1982: I began playing guitar at age 14, practiced every night for months, then sold my guitar to buy a leather jacket. (Oopps!)

1984: I was asked to join a band with my friends and the only option left was to be the singer. I went for it but fancied hiding behind a guitar, so I bought another one. A few weeks later I had re-learned a few chords and had my first band rehearsal with 'Bizarre Alternatives'.

bizarre Bizarre Alternatives '85
(The little speaker on the chair has since been upgraded!)

The first thing I realized was I had a rubbish voice. The second thing was, that if I wanted to be in a band, I'd better get good at playing guitar instead. I became heavily influenced by such great players as Gary Moore and Randy Rhoads and fell in love with the instrument.
I spent the next four years studying, six hours a day, seven days a week. No pubs. No girlfriends. No TV Just guitar. Sad? Maybe. Worth giving up my late teens? Yes.
I remember hearing someone saying at the time "In life, you must find out what you are good at and what you enjoy doing. If God is smiling on you, it will be the same thing." I also remember a line from an episode of 'Kung Fu'- "If one's words are not better than silence, then one should be silent." but I digress.

1987: During art college I found some like minded musicians and formed 'Mask'. We played some Ozzy songs and a few songs by Rush. This was the first time I had played through a Marshall amp and was hooked straight away! The only live performance we did was in my living room during my 18th birthday party!

mask 500_college059 Mask rehearsing '87

1989: After four years of hard study, I felt ready and auditioned for a local Stourbridge band called 'Urgent'. When we finished playing the first song, the singer said "You're hired!" My hard work had paid off. I was in a band with the best local musicians around and did my first gig with them two weeks later.


urgent01 Urgent at the YWCA in Stourbridge '89

This band lasted about a year until the singer left to go on tour with 'Neds Atomic Dustbin' as sound engineer. He was hard to replace, so we split up and I went to Tenerife to play in bars for a few months. Here, I did my first guitar lesson in a dodgy apartment for 500pts. (about £2.50 at the time) I jammed with the guitarist from 'Showaddywaddy', repeatedly drove on the wrong side of the road and nearly trashed a car when I left the handbrake off on a steep road.

1990: Came back from Tenerife and met bass player 'James Rudge' and joined what was left of his band 'Tilt'. It was just a 'show off' band, so we showed off, got it out of our system and became more mature musicians because of it. We did a few local gigs under the name of 'Abuse'

abuse Bret-Vocals, Des -Guitar, Jim- Bass, Simon Drums
Abuse '90

In 1990 I got a phone call from bass player Dom asking me to join his band.We rehearsed and became 'Shed'. Our singer was the drummer from 80's rock band 'Shy'.

shed02 Dom- Bass, Jason- Drums, Alan- vocals, Des- Guitar. Shed at Christophers night club '90

1991: While rehearsing with Abuse, I bumped into Neil Brown, the other guitarist from my 'Urgent' days and we decided to mould the two bands into one and 'Big Trouble' was born. We stayed together for 7 years.

bt Big Trouble '91

During the seven years with BT, I was involved in various other projects.

1994: Recorded several songs for Bhangra band The Sahotas debut album 'The right Time' on the EMI label.

sahotas The Sahotas album and single covers '94

The single 'Out of reach' was released which entered the pop charts and the 'B' side stayed at number one in the Asian charts for a record number of weeks.
We did a nationwide tour with one of Britain's most successful reggae bands 'Aswad' and I also played many Bhangra shows with them up and down the country.
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1995: Mukhtar Sahota (The keyboard player from 'The Sahotas') and I wrote and recorded four instrumental songs, fusing Asian music with rock.
The demo gained a favourable review and featured on the CD of UK guitar magazine 'Guitar Techniques' and scored 'demo of the month' in brum beat magazine.

demo Brum Beat review '95[readon url="index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=78&Itemid=90"]Hear the songs[/readon]


1995: Joined a Thin Lizzy tribute band called 'Dizzy lizzy', with Brian Tatler of 80's metal band Diamond Head. We played two or three times a week for the next year.
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lizzy Dizzy Lizzy '95

1997: After that I had an audition with a local cover band called 'Oringe'. After the audition, two great things happened. I got the gig and we all saw a U.F.O. outside the studio.
A very versatile and talented band, doing covers from David Bowie, Tears for Fears, James Brown, to U2, Free and Jamiroquai.

Next I got a call from 70's tribute band Ballroom Glitz to fill in for a gig that their guitarist couldn't do.
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glitz Me with Ballroom Glitz playing at the aftershow party of
a Uriah Heep gig at Shepherds Bush Empire 2001

I did the gig about a week later and continued to guest with them until 2002, when I felt it was time to move on and concentrate on my own projects.

1998: Now Big Trouble had become Nervous Pills and things had changed. We were trying our best to write material that we thought would sell and not concentrating on what we did best. Rock music.
Our drummer left the band and we had such a hard time finding a replacement, that when we finally found someone who could do the job, (the outragous Mike Tongue) we all agreed that if any other member left, then that would be the end.
We continued to write, record and gig but it came to a point where I felt I had gone as far as I could go with this band and left. The band spilt the following week.

