“How did you get into music?”
Q: Do you come from a musical background?
A: Kind of. My mother had, and still does have a very nice singing voice, my dad liked music very much, opera in particular, (I never did find out why). We always had a piano in the house, although no one actually seemed to play it, I think my dad thought it was a nice bit of furniture! My two elder brothers both played acoustic guitar, mostly blues finger-picking style, but it really was just a hobby for them.
Q: Did you try to play their guitars?
A: Yes, but very badly I’m afraid. The strings were like cheese wire that cut into my fingers, and there were too many of them. I found it almost impossible to contort my fingers to fit those peculiar chord shapes. I thought it was pretty cool having guitars in the house, and brothers that could play them, but I decided to leave well alone!
Q: What music was being played in your home that you can remember when you were young?
A: For some reason, unbeknown to me, my father was keen on operatic music. I remember hearing Peggy Lee, Perry Como and Andy Williams. I also heard The New Seekers, The Carpenters, Simon & Garfunkel, and Glenn Miller. My brother’s had albums by Joni Mitchell, Cream and Jimi Hendrix, but I wasn’t quite ready for them at that time.
Q: Apart from attempting to play your brother’s guitars, what were your other early musical experiences?
A: As a young kid, I had a good singing voice and I always got picked to sing in the school choir. When I was ten I joined the local church choir and stayed there for about eight years.
“When did you start reading music?”
Q: Could you read music in the school choir?
A: I could follow the basic melody line, this was helped by knowing some of those hymns off by heart, then my voice broke and I sang alto for a while, and eventually I was told it was time to stand with the gentlemen of the lower end! So I was actually singing bass parts way before I was playing them.
Q: How did you finally get to play a musical instrument?
A: At secondary school I wanted to learn to play the saxophone, I think the reason for this was that the music I really liked at the time was all the Two Tone stuff, like The Specials, The Beat, Selecta and Madness etc. and they always seemed to have sax players in those bands. I just thought it was such a cool instrument. Sadly, I was informed there was no sax available [in the school]. Then, at a parent and teacher open evening, I spotted a trombone. Being a keen fan of the ridiculous and the absurd, I was intrigued by this bizarre looking collection of plumbing. However, someone had already claimed it. Finally, I was offered the euphonium, which I gave up after six months. Not only was I reluctant to play that particular instrument but also I had enough foresight, even at the tender age of twelve, to realize playing the euphonium was going to have an adverse effect on my love life!
Q: So what drew you into music?
A: I wasn’t a great academic, I wasn’t enjoying any of the subjects I’d chosen and I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I left school. I was lost! So maybe out of desperation, though I honestly can’t remember, I decided at 14 to have one last try at learning a musical instrument. Once more I picked the trombone, I was still fascinated by it more than any other instrument. Amazingly the visiting trombone teacher didn’t want to take me on because he thought I was too old to start! 14 and already past it! I convinced him I’d work hard and he began to teach me.
Q: What was it like finally getting to play an instrument of your choice?
A: It was fantastic; I took to the trombone straight away; it felt right in my hands. I loved the way it sounded. I particularly liked the idea of having no fixed positions to stop the slide at to produce a note. I’ve always liked a challenge. Maybe this had something to do with me being drawn to the fretless bass guitar and acoustic upright bass further down the line.
“When did you start playing bass?”
Q: So when and how did you come to play bass?
A: In 1980 when I was 16, one of the bands I was in needed a bass player. For some reason I’d been observing bass players I was playing with, including one in a stage band playing hip stuff like Steely Dan tunes, and another in a funk band playing Earth, Wind & Fire-type of stuff. I remember thinking what a cool instrument it was, and I was definitely being drawn to it. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved the trombone, but it just wasn’t as cool as the bass guitar. Maybe it was also because of some time spent on my brother’s guitars, I don’t know, but I volunteered to play bass.
Q: Was it a big help already being able to read music at a high level when moving on to the bass guitar?
A: Most definitely, because most of my early bass playing involved reading written parts. As a trombonist I’d had to read four clefs, treble, alto, tenor and of course bass., and the music in orchestras in particular could be extremely difficult. So I was easily able to handle any bass part that was put in front of me. This helped me greatly when I turned professional at 18, because at that time bass players were not known for being good readers or sight-readers.
Q: Did you have a bass teacher?
