Updated: Jul 4, 2020
Over the years, I have played in many bands, beginning way back in the early 1970's in 50s and 60s tribute bands covering great songs from those times by the likes of Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Little Richard and so many others. For me, this was my musical apprenticeship on the stages of workingmen's clubs, pubs and well-known local music venues in Kent, where I grew-up. I still miss those gigs.
To this very day, I love playing some of those same old songs but rarely get the chance to play live gigs, especially with the strange times we live in here in 2020.
I grew up listening to Mott The Hoople, The Strawbs, David Bowie, Slade, T.Rex and The Sweet. They were great times for music and memorable days for me as a musician, albeit a bit of a 'strummer' back then! Mott once sang about how they remembered "The Saturday Gigs", a song that really told their story. Then came Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band! I have to say, that's when my musical life changed.
I was already writing fairly basic three and four chord songs with half-decent 'hooks', but the raw power and lyrical storytelling coming out of New Jersey, took me in a whole new direction.
One of the posters on my bedroom wall as a teenager, was that of the leather-clad Suzi Quatro, singer, bass player and extremely talented all round musician. Little did I know back then, that I would be co-writing music with her just a few years later! I spent some time travelling back and forth to her Essex home, working with her, although it wasn't until some years later that our joint composition Wild In The Night appeared on her 4 CD box set The Girl From Detroit City, alongside two 60's covers that I produced for her, Sweet Nuthins and Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood.
Songwriting is an art form and takes many shapes. Some write lyrics then put music to them, some the other way around. Some prefer to co-write like Elton John and Bernie Taupin who have made some fabulous music together. I prefer to write hooky, catchy choruses and let someone else write the verses, I feel that hooks are my writing strength.
The incredible Nils Lofgren once wrote in a song, "Well my manager kept tellin' me If I wanna be great I've gotta wise up, and sing my songs straight, I said listen here fool In order to survive, Ive gotta play my dirty self I wont play no chive, I came to Dance....." I don't think I came to dance (as anyone who has ever seen me try, will testify!) I did however, come here to listen and for some reason, that lyric made me think a lot about what you can say, portray and relate in the lyrics of a song.
I believe I came here to write, not to dance, but thanks for making me understand that Mr Lofgren.
Ross Hemsworth Songwriter/Producer/Listener!