1. If could introduce yourselves for us, who are you?
Hi. Can I please first start by saying, rather than a band, I’m solo artist Steve Skidmore aka Skidders – song writer, producer, guitarist and session-guitarist. Born in Smethwick in the centre of England, within an area known as the Black Country due to steelworks, furnaces etc., during the Industrial Revolution.
I produce all my own material and play all instruments, apart from the human voice, which I am eminently rubbish at! So my compositions are 95% guitar instrumentals. On my three albums to date, I have not really limited my compositions to be “gig friendly”, hence me gigging mainly with other projects, as I call them. For example, I gig regularly with my duo Bukechi, with the fabulous Sammi Roberts on vocals. However, I will start working on my fourth album shortly, which will be geared towards taking on the road.
2. How did you all meet?
Well, my dad used to live a few doors down from my mom. She was a war widow and my dad asked her out. Apparently, they went out in my dad’s work’s van and my mom complained the rain was coming through the window. So my dad said “What do you want? A Rolls Royce?”. It was pure love from then on. They married a few years later and out I came. The rest is history, as they say.
3. How long have you been playing?
I started playing drums in a band when I was 14. By 15, I had taught myself to play the guitar with the theory I learned from piano lessons. I then took over as lead guitar from 15 onwards.
4. What three words would you use to describe the music you play?
Guitar; Eclectic; Blues.
5. What are your musical influences?
My first inspiration was The Shadows. Hank Marvin, their lead guitarist, played a red Stratocaster and I fell in love with the look and sound. Years later, around 2010, I saw him perform in a small theatre and was one of the best and most emotional concerts I have been to.
Following them, the Beatles – the best pop group that ever was for sure. In later years, I loved CCR, Led Zeppelin, TYA, Black Sabbath, Hendrix, Santana, Rory Gallagher and so on. These days, I love KT Tunstall, Ella Fitzgerald, John Mayer and throughout, Clapton.
6. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen during a show?
Getting drunk on Pernod and knocking my speaker cabinet over, was not one of my finest hours. Another time, my mobile went off in between songs. A friend wanted to know where exactly we were, so I guided him through over the phone and microphone at the same time – as he entered the hall, the audience gave him a great cheer! I’m afraid that’s it – I’ve never bitten any bat’s heads off or anything like that.
7. Being away from the stages in the last few years, where was the first place you visited when the restrictions were lifted?
I am still being very careful. Not wishing to bore you, but we’re in between houses and staying with the mother in law. She’s very frail and we can’t afford to get covid and pass it on to her. So we’ve avoided places where there’s a concentration of people. I have gigged with Bukechi, but that was outdoors. When we’ve moved into our new house, which should be soon, I’ll be checking out who’s on where. Until then, we’re sitting tight unfortunately.
8. What’s the one record you own but wouldn’t ever admit to owning?
T. Rex’s “Jeepster”. I actually bought the 7” single. Drat – I’ve now admitted it. This is really embarrassing.
9. What have you been listening in the last few weeks?
I’ve been listening to Amthyst Kiah’s “Wary + Strange” – it Is a really great album and I’ve been sharing it with my ‘music’ friends. A bit of a gem not to be missed!
10. Are there any releases you have planned in the near future?
My fourth album will be geared towards playing live, rather than my previous albums. So it will be less “produced” and more cut down instrument wise. I will start work on “Feckem Hall” later this year. I am also recording some guitar for a writer called Kylolus who is putting together a prog-rock album. It is very cool stuff and he has me doing some nice long guitar solos on quite a few of the tracks.
Many thanks to Almost Anything Music for the opportunity of this interview and for all readers, keep safe!