A: No, there was no one around, so I bought a couple of early bass method books, one by a woman named Valda Hammick and one by Laurence Canty. This helped a great deal, but my biggest education came from watching live gigs, and checking the bass players on TV programmes such as The Old Grey Whistle Test, Top of The Pops and of course, The Tube. (Thank you Jools!)
Q: Can you remember the first bass line you learned by ear?
A: Indeed I can, it was ‘One Step Beyond’ by Madness.
Q: And all those years later, you actually got to play with Suggs
A: Yeah, but sadly we didn’t play that tune, which is a shame because I remember it perfectly well.
Q: How did you discover your first bass hero?
A: In my mid-teens I was into all the great funk bands, Earth Wind & Fire, Kool & the Gang, Lynx, Shakatak, Light of the World etc. and of course, as a bass player then, you couldn’t help but listen to Level 42. Oh yes, I’ve done a bit of slap & tickle in my time! However, I wasn’t really into jazz, and certainly knew nothing about it. But the turning point came when a trombonist friend of mine lent me an album and said ‘you’re learning the bass, you should check the guy out on this record, you won’t believe what he’s doing.’ And he wasn’t wrong! The album was Night Passage, the band, Weather Report. And the bass player was of course Jaco Pastorius. My bass hero had finally arrived, and I’ve never been the same since!
Q: What about the double bass?
A: My trombone teacher was also a fixer (someone paid to find suitable musicians – or sometimes not – for various, shows, gigs etc.) in and around the Midlands. Being the shrewd fellow he was, realizing I had potential to become a good working bassist, he suggested I take up double bass too. This would result in me getting a lot more work, and him having to do less work finding a good double bass player. And what excellent advice it was.
Q: Did you study upright bass with anyone?
A: Not really, certainly not at the beginning. But I did buy the Simandl bass method books, and I had one or two lessons with a local bass-playing priest! Other than that, I was on my own.
“When did you become a professional musician?”
Q: Can you actually remember the moment you turned pro?
A: Not really, I just did it. It was all freelance work, gigs, shows, radio jingles, TV themes, sessions etc. I picked up session work very quickly because of my sight-reading skills. I really enjoyed the discipline of having to read and interpret charts. I was also playing in a couple of funk bands, but I was earning a better living by having music put in front of me.
Q: Were you playing any jazz?
A: I was playing in big bands, but for me there was little room for improvisation. I guess I could have gone looking for jazz gigs, and sat in with people, but I was earning a good living and had a good reputation doing what I was doing. So at that time I was playing three instruments and I just realized I was getting much more work as a bass player, there was nothing wrong with my trombone playing, but there was obviously more call for bass players, especially guys who could read. So for the next few years, I continued to live and work in the Midlands, but then started to get calls to work abroad and travel around the world and travel the world I did, several times over.
Q: What was your formative experience with getting to grips with improvising and jazz, etc.?
A: I guess it didn’t really start until I moved to London at the end of 1988. I’d had enough of all the gigs and work I’d been involved with up till that point. I wanted to be playing creative music, improvising, working with jazz musicians. It was a big risk to take because I knew I would be practically starting from scratch in a new town, and new environment, but I had to do it. I made a promise to myself not to take on any work that resembled what I’d been doing previously. I needed a fresh start, so I went to jam sessions, and did as many jazz gigs as I could, but my ears were not that well developed, so I spent all my time learning jazz standards, listening to jazz recordings, transcribing bass lines and solos, and studying jazz harmony. It was hard work, and I was playing with musicians that I was sometimes intimidated by, but it was all part of the steep learning curve. I also took some bass lessons with Michael Moore, a wonderful jazz double bassist from America who was living over here at the time. We covered everything from left hand technique, thumb position, bowing, melodic playing, I wish I’d known him ten years earlier.
“How did you start playing with Jools Holland?”
Q: How did you get the Jools Holland gig?
A: Around that time Jools was out gigging with a very small band, he’d been using Pino (Palladino) and Keith Wilkinson, the bass player with Squeeze. He then hired some horn players to fill out the sound. I knew one of these guys (Phil, a tenor sax player) from doing jazz gigs with him. Phil came up to me one day and told me that Jools was looking for a new bass player, but unlike Pino and Keith, he really wanted someone who played double Bass. Phil asked me if I fancied going for it, and I said sure, why not.
Q: Did you have to audition for the gig?
A: Yeah, I went to Jools’ recording studio in Blackheath where I met him and Mark the guitarist. The three of us just jammed.
Q: Did you get the gig there and then?
