John – Vocals, harmonica, percussion
When offstage, John spends every spare minute immersed in his other passion – martial arts – teaching Jujitsu, Karate & Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. One evening in 1980, John’s fifteen year old brother put ‘Child In Time’ on the turntable and turned it up to 11. From that moment, seven year old John was hooked, wondering “How can Ian Gillan scream so high, without hurting his throat?” ‘Mutually Assured Destruction’, by Gillan, further fuelled the youngster’s intrigue, which was to remain for many years to come.
By the time John was fifteen (by now having lived in Gibraltar six years), he was regularly wailing along to Blackie Lawless and W.Axl Rose in his bedroom, every night. At eighteen, the opportunity to emulate his early vocal influence arose, when he successfully auditioned for ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ (the anoraks among you will know that Ian Gillan sang the part of Jesus on the original studio recording)
John’s live debut arrived in April 1992, in front of a six hundred-strong audience, in St. Michael’s Cave, Gibraltar. Shortly afterwards, John’s first band was formed, the local phenomenon ‘Sympathy For The Blonde’ – a cross between Metallica, Guns n’ Roses and The Sex Pistols, with a sprinkling of Jim Morrison’s drunken theatricality. After the inevitable break-up, due to musical differences (of course!), John spent a number of years making a name for himself as a DJ in and around southern Spain, even spending a week DJ-ing for reggae band ‘Aswad’ in 1995!
In 1997, John returned to the UK and, after several years of musical inactivity, decided he needed to get back onstage and joined the rock covers band ‘Sibling Rivalry’. After a few months, the band imploded and John decided to return to his original musical influence. With his brother Lee taking care of the management side of things, the Deep Purple tribute band ‘Purple’ was formed, with Mike Harlow and the late, great Brian Matthews. ‘Purple’ evolved in to ‘Purple Zeppelin’. The rest, I’m sure, will be history……
Mark – Guitar & Musical Director
Joined pre-punk band “Scum of the Earth” whilst at school – supported Michael Des Barres (husband of Pamela, and singer with Silverhead) at the Roundhouse. The band split and reformed as Streamliner with John Osborn (aka Billy Karloff) – gigs on the London pub circuit with Iron Maiden, Heavy Metal Kids (Gary Holton) etc. Narrowly escaped being mauled by resident lion on the roof of The Island Hotel, Leysdown which soon after mysteriously burnt down.
Worked at Macari’s guitar shop in Charing Cross Road for 3 years – sold goodies to Thin Lizzy, Jack Bruce, Hank Marvin, Eric Idle, Tony McFee, Andy Fraser etc – and attended many Led Zeppelin rehearsals at ELPs Manticore studios on pretext of selling them equipment – actually just to watch in awe!
Attended ELPs Christmas party. Not the evening of sex, drugs and rock and roll my teenage self had been hoping for, as the Roadies forgot to order enough beer (amongst other things) Auditioned for The Damned – didn’t get the gig.
Opened Golddust Studios in the front room – expanded to 24 track & still operating today.
Formed NWOBHM band Legend – played gigs on same circuit as Dervish guitarist and chum, Brian Matthews. Later joined by brother Gavin Matthews on bass, and played Marquee several times before splitting. Recorded and worked with many artists in the studio, including mixing “Motorhead 1983” and “Streetwalkers” live albums.
Toured South Korea with the Abbagirls Band. The first show was broadcast live on TV to 6 million viewers, with later gigs at the Olympic Stadium in Seoul.
Asked to form 1940’s “Swing” band for local academy, and backing bands for award winning Elvis Tribute Artists Danny Fisher (for gigs at the Albert Hall) and Pete Storm.
Mike – Bass Guitar & Mandolin
First introduced to Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple amongst lots of other Classic Rock Bands of the seventies at the age of 9 or 10 by my older brother – thanks Rob. The obsession with this music began then and remains to this day.
Started playing music while at school with a bit of guitar and various brass instruments until I settled on the Eb Bass (Tuba).
Played in lots of brass concerts and recorded an album with the brass band while at school but quickly claimed the school music departments new purchase of a bass guitar (a Columbus Jazz Bass) when it arrived.
Joined my first gigging band on leaving school, followed by several others in the 1980’s including “‘Loose Ends” , “Life Line” , “Free Fall” , “In Like Thieves” amongst others
Had a long spell of more years than I should have not playing music at all and becoming “Corporate Mike” – travelling up and down the country working and staying away from home. I eventually dusted off the Rickenbacker when I auditioned for the Deep Purple Tribute Band “Purple”. We have been playing the Deep Purple music we love ever since but the lure of playing some Led Zeppelin was too great and eventually we had to incorporate a Zeppelin set into the show!
Tom – Drums & Percussion
Tom is a UK based drummer and educator and has been teaching drums professionally for over 10 years and playing since 1998. He has worked with a variety of artists including Mikee Goodman (SikTh), The Megadudes, Spirits Of The Twelve and has performed in Ben’s Brother’s video for ‘Stalemate’ featuring Anastacia.
He was the live drummer for Billboard Dance Chart number 1 artist H-Boogie and has toured Japan with rock band Heel. Tom has worked with various record companies and producers including Island, Universal, Robin Baynton (Coldplay, Tom Jones, Nightwish), Alan Bleay (KT Tunstall, The Kooks, Cerys Matthews, Kasabian, The Magic Numbers), Justin Hill (SikTh) and John Hannon (Hundred Reasons).
Heavily influenced by John Bonham, Tom started playing in a rock band at the age of 16 where the first song on the set list was Smoke On The Water. Both Deep Purple & Led Zeppelin have been an influence on Tom from the start and Paice & Bonham’s playing styles continue to be incorporated into Tom’s drumming to this day.
Tom started his professional teaching career with Kent Music School in 2003, going into schools around the county to tutor pupils during school hours. Meanwhile, the number of private students kept growing so Tom decided it was time to step up the content of the lessons by writing a unique syllabus and coming up with a name for it. DrumWise.co.uk has been going strong ever since – with 4 teachers, over 60 students a week and a 100% exam pass rate.
Tom proudly endorses and/or supports Ludwig Drums, Roland, Vater Drumsticks, Protection Racket Cases and Porter & Davies Thrones.