Musical Director, guitar, lapsteel and vocals
When and where were you born?
When did you start to play?
Got my first guitar for Christmas when I was 11 years old, a steel string acoustic. I had a few lessons at school, but didn’t really start playing seriously until I was 13.
Tell us about some of your previous projects.
From the age of 15 I was performing round pubs and clubs all around the North West of England with various bands playing all sorts of music (even some country and western with my father, Yee haw!) From 1985 onwards I played in an original material band for a few years called the Helicopters alongside other members of my large musical family (6 brothers and sisters and 5 of us are musicians) Round about the same time as this I studied music on a number of different courses and at different colleges for 4 years, finishing up at Salford University in 1991. Between 1991 and 1993 I played in another 2 original material bands, one called Voice and the other The Great Henry Ewels, again playing all over the Northwest of England and occasionally further afield. In 1991 I spent 1 month playing a 6 nights a week residency with an acoustic guitar trio in the Naima Jazz club in Istanbul. During 1992/93 I sound engineered all over the UK in venues, theatres and night clubs for The New Sweet Sensation.
I joined the Australian Pink Floyd Show at the beginning of 1994 and over a period of almost 17 years I went on to play close to 1,300 shows all over the world in theatres, halls and arenas such as The Albert Hall, Wembley & O2 arenas in London, the Bell Centre in Montreal and the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles to name a few.
Over the last 10 years I’ve became increasingly interested in the visual production aspects of staging a rock concert and working with Bryan Kolupski have helped produce and direct all the video content for TAPFS shows. Working with my brother Gareth Darlington I also directed all the soundscape programming for the Aussie show. I acted as director for both TAPFS DVD releases and in 2007 I had the privilege of directing John Martyn’s Live at the Round House DVD.
In between the busy touring schedule I’ve developed an ensemble called Acoustic Unlimited which features my brother Gareth Darlington, my sister Johanna Darlington, Rob Stringer and Steve Gaffney my musical mentor. We play an eclectic mix of jazz, Celtic, classical and rock music including some of my own tunes. I’m hoping to go out on the road with that at some point; after all, man cannot live by Pink Floyd alone.
Who are your influences?
Lots of influences. Al di Meola, Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, Antonio Forcione, Mike Oldfield, Rush, Yes, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, It Bites, Francis Dunnery, Tears for Fears, Be Bop Deluxe, The Eagles, Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell, Rickie Lee Jones, Billy Joel, Sting, The Police, John Mayer, Nickel Creek, Chris Thile, The Dixie Dreggs, Little Feat, John Martyn, Nick Drake, The The ...........
If you had to take one album to your desert island, what would it be and why?
Very difficult to limit it to one, so I’m going to be greedy and see if I can get away with taking 6 with me. I think these albums have a lot to do with the musician that I am today.
Mike Oldfield – Ommadawn. Remember hearing this when I was 6 years old and being totally captivated by it.
Al Di Meola, Paco Delucia & John McLaughlin - Friday Night in San Francisco, First heard this when I was 13 years old and thought it was just incredible. It helped give me my love of the acoustic guitar, I just wanted to be able to play like those guys and I’m still trying after all these years.
Pink Floyd – The Wall. First Floyd album I ever heard when I was 14. Thought it was amazing then and still do.
Rush - Exit Stage Left. When I was learning to play electric guitar I used play along to this album from beginning to end. Great guitar parts to learn and great fun playing them when you’re learning.
Pat Metheny Group – Travels. Discovered Pat Metheny when I was 17. Just love him as a composer. Complex Jazz with accessible melody!
Tears for Fears – The Seeds of Love. I think this album is pretty much perfectly written and perfectly recorded. Used to listen to it over and over again when it first came out.
What gear do you tour with?
For all the gear anoraks, I use 2 Fender Strat Plus Deluxe guitars with EMG DG-20 and Roland GK3 midi pickups fitted, a Phillipe Dubreuille custom Strat with Storm Thorgerson designed Dark Side of the Moon artwork, an Ovation Custom Legend acoustic, a Martin GPCPA1 Plus acoustic, a Variax Acoustic 300 Nylon guitar, an Ovation MCS148 Celebrity Deluxe Mandolin and 2 Fouke Industrial Guitar lap steels, 1 tuned to Em and the other tuned to G.
For effects and amplification I use a Fractal Audio Systems Axe FX II XL, a Boss GT Pro, a Roland VG-8, a Roland VG-88, a BBE Acoustimax preamp, a Rocktron Banshee talkbox, an Alesis DEQ-230 graphic EQ and a pair of Matrix Q12 active FRFR speakers.
For vocals I use a Heil PR35 microphone and for monitoring I use Ultimate Ears UE11 ambient in ear monitors.
One obscure interesting fact about yourself.
I had the amazing experience of performing Comfortably Numb alongside Rick Wright at David Gilmour's 50th birthday party.