The Inspiration

Slowhand – Homage to Eric Clapton

It is 1966 – I am 13 years old and playing my $65 electric guitar through the Pye 3 in 1 radiogram, that Mr Parr (by way of my helpful and musical father), so kindly put a volume control line in, so I could play along with the records and come out through the speakers at the same time – wow! – technology!!

I mean that, and discovering tape recorders were just so exciting – imagine being able to play guitar into a tape recorder and then play back along with it – man, double tracking!! Wild times back then..

Cream was the first time I had heard Eric Clapton’s expressive and thoughtful guitar phrasing and wonderful ‘singing’ style and it grabbed me straight away – there was a ‘this is really something’ vibe about how this man’s guitar playing effected me on a deep musical and creative level – even at this young age – I wasted no time in trying to emulate and play the lines I was hearing – to learn how to bend and sustain and to use vibrato and hammer-ons etc – this man was doing some unbelievable melodic moves and I wanted more of it.

So I can still remember the first time I realised what it was, and where, on the guitar neck he was playing a solo  -  by way of repeatedly listening, trying, experimenting and exploring –

My first bend was a full-tone bend on the B string on the 15th fret with my third finger, bending from a D to E – it was like ‘Eureka – I’ve found it!’ No kidding, it was that exciting to me to realise that this was what he was doing !! Yahoo!!

It was like opening a floodgate – I was hooked and overcome, and continued to want to learn more about being able to express melodic guitar playing in this style.

I guess by now you’re getting the picture that guitar playing is my true passion..

Jimi was next and he too rocked my boat and was a wonderful influence of course – his magic fluid playing and guitar prowess, coupled with his unique songwriting style was another huge influence and source of inventive excitement for me..

The rest is history – I knew that playing guitar was what I wanted to do and what I dreamt about, so that was the life I wanted without knowing anything about the reality of it (even though my parents warned me about how hard this road could be – how true …)

My first band in 1967 ‘Wheatstone Bridge’, with Steven Cooper on bass and Kim Williams on drums, played all Cream (Fresh Cream), The Who, and Hendrix stuff – it was a 3 piece, and we loved it – played our school dances at Balgowlah High that year in Sydney, and had a ball.

So it was with Eric’s influence that I continued to evolve into my next band with whom I recorded on my first album in 1969 – iconic Sydney surf group, Tamam Shud when I was 16, then the year after that helped formed Kahvas Jute and recorded the second album.

I have since performed in numerous bands and with artists here, recorded albums of original material across different styles – rock, country rock, blues and eclectic, surf and acoustic, and continued to keep my hand in, so to speak..

Besides working with people like Jimmy Barnes and other great Aussie folk, I have also had the pleasure of working with the late great Jon Lord of Deep Purple, and recorded two albums with him, Bob Daisley and Rob Grosser, as The Hoochie Coochie Men.

To undertake this homage to Eric Clapton, is for me a natural way of continuing to play the style of music I know and love, and to also pass on and share this interpretation with the aim of bringing pleasure to those who enjoy his music and wonderful guitar style as much as I do.

Many thanks and hope to see you soon, Tim Gaze