Fireworks

Sue Ashcroft

Fireworks & Rocktopia Staff Writer
Sue Ashcroft
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I was born in the small seaside town of Gourock on the west coast of Scotland. Having been brought up in a household filled with music, it was soon apparent that I would develop the family passion for singing, playing instruments and listening to whatever music was available. In my formative years, I played trombone, piano, bassoon and was a member of various choirs and operatic societies.

I spent the first few summers of my teens staying with my sister in Inverkip - a tiny village with not many kids of my age, other than a group of boys who listened to something called rock music! So, I was introduced to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple - and my obsession began.

Having little or no money, the only way to get my fix was to borrow LP's from the local library. By listening to one, I then looked for either others by the same artist or others which similar musicians played on. A case in point being Santana. This was how I discovered Journey! From the very first album I thought they were interesting, innovative and I loved everything about them.
I had also started watching the Old Grey Whistle Test which is where I discovered some of the bands I still class as favourites to this day - The Tubes, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Pat Travers for instance.

In 1979, my art teacher had an idea to keep kids out of pubs (who were only really going to watch the bands), that he would open a cafe and put on all the acts who were at that time on the west coast club circuit. Gourock's own Henry Gorman Band were a regular fixture along with Red Ellis and many others. This was my first real involvement in the music scene as I had, with a group of friends, helped to get the cafe up and running. This was also the year in which I saw my first proper gig - March 22nd 1979, Glasgow Apollo, Journey supported by Pat Travers - the perfect gig. As you can imagine, having had the first 2 drum solo's I ever saw being by Tommy Aldridge and Steve Smith, this inspired me to be the drum freak I am today.

It was at this time also that I met my first husband whose parents subsequently moved to Wigan, which we also did in 1985. Music had been such a huge part of my life and I was unsure of how I would continue to get my musical fix so far from home, but it's funny how things work out sometimes.
A friend of mine who was a sound engineer called from Gourock one day and asked if he and a couple of guys could stay overnight at our house on the long drive to London. I of course said yes. One of the boys was Doogie White! We had met several years before when Doogie was in La Paz, but this was a nice surprise. We lost touch for a while after that and life went on, my 2 children, divorce, meeting and marrying the wonderful Phil - I had gone to plenty of gigs, but not really had any involvement as such until friends of ours decided to start a record label - the ill-fated Now and Then Records. Along with that came The Gods Festival which I offered to help with by making the sandwiches! From that, realising that I had the gift of the gab, Bruce asked me if I would like to contribute to Fireworks. So, ten years on, here I am, having done interviews with most of my heroes, becoming a qualified photographer, artist liaison for Firefest, travelling all over the place for the love of the music.

I actually got my current day job as a brochure production administrator for Shearings Holidays through my Fireworks experience and I'm lucky enough to take some of the photos you can see in the brochures.
It's so good to hear when someone has enjoyed an interview or review I have written and it's so good to have Phil to share it with. I have been drumming for about 8 years now and am hoping for a reunion of my covers band First Friday in the near future.

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