Live Experience

How old were you when you did your first gig?

How many bands have you been in?

What equipment do you use on stage?

Who are the best / worst musicians you’ve ever played with?

Have you played alongside anybody famous?

Have your bands supported any famous names?

Have you ever played on TV?

How many gigs have you done altogether?

Have you done more gigs on guitar, or bass guitar?

Have you done more gigs as a full time member of the band, as a ‘dep’, or as a guest?

Which countries have you performed in?

Which towns have you performed in the most times?

Which venues have you performed in the most times?

Which are your favourite venues to have played in?

I was fifteen.
It was at the 1982 ‘May Day Festival’, in Cwmbran town centre, playing bass with Masque.
On the same day, Jon Lee (Feeder) drummed his first gig with Exxit and Mike Cole (60 Ft Dolls) sang his first with The Den Men.

I’ve been in many over the years, some good, some not so good.
If you want the full details of any, the list below will link you to each one.

The bands of which I have been a full time member are:

Last Orderz (1980 – 82).
Masque (1982 – 84).
Apple Pie (1984).
Mad Hatter (1985).
Ritzi (1985 – 88).
Cheer Up Tuesday (1989 – 90).
The Rockin’ Boppers (1990 – 92).
The Average Cab Band (1990 – 91).
The Swinging Blues Sisters (1992 – 95).
Chucawac (1995).
Shakedown (1996).
The Illegal Eagles (1996 – 97).
That’ll Be The Day (1998)
Absolute Harmony (1999).
Outer Sight (1999).
Milk It! (1999 – 2000).
Old Skool (1999 – 2001).
Old Skool (mark II) (2003 – 2007).
The 242 Club (2008 - 2011).
NICLDAPA (2012 - Present)

Bands I've appeared with as a dep/guest are:

The Denmen
Dale & His Butties
The Des Richards Band
Short Storey
Dimmy & The Danglers
Harvey and the Headbangers
The Knobworth Band
The Flowerpot Men
The Special 20 Blues Band
Snatch It Back
Baker Street
The Elastic Band
The Booze Brothers
Feelin’ Groovy
Big Mac’s Wholly Soul Band
The Instant Beatles
The Robin Hames Band
Hand of Dimes


What equipment do you use on stage?

My main stage set up for guitar is a Strat, a Les Paul, an amp, a volume pedal and a tuner.
The Strat is a 1982 Fender Japan ‘Squier Series’, which contains the pickups from a 1982 USA Strat. I’ve had it since 1984. It was originally sunburst, then I had it sprayed red, now it’s sort of reddish, but scratched and chipped to bits.
The Les Paul is a 1995 ‘ish’ Epiphone ‘Classic’, with a birds’ eye maple top.
The amp is an all valve Marshall JTM30, 2x10 combo, run with a Marshall 1x12 extension cab beneath it.
The volume pedal is a Boss FV100, which is run through the amp’s effect loop, so as not to alter the tone of the guitar as it is raised or lowered.
The tuner is a Boss TU-12H chromatic one.

As well as this, I have a tobacco-sunburst Epiphone ‘Sheraton’ semi-acoustic guitar that I use occasionally.

All three guitars are fitted with Ernie Ball Hybrid Slinky strings (gauged 9 to 46).

The only other effects I have are a Boss CS2 Compression-Sustainer, a Boss CE5 Chorus Ensemble and an ancient Ibanez PT909 Phase Tone phaser, all of which I use rarely if ever.
I also have an overdrive pedal - a Tube Works ‘Real Tube’. It’s basically a valve built in to a foot pedal. I can set this to additionally overdrive my amp, but seldom use it anymore.

My main stage set up for bass is very simple.
An active, headless, Hohner ‘The Jack’ 4-string bass guitar, through an Ampeg BT-15 Portaflex, 100-watt, 1x15 bass combo amp.
I use standard Rotosound Swing Bass strings (gauged 45 to 105).

I also have a blue-burst, 5-string Musicman Stingray bass, which I use less and less on stage as the years go by – but it’s still great for recording.


I’ve been lucky enough to play alongside many quality musicians and I don’t mean to offend anyone by leaving them out, but if I have to name my personal favourites, my ‘top fives’ would be:

Favourite Lead Vocalists –
Tim Chapman, Sarah Campbell, Baz Oldfield, Don Stacey, Nev MacDonald.

Favourite Harmony Vocalists -
Clive Jones, Richi Glover, Rob Davies, Mark 'Jonah' Jones, Dave 'Dino' Stephenson.

Favourite Guitarists –
Rob Davies, Hywel Maggs, Mike Doherty, Dale Clarke, John Slattery.

Favourite Bassists –
Peter Gough, Richi Glover, Robin Hames, Julian Smith, Mark 'Jonah' Jones.

