Music library

Photo library







Endsongs history

It all started in the mid-1970's, well, really twenty years before that...

Please note that Mr Bashford is less forthcoming in his biographical information, the bare bones details can be found here...

However, for myself, prepare to be overwhelmed with pointless detail.

My father, a teacher during the 1960's, brought home a guitar when I was twelve years old. He intended to learn some chords and thereby be able to placate his young charges with soothing music. Interesting aspiration for a man without a musical molecule in his body. He simply does not understand music. This is not necessarily a fault and may well be a great blessing i.e. the blessing of never knowing what you are missing out on and, because of never knowing, you never do, in fact, ever miss out.

The guitar was immediately requisitioned by myself and my father never saw it again, unless he ventured out of his way and into my bedroom.

At fourteen I was in a "rock" band at school, playing some awful original songs (I can remember none of them but I can remember the title of one song, "Love is real". Wonderful and original, obviously), we also played some Beatles (mostly the - just released - White Album) and some crowd pleasers like "Gloria". I wanted to be the lead guitarist but, unfortunately, there was another teenager who was learning flamenco guitar. He played notes with a flourish that I could not match and I was therefore relegated to rythmn guitarist and because of that lowly position in the band I was also assigned the singing position. Of course, singing songs like "Gloria" did not require a good singing voice. I did not have a good singing voice.

As with most high school bands that one disappeared and I can't remember why or when. I met Lee Herrick in 1971 when he transferred to my High School for the two years before University. He could sing (well), he could play guitar but (luckily for me) not was well as I could so I could, at last, be the "lead" guitarist. We did not form a band while at High School but wrote a lot of music. Mostly it was acoustic material rather like a mixture between America and Yes (if they played with acoustic guitars only). One of the songs we wrote as teenagers was still around, in an altered form, when we recorded at Elephant Studios in London in 1979. As I mentioned in my blog in October 2006, I introduced Lee to King Crimson and the flute (strangely for a guitarist, I was not inspired at the time, by Mr Fripp's playing. I was transfixed by the possibilities of the flute). He became more proficient at the flute than me but, I hope, that was merely because I was practicing classical guitar and did not practive flute as much as I should have. But we were both pretty good after awhile and would perform some interesting flute duets at lunchtime at school. It is pretty easy to impress people though with two flutes playing counterpoint and harmony, even if the music is not technically challenging.

We finished High School and Lee went to University in New Zealand (where he had relatives and his parents were relocating to), I stayed in Melbourne and began University there. At the end of first year my parents relocated overseas and I decided that if I was to no longer have the convenience of living at home then I may as well be in New Zealand and playing music. I started second year University in New Zealand and Cirrus was begun.

We found Dennis Mathews (Bass Guitar) through an advertisement and he had a friend who also played drums. Dennis fitted in from the start and not simply because he was a little older than us and owned a house where we could rehearse. His drummer friend did not. He could not handle the timing changes our music required and a simple 4/4 beat was not possible. We tried many drummers all with no success until we found Mr Paul Crowther. Why he agreed to play with us I do not know. He had been the drummer for Split Enz but had been told his services were no longer required when they were in London. He came back to New Zealand and began playing with us. I don't know any members of Split Enz but a nicer or more easy going person than Paul Crowther would be hard to find. I don't know why they let him go. His drumming was excellent as well.

It's not strictly true that I have not met any other members of Split Enz. In the mid-1970's Lee and I desperately needed a Mellotron for our music. We found one for sale that was the original one Split Enz had. I can't remember which model it was. When we went around to look at and purchase the Mellotron the door was opened by, and we were shown the instrument by a very young, and still at home with mom and dad, Neil Finn.

That Mellotron died an ignoble death. When we all met in London in 1979, Lee had stored the Mellotron at Dennis's house. I was living in the USA at the time. Dennis rented his house while he was away and the tenants moved the Mellotron outside onto the veranda and into the weather. When we returned, the Mellotron was dead and beyond repair.

So Cirrus had a singer who was excellent (ie Lee) and he played flute and acoustic guitar (when required), a good bass player, an excellent drummer and myself on electric guitar and, very occassionally, on flute and more occasionally on vocal harmonies. (It is interesting how guitar playing needs extra special attention just when difficult vocal harmonies are also required. I would look across at Lee on stage, as he was frowning at me for not singing, and shrug my shoulders and nod towards my guitar that I would then focus all my attention upon.)

But we needed more for the music. We needed a keyboard player. We found a young Don McGlashan and he added much to the performance of the music. Many of the complex arrangements are the result of his insights. Unfortunately, most of those complex arrangements were omitted the only time we entered the studio. We have the extant examples of Cirrus music in the library.

Cirrus continued for a few years until we began having thoughts along the line of "what do we do next?" We were not popular, the music was not like that, but we thought, naively, we had exhausted the possibilities in New Zealand. The options were Australia or the UK.

