I grew up listening to bands such as Madness & The Specials and the Ska scene. I then repressed with current trends but it was bands like Simple Minds who had the big live sound that I was drawn towards. It wasn’t until my best mate, who’s now my brother in law, Mark, showed me his new video of U2 'Under A Blood Red Sky' which had just been released in 1984 that I became captivated by their energy and the live sound of their music, I loved the driving force of Adam Clayton’s bass playing. From that moment I was hooked and knew I wanted to be a bassist. My best mate Mark bought a guitar and I bought my first bass, a Gibson copy. We would both sit for hours trying to learn song from U2 albums.
I had my first bass lesson with a friend shortly afterwards, through his teaching I just able to accurately play the basic notes and I was able to learn my first two U2 songs; New Years Day and I Will Follow. A few years later Mark and I found ourselves playing in various club bands together. We played varied music and the odd U2 track, but it wasn’t for me – I needed something more.
In 1985 I managed to see U2 at Live Aid which I still look back on as one of the greatest gigs I have ever been to. Since then I’ve been to over 70 live U2 shows from Live Aid to the Joshua Tree tour, right up to the e&i tour 2018, so to say I’m a fan is an understatement!
I soon got the chance of a lifetime, when Luke (The Edge) advertising for an Adam-a-like for his U2 tribute band. I went along for an audition where I met Luke and Dean (the old drummer) By that time I could play around twenty U2 tracks, needless to say, I got the part. During the rehearsals we came up with a set list and practiced them for weeks. By this time my brother Gary had also joined the band and played Bono. We soon started playing at local venues and gradually moved to playing all over England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
In 1995 whilst in a relationship, I moved up to Manchester. In 1995 my daughter Lauren was born to U2’s famous song, Pride In The Name Of Love which had happened to be playing on the radio.
I have met U2 several times now from playing within the U2 Tribute scene and whilst we were called 'Achtung Baby' We were invited behind the scenes of the U2 Pop Mart Amsterdam show in 1998 Bono nearly ran me over in his Merc (imagine nearly being killed by your idol) As Bono entered the Stadium he came flying around the corner he is a mental driver, and if he hadn't been quite so fast on his breaks I would have been a gonna he nodded and nervously smiled apologising as he parked up. During the Pop Mart tour, we were accidentally shown into U2’s dressing room by a very embarrassed member of U2’s security team, who mistook us. During that period we got to play alongside the fantastic four at Holland’s Feyenoord Stadium, and Bono said, “This is Adam’s long lost brother”. I was star struck to say the least. I remember thinking "blamey your short!!" During their sound check that evening, they played ‘One’ live for a Top Of The Pops Special we got to watch them play it privately surrounded by the Pop Mart crew.
I’ve got every Album, CD, Video, and DVD of the greatest band to have ever graced this planet! I am really inspired by Adam Clayton the power and energy created by his Bass riffs and massive bass amp stack. In my opinion he is the coolest man in rock and roll and he wears some pretty funky clothes of which, I have had made I now had two wardrobes one for my gear and the other for 'Adams stuff'
Whilst playing with U2-2, I have now played loads of amazing venues where U2 have also played: Sheffield Arena, Don Valley Stadium, The Point, Dublin, The Olympia Theatre Dublin. And I have appeared on ITV's hit show; Stars In Their Eyes. We also won BBC's Battle of the Fantasy Bands and numerous TV and radio programmes across the world.
1, My Favourite U2 song?
If I had to choose one as there is so many then I go with New Years day, from the moment I heard the bass line I was hooked on the band and the bass after all it’s about the bass.
2, Favourite U2 Song?
I love playing with or without you as it has so many happy memories throughout my life, and bas line simple but pure power.
3. Favourite U2 2 gig every played?
Well we have been around going on for 30years so far and too many to mention I would say, I prefer the smaller venues, gigs such as the Robin 1&2 throughout the 90s playing sell out shows to the wonderful U2 family will always be cherished, most recently fibbers York our sell out shows there were pure adrenaline, rock & as a band with Tono at the top his game I feel we are at in the zone, with a fantastic audience and I will never forget that night.
4 If you haven't been in a U2 Tribute Band what other band would you choose?
If I had to be in another tribute band, well there is a few other bands I love from The Cure to Oasis to Simple Minds But I would go with Simple Minds as they were a massive part of my early Alex years, AKA the jazz man Adam Clayton.
Bass gear: I have a Fender Custom Shop Adam Clayton Limited Edition Signature P Bass, Gibson Firebird all the way from U.S.A. Fender precision bass and a Fender Jazz bass. I use an Ashdown Combo for smaller venues and I use my double bigger rig X 2 Ashdown (Mag system) which consists of four separate cabs and a 600 Ashdown head for the bigger shows, helps me be heard over the drums (which are the loudest thing my ears can handle. Feeding this though a line 6 effect rack as Adam does, I also play wireless in bigger venues so that i can see the audience and interact. If you’re going to play Adam Clayton successfully you need to be using similar gear to the man himself.
Hope to see you all at a gig near you…
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