Music Bio – by Reuben Fogg

The writing was on the wall when Ian learnt classical clarinet at school and kept getting told off for playing the bass line of a Bach fugue in swing style. They said, “That’s not how it’s written”. He told them, “It sounds better that way.”

When he bought a beaten up old saxophone in a junk shop, his music teacher wouldn’t speak to him for a while, so he taught himself to play it, with the help of a tattered copy of the now-famous Tune-a-Day instruction book.

Growing up as a teenager in the 60s he managed his first band The Trojans in Birmingham, UK where he acquired his first acoustic and electric guitars. This time it was the late Bert Weedon’s Play in a Day book that helped, as it did for many other aspiring young guitar players in those days.

After selling his instruments so he could afford to eat while at University in Leeds, he set up one of the early mobile discos, entertaining at parties and small clubs, continuing in London in the early 70s and then Australia. He still has all the records.

While teaching English in an Adelaide high school, he inherited a piano and began to tinker around with it, teaching himself a few chords. He promised himself that one of these days, he’d work out what the black keys were for – and why there was one missing in each alternate group of three*.

There he became friends with the head of music – the late Bob Davies, former swing band leader – who recruited him into playing vibraphone (didn’t see that coming) and later doubling on sax in a teachers’ jazz band.

After a career change and a break from playing music, he was lured back into it when an eclectic “work band” formed within the Government’s Office of Science, Technology & Innovation. The drummer was Ivor Hay, former member of the legendary Australian punk band The Saints. On bass was the late James Tizard of the former Adelaide punk band The Spikes. The lead vocalist was Jeremy Phillips, currently entertaining folk in Reverend and Mrs Rowdy‘s honky tonk revival shows.

Inspired by the Australian touring rock show “Long Way to the Top”, Ian took up guitar again in 2004 (now where’s that old Bert Weedon book) and joined the Weekend Warriors Program in Round 3, playing in his first Warrior band Soul Riders.

For the next couple of years, he played in a regularly changing line-up with various other Warrior members. That line-up eventually became The Iron Chefs for a few shows before morphing into Wis’n Up in 2007. When Wis’n Up folded, some of its members formed a new band Johnny and the Walkers in which Ian played until mid 2013.

He gatecrashed a Wound Up rehearsal at the end of 2012 and much to his and everyone else’s surprise, has continued playing with them.
* Ian says he’s now worked out that the main function of the black keys is to stop the white keys rubbing together. They are the same as the white keys but play a bit louder and faster. They are supposed to be in groups of twos and threes. Keyboards with black keys that go 2, 3, 2, 3 are for right-handed players; those that go 3, 2, 3, 2 are for left-handers like himself.
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