A: Actually when we finished jamming, Jools said “that sounds great, but we still have some other bass players to see” and I thought ‘there’s a brush off if ever I’ve heard one.’ Then as I packed my bass away, he and the guitarist went outside. About five minutes later, they came back, and Jools said “you’ve got the gig, the tour starts in just over a month, we’d better get a tape to you of some songs to learn!”
Q: So there were no written charts?
A: No, only myself and the horn section read written notation and they all take it in turns to do the band’s arrangements, but unlike the rhythm section, they all read charts on the gig. On rare occasions I’ll be given a bass part, or a chord sheet, but as Jools, the drummer, guitarist and organist don’t read, we learn the songs from a CD, or Jools will play it on piano and we’ll just pick it up. I prefer to learn the songs by ear; because if you start using a chart, it’s possible you can become dependent on it.
Q: Did joining Jools Holland’s band take some getting used to with it being such a high profile gig?
A: The biggest challenge joining Jools’ band was not about coping with the high profile nature of it, I was never phased by playing with a famous or prestigious artist, the first and biggest problem I faced was trying to amplify the double bass at high volumes on stage. Whatever pickup or outboard gear I used, it would feedback. I spent a lot of time, money and energy looking for an answer to this. So I had someone mount an EMG Fender Precision pickup on to the end of the fingerboard. It was a revelation! I now had plenty of volume with no feedback. The only downside was, the bass now sounded like a giant fretless bass guitar, but at least I could hear the damn thing, and my fingers didn’t bleed anymore!
“How did you switch from upright to bass guitar in Jools Holland’s band?”
Q: When and how did you finally come to play bass guitar in the band?
A: Well the first time I used it, it got rejected! One of my earliest TV appearances with Jools was a show for Amnesty International. We were the house band and we had to play for Lisa Stansfield, Mica Paris, Sam Brown (before she became a permanent member) Rick Astley and Desree. Mica did ‘I Put A Spell On You’ so I thought “OK, double bass will be good for that” but the rest of the songs, as far as I was concerned, had to be on bass guitar. This was not only because of the style of music, but the original bass parts were either played on a synth, or a five string bass. Either way, I needed those low B’s C’s & D’s. The only bass I had at the time with a low B was a Ken Smith six string. Jools didn’t like it one bit! Didn’t like the sound, the look, or the vibe, so I did the whole show on double bass. It went fine I guess, but my nose was a little out of joint, though I had adapted the bass parts and everyone seemed happy.
Q: Didn’t a similar thing happen during the filming of Chris Evans ‘Don’t forget your Toothbrush’ on Channel 4?
A: That really was the big turning point in me switching to bass guitar. That show was broadcast ‘live’ so the band were under an enormous amount of pressure. If one of us screwed up while playing for, say, Roger Daltry, the whole nation heard it right there and then in their homes. And Roger wouldn’t have been too pleased either! Anyway, I’d been using the double bass for all the shows, which kept Jools happy. Then, one week the guest was Chaka Khan. I couldn’t believe it! I was, and still am a huge fan of hers, this was a dream come true for me. The two songs she wanted to do were ‘I’m Every Woman” and ‘Ain’t Nobody’. I thought “Great” but there is no way I was going to play those songs on double bass. I told Jools, but he wasn’t thrilled by the idea.
Q: Why? Surely he must have realized the bass guitar was the more suitable choice?
A: His feeling was, the band had its own sound, its own identity, he didn’t want us to be yet another characterless, generic TV house band. I totally understood and appreciated what he was saying but in this instance, when I’m about to play for one of my all-time favorite artists live on TV, I had to stand my ground, and I did. So that night I played my white 77/78 Fender Jazz. The only other dilemma was what to do about the low E flats in ‘Ain’t Nobody’? First of all I thought about detuning the E string, which would of course change the positioning of all the other notes on that string. I hadn’t done much detuning in the past, and this hardly seemed the ideal time to be experimenting! So I used a Boss Octave pedal, and played the line up the octave. I kept the pedal on for ‘I’m Every Woman’ to get the synth sound that was on the remixed version we had been given on cassette. Yes, that’s right, cassette! All went well, and Chaka was thrilled, as I know we all were.
“What’s your approach to playing so many high – profile sessions with famous world musicians?”
Q: You’ve played with so many amazing guests on various TV shows, live on stage, and on record, what’s your approach to making someone like George Benson, or Eric Clapton for example, feel comfortable and fulfilling all their expectations?
