Kevin at the Kino
Thursday 15th February, 7.30pm
BY EMMA HARWOOD
His guitar playing has accompanied some of the greatest rock stars of our time, his songwriting credits appear on albums by the likes of David Bowie and Morrissey, and currently, as the guitarist for the legendary Iggy Pop he regularly performs before tens of thousands of people in stadiums across the world.
However, unless you are a musician or work within the music industry you could be forgiven for not having heard of Kevin Armstrong. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that Kevin -who moved to the area several years ago – has been invited by the music critic and former NME journalist Gavin Martin to discuss his long and intriguing musical career at a one-off night at The Kino Teatr, St Leonards, this Thursday (15th February).
However, this will be more than just a discussion – although it will be a fairly relaxed affair, involving a sofa, a few pot plants, a laptop, some guitars and maybe some surprise guests. What it does promise to be is an invaluable behind-the-scenes insight into what it’s like writing, recording, performing and touring with some of the world’s greatest musical talents. Kevin will be recounting some amusing and interesting tales: “There’s a lot of stories that will come out, and some of them I’ll be illustrating with supporting video evidence. Gavin and I might pontificate about music -in terms of him as a critic and me as a musician –there are all sorts of areas we could go.”
In addition, the evening also promises to be an inspiring look at the creative process from Kevin’s perspective – and he will most certainly be performing a number of songs.
Kevin’s career as a musician spans some pivotal moments in music history, including performing before hundreds of millions of people as Bowie’s guitarist at Live Aid in1985.
It involves his later collaboration with Bowie, as part of the band formed to make the 1989 album Tin Machine, for which Kevin co-wrote the song “Run.” Then again, in 1995, the song “Outside” written by Kevin at the age of 22, became the title track of an album – now considered by many to be a lost classic – and which Bowie was said to have been hoping to revisit, prior to his death.
Kevin’s career also has the added inspirational factor that it didn’t start with immediate success, but by his own admission he “fell into it by accident.” Following the collapse of a solo career as a singer songwriter aged 26, he was urged ‘not to despair’ by a record company executive and to go along and audition for an unnamed artist. Of course, this artist was none other than David Bowie, and the band were there to demo tracks for the movie Absolute Beginners.
“There’s a few people you meet where you think: ‘that’s going to be a lifetime’s gift to be able to work with those people.’ Even though I’m not the greatest musician in the world and I never pretended to be, that sort of thing gives you a bit of kudos, it’s just fantastic really.”
But his modesty aside, as a guitarist who has clearly honed his craft performing with some of the world’s greatest and best loved artists it may be of interest to discover that he learned on the job.
“I honestly can say I haven’t become an accomplished session guitarist until the last decade or so. Before that I didn’t really know what I was doing compared with some of those guitarists who are on that same level.”
This is a rare chance to get up close, ask questions and learn about music from someone who has worked at the highest level. It promises to be amusing, intriguing and inspiring –and be prepared to hear some superb guitar-playing.
The Kino Teatr, Norman Rd. St.Leonards, 7.30 pm. Tickets are £12 in advance or on the door, on the website or call 01424 457830
More information about Kevin Armstrong click here
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