8:30 - 11:00 EVERY MONDAY
Leytonstone Ex-Servicemens Club, 2 Harvey Rd E11 3DB
Admission: £2 for jammers / £3 for audience
 Blues Jam Profiles
Phil de Garis
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Phil de Garis
Guitar and Vocals
Are you local?

Yes. fairly so - Wanstead.

Where are you from, originally?

Guernsey, Channel Islands.

What's your tipple?

Jack Daniels & Coke. / Talisker & soda, / Budweiser & friends.

What's your earliest memory?

I've forgotten!

What was the first record you ever bought with your own money?

(Click the label to see an original 1967 promo on youTube)

...and do you still have it?

No - Paul Bowring nicked it & left the island!

Any hobbies/interests?

Apart from guitar? No, no time! (well, current affairs, politics, and the arts generally, music specifically)

Do you remember the very first gig you went to? What was it like?

The first gig was a local band called Ponders End (In Guernsey!) They were an extraordinary band who covered everything from Clapton to Yes, Argent to Deep Purple, CSNY to Zeppelin! They were great musos and fab singers. The guitarist/keys player was incredibly good on both, and had an outstanding voice. For an island 9 miles by 5, it is incredible that such a good band could happen. (They broke up when the guitarist/keys guy went pro and left the island. The others were happy in their jobs, so wouldn't join him).

The first Pro gig was Wishbone Ash in Southampton, June 1971:

They were superb! Andy Powell had a white Firebird that just looked beautiful.

Worst job you've ever had?

See my edition of Derek & Clive Live!

What's your claim to fame (not necessarily musical)?

I was on a recent episode of The Chase, I was once featured perusing postcards in a news feature on Channel Television (Guernsey's local ITV station), and I once auditioned for Smile. I didn't get the job. Some long haired reprobate called Brian May did, with some Herbert called Mercury on vocals and piano. I often wonder what happened to that band...

If you could invite 6 people (past, present or fictional) to a dinner party, who would you choose?
  • Einstein
  • Hitler
  • Lee Harvey Oswald
  • Jack Ruby
  • Liz Hurley
  • My Nan
Been playing/performing long?

Around 40 years - so just a beginner, really!

Been in any bands?

In the 70s I was in a local band called Trucker, (we were quite well known in the Ilford, Romford, Stratford corridor) and many others before and since.

What first got you interested in the Blues?

Clapton. When I heard the solo from "Badge", it was the first piece of music that moved me to tears, other than Tchaikovsky.

What other types of music do you like to listen to/play?

Jazz, Country, Classic Rock.

Favourite Blues artist?

Clapton, Peter Green, Clapton, BB King, Clapton, Paul Kossoff, Derek from the Dominoes, Albert King, Clapton, Freddie King, Clapton, Leadbelly, Clapton, and finally, Eric Clapton. (Did I mention Clapton?)

Favourite artists (any other genre) ?

Chick Corea, Al di Meola, John Miles, Elton John, Herbert von Karajan, David Cassidy.

Ever been lucky enough to meet or share a stage with one of your musical heroes?

Yes. The first band I ever saw locally in Guernsey had a superb guitarist (see above) who I finally got to jam with some 25 years later in Warrington (I hadn't started playing when I lived on the island). I was so honoured that he asked me to stay on a bit and jam some more. It seemed to endorse my playing in a way that not much else has before or since.

Favourite instruments and/or equipment?

I once had a Gibson Les Paul R7 Gold Top 1957 re-issue from 1997:

It was (allegedly) one from a consignment to Gary Moore that he sent to Music Ground in Doncaster to sell on his behalf. That guitar was by some way the very best sounding and playing guitar I have ever held, played or owned. A nasty tax bill forced me to sell it, and the guy who owns it now won't sell it back to me. If I ever won the lottery, it would be the first thing I would try to buy. Whatever he wanted, he would get.

I would also persuade Dr Andy Turnpenny of Blind Dog amps to build me a Bluesbreaker combo clone. I once had one of his Marshall JTM45 clones, and it was a thing of sonic beauty. It went the same way as Goldie, so I would team them up again and I would be a very happy bunny indeed!

If you had to sum up your relationship with the Blues using just one word,
what would it be?

Fraught. Unsuccessful. Frustrating. Etc.

Who would you pick (past or present) for your dream band?
  • Billy Cobham - Drums
  • Stanley Clarke - Bass
  • Steve Winwood - Keys+Vocals
  • Stevie Wonder - Harmonica, Keys+Vocals
  • David Coverdale - Vocals
  • '66 era Clapton - Guitar
Most embarrassing moment?

Italian female audience; split jeans; no shreddies. I'm not saying any more.

Proudest moment!

Apart from my wife & kids? Nearly getting set of the week a couple of weeks ago!

What do you most enjoy about the blues jam?

I can make a complete paper hat of myself, and it doesn't matter.

If you could travel back in time to be present at one moment/event in musical history, what would it be?

Any of the great festivals from the 60's, when you could get Cream, Traffic, and Jethro Tull on the same bill.

Who would they cast to play you in the movie of your life?

Eddie Izzard.

Marmite: - Yes or No?


*(But my wife and kids love it.)

If you were invited on "Desert Island Discs", which 8 records would you choose?
  1. Layla - Derek & The Dominoes  (Well, what else?)
  2. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen  (An extraordinary song and arrangement.)
  3. Every Day - Buddy Holly  (Slap-your-thighs, vibes and a sublime vocal.)
  4. Unchain My Heart - Joe Cocker's 90s version with horns etc.  (Soul!)
  5. Steppin' Out - John Mayall's Bluesbreakers/Clapton  (If this doesn't move you, you're already dead.)
  6. Music Man - John Miles  (Great voice, great tune, great solo.)
  7. Your Song - Elton John - Tumbleweed Connection version  (What a performance of a beautiful song...)
  8. In My Life - The Rod Stewart version  (Likewise.)
...and what would be your luxury item?

Liz Hurley.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Keep your chin up!

Go on - tell us a secret!

I am a black belt in Wu Shu Kwan Kung Fu (honestly!)

I am painfully shy - I always ask to go on early at the jams, so I can slope off after making a complete arse of myself on stage. (I don't really "have to go to work", which is the excuse I always use).

No band I have ever been in has let me anywhere near a mic. The only time I get to sing is at the jam nights! (Well, have you heard me sing?)