Music has been an important part of my life since an early age. Whilst neither of my parents were musicians, they both had a love of music, mainly popular singers from their youth. My father loved personality singers such as Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett and, in particular, Jim Reeves. Curiously he was not a fan of Frank Sinatra, he thought he was over-rated. My mother preferred Elvis Presley, Tony Bennett and Roy Orbison. I had an older brother that introduced me to a lot of rock music as an early teen, in particular Status Quo, which was and is, his favourite band. In the late 1970s I was more attracted to the attitude and energy of punk/new wave/heavy rock. Early favourites were Deep Purple, Motorhead, AC/DC, The Rezillos, The Buzzcocks, The Ramones and in particular, The Stranglers, who remain one of my favourite bands.

As a teenager I was attracted to playing both the acoustic and electric guitar. Learning classic acoustic songs by Bob Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel and heavy rock riffs, such as Paranoid and Whole Lotta Love. By the end of my teens I was listening to a lot of blues, psychedelic rock and increasingly beginning to appreciate music from America, The Velvet Underground, The Doors, Bruce Springsteen and above all others, Neil Young.

In the 1980s I played in several psychedelic/blues/rock bands in Brighton, as a guitarist and singer. In the late 1980s I moved up to St. Albans as a Ph. D. student at the then Hatfield Polytechnic. This led to the formation of The Subterraneans a kind of Goth meets U2 outfit, that (like our main influence – The Sisters of Mercy) used a drum machine. I played guitar and added some backing vocals. We mixed original songs (though not very original) with covers ranging from Joy Division to The Rolling Stones. All with a Goth attitude. We only lasted a year, but played some eventful gigs.

In the 1990s I played several gigs in a covers band formed with some friends and work colleagues, including a few of my own songs. Later in the 1990s my love of the music of Neil Young led me to recording some songs for tribute albums and then joining a Neil Young tribute (Forever Young) performing in the Poncho/rhythm guitar/backing vocals role. This spawned another Neil Young tribute band, Broken Arrow, where I switched to performing as Neil Young himself.

For various reasons I stopped performing in a band in the early 2000s (family, career) and worked on my singing technique, through one-to-one lessons and choirs. In 2009 I sung in the chorus of an opera – Alban, performing a week of shows at The St. Albans Cathedral.

In the 2010s I returned to playing the guitar and writing songs. After the untimely death of Tom Petty in 2017 I revisited his catalogue of songs and realised they suit my voice, so to cut a long story short, I decided to create a tribute to the great man and his legendary backing band – The Heartbreakers. You can read about them and check out their upcoming gigs at the Petty Criminals website.

In 2021 I also decided to create a brother/sister act to Petty Criminals called Take It Easy, performing American classic rock at theatres and festivals in the UK currently.

I am now actively writing and recording new material and covers and available for session work.

© Nigel Minchin Music 2024.