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After some disastrous gigs in the mid 80s, and mainly due to being completely unprepared for stage performance, I vowed that I would never to go back on stage, convinced that I was just one of those who suffered from stage fright, and it was a platform that was simply unsuitable.

I continued to record songs and instrumental material, content to be just a hobbyist, and making music for my own pleasure and for the entertainment of the odd member of family, and a few close friends who were interested. Work, marriage and family followed, though the music continued, recorded in the evenings and during holidays.

Fast forward to February 2016…. After much much persuasion from family and friends, I finally decided to ‘dust-off’ the mostly unheard material, and made a sizeable set of my best quality demo recordings. There was enough for an album, possibly two at least, I thought. In fact, there were over 60 songs and 100 instrumentals when a final count was put together, and that number continues to grow.


I had my first guitar at the age of eight. It was a second-hand nylon-strung guitar bought for me by my father, who began to take me to lessons but this proved too difficult a commitment both for him, as he ran his own business; and for me, though I didn’t realise at the time, but the guitar ‘action’ was poor, and didn’t tune properly enough for me to master the instrument. 


My first music experience was at a residential arts centre in Staffordshire called Ingestre Hall in July 1980, they did a kind of Summer Arts Camp for school groups. I went there expecting to do Art (my main subject at school), but was lured by the music, as it was something different and far more exciting. Basically you immersed yourself in the course for a whole week and by the end of it, you presented (or performed) your creations on the Friday. By Friday I was fronting a band we’d formed that week, and I ‘wrote’ and sang lyrics for two of the songs that we played.

I returned to Ingestre Hall again in the Summer of ’81. By then I had bought a decent acoustic guitar, learned how to finger-pick to some extent, and played in the band and even did a solo piece I’d worked out. I have to say I’m so grateful for the Ingestre Hall Experience. These were the first building blocks that shaped the many years of music to come.

Bretton Hall College, 1981-84

Bretton-HallBretton Hall was a Collegiate Degree Course of the University of Leeds. Set in the grounds of a Mansion (with a setting not unlike Ingestre Hall) I studied Art and Design along with Inter Arts: a course which introduced students to the broad spectrum of the Arts (art, dance, drama, music, film and video making) with a performance element. Here I was able to put my love of music together with other like-minded students and so a lot of my own personal work on this course was very biased towards the music. I also spent a lot of time creating and editing video, and getting involved in drama productions too.


Bretton-Craig-Mark-WillWas a band (of sorts) formed by my friends Mark Chamberlain, Will Pilbeam and myself. Though we didn’t play live, we produced loads of material on tape for a performance piece, which played rather like a radio show, and became our independent study for the second year of our Inter Arts part of the degree, taking an entire year and one study module apiece.

During the second year we also went onto a work placement that Will and I spent in the recording studio of TV and film Composer Edward Williams.

It was so sad that I heard via Facebook of the death of my old friend Will in January 2011. He was only 47. Such a funny guy with delightful wit and charm, and a Midlands accent that even if you didn’t, made you wish you spoke Brummie!

In The Studio of Edward Williams

EW-Craig-in-StudioA fantastic experience for myself and Will. We gained loads of recording knowledge, essentially being able to experiment and play with Edward’s recording studio equipment in Bristol, producing loads of material for our Independent Study piece. I’m still eternally grateful to Edward and Judy Williams for this amazing opportunity.

Saddened also to add a footnote mentioning the passing of Edward Williams in December 2013, aged 92. He was of a thoroughly generous spirit. The world has lost both a talented composer and true gentleman, and I will miss him greatly.

Recording My Own Material

After the second year, I elected to do an Independent study involving music and songwriting, but also was offered the chance of some tuition by a writer, Aileen Ireland, and she encouraged me to write more poetry, consequently some of the poetry became lyrics too. Because of my frustrations the previous year with trying in vain to borrow reel-to-reel recording equipment from Bretton Hall’s music school, the Inter Arts department had invested in their own newest innovation: the 4-track Portastudio (a Clarion). I must admit I monopolised this a lot…

Electronic Arts Video, 1985-86

After finishing my degree I went to work alongside Video Artist Brian Johnson, and musician Rick Cocker, in what originally was called Electronic Arts Workshop (EAW), but which later was renamed to Electronic Arts Video (EAV) as personnel changed and the emphasis on video became more prominent. Funded initially by Kirklees Council, it combined resources of video, visual effects using some of the newly emerging micro computers at the time, plus music and photography. Though my area was photography, I lent equal support to the video and the music side of things, depending on who booked the facility that day. In my spare time I was able to book and use the equipment for my own projects too. Naturally I leaned towards the music, and composed and created many songs and pieces of music on the 4-Track recorder there.

Uncle Jambo, 1985

This was a project started by Edward Williams, and became a small touring concert with compositions by Edward, and music by composers Martin Kiszko, John Paul Jones (of Led Zeppelin), performances by actors Tony Robinson (of Blackadder and Time Team) and Edward Clayton (Crossroads), and featuring musicians Duncan Druce, and James Fulkerson, with live visual effects by Brian Johnson, and his team Rick and myself, assisting. This was funded and performed as part of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in the Winter of 1985.

There were a number of workshops run during the daytime with the public, in support of the concerts which we performed in the evenings. During the day, as I was familiar with a lot of Edward’s equipment, I could also contribute on the music side as well as with the video.

Rooster’s and MIDI, 1986-87

As our EAV contracts ended, Rick set up his own home-based MIDI equipped recording studio, Rooster’s, and I gained some further experience using his equipment and facilities there. At the time this was all Atari based MIDI equipment and software, and I began there using Steinberg’s Pro 24 software, though progressed onto Cubase as this evolved out of Pro 24. Though the end product was still reel-to-reel tape at this point, the recording techniques were far more clean and precise, the amount of tracks available were greater, and the quality of the end product was increasing. 

By late 1987, I had bought my own Atari ST computer, Cubase and a Tascam 244 Portastudio, and I became self-contained. Recording was easy using this machine, and it gave more freedom to my songs and compositions as it was no longer limited to how much studio time I could afford.

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