I started playing when I was about 12 or 13ish, when my Dad saw me mimicking Billy Duffy in the video for Lil' Devil, fooling around with an old acoustic guitar that had been in the house for a while (I don't know where it came from, nobody else in the family played). He arranged for me to have a couple of lessons with Shaun Kirkpatrick of Bronz fame who lived near to us at the time. He showed me the basic chords and then I went off on my own to become mostly self taught.
Considering that happened purely because I was fooling around one afternoon, it had a pretty big effect on me. I'd never considered playing an instrument before that day and didn't really have a style of music or any definable image. Following those initial lessons, I started listening to more & more guitar music (mainly Guns N Roses & Iron Maiden at the time), grew my hair and started the journey to becoming who I am now (although the hair has now gone - I don't think there's a single guy in my whole family over the age of 30 who hasn't lost his hair!!).
Even though I never really spent huge amounts of time practicing and have never been as dedicated as I should have been, I think I did a pretty good job of teaching myself over the years. I was always mostly a rhythm player but could knock out the occasional solo when I needed to. I also think it was good that I was playing an acoustic for several years before I got my first electric as this gives you a very different playing style.
I played in a few local bands throughout the 90's, usually rhythm guitar, but there was a couple where I was the bassist, and I ended up singing in some of them. I did the odd bit of lead guitar in some of them just so I had to push myself in this area, although it was always a carefully selected song which wasn't too far beyond my abilities. None of the bands lasted very long and usually only got as far as one or two gigs.
In the early 2000's I got married and my wife and I formed a covers band with some people we met through her brother. We played a few gigs before I split up with my wife and left the band. It was around this time I recorded my first batch of self-penned songs (to be blogged in more detail as My Musical History - Part 2: Run Around In Circles).
Shortly after this I went through my longest phase of not playing - there had been several shorter periods over the years where I wouldn't play for a month or two, but I think I went about 6 months this time. I realised it was because I'd reached a point where I wasn't progressing so I decided to find a teacher and see where that could take me. I had about half a dozen lessons with Rob 'The Monkeylord' Chapman (also known as 'Chappers'), and in those few weeks he taught me enough that I'm still learning from it now.
He also set me off on the path to my next musical phase, to be blogged as My Musical History - Part 3: Monnae.
Once that one is written, I'll start blogging about my current activities.