A: One of the things I’ve observed over the years is, a lot of these artists can be more nervous than the band. Yes, they’re playing songs they’ve either written or have performed many times with their own band, but coming on to Jools’ show or recording in his studio with us is a new experience for them. So there are certain key things to bear in mind that all musicians should be aware of. Firstly, take pride in your physical appearance. Your demeanor is equally important; you need to be courteous, and polite, professional but not over friendly. Then there is your instrument, if the artist is used to working with a double bass, then I’ll attempt to play mine, if they’re used to someone using a Fender bass, then turning up with a seven string bass with all gold hardware and flashing LED’s might just freak them out! You also need to be open to suggestions from them, and if they’re having an off day, you need to be encouraging and positive. If we are recording a cover, initially I will transcribe and learn the original bass part note for note, this is a good starting point, as they will be used to hearing that already. If they want exactly what’s on the original, then that’s what they’ll get, but if they want me to make the bass part my own, I’ll try a few things out on each run through, until I get their approval. The main thing is to make the artist feel comfortable in this somewhat alien environment, and make them feel like they’ve been working with you for years.
I have to add, one time we were in Jools’ studio waiting for Eric Clapton, ready to record a track for a new album. When we heard he’d arrived, Jools went to open the large wooden gates to let him in. Unfortunately, Jools let go of one of them, which slammed into the side of Eric’s new Ferrari. Ouch! The rest of us of course were not aware of this at the time, but in hindsight, it did explain Eric’s solemn appearance that day. Not the best way to start a session!
Q: Being Jools’s bass player means you really have to on the ball, and be aware of what’s going on in every musical situation. Can give some examples?
A: I’m sure we’ve all had experiences of getting carried away, lost in the moment etc. but on a TV show, playing with an artist you’re not used to, you really have to keep your wits about you, because during rehearsals things can constantly change, and frequently do. During my recent performance with Paul Simon on Wristband, he performed the song slightly differently each and every time we ran through it during rehearsals and on the live TV show itself! The song has a very prominent bass line and I had to stick with his vocals, which resulted in me having to skip bars, add bars in etc.. to keep the song on track. That’s a lot of pressure on a live TV broadcast, but then I do like a challenge!
If the artist gets lost, you have to be able to give them visual or musical clues, preferably subtle ones. Also if they forget a verse or go to the middle eight too early, you need to be experienced and confident enough to go with them, to avoid what we in the business refer to as a “Train Crash.” When we record an album or a TV show, I’m very conscientious about my role and I’ve become, I guess, a ‘ghost’ musical director for the rhythm section. I will often be asked, “remind me of the tempo of this tune” by the drummer, or “what are those chords in the middle eight?” by the guitarist, and even “what key is this song in” by Jools himself, who of course has more than enough on his mind actually hosting the show, let alone playing for ten or more artists. I will usually transcribe every bass part that I will be playing and if I have the time. I will learn them off by heart, but if it’s a particularly complex song or bass part, and/or I haven’t had much time to learn it, I will use the transcription on the show. A good example of this was on the 2005/ 2006 Hootenanny New Year’s Eve Show. We were playing for Corrine Bailey Rae who decided she wanted to sing Stevie Wonder’s ‘For Once In My Life’ instead of one of her own songs. It has a fantastic bass part by the legendary James Jamerson, which I transcribed meticulously note for note. There was no time to learn it, and it’s such a classic line that I didn’t want to improvise my own version and spoil it (laughs). So I used the music on the show and read the whole thing. The key here is not to make it look too obvious that you’re reading from a chart, so be subtle, but just don’t lose your place!
“Have you worked with any or your musical heroes?”
Q: Out of the huge list of people you’ve been lucky enough to play with – who have been the ones that afterwards you’ve just gone “Wow, I just played with…?”
A: Well, it’s a long list now, but the one’s that always spring to mind are George Benson, Chaka Khan and Al Jarreau. I think that’s because they were three of my all-time favorite artists when I was younger, and they still are. I loved listening to my brothers Simon & Garfunkel records as a kid, and my friend & I used to sing along to all the tracks. Little did I know that one day in the future I would be playing with Paul Simon on TV! If you ask different members of the band, I’m sure you’ll get completely different answers. When you actually get to play with these people, it’s such a surreal experience. You’ve been listening to, and admiring them for years, but when you play with them, you really have to keep your cool. Sometimes afterwards you just think, “Oh, my God, did we just do that?” Though I discovered Al Jarreau in person was a wonderful, kind and warm human being.
