I’d been attending private guitar lessons for fifteen months or so before I made my stage debut in my home town of Middlesbrough, in the north east of England. When I wasn’t practising a watered-down version of some classic melody, I would be busy playing along with the latest Beatles, Rolling Stones or Yardbirds records.
So, on a December night in 1964, along with school friends Paul Rodgers on bass and Colin Bradley on rhythm guitar, I faced my first audience. And it’s true what they say; you never forget the first time! The band became known as the Road Runners.

Early in 1967 we changed our name to The Wildflowers and headed for London where the ‘Summer of Love’ beckoned. Paul’s singing had progressed to such an extent, that he’d become a lead vocalist in his own right, leaving the bass spot open to Bruce Thomas.
Soon the band shed their cool suits and took to wearing kaftans and jeans - Wildflower power! I listened to Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Hendrix and Mike Bloomfield; guitar playing had come a long way since The Shadows and Johnny and The Hurricanes!

My interest in acoustic guitar had grown since I’d familiarised myself with Django Reinhardt, Robert Johnson, Lonnie Johnson, and the great classical maestro Segovia. This was a side of the instrument I yearned to persue. So by October, due to an absence of a record deal, a lack of decent gigs, and ‘personality clashes’, I decided to return home and arranged for private tuition on the classical guitar.

Though I enjoyed my study of the instrument, it wasn’t long before I was back rocking on stage. I became a member of Tramline and recorded two albums for the famous Island record label.
The band broke up later in the year, and a couple of months later I was back in London as a member of Lucas and the Mike Cotton sound. It was an excellent band that specialized in soul music, and I even got to back Gene Pitney and Paul Jones! A year or so later I joined up with legendary rhythm and blues performer Zoot Money. The band recorded an album and did a concert tour with John Mayall plus the usual round of club dates, but was short lived.

I joined Juicy Lucy in 1970 and knew this was indeed the ‘big time’ as they had two roadies and two buses - one for the equipment and one for the band - luxury! The band featured the very wonderful Glen ‘Fernando’ Campbell on twin-neck steel guitar, and had recently had a hit with Who Do You Love. We recorded three albums, toured a lot in Europe and played a club tour in the United States.

When Paul Williams left Juicy Lucy, the remaining members (none of the original line-up) attempted to keep the band on the road, and both Frankie Miller and Bobby Harrison (ex-Freedom singer/drummer) sang on gigs. Bobby asked me to do some session work on his first solo album which I did. Juicy Lucy broke up soon after and Bobby and I decided to put together a funky-style rock outfit - Snafu.
As in Juicy Lucy, we recorded three albums and toured extensively in Europe, including tours with The Doobie Brothers and Golden Earring. The band also undertook a tour of the States with ELP, The Eagles, and Jo Jo Gunne.

I’d known David Coverdale since Tramline days back in the North East and had last seen him on the eve of his departure to the United States as the newly-recruited singer with Deep Purple. So it was a pleasant surprise when he turned up at a Snafu gig in Munich in 1975. We spoke soon after and he invited me to his Bavarian home to help him write and arrange his forthcoming solo album.
Shortly after, I left Snafu to concentrate on session work (refer to Albumography ) and write and record the Young And Moody album with Status Quo lyricist Bob Young. We recorded David’s first solo album Whitesnake in London, and the following year Northwinds, in Munich. Soon after I did a short tour of the States with critically acclaimed singer Frankie Miller, followed by a string of British dates. It was during these dates that I received a call from David, and the plan to launch Whitesnake was set in motion.

The band went on the road in early 1978 and soon after recorded a four track EP, Snakebite, followed quickly by the first album, Trouble, though a live recording from Hammersmith Odeon was
released in Japan.
The line-up was David, Bernie Marsden and myself on guitars, Neil Murray on bass, Dave Dowle on drums and Jon Lord on keyboards. The follow-up, Lovehunter, featured the same personnel. After British and European tours, Ian Paice replaced Dowel and the band recorded their first hit album Ready An’ Willing.
I also found time to take on some session work including Roger Chapman’s debut solo album, Chappo, and In The Night by Lindesfarne’s Ray Jackson. Things were hotting up and boy, were we having a good time! During 1980 we toured Europe, Japan and a rather misguided tour of America due to Whitesnake being the support act for Jethro Tull.

