percussion. I looked around and there was an old Marshall 4×12 cab with ‘Cream’ stencilled on the back! He introduced me to Dick Heckstall-Smith who popped over for a visit and I realised I was so fortunate to be in the presence of such company.

So, a few days later, after a couple of van problems (a new clutch fitted and some electrical problem that left me stranded in the middle of Shropshire the other night, and now I have to get up in six hours from now to take the van to my mechanic), this week has been pretty full- on, especially seeing as I just finished mixing my next album tonight, just before I went to Graham Bonnet’s gig in Stourbridge, just up the road from me here in Worcestershire, England.

It’s definitely not a typical week, but this one has been a beaut!

‘Ragas, Jugs & Mojo Hands’ featuring Gwyn Ashton, Chris Finnen and Peter Beulke is out now

http://www.gwynashton.com/

Australian tour dates:
December 2016
11 – Vic, St Kilda, Elwood Blues Club (solo)
12 – Vic, Frankston, Bar 12 (solo)
15 – NSW, Sydney, Frankie’s Pizza (solo)
17 – NSW, Wollongong, Beaches (solo)
18 – NSW, Sydney, Lazybones (solo)
22 – Vic, St Kilda, Dog’s Bar (solo)
31 – Vic, Carlton, Vodka Temple (solo)
January 2017
5 – Vic. Dog’s Bar (solo)

Also check out our 3 part interview with Gwyn and Kevin Borich from earlier this year
Part 1  Part 2  Part 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

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