Favourite Keyboard players –
Carl Simmonds, John Metcalf, Phil Hollender, Gareth Morten, Neil Garland.

Favourite Drummers –
Jon Lee, Keith 'Chongo' Williams, Brian Harrison, Martin Twine, Mark Street, Rob Wilding, Dave ‘Dino’ Stephenson (Or is that 7? – oh well, I’ve been spoilt).

I would never comment on the worst.


I’m not sure what the definition of ‘famous’ is, but regarding people well known in the music business, I have performed or recorded alongside musicians who have also been members of Feeder, Dub War, 60 Ft Dolls, UFO, The Damned, The Darling Buds, The Racing Cars, The Saw Doctors, The Brotherhood Of Man, Chris Rea’s band, Burt Weedon’s band, Suzi Quatro’s band, Paul McCartney & Wings, Crazy Cavan & the Rhythm Rockers, Skin, Doctor Bison and The Abs.


Nobody hugely famous, but bands I have been with have shared the bill with artists as diverse as Paul Jones & The Blues Band, P.J.Proby, The Pirates, Nine Below Zero, Steve Marriott (Small Faces/Humble Pie), Mickey Gee, Russell Watson, Fogwell Flax, Owen Money, Bobby Davro, Russ Abbot, Dr. Bison, The Darling Buds, G.L.C. and Bucks Fizz!!


Yes, firstly with Ritzi, then several more times with That’ll Be The Day.
Also, even though I could not be seen on screen, I played acoustic and electric guitar on backing tracks used by Will Mellor (‘Hollyoaks’/‘Casualty’) whilst winning the BBC’s ‘Celebrity Fame Academy’, for Comic Relief in March 2003 and on backing used (by Alex Parks, Alistair Griffin, Carolynn and Peter Brame) for the August – October 2003 BBC series of ‘Fame Academy’.


Not that many really, compared to most people who have been gigging for so many years, as in more recent years I have concentrated on teaching rather than performing live.
I have also had several long periods without gigging at all in the past and have (by choice) not played in a regularly gigging band since 1998.
In fact, having reached the ‘900 gigs done’ mark after my first twenty years of gigging (1982 - 2002), I have since gigged so little that it took another twelve years to do the other 100 gigs and get to four figures.

As of 02/11/2015 I have done 1,012 gigs, of which I have a record in my work diaries.
If there are any more it could only be a handful.



As of 02/11/2015:

64% (646 gigs) on bass, 36% (364 gigs) on guitar – the two missing gigs were vocals only.


As of 02/11/2015:

73% (738 gigs) with bands of which I was a full time member; 25% (249 gigs) with other bands, hired to deputise for an absent member; 2% (25 gigs) as an additional player, simply a guest of another band.



Not many as I’ve done very little foreign touring.

As of 02/11/2015:

Wales (688 gigs), England (282), Scotland (14), Germany (13), Northern Ireland (11), Spain (2) and Tunisia (2).


Not surprisingly (as I live in Newport), as of 02/11/2015, top of the list are:
Newport (191 gigs) and Cardiff (83).

I’ve also done plenty of gigs in and Caerleon (40) and Cwmbran (38).

Outside Wales the most common are Great Yarmouth (18), Birmingham (17), Camberley (16), Bournemouth (14), Blackpool (12) and Manchester (10).

People always seem to ask about London too. Well, it depends what you consider to be classed as ‘London’, but not counting all the Home Counties venues, I’ve only done 7 in what I consider to be Central London.


As of 02/11/2015:

Most common nightclubs –
T.J.’s, Newport (25 gigs),
Sam’s Bar
, Cardiff (14).

Most common pubs –
Drapers’ Bar, Caerleon (20),
The Potter's, Newport (15).

Most common theatres –
Wellington Theatre, Great Yarmouth (18),
Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth (13).

Most common cabaret club –
Lakeside Country Club, Frimley Green, Camberley (16).


Venues become enjoyable for me because of either atmosphere or nostalgia.

Atmosphere wise I always loved TJ’s, in Newport, with a full house, it is so sad that it has gone. I also used to love Sam’s Bar, in Cardiff, before it was re-fitted and lost all its character.

As far as nostalgia is concerned, knowing who has appeared on the same stage before me has made it a big thrill to appear at places like The London Palladium, The Symphony Hall in Birmingham and The Green Room at The Café Royal, on Regent Street in London.
Also, even though it was only indoors in Hall One, not the Stadium, I got a kick when I played at Wembley.

On a more local level, having been to each so many times as a spectator, I enjoyed the first time I played at St. David’s Hall in Cardiff, Colston Hall in Bristol and The Bristol Hippodrome.

I think the most beautiful venue I have ever appeared at is The Grand Theatre in Leeds.


Nick Brown - Guitar Tuition, Newport, South Wales.