We recorded a track with Brian Eno, and again it’s a bizarre situation because I’m a big fan of his also and have most of his albums, and here I am, never met the guy before, sitting next to him in the studio having a laugh, and about to record a song for the next album! You just have to be professional and get on with it. Without sounding blasé, you do get used to it.
Q: Who would you like to work with that you haven’t already?
A: Without any hesitation I would have to say Stevie Wonder, he’s the Guv’nor. I would also love to play with kd Lang and Alison Goldfrapp, I’m a huge fan of them both.
“How do you choose the right bass for each gig or studio session?”
Q: Do you change your technique around for the different sounds required?
A: Yeah, the majority of the set I’m literally just using my thumb, and/or a combination of my thumb and my first two fingers, still muting the strings with the side of my hand, and other times I’m just playing normal finger style because we do a couple of rockier, funkier tunes in the set also. I have been known to play with a pick! (For example with Belinda Carlisle and the Go Gos). Over the years, Jools has come to love, and prefer the sound of a muted bass guitar with flatwound strings to the sound of the real acoustic bass, but having said that in the studio it’s slightly different. In that environment Jools likes us all playing live in one room and doesn’t like anybody recording their parts separately if we can help it. So because I’m in the room with him, the horn section and drums, all with open mikes, I can’t have my bass going through an amp, as the sound would bleed in to any other mics in the room. The answer then is for me to record everything on bass guitar through a D.I. box, and use headphones to hear myself. Jools then goes and listens to it afterwards and decides whether or not that particular track would sound better re-recorded on double bass. This is great for me because I then have the chance to either play exactly what I have already played or I get the opportunity to be more adventurous and enhance my previous bass line. I’ll then go in on a separate day, with just myself and the producer in the control room. This way, we can record my double bass using a microphone, which is crucial for picking up the true acoustic sound of the bass. We also take a DI from the pickup as well so we can mix the two signals together if need be. So I’m there in a room on my own, on a separate day, re-doing my parts.
Q: Do you think people sometimes get obsessed with trying new gear all the time?
A: I think you’ve got to be careful because you can go crazy changing gear too often. At some point you’ve got to find something and stick with it for a while – don’t get caught up with changing your gear every time something new comes out, because you’ll get to a point where you don’t like anything! I’ve done it myself, all of a sudden you end up changing everything at once; your strings, pickups, leads, amps, speakers. It’s horrible! The other thing is, if you get fed up with or grow tired of a piece of equipment, or a bass, try not to get rid of it straight away. If you can afford to stick it in a cupboard or attic for a while, even years, do it! You may surprise yourself down the line and think how cool it would be to dig it out and use it again. I retired my wonderful, extremely well-traveled, but sadly, much abused Polytone Mini Brute III combo 15 years ago. Dug it out last year, had it cleaned up, with a few adjustments, and now it sounds better than ever. I use it all the time!
Q: In a way it’s probably better to have less instruments, because you have to make certain choices, especially in terms of performing?
A: As you can see from my bass collection, I have quite a few instruments at my disposal, the reason for this (apart from my obsessive, compulsive nature), is I have to cover a number of playing styles on Jools’ TV and radio shows, and although I wish I could use just one or two basses, it’s not that simple! I need to have some basses strung with Flatwounds and others with Roundwounds. I’ll use a five string with a ‘low B’ one day and one with a ‘high C’ the next.
“What amps do you use and why?”
Q: You use Aguilar amps – it seems to suit that gig because they are versatile and powerful.
A: Well now that I’ve switched to Aguilar gear I couldn’t be happier. So far I’ve been using a DB751 with a DB412 cab and the sound reproduction is incredible. It’s so muscular and musical at the same time. As the house bassist on ‘Later….with Jools Holland’ I need amplification that is reliable, looks great and brings out the best in all my basses whether acoustic or electric. Now that I’m using Aguilar it’s job done!
“What do you practice and how does your technique change from upright and electric bass?”
Q: In terms of your playing did you spend time when you were getting into your jazz stuff really woodshedding?
A: These days when I’m not on tour, I try to spend a lot of my time playing the double bass. Also, because I don’t tour with the acoustic, it gets left at home a lot and it’s not the kind of instrument that you can spend too much time away from. What’s the old saying? If you miss one day’s practice you notice, miss two days practice your band mates notice, miss three days practice and everybody notices! And it’s true with the upright bass because it’s such a demanding instrument.