2003: Formed Ozzy Osbourne tribute band with Jim and Calvert from Big Trouble, the multi-talented Andy Vargo on keyboards and J.P "Izzy Osbourne" as Ozzy.
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Feb' 2005: Got involved with another project featuring 'Big Trouble' members Jim, Calvert and singer/nightmare on legs Kevan Ward, called 'Interstate'. Within a few months we had supported Dokken, Diamond Head and Skid Row.
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October 20th 2005:



In mid 2005, I heard that Ozzy was looking for a new guitarist. (His guitarist since 1987 Zakk Wylde was very busy with his own band 'Black Label Society'.)
So I got a demo CD together and sent it straight to Ozzy's house in Buckinghamshire. I wasn't sure where Ozzy was at the time but I knew his wife Sharon was here in the UK doing 'The X-Factor' TV show, so I knew I stood a good chance of being heard by one, if not both of them.
Two weeks later the phone rings. "Hi Des, it's Ozzy..."
Being the bright spark that I am, I quickly reply with "Who?"
(Yeah, it threw me a bit that he'd called me himself.) He then said "It's Ozzy Osbourne, i've just listened to your CD and I'm really f***ing impressed man. I'm really impressed. I'd like to meet you and see you play."
It's hard to put into words what that short sentence meant to me. For Ozzy to consider me for his band is an honour and as a rock guitarist, it's probably the highest compliment I can imagine.
Ozzy has worked with some of the best guitar players in the business and was already a successful recording artist while i was still in nappies perfecting the subtle art of projectile vomiting.
Ozzy was very friendly and down to earth and i think he also liked the fact that I'm a fellow 'Brummy'.
The last thing he said to me was that he was off to LA for a while but he would definitely get back to me.
Unfortunately for me, a short while later, it's announced that Zakk has been able to rearrange his schedule to make sure that he would be available for Ozzy again.
I can't say I blame him.
The search for a new guitarist for Ozzy was off and my dream of nailing THE guitar gig was over.
Just after I spoke to Ozzy, I told myself that if nothing came of it, then at least I have reached a standard high enough to impress the man who discovered Randy Rhoads, Jake E.Lee and Zakk Wylde.
I'll never forget that conversation and whenever I think of it, I always smile.

December 2005: Got an article published in a magazine made by the RGT, explaining how my idea of online tuition works.
I had this idea 2002 and only in 2006 I see a small amount of other tutors to offering this service.
Click the thumbnail below to read the article.


February 06: Gave an online guitar lesson to Jon Bently, one of the presenters of Channel 5's The Gadget Show and series producer of Channel 5's Fifth Gear.
A screen capture of Jon's lesson using MSN messanger.

The Gadget Show will be doing an article on 'learning on the internet' (due to be shown in May 06) and it will take Jon through learning to play the guitar online with me, up to a performance on stage with amazing Queen tribute band Killer Queen.

August '06:
In August 2006 while in Las Vegas, I was asked by ex Quiet Riot bass player Kelly Garni to participate in an exiting project involving DigiTech and Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist from the early 80's Randy Rhoads. At this time the DigiTech company were expanding their products in the signature series of effects pedals. They already had the Jimi Hendrix, Brian May and Eric Clapton pedals amongst others and they wanted to produce a Randy Rhoads signature series pedal.
I was asked to test the Rhoads prototype pedal.
Kelly and Kevin DuBrow put my name forward and I was asked to test the Rhoads prototype pedal.
I received the first prototype at the end of 2006. It sounded OK but I felt it had been rushed due to the January NAMM show in LA and there where several things missing from what I considered to be the ultimate Rhoads pedal. It was meant to reproduce the sound Randy had on the live Ozzy album 'Tribute'.
The first Rhoads prototype
To me it had some of that characteristics but it needed some work. I made some notes and got back to the signature series artist relations manager at DigiTech and was asked to email the guy who was developing the pedal and tell him what I thought the pedal needed. I did so and later received the second prototype which was made without the pressure of a NAMM deadline and was absolutely amazed at what I heard.
They had TOTALLY nailed the sound Randy had on that Tribute album.
The tone, the reverb and all the nuances of that sound on the Tribute album was replicated to perfection.
Click here to hear me playing a segment of Randy's spotlight solo from the Tribute album using this second prototype.
I sent this recording to the Rhoads family hoping they could see how close the sound was to the original. I was told the Delores Rhoads didn't want to go ahead with the pedal beacause Randy didn't use DigiTech equipment. Some time later the engineer that worked on the pedal left DigiTech and they stopped production of the artist series of pedals after that. So the pedal never came to fruition which is such a shame.

August '06: I was featured in the monthly RGT 'Teacher Feature' in Guitar Techniques magazine.


