LIVING in the Highlands has been good for musician Chris Adams’ international relations – but he is itching to get out to play locally after the release of a new single next month.
The single Transformed comes from an earlier album, explained Chris, who has a long career as a sound engineer, guitarist, singer and songwriter.
“Last year a Spanish guitarmaker, Weisse Hugel, got in touch and created an instrument specially for me after hearing my music through the record label I’m with, Dynamic Music.
“I think Transformed is one of my best songs, so I rerecorded it to polish it up with the new guitar sound.
“I thought releasing that would be a good way to introduce a new album I’m already working on.
“Once that’s done, I’d like to play some gigs with my band – and maybe festivals this summer.”
Chris’s band – called just Chris Adams – is awaiting drummer Ricky Squires’ recovery after a shoulder operation.
Chris said: “I put the band together with Ricky and bassist Davy Duncan – who played with me originally when I came to Scotland eight years ago.
“At the time my manager Gordon Wilson lived in Arisaig which is why I moved up to Fort William from London.
“When I first moved, I was touring a lot with a band called Disciple, so I was always away.
“Then I met my partner and we’re married now with children so I’ve stayed at home recording.”
Chris’s early love of music came from his dad, who – though a scientist – was a musician in his spare time.
Also Chris’s godfather was bassist Roger Newell who played for Rick Wakeman.
“Rick Wakeman had rehearsal studios in High Wycombe. So from the age of five, I would get to see him and people like The Who rehearse,” Chris recalled.
His first gig was at eight on drums – sitting in at one of his dad’s gigs after the drummer left a vital piece of equipment at home.
But Chris soon wanted to swap drums for electric guitar. When his dad said no, Chris said: “I just went to the music shop anyway and swapped my snare drum for a Vox Ace! I hid it from my dad for about four months.”
A clerical mix-up meant Chris didn’t go to art college as planned, but took a job at the town’s Boilerhouse studio.
Upstairs from the studio there was a factory called Electric Wood run by WAL – Ian Waller, an electronic expert – who with his partner made basses for people like Phil Collins and Paul McCartney.
Chris said: “They set out to make the best bass guitars in the world and some people think they did! They made the famous triple-neck that Roger Newell played with Rick Wakeman. It’s now in the Hard Rock Cafe in Budapest.
“So if I’d gone to art college, I’d never have met people like Paul McCartney.
“I was lucky to be involved with people like that at an early age.”
At the studio clients included 80s popstar Howard Jones and The Sex Pistols.
“With them it could be chaos,” Chris recalled. “We’d be in the recording studio all night and were almost nocturnal.
“It was early days, before they made it big and had Malcolm McLaren’s genius marketing.
“I’d been brought up with The Who and progressive rock bands like Rick Wakeman where the musicianship was really good. So you’d listen to these guys – they were very loud and a bit rough and ready. The thing was the live energy and that was what turned crowds into loonies!”
Chris spent years sound engineering and on his own music, while also training in classical guitar and playing with the City Of London Symfonia for a while.
He said: “In 1997 I decided to go out and have a solo career, record my own albums and do all the artwork.
“On Transformed I do the whole thing.”
Chris describes his music as ‘modern soft rock’.
“The guitar technique is a combination of classic people like Eric Clapton or Santana. But there are also more modern techniques – more like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. I combine the two because for some people the older stuff is better because it has more ‘feel’. But others like the modern stuff because it’s more flash!
“I’ve spent quite a lot time recording and putting music together with people all over the world, in America, New Zealand and Sweden.”
Chris’s next challenge lies closer to home...
For more about Chris, go to: www.chrisadams.tv and: Facebook.com/chrisadamsmusic