Q: In terms of playing both instruments – what is it like switching from acoustic bass to electric – do you have to make any big adjustments? Or was electric so much easier because it takes less physical power to play it?
A: The double bass is, and always will be, a more physically demanding instrument. Most bass guitarists who think that switching over to it to get more gigs will be a piece of cake are in for a shock! It’s a whole different discipline. By all means try it and find out. But it’s not for the faint hearted. To play the acoustic bass well, you have to be extremely dedicated. Over the years the action has come down on my double bass, (it used to be much higher) and this make it much easier to play. And of course, after a long session of playing the upright, the bass guitar feels like a toy!
“Did you ever play with Squeeze?”
Q: Where you ever a member of Squeeze?
A: Yes, for one night only! I got a call from Glenn Tilbrook in the summer of 97 asking me if I was available to do a gig with Squeeze on New Year’s Eve, as the bass player at the time wasn’t available. I’d worked with Glenn and Chris Difford before, so I thought it would be fun. I asked Glenn to send me some tapes of all the songs they did. Unfortunately, he took longer than I’d hoped and I received them on the evening of the 30th December! We had a rehearsal the next day at 4pm, so I knew the only way I was going to learn approx 28 songs, was to stay up most of the night.
I then went out and got a takeaway to keep me going, but either the food was dodgy or I had a stomach bug, but I spent the rest of the night in the loo being violently ill.
I almost called Glenn up to say I couldn’t do the gig, but being the old pro that I am, I dragged myself to the cassette player and started to work out the songs, making rough notes and charts. I was convinced there was no way I was going to be able to learn all those songs feeling that ill, in that short space of time.
The next day I did the rehearsal and the gig looking like death warmed up, I got through it ok but I felt awful and when I came off stage, I virtually collapsed! They all seemed pleased, but not one of my best experiences!
“What Gear do you use?”
Bass Guitar strings, picks & MXR Pedals:
Bass cases, straps & backpack ‘flyby’:
John East – Pre amps:
Double bass pickup ‘full circle pickup’ & Platinum Pro EQ Analog Pre amp:
Aguilar – Amp, Pickups:
DB751 amp, DB410 cabinet (touring rig):
Tone hammer 500 Amp
Two SL 112’s cabinets (studio set-up):
Make and provide all of Dave’s double bass strings:
Monique all valve preamp/ DI
Porter and Davis:
KT (Kinetic transfer) platform
Double Bass Mic
The Bass Centre:
“Which artists have you played with?”
A list of every artist Dave Swift has worked with:
Andrew Roachford (Roachford)
Badly Drawn Boy
Ben E. King
Beth Nielsen Chapman
Big Joe Lewis
Billy J Kramer
Blind Boys of Alabama
Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream)
Cee Lo Green
Cerys Matthews (Catatonia)
Charles and Eddie
Charlie Wilson (The Gap Band)
Corinne Bailey Rae
Dame Cleo Laine
Dennis Greaves & Mark Feltham (Nine Below Zero)
Dr Robert (The Blow monkeys)
Florence Welch (Florence and the Machine)
Fran Healy (Travis)
Green Gartside (Scritti Politti)
Gregg Allman (The Allman Brothers)
Hall and Oates
Hue and Cry
Huey Morgan (Fun Lovin’ Criminals)
James Dean Bradfield (Manic Street Preachers)
Jay K (Jamiroquai)
Julian Lennon Charlie Wood
Kelly Jones (Stereophonics)
Lee Thompson (Madness)
Lianne La Havas
Little Big Town
Marcella Detroit (Shakespears Sister)
Martha Reeves and the Vandellas
Marty Pellow (Wet Wet Wet)
Mary Chapin Carpenter
Mary J Blige
Mike Scott (Waterboys)
Mutya Buena (ex Sugababes)
Natasha Kahn (Bat For Lashes)
Nick Mason (Pink Floyd)
Paul Heaton & David Rotheray (The Beautiful South)
Pauline Black & Gaps Hendrickson (The Selector)
Ricky Ross (Deacon Blue)
Rod Argent & Colin Blunstone (The Zombies)
Roisin Murphy (Moloko)
Sharleen Spiteri (Texas)
Shingai Shoniwa (Noisettes)
Simon Le Bon
The Finn Brothers
Thomas Solomon Gray
Tommy Scott (SPACE)
Toots Hibbert (Toots and the Maytals)
Vic & Bob
Jim Kerr (Simple Minds)