Sept' 06:
Got a mention from Kevin DuBrow in the 'Thanks' section of the new Quiet Riot CD 'Rehab'. I got a kick out of that! Made my day. Thanks Kevin!
Click the pic below for a larger version.

qrlogo1June '07:
Singer Kevin DuBrow from L.A rock band Quiet Riot called me and asked if I'd like to join his band for a tour of the UK that was due to happen in early 2008. I was given the set list and got to work on learning all the songs and greatly looked forward to working with him.
Kevin had also agreed to sing on a track I wrote with my band Interstate. I had an instrumental mix of the song 'Save Me' and Kevin heard it and liked it and was going to write his own lyrics and melody and record it in his studio after his summer tour had finished.

On Sunday November 25th 2007 Kevin DuBrow was discovered at peace in his home in Las Vegas. Very sad news. This news came so suddenly and unexpectedly. He'd just celebrated his 52nd Birthday.
I feel privileged to have known him and that he thought of me as a friend. He was bright, funny, greatly talented, confident, intelligent, passionate, generous, entertaining, charming and full of life.
He showed remarkable faith in me, both as a musician and a person. That is a wonderful gift he gave me and I am forever grateful.
I am sad that plans we had of working together will never happen but I'm saddened more that I won't get to know him better than I did. I enjoyed his company immensely and was very fond of him.
The things he did to help me and my career are nothing short of amazing. He even offered to pay for my flight to L.A to audition for his friend Glenn Hughes a few months previous. I asked him why he offered to do such a generous thing and he said "I belive that good things should happen to good people but often they don't."
My heart goes out to all those who knew him way better than I did. He was a very special and charismatic person indeed.

I really feel like a little light has gone out in the world. Rest in peace Kevin, I miss you.


Kevin doing his thing in 2007. A great person, singer and frontman.

July 07:
I was asked to play bass for a one off gig with the UK's top Robbie Williams tribute band "Dodgie Williams"


The band were pleased with the way the gig went and I accepted their offer to be their regular dep.

Oct 07: I was shortlisted to be auditioned for 70's rock band Budgie. Myself and a handful of guitarists from all over the UK were due to be auditioned in October but the job went to Andy James who was first to audition. Budgie were impressed with him enough to offer him the job on the spot without trying out anyone else. He's a great player and I wish him luck.

December 07:

Marshall engineer Danny Thomas contacted me in regard to the forthcoming Rhoads signature series amp. I was able to help him by sending him a scan of a post card that Randy sent to Kevin DuBrow after he visited the Marshall factory and ordered his white amps. The scan featured in the users manual for the RR Marshall head.


On December 06 '07 I visited the Marshall factory in Milton Keynes after a generous invite from Danny.
Danny is the signature series product development engineer for Marshall and an all round nice bloke.


Me and Danny in the 'Marshall' version of the last scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark!

des_danny_marshall raiders_warehouse


Singer Lee Small has just released his solo album 'Through The Eyes Of Robert Lees' and myself and my trusty band members Jim and Cal have become his live band to promote his album during 2008 and 2009.
lee_small_album_art lee_singing

This guy is an amazing singer. When I met Glenn Hughes a little while back, he described Lee as a 'mini Glenn Hughes'.
Compliments don't get much better than that.
Lee is currently the vocalist for the rock band Shy and sang and co wrote songs for Tom Galley's 2006 Phenomena album 'Psycho Fantasy'.
Over the years, the Phenomena albums have had an amazing list of musicians including Brian May (Queen), Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple/ BLACK SABBATH), Mel Galley (TRAPEZE, WHITESNAKE), Cozy Powell (RAINBOW, WHITESNAKE), Don Airey (DEEP PURPLE, OZZY OSBOURNE), Neil Murray (WHITESNAKE/GARY MOORE), Scott Gorham (THIN LIZZY),Ray Gillen (BADLANDS, BLACK SABBATH), John Wetton (ASIA) and many more.
We will be rehearsing soon and on the road in shortly after.

In late 2009 I was asked by Tom Galley to play on a track for the new Phenomena album.
I'd been a fan of the Phenomena albums since the late 80's so this was quite a thrill fro me.

Cover art for the first Phenomena album.
I recorded guitar parts for the demo song I was given which Tom seemed very happy with. Time will tell what happens with this one...

July 2011:
I recorded two solos for my good friend Lee Small for his new album 'Jamaica Inn' soon to be released on the Escape Music label.
jamaicacover leejamaica
Check out the solo for 'dead man walking' here. I played the solos on 'Dead Man Walking' and 'Walk The Plank'.

In August 2013 I released my first instrumental album 'The Music Room'.

Guitar playing has been my life since I was about 16 and through it, I have found something I really enjoy and have met all the most important people in my life.
The guitar has helped me stay sane in times of strangeness.
It has given me respect from people of all ages and walks of life.
It has enabled me to express myself properly, when words are not enough.

I have been playing guitar over half my life now and I still can't get enough of it. Once you get the bug, it will be with you forever.
No matter how many other interests I have found, I will always be, foremost a guitar player.

A beautiful instrument, with endless possibilities.

"It's private, it's personal, it's wonderful, it's poetic, it's cathartic, it's moving, it's a real release...it's a wonderful, wonderful thing to have...
Every home should have one..."
Pete Townsend.