In 1981 Whitesnake recorded it’s most successful LP, Come An’ Get It, toured Europe, then undertook a less than successful tour of the States with Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. I took time off to handle the guitar duties on Graham Bonnet’s album, Line Up, which included the hit single Night Games, and after a memorable Donnington Festival with AC/DC and Slade, Whitesnake went into the studios to record Saints And Sinners. A tour of Germany with Slade as support was next on the cards, and it was during this inconclusive jaunt that the rot finally set in. There are always conflicting stories as to the break up of a band, but as far as I’m concerned it was down to ‘mismanagement’, greed, and personal reasons. My philosophy is simple: ’You do your work and you get your money’. Well, we certainly worked…

After some session work with the likes of Sheena Easton, and being a glutton for punishment, I accepted an offer to go back with the revamped ‘Whitesnake’ to tour Europe and Japan, and record the Slide It In album. It was an unhappy experience for me with none of the camaraderie of the original band. I quit after the Autumn tour in October 1983. Selling my soul was never on the agenda.

The period following my departure from Whitesnake was my most inactive; it was as though I’d been drained from head to toe. I played with local musicians near my home, took on session work with the likes of Mike Oldfield and Chris Thompson, and played occasionally with Status Quo drummer John Coughlan’s Diesel Band, an act I’d worked with on and off since 1975.
Towards the end of the decade I went into the studio with Danish singing star Sanne Salomonson, English vocalist Jane Harrison, and my former employer, Gene Pitney. This was followed by both recording and tours with legendary blues singer Chris Farlowe, and my old friend Roger Chapman. I also rekindled my working relationship with Bernie Marsden on a few early Moody Marsden Band gigs which were most enjoyable!

In 1992 the Moody Marsden Band recorded its live album Never Turn Our Back On The Blues and worked live on a more regular basis. Over the next few years we recorded two more albums and I did more session work (compare albumography) and co-wrote two songs for Roger Chapman’s album Kiss My Soul. Soon after, Bernie suggested we team up with Norwegian musicians Jorn Lande, Willy Bendikson and Sid Ringsby to form The Snakes. This line-up recorded both studio and live albums and worked mainly in Norway, though it did perform in England, Holland, Sweden and Germany.

The new millennium saw the release of my first solo album I Eat Them For Breakfast and the formation of the Company of Snakes, which repeated the formula of The Snakes with both studio and live recordings. The band was active until it’s metamorphosis into M3 Classic Whitesnake in 2004. Also during this period I teamed up with ex-Juicy Lucy singer Paul Williams to record Smokestacks Broomdusters And Hoochie Coochie Men, then toured Europe with Roger Chapman. Session work was also in evidence (compare albumography) and I was invited to play on Marius Mueller- Westernhagen’s Nah Aufnahme. The album reached number one in Germany.

Towards the end of 2005 I went into the studio and recorded my blues-rock album Don't Blame Me. It was released the following year to almost coincide with the publication of part one of my autobiography, Playing With Trumpets - A Rock And Roll Apprenticeship. The book chronicles my early days in the music business, mostly in the company of my classmate and band member, Paul Rodgers. I'm working on part two right now!
In November 2006 I played on Roger Chapman's album One More Time For Peace then toured with him in April / May and December 2007. That year also saw the release of my acoustic music album Acoustic Journeyman, and I also recorded 22 tracks of original soul and blues-rock for use on TV and film. Toured with both M3 and Roger Chapman.

In 2008 I appeared on drummer Jimmy Copley's album Slap My Hand alongside Jeff Beck, Pino Palladino, Pete Cox and many more great performers. Jimmy then asked me to perform as special guest on his Japanese tour. The Tokyo shows were recorded for a DVD, Jimmy Copley and Char - Special Session.

2009 saw the release of my album of electric guitar music, Electric Journeyman.

In 2010 guested with Uriah Heep on selected dates in England and Japan, and played a series of shows with Monsters Of British Rock, a band that would eventually morph into Snakecharmer.
Release of the Young and Moody anthology album 'Back For The Last Time Again'.

Co-wrote and produced more music for TV and film in early 2011before concentrating on the preparation of new songs and recording with Snakecharmer.