Greg Dean, musician
Greg has been playing guitar since he was 16. He shared his experiences of playing and performing in bands, up to his latest project, Iconic Eye.
Norton Canes, a small village by Cannock Staffordshire. Currently living in Penn, Wolverhampton.
What do you do?
Full-time civil servant, part-time musician.
How did you get into music?
I’ve been playing guitar since I was 16. We started our first band doing a mix of covers and our own songs when we were 18 called Obadiah Smith. We also had a club covers band called Doctor Squash.
What experience do you have?
Moving on from my initial exploits, I watched Neil Carter at a Gary Moore gig and decided that I wanted to play guitar and keyboards. In 1988, I answered a Kerrang! advert for a keyboard player, bought a keyboard, taught myself and got the gig.
"Put the time in until you have a set that sounds good and positive people to play them with."
They were songwriting at the time, so hardly noticed that I was still translating guitar to keyboards.
That’s where I met David Wasson, their guitarist, an excellent guitarist and still my best friend. We played pubs and clubs playing rock songs for around seven years under the names of Empire, Tiyan, Heaven Sent, until I decided to give it a break.
I was still writing songs and in 1997 released an album which was co-written by Steve Greatholder under the band name of Runaway Thieves. This got me back into writing and wanting to play live again. Steve played for a corporate band called Foolslife and when their keyboard player left in 2004 they asked me to join. I still play for them.
However I missed my rock music and created a rock covers band in 2010 Classix with David Wasson. This was really a mates band with the drummer and guitarist from Heaven Sent (Andy Pierce and David Wasson), the singer from Foolslife (Dave Cartlidge) and a bass player (Gary Slater) that was recommended by my wife, Adele. That is still working today but it's now becoming hard to play in three bands. In terms of Foolslife, I play mainly keyboards but also backing guitar on two or three songs.
I’ve just finished recruiting my live band to play for my latest project called, Iconic Eye. I have the guitarist (Dave) and bassist (Gary) from Classix, the drummer (Paul Emery - Emo) from Foolslife, myself on guitars too and a singer called Tim Dawkes who I haven’t played live with before. The studio singer is a guy called Lee Small who played for Shy, so Tim has some big shoes to fill but in rehearsals is sounding amazing.
What do you do in music?
I play keyboards, rhythm guitar, lead guitar (although only harmonising with Dave), backing vocals and bass guitar on the notepad versions of the sings I write.
What's the best thing about your work?
Hearing it played on the radio. We have a station called Firebrand Rock Radio who have really taken to the band and are regularly playing it. Iconic Eye has won the October band of the month competition.
We also have Stafford FM, Wirral FM, ARFM, Stafford Radio Rock show and a number of stations in USA playing our songs often.
How do I get into music?
Here are some steps to get you started:
- Find an instrument that you feel an affinity with
- Find some regular time to play
- Find some friends who like the same music and preferably are of the same musical ability that you are so that you can learn together
- Decide what songs you want to play
- Then it’s just down to putting the time in until you have a set that sounds good and a set of people to play them with.
- Make sure you always have fun.
A useful resource is Ultimate Guitar - this will show you the chords you need to play for the songs you like. It saves you trying to work them out (and probably getting them wrong if you are a beginner).
Buy a tuner if you don’t have one, so that you can play in tune with the records. Note though that some songs use different tunings (i.e. half a pitch down) but the website will explain that.
Now launch the band!