I was born in East Kilbride/Glasgow on February 11 in 1971 and at the age of 4 moved to a tiny wee fishing village called Campbeltown, on the Kintyre Peninsula. (Made famous in a Paul McCartney Song "Mull of Kintyre"). The Family, the Clan MacMillan, is historically from the inner Hebrides and West Coast of Scotland, so i was basically going home. The Gulf stream splits in two when it arrives at the west coast of Ireland, one half heading north to Kintyre and the other south, towards the scilly islands.
Due to the Gulf Stream, this part of Scotland enjoys
summers in the mid-30°C's, winters seldom below 10°C, white sandy beaches, turqouise waters, dolphins and an abundance
of palm trees and other tropical vegetation. A great place to grow up.
Being at the end of a very long one-way street, not a lot changes over time and it has retained most of it's charm and is an absolute hive for musicians and traditions.
Asides from playing golf, going to school and enjoying the scenery, not a lot happened in the 70's
So skip to the next part where i got hit by the music bug.
The 80's saw a move from coastal Scotland to provincial Germany. As the son of a golf pro, we tended to live directly on golf courses..and the move from scotland to germany was a soft landing due to our moving in to a castle. (seriously!!)
Learning German proved relatively simple and this is where i started playing music in earnest. Various School bands followed, as did a lot of golfing.
As a family of golfers we allways lived directly next to golf courses, so the move from scotland to germany was a soft landing due to our living in on of Münchhausen's old castles..
I went to school in Hameln and started playing my first gigs here, amongst others in the infamous "Sumpfblume" (back then it was still behind the railway station)
We moved here in 1988. In scotland "heather" is like a weed, in the Lüneburger Heide (heath) it's viewed somewhat differently
This is where the fun really starts and a purpose to life bubbles to the surface.
This is when EVERYTHING changed. I arrived in Berlin to visit a girlfriend just as the wall came tumbling down. All of a sudden i found myself in something absolutely historic and the whole of East Berlin was a freak magnet for artists,musicians and wierdos from all over the planet.
If San Francisco was the place to be in 1967 then Berlin was THE place to be from 1990 onwards.
I was part of a huge squatted complex called "Tacheles". Asides from the in´house politics, a communal kitchen, a *commercial* bar to finance the various goings on, and our own techno (the *scene* was still in it's infant stage) celler disco. We had our own private little housebar for all those living and working here. Here's a photo from then playing music in the tacheles "housebar". (I'm wearing the top hat)
So, i could make a living playing music (something i'd never, ever, even considered untill finding myself hungry one day.
This is where i started developing my voice, through busking on trains, street corners, cafes, clubs etc. As a busker or street musician you only have 10 minutes to make an impression and subsequently earn money. If you're crap = no money. So you change things and do it better next time.. In Retrospect, it was the best practice room in the world.
Having met lots of czechs in the berlin squatting and music scene, what invariably followed was a relocation to praha. I'd been there many times before as it was only a 4 hour drive from Berlin, but living somewhere is entirely different to only visiting for long weekeends. Not unlike Berlin after the fall of the wall, this was even more chaotic. Busking on the Karlsbrücke (Charles Bridge), the only connection over the Moldau between the Castle and the Medieval City to groups of japanese and italian toursists...Bliss.. never has making money been so easy.
It was whilst living in Prague that i discovered Český Krumlov, as some dutch friends (hi chris and koos!) had bought themselves a house down there. This place is even more beautiful than prague, just smaller, and freakier.
What started as a music tour to the basque country as the banjo player in a punk band, ended up being a lovely time travelling through the basque country.
General Franco, in his attempt to eradicate the basque national identiy forcibly evicted the locals from their villages.. one such village is Bergua.
Hippies, Freaks and Aussteiger have been rebuildin this ruined village surrounded by streams, waterfalls, wild boar, caves.. absolute paradise for chilling.
If you ever want to live in a cave, only accessible on foot or by donkey (seriously) and catch fish and barbecue giant lizards then is the place to be. Even the annual football game between two seperate squatted villages was great (and i hate playing football)
After all the hype surrounded Berlin and the influx of yuppies, the cost of living started rising to ridiculous heights, i opted for a move to amsterdam, a place i'd visited many times before, where i now lived in what used to be a police station, but had been squatted years before directly next to the Vondelpark. I played in clubs, at parties and in almost every irish pub in holland and belgium for the next few years whilst being based in Amsterdam. So yeah, i speak dutch now too. LOL
I spent several months in Ireland, met lots of freaks, a schizo from new zealand, hordes of musicians and an amazing lassie, Kathy, whose accent and voice was so incredibly sexy it could melt butter and kept me coming back to Ireland again and again.. in general the west coast irish are a nice laid back crowd but finally enough i was living in a wierd house with australians, dutch, french people.. oh and an israeli too.
I wrote a lot of nice songs during this time "stomping home steaming", "Schizobaby", "First girl i loved".
Whilst playing in an irish pub in Amsterdam i met a couple from Hawaii who claimed that i played Hawaiian music.
After being sent several CD's of Ledward Kaapana i could see exactly what they meant.
Laid back, syncopated, open-tuned fingerpicking guitar music... exactly what i'd been doing for years.
I raised the money for the flight and an intended 3 week holiday ended up being years of residency on various hawaiian islands.
Due to the fact that i had a guitar strapped to my back and was wearing a kilt, i blended in with the indigénous population nicely, as they all had guitars on their back and wore Lafa-Lafa's (a hawaiian kilt)
I was invited to almost every uncle and auntie's party with my new hawaiian friends and was regarded as a kamaaina (ie a local or resident) and this is where i learned
one of the fundamental aspects of my playing... the laid-back syncopated fingerpicking style.
What followed was a weekly residency on the Island of Maui at Lahaina's famous "Pioneer Inn" (The old whaling stop from the the mid 19th century) and a bi-weekly spot at the "Maui Brews". Asides from music i also worked as a tour-guide for german and austrian tourists for "Aloha tours". The reason for my coming back to europe.. was because i was absolutely sick of "rainforest" green..
I currently live in a small village in Northern Germany, on an old renovated fachwerk farm. I moved back to the countryside as this is where we chose to have kids growing up. Fruit trees, vegetable garden, a few animals.