Andy Baker – Guitar and Vocals
It all started for me back in 1972 when, with a mate of mine Andy Lawley, we raided his older sister’s LP collection. I managed to steal a copy of LA Woman by the Doors and Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon by James Taylor and drop them onto a trusty Scotch C90. It got played to death in my state-of-the-art (ha!) Sony cassette player. it wasn’t long before further raids lead to ‘A Nice Pair’ and so to the Floyd.
September 1974 saw me bunk off school for the one and only time to queue for Floyd tickets for Birmingham Hippodrome. The wait from September ’till the gig in December seemed to last a lifetime but eventually the time came. What a show! The whole of Darkside, early versions of Animals and Shine On with Echoes as the encore – it doesn’t get any better and I was hooked.
£25 got me a second-hand Woolies guitar and armed with a copy of ‘Lead Guitar’ by Harvey Vincent, I retired to my bedroom to master the axe. My parents and neighbours were either very tolerant or very deaf. Eventually, having mastered three chords and the first position blues scale, I was ready to gig (well at least I thought so!). Numerous incarnations of school bands followed and a genuine Strat arrived for my 18th birthday present. Uni led to a bit of a lay off on the music front and I didn’t hook up with a band until 1985 where I joined our keyboard and sax player Andy in a jazz rock outfit called Death by Chocolate. In the early 1990′s I played the bike rally circuit with a bluesy power trio called Bad Dog and occasionally with a ‘party’ band called Suck It and See which still knocks out a few tunes now and then at friends parties.
My guitar hero has always been Gilmour as he really seems to connect with the emotion of the guitar. I’m not really a fan of the twiddley-noodly fast school of guitar, much preferring people like Kosoff and BB King.
Darkside has been my main passion for about five years now. My ‘thing’ has always been to try and share some of what I felt back in 1974 and it was clear at the outset that quality of all aspects and integration of the visuals would be key to recreating the feel of Floyd. What those that have only seen the latter day Floyd often miss is that they were an out and out rock band. So much of what I hear in other tributes borders on the cabaret and as the person with the overall vision of the Darkside project, I work hard at making sure we don’t fall into this category. The critical ingredient in Darskide’s success is that we have the right people in the right places with the right attitude and as such I feel very lucky to be working with such a great set of people. At the end of the night it is all about the audience, not us and everything to date says that we are getting it right for them.
Best Gig? – The next one
Best Darkside moment? Chris being mistaken by a fan for the real David G and seeing him try to explain (eventually) that he wasn’t.
Fav Track? – Constantly changes. Usually the one we are working on at the time, but Echoes and On The Turning Away are always personal favourites.
As far as kit is concerned:
- Customised Black Strat with Floyd-Rose locking trem system
- Blue Strat fitted with Lace pickups and locking trem
- Custom Painted Telecaster
- 2 Lap steels in different tunings
- Yamaha 6 string Acoustic
- Norman 6 String Acoustic in open G tuning
- Freshman 12 String Acoustic
- 100W Laney Pro Tube Valve Combo
- Line 6 Combo (Used for the Slide Guitars)
- Boss GT8 Multi Effects
- Big Muff Distortion
- Black Star HT Boost
- Fender Tuning Pedal
- Boss Volume Pedal