I was born in Southport, Merseyside, England on April 29th quite some time ago. As a kid I was taken to live in New Zealand by my parents where I completed most of my education and much of my early working experience. I returned to England in late 1994 on my own as I felt the overall opportunities were far greater here and I like Football too much (big, big Liverpool FC supporter) to be away for too long.
Regarding work, I am a Building Services Design Consultant. In other words I work with Architects and the like to design buildings which have the appropriate lighting, heating and ventilation systems etc. but enough of the boring stuff……
Music wise, I have been playing guitar since I was about ten (badly for most of the time) and actively writing songs since I was fourteen (although I really wouldn’t want some of the earlier efforts made public). I have been playing in bands since I was eighteen starting with a band called “The Wait” in the mid 1980’s, as lead vocalist and occasional guitar, playing all original Pop/Rock music (of which I wrote three songs) in pubs and clubs around Auckland in NZ. The highlight of The Wait days was recording a track for a compilation album called “All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Play” produced by none other than “Rus Le Roq” (although these days people know him better as ‘Gladiator’ – Russell Crowe – nothing like a big name drop at the right time eh!)
After about a year, me and The Wait had pretty much had enough of each other as I was finding the music a bit lightweight for my own tastes and I’d had an offer to start a new act with some lads I met through other bands. This became “The Lovebrokers” and we again played all original music in the style of U2, Echo and the Bunnymen etc. at mainly pubs and clubs (of which I wrote about half the set) but our profile became higher than my previous band resulting in a support tour with Australian band “The Hoodoo Gurus” which gave us the opportunity to perform to over 1000 people each night.
With a change of drummer The Lovebrokers became “World on Fire” which played a lot of the same songs and did a full national tour with top NZ band of the time “Peking Man”. The tour was over seven weeks playing most days and twice on some to audiences varying between 500 and 3500 people. Great experience.
Another move and I joined some friends called “The Yesmen” whose singer had recently left. We revamped the act and changed the name to “Sound, Shock and the Theory” which was quickly shortened to just “SoundShock”. I wrote almost all of the set for SoundShock which was probably a bit more rock orientated than my previous bands and again we played mainly in the Auckland pubs and clubs. We had a really good reputation as a support act with most of the major NZ bands at the time but just as quickly found that no one would use us as support as we had become too good for them to take the risk (we had won more crowd support than the headline on a few occasions). Big problem - too good to support, not enough of our own support to headline – Catch 22.
During this period we got involved with a book publishing company who made primarily educational booklets for schools, and we were asked to make a book with them called “Making a Record”. They paid for our studio time and the whole production of the book, the irony being that the last few chapters were all about record pressing, cover artwork and promotion – but it never got that far. We pushed the song around the various record companies and radio stations for what seemed like and eternity but no takers. Everyone had an excuse and some even came up with something inventive (‘the keyboard sounds are not up to date’ – from a radio station that specialised in playing exclusively late 60s’ early 70’s rock) but nobody would admit the truth (we found out later) that record companies and radio stations in NZ are all dictated to by their big brothers in Australia and have no power locally to authorise anything despite making all the right noises to your face.
At this time I had an offer to do a support tour with what was primarily a NZ studio band called “IQU” who played a more sequenced electronic style than I had previously been used to, but this was a refreshing change. This was only a temporary gig for the duration of the tour with English band “Shriekback” who featured former members of ‘XTC’ and ‘Gang of Four’ (more name drops) which involved 6 dates across NZ playing to crowd in excess of 2000 people per night. I had to learn all their material in a very short space of time but as SoundShock was struggling for gigs at the time this was a good break.
Back with SoundShock and we adapted to the gig situation by playing a lot of covers alongside most of our original stuff (everything from The Beastie Boys to Guns and Roses) which opened up a different type of pub to us. We had a residency for about a year and regularly pulled in 250+ people on Friday nights. Once the residency had ended we were back to scraping around for what gigs we could get again. I wanted us all to move to either Australia or England but the rest of the band weren’t interested (although they all either live in Australia or England now – Typical!!) time for another fresh venture.
I teamed up with a couple of guys I had known for a while with the aim of simply recording music with a view to looking for a contract which was good for a while as it removes the pressure of constantly having to look for gigs. We called ourselves “Zina Circus” and produced a set of songs to take to the record companies. Same old excuses, same old result, good fun though.
Finally in NZ I joined and established Rockabilly band known as the “Sonic Twisters” for a year. This was more about covers with a couple of originals (one I wrote for them) in a style that was completely new to me. Like all new experiences this was great fun playing predominantly big parties and quite a few motorcycle clubs around the Auckland area. This died of natural causes sometime around late 1993 after which I made a concerted effort to get myself back to England.
Back in England I did almost nothing musically for a couple of years except for some guest appearances with a few of the local covers bands I had got to know which was nice for keeping my hand in occasionally. Then I started a new job in 1999 and found that the company had a number of muso’s employed there. I joined their band at the first opportunity and we have had a lot of fun for a good few years playing covers mainly at staff and industry functions.
As I say on the welcome page, gigging with the covers band is all good and nice but it was clearly time for me to get back to the original stuff. This is what you have in front of you now. Hope you like it. This is JustDave.
Everything you ever wanted to know about JustDave but were too afraid to ask!