I started fiddling with guitars in my early teens - there was a old classical guitar knocking around the house that I would try to play David Bowie songs in, following a slowly disintegrating song book. I never really got on with it.
Then a friend of mine decided that he would learn to play bass and bought a rather cheap and dreadful copy of a Gibson EB0. I was hooked. With hindsight, I can see that my dyspraxia made it really hard to deal with chords and lots of strings, while playing one note at a time on 4 strings was a lot easier.
I must have been 15 when I bought my first bass - a horrible copy of a Fender Precision, which I played through my tatty little hi-fi system. I shredded my fingers on that thing ("Played until my fingers bled!" to steal from Brian Adams) but I was able to learn the basics and get hooked.
During this time I just messed about, playing with a couple of friends who had guitars, doing a few Who and Status Quo songs. Easy stuff.
After I left school I bought my next bass, which I still have. It was rather nice to play, with a good tone but not much power behind it. I used this for a couple of years while playing in several bands, sometimes being in 3 at a time. Bass players were in short supply...
One band played a lot of Van Halen, Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, etc.
Another was more Scorpions and Michael Schenker.
Another was all Prog Rock with a synth player in charge. In a way this was the most interesting of the bands as I had a lot of opportunity to do my own thing.
Finally there were a couple of guys who wrote their own, very geeky songs but were only able to practice once in a blue moon. My first gig was with these guys - 3 songs I had never played before in a church hall at a couple of hours notice after their previous bass player decided he wasn't going to do it.
When I was 18, I got The Baby (see photo in the last post). This was a dream to play and finally gave me the power I wanted for playing good rock. My other bands faded away so I joined up with a couple of guys who had previously been in a relatively successful skinhead/punk band and wanted to relaunch things. It soon became clear, though, that only the singer wanted to stick with the punk style, so he left and we recruited another singer who also played some guitar. This became the band that I gigged most with, often on a weekly basis. We played a lot of gigs at a very rustic pub and built up a bit of a following. Probably the best gig we ever did was one New Year's Eve. The place was jammed solid and we played our hearts out. By the end of the evening people were dancing on the tables. It was a great evening. Next day, when we went to collect our amps and stuff the landlord was busy nailing tables back together again - many of them had collapsed under the feet of the revellers. We apologised for the damage, but he was happy enough - the bar had been more or less drunk dry, and the furniture was just make out of old planks so a few nails and all was good again.
The end of this band came when a guy wanted to be our manager and get us bigger gigs. He organised one disasterous gig for us in London. I lost interest and decided that as I was now a parent I should focus on being a bit more sensible. I was never into chasing fame anyway, I just wanted to play some music and have a few beers....