Lee had completed his Bachelor's degree while I spent a few extra years at University. Who wouldn't given the opportunity? (This was the 1970's remember.) Lots of interesting things to do, interesting people to mingle with who liked similar things and, while doing research, irregular hours to keep that allowed time to indulge other passions, like music. I couldn't afford all the latest gear but, by then, I had accumulated a few good guitars, an excellent amplifier and a good number of (reliable) boxes to stomp with my feet. All I needed was strings and petrol to get to rehearsals and to performances. Life was good (petrol prices were nearly zero then!).

The conundrum of what to do next was removed by an offer to work in the USA. As a scientist not as a musician. I was flattered that I was asked and I accepted. It might have been a mistake. I wrote a book where one of the themes is the consequences (and the regrets) of choices in our lives. For morbidly interested people there is more information here.

That lasted over a year until Lee and I met up again in London. Dennis joined us as well. Some interesting tales about staying with the Bowes-Lyons in 1979 but that is for another time. (I am laughing as I remember Dennis and the chicken pieces). Lee and I wrote and recorded and planned our onslaught of London in 1979. Silly? Stupid? Yes, of course. We played progressive rock and it was London in 1979. Sigh...

However, we were saved from embarrasment by the announcement that Lee's wife was pregnant and, very reasonably, she wanted the child to be born and raised in New Zealand. Lee left. I stayed.

I returned to New Zealand two years later and Lee and I tried something different. We tried to be different. As we all know, that is doomed to failure. We tried writing simple songs that were in 4/4 or in 3/4 from start to finish. We failed sometimes (See the song, "Racing, chasing" from the MidWinter music. I love that song, it is so complex in timing and in leaps of key that are so far fetched, that they work). Most of that music was too simple and was trying to please an audience that was indifferent at best. MidWinter was manned by Lee (vocals, bass guitar and synthesiser), Bruce McKinnon (drums) and me (guitar). I had stopped all pretence at singing harmonies by then. But we played often and even got positive audience responses.

Then, once again, we thought we had exhausted the New Zealand market and needed bigger pastures to play upon. Returning to Australia seemed the answer. Bruce, luckily for him but unluckily for us, got a job as a percussionist with the New Zealand Symphony orchestra so could not come with us to Australia.

Rehearsals with Bruce, since he was classically trained, were a delight. Lee and I would work out songs on our own. We would write them out in notation and, only then, rehearse with Bruce. We would run through the songs a few times, Bruce would work out what to play then, while Lee and I drank tea, Bruce would write out what he played in notation. We would not play those songs again until we stood up in front of an audience! Bruce would have his music stand next to him (the ones with the lights in them) and while we played in dark and smokey pubs he would simply play while reading the music he had written out. He was always perfect. But as all rehearsing musicians know, there is so much time wasting involved but with Bruce there was none. The music might have been crap but we did not waste time rehearsing it. (Come to think of it, perhaps that is the reason why it was crap!).

Lee and I went to Australia. We had an awful time trying to get a drummer (and how could any drummer come close to what we thought was the norm in drummers - Bruce McKinnon and Paul Crowther). We became disheartened. I had the thought (as discussed in my blog in October 2006) that, "I'm too old to be doing this". Lee went back to New Zealand. I stayed in Australia. I got work where I earned a lot of money, the music gear got sold and what I kept (A Gibson RD Artist I bought new in New York in 1978, a Guild acoustic and my Matsuoka classical guitar I'd had since I was a teenager) was consigned to the shed and lost from memory. I donned a suit and went to work every day. I did earn real money though. Once again I was trying to be different. I eventually failed but it took nearly twelve years before I dug the guitars out of the shed again.

The first result of that was the collection of songs I called Savage Sky. I recorded those songs at home on a Roland hard disk recorder. Once again, I was trying to write straight songs. By the tally of downloads these songs are reasonably popular. Sigh...

After some time again, I tried something completely different. I had decided to learn to play the cello so I thought I would write and perform a short song cycle where everything was acoustic. The only electricity involved was to power the recording equipment. I stuck to my resolve and to add some spice to the task, I had to perform each song completely the way through without stopping. This took a very long time (especially with my rudimentary cello playing ability - When I had started learning the cello I had dreams of playing the Bach cello suites. Those dreams quickly dissolved.) I did not play those games with the singing. I am an ordinary singer at the best of times and for the Dispossessed song cycle I would rehearse and record the singing phrase by phrase (if I had not done so I would still be attempting to record that music). Parts of that song cycle are OK although musically it is not challenging.

Some years after that I was introduced to Mr Bashford and his love for ambient music.


Mr Bashford's Musical Life

Born, May 1969 Brighton, U.K.

1974 Came to New Zealand

1983 Began playing drums in bands

1986 Returned to the U.K. to play music

1989 Returned to New Zealand after being invited back to play with Push, Push

1991 Left Push, Push. Joined My World Crazy

1993 Formed three piece band, Element

1996 Came to Melbourne with Element

1998 Returned to New Zealand to play.

1999 Returned to Melbourne to play and do session work

2006 Endsongs 2 began


PO Box 454, Somers, Victoria 3927, Australia
Copyright © 2006 Endsongs