- Music

- Poetry

- Hypnosis

- Asperger's Syndrome



- Contact
- Home

Music

David Charles Rowan  Wiltshire, 2008

       

This is a page of the journey of my own music. There is a link to a player so you can take a listen ... a musical biography with a few photos and the lyrics to the songs on the player ...

      

To hear the songs and music of David Charles Rowan, please click here      

For the musical biography, with a photo or two, please click here  

   

For lyrics of the songs on the player, please click here  

My first time on stage: 12th November 1982 .... Still Motion

  

David Charles Rowan: musical biography

   

One autumn evening I was walking through the living room and I noticed on the tv some thugs with dyed hair, though not as stylish as Bowie's. Before I could ask who they were, we were all shocked to hear them swearing on live TV !!! My mum reacted with horror, my dad rushed to the room on hearing the commotion and the tv was switched off immediately. There was a feeling in the air like a cloud of fuss that was to take a long time to settle ... The next morning I began to talk about it with an older kid and he said, 'They weren't football hooligans they were 'Sex Pistols'. I asked, 'what's Sex Pistols ?' he said they were a brilliant band I should rush to Our Price and get the record really quickly because it's going to be banned and they're selling them cheaply. Being somewhat impressionable, I duly ran to town after school and got one. It was like one of those 'slowed-down' moments when something significant is going to happen. I placed the needle on the record and the sound that blew from the speakers ... Wow !

  

My autistic curiosity meant I couldn't just listen to it I had to find out more. I began to read the NME and Melody Maker and Sounds, absorbing every bit of print I could find about the band, their philosophy and this new social movement. The names became etched in my personal mythology; The Pistols, The Clash, The Stranglers, The Jam, Siouxsie and the Banshees The letters pages of the music press were full of young people writing about issues of the day; the abortion debate, Northern Ireland, unemployment, the bomb ... Top of the Pops was olde and had it; the old school were gone - this was fresh and 'now'. I began listening to John peel in the evenings;  Ian Dury, Penetration, the Skids ...

  

In the playground I tried to talk about politics and life with others who were just talking about  'the Fonz'. There were a couple of other deeper thinking kids though, and we'd listen to new albums and discuss the implications of the lyrics and find ourselves laughing the people who 'looked punk' because they weren't punk at all. The three of us embraced the philosophy of 'just be yourself'. In August 1977 there was a poster in the high street; a local punk band were going to play at Slough college. We went along and it was amazing. They were called, The Rage; records were played before they came on and people danced wildly whenever the pistols were played. There was a sense of camaraderie and a safety in numbers. The band came on, the singer in red jeans posing with a mic stand, the sound wow, the sound blasted the world and its troubles away. I was mesmerised; I'd seen Bowie on tv and wanted to do 'that', but this, this was just feet away, in my face if only  I could just move from being here to there !

  

The next week I saw another poster. A band called Ultravox were playing at another local college. I checked with NME and they were called a punk band because they did songs like 'Young Savage' (recommend it, by the way) although they were somewhat 'experimental'. They still had their original singer, John Foxx, and I was spellbound. A week later I saw The Jam at Bracknell sports center for 1.25, and a spark burst into a flame which has illuminated my whole life; and watching Paul Weller live is a habit I still wish to retain. The support bands were The Adverts and Chelsea (I saw the 'right to work' march which inspired Weller to write Eton Rifles). I began to muck about with re-writing pop song lyrics into political polemics and one of my friends suggested I participate in the 2nd great piece of punk philosophy; 'any one can do it'. Johnny Rotten said, 'Anyone can be in a band and make music ... you don't have to play the way they tell you to, just make a noise; it's a good noise because it's your noise'. In December '77 I bought my first guitar; a cream coloured Strat copy for 15.00. It was terrible, and my Dad wouldn't let me have an amp, so I couldn't tune it but I could teach my fingers how to make shapes. It was months later that I got a small practice amp for my birthday and an acoustic for about 20.00. I couldn't read music, couldn't play and couldn't get on with a silly how to play book. In those days, the only tutor books featured obscure (to me) folk songs and I wanted to shake the plaster from the walls. So, I did the next best thing ...

  

In January 1978 I noticed a new band called Sham 69 were playing at a college in Reading. I went along and drank Newcastle Brown for the first time and encountered resurgent skinheads, who would later put an end to my watching bands for a long time. I saw a few bands in Reading in a little  club called, 'Bones';  Siouxsie and the Banshees played there before they had a contract and I began to see a lot of bands. They were always priced between 50p and 2.00 and 1978 culminated in seeing Ian Dury support The Clash at Aylesbury Friars. Although I was scared of people and very anxious about the violence being dealt out towards people by the skinhead fractions, I was on a mission to learn, and used to push my way to the front and get pushed around by 6 foot geezers, so I could take mental photographs of the guitarist's fingers

  

Then, when I got home, I'd pick up my out-of-tune 15.00 guitar and see if I could make a shape I'd seen the guitarist's hands make. If I got one shape a night I thought it was cool !  

I used to see about 2 bands a week - fantastic !

