Chris George! You know? Biggest baby born at the L&D hospital on New Years Day 1981... ring any bells? Made the local paper with my Mum and everything! Also guitarist, vast back catalogue of amusing hair lengths, massive Star Wars fan, lover of beer and bourbon, husband, and father to three children, one of which is a teenager so I'm amazing at winning an argument now. Best thing about parenthood? You start doing embarrassing Dad stuff and don't even realise. It's a gift...
I was 7 when I started playing, and yes I had lessons from a local teacher. And no, there's nobody else musical in my family, they've all done really well in their own careers, so I'm always happy to be the black sheep. I have no idea where it comes from, I've just always loved the guitar. So after years of playing on plastic toy ones from about 2 years old, I got my first proper 3/4 size acoustic from Argos for my 7th birthday that my Dad restrung left handed, and my first electric came a couple of years later; a black Aria pro II with a whammy bar, and a Yamaha Budokan amp. When I turned the Distortion pot up, it was game on.
Influences? Pretty varied! Slash will always be my hero of choice... Also Zakk Wylde, Joe Perry, Angus Young, Billy Gibbons, Neil Schon, all those guys and so many more. So obviously rock/AOR/metal, but also Motown, funk, country and more. I'm a massive fan of good melody and a well written song I guess, no matter the genre. Apart from reggae. Can't stand it.
After playing in local bands and teaching a few people, in 1997 when I was 16, I won Guitarist Magazine's 'Young Guitarist of The Year' award, and soon after was approached by Marshall Amps to play at some clinics and music shows for them. This is something that amazingly, lasted for nearly 20 years: travelling with The Guv'nor himself (Jim Marshall) a lot of the time, playing in over 15 countries for them, the obligatory NAMM show for a few years, and about 15 straight years at Frankfurt Musik Messe. Plus I put the 50th Anniversary concert together at Wembley in 2012. In later years I worked on a lot of product development stuff, along with a great team of people helping steer the good ship Marshall, and did most of the official online demos.
Aside from the Marshall thing, I've always done other gigs too; either as a touring guitarist for artists or a band member for new or existing bands. I also had my own band - 'CGB' that used to go out and make a right old racket at various Marshall events and our own album and gigs, with Rob Butterfield on bass and french drummer/lunatic Farid Medjane on drums. Plus I've done teaching and had music used in a few TV bits, played and chatted on a few TV documentaries etc.
I played in Waysted with Pete Way from UFO for about 5 years, we did a few albums and a bunch of touring, (The Harsh Reality album was probably my favourite bit!) I was also touring guitarist for Christina Stuermer (Austrian Universal artist) back in 2004 doing festivals and an arena tour; good memories! I also did a few shows with Greg Ridley from Humble Pie as touring guitarist just before he passed away.
And along with all the Marshall shows and events, I had the opportunity to play with some amazing people, so I'll do the name drop here:
Dan Hawkins (The Darkness/Stone Gods)
Phil Campbell (Motorhead)
Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake)
Rob Flynn (Machinehead)
Dave Lombardo (Slayer)
Billy Duffy (The Cult)
John Paul Jones
In the last 5 years or so, I've started doing quite a few London west end musicals; something that was totally out of my comfort zone, but I also love a challenge when given the opportunity. I've played in the following:
From Here To Eternity - Shaftesbury Theatre (guitar 2 dep): 2013-2014
Mamma Mia - Novello Theatre (guitar 1 & 2 dep): 2013-present
Beautiful - The Carole King Musical - Aldwych Theatre & UK Tour (guitar 1 & 2 dep): 2015-2018
Knights of The Rose - Arts Theatre (guitar 1 chair): 2018
Kinky Boots - UK Tour (guitar 2 dep): 2018
American Idiot UK Tour (guitar 1 chair): 2019
In terms of gear, I have more guitars than I'll ever need, but the same can be said for my wife and shoes. Over the years I've probably played more Marshall Amps than my kids have had hot meals... Of course, I'm a Les Paul player at heart, but also have a good selection of other guitars for when the job needs it. Its also not easy being a lefty sometimes when it comes to finding guitars...
I currently have endorsements with LAG Guitars, Bare Knuckle Pickups, Elixir Strings and Clayton Custom picks. I also use a whole host of Marshall, Gibson, Fender and Dunlop gear.