  

        

    

I left school without a single qualification, got a job in factory and quickly earned enough to save for a better guitar and a decent amp and formed a punk band with some friends from school. We were terrible ... and not in a good way. We blamed the equipment, so we got more and more elaborate equipment until we realised it sounded bad because we actually were absolutely bloody awful ... the terrible band came to a timely end. I answered a Melody Maker ad' for a guitarist in west London. On the phone the keyboard player said their stuff was like early Ultravox brilliant !  The next Saturday I bought all their records and started to learn all their songs I play by ear and cannot read a note of music. I auditioned and passed, to my complete amazement and played in various bands around west London until I was about 24/25. The first people I went out with, drank with, even danced with were musicians. We had a way of listening to music that was different from others and a language I understood. I still felt that every other musician was better than me, or had some kind of perception of a secret wisdom I did not understand; as always, I felt both alienated and included, safe and yet lonely and vulnerable. A guitar was the first mode of communicating with others I ever found ...

  

Here's how the journey unfolded:

1978 to 1980: punk band

  

1980 to 1982: Experimental music; early Ultravox/Roxy, Japan-like, new romantic-ish music

  

1983: bit more poppy

1984: Jazz-ish, classical-ish and film theme-ish music. In 1984, I wasn't in a band ... Dave Balchin, our old keyboard player was though, and he'd just bought the new Yamaha DX7 and wanted to see what it could do he was always rather experimental in his approach to things and he had an idea ...  His new band's sax player, also called Dave; Dave Fransis,  could play piano reaally well and Dave B thought it would be interesting to see how my intuition would interact with Dave F's classical training (there was a lot of Dave-ness ... ). I went round Dave Frances' house and found he wasn't just a sax player; he had a baby upright grand in his bedroom and played cello and trumpet as well I felt intimidated because I can't read a note. So, I suggested an experiment; we sat back to back and played a chord each in turn, and made a private note of what we were playing, so the other person could only go by the sound, and not go to where they thought they  'should'  go ... to his surprise, we created a chord sequence which should not work and within 3 hours of trying it at different speeds we had recorded and written an instrumental we both like. It was recorded on a twin tape deck, and built up a lot of hiss, so please excuse the quality ...

I had been to Stonehenge for the first time just two months before and we came up with felt how I felt in the very first moment I saw it. I had written a poem with a title I thought he may like, and we named the piece of music after that: From the Sea of Time

  


1985 onwards: attempt to play in as many styles as possible, though rock music is where my fingers always drift to. Had to sell all my guitars and amps in the mid-80s to pay bills and spent more and more time researching Astrology, Psychology and Esoteric Studies. I kept my first acoustic until 1990, when I lent it to an old friend to help cheer her up after her mum died and never heard from her again.  That was the end of playing music for me, until ... I saw an acoustic in a second hand shop in Devizes in 1994 which was the spitting image of my old one. I had to buy it ...

  

1997: got a Washburn acoustic with my first corporate training cheque, and a Jackson electric guitar with the 3rd ... Experimented with a lot of twin-deck hiss-ridden recordings and found a few new songs and instrumentals ... the musical fires had ignited again.

  

1999: involved in a spiritual experiment to see if we could open chakras with music; a guitar, drummers, a didgeridoo and two singers doing a thing called, 'toning'. It was fun and lead to me putting on two live-aid style music events in Marlborough and Salisbury, with UNICEF, to raise money for the children of Kosovo. That was the last time I played on a stage.

  

1999 2000; did a stint in a covers band and didn't get past rehearsals I never liked painting by numbers and always wanted to record. In the old band we used to have a tape machine on a window ledge I've still got one or two of those old rehearsals, and  3 old demo songs. Since 1982 I have recorded various songs, riffs, and ideas on twin-deck hi-fi's, with some success considering the amount of hiss and lack of any technical sophistication. Then, I finally began to realise a life-long dream ...

  

2007 now:

In January 2006 my tape deck finally stopped working and I had to get recording equipment sorted out in time for a new client's life reading. It wasn't until April 200 that I finally got some software drums and could now use the studio software for music, rather than recording consultations. In November 2007 I had my first go at building a track, layering some Jazzy guitars  and still with no bass and no idea how to 'mix' I have to confess, the studio software is still a mystery to me and I fumble my way around it. In December 2007 I had my first go at a song, The Heart of You ...

I got my first Bass in April 2010 ... and my first keyboard,, and could finally use all the different parts of the PC studio. Within 24 hours of unpacking the keyboard I had written and recorded Qualia, to see if I could layer keyboard sounds and have a go at rudimentary sequencing. I played Bass for the first time on Qualia; much better than playing a guitar through and octaver ... Some of the recent, 'pre-Bass' songs like Fires of Bran and Harvest Moon are going to be re-recorded, or remixed, but I have an affection for the Heart of You ...

I like these sonic adventures; the two most recent, Starchild and While Green Jack is sleeping sound really good and The Haunting has matured nicely since it was written in 1986

  

I always used to avoid microphones, being uncertain about my voice ... but ... I now have enough components of a digital studio in my PC to begin to record musical ideas. I am still very new to the technology and have had a few goes at recording songs and instrumentals, and mixing them afterwards and I am always keen to know what people think, so please feel free to write and let me know ... Pan_Spirit@davidrowan.co.uk

   

Creating an embedded music player for the site involves html encoding which is rather beyond my understanding. However, I have found a site which lets you upload your own music, so I have taken the plunge and let my musical doodles out into the world ...

I've uploaded a number of olde instrumentals and a song or two from my old days in a band as well ... if you click on the title of a song, you will notice a tab marked lyric; or, you can click the link below to read the lyrics

  

To hear the songs and music of David Charles Rowan, please click here     

return to top of page ...  

   

   

Lyrics

  

The Heart of You

     

Harvest Moon

    

The Haunting

    

When planet Earth is Blue ...

     

Fires of Bran

    

Pan Spirit

    

Starchild

    

From the Sea of Time ...

      

return to top of page ...