Michael Green Interviews... Rich Page
Updated: May 17
Here is a Q&A with musician and guitarist Rich Page. He talks about his experiences in music.
Where did it all start for you getting into music?
The start point was hearing Apache by The Shadows in the summer of 1992 when I was seven. I remember hearing it and thinking “I need to be able to do that”. I started lessons in September that year with a promise from my parents that if I practiced for 10 mins per day, they’d get me an electric guitar for Christmas. They bought me a Yamaha Pacifica, which was one of the first really well made starter guitars, and a Park practice amp.
Who are your influences?
My main influences are the classic rock guitar heroes. I moved through various phases of Hank Marvin, Eric Clapton, Gary Moore, Jimi Hendrix, Mark Knopfler, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Eddie Van Halen, but I pick up things all the time and these days I find a lot of my influences are the local musicians I play with and see at gigs or open mic nights.
A huge influence in the early days was my guitar teacher Phil Kelly, who was a huge source of inspiration for me. He was the Hank Marvin stand-in for the Moonlight Shadows with original members Bruce Welch, Alan Jones, Jet Harris and Cliff Hall among others. He knew all Hank Marvin’s parts note for note and he was able to show me those in my lessons. It was a great way of learning melody and he taught me how to play by ear. Phil had a fiesta red Fender Stratocaster, a Miazzi tape echo and a Vox A3-30 so it sounded really authentic. When I heard Phil playing Gary Moore’s Parisienne Walkways through that cranked AC-30, it blew me away and opened the door to more hi-gain lead playing.
Clive Hennesey was another massive inspiration. He taught me things like palm muting and how to use a trem. We used to play in my parent’s living room with my brother on drums and this led to my first gig when I was nine and my brother was seven. We played three Shadows songs on the back of a trailer at our Primary School. Clive also had the first Stratocaster I saw in real life – a beautiful sunburst ’57 style Strat with a maple neck. Strats have always been magical to me. For something engineered to be so functional, they’re fantastic looking objects and the sounds you can get from them are wonderful.
Rich playing in his band FiveFiveSix with singer-songwriter Roxze
How do you decide what songs to perform when playing guitar?
I’m really lucky that I get to play a wide variety of music with different groups of musicians. I tend to gravitate to songs with syncopation and a groove - both in terms of what I like to play and what I enjoy listening to. My classic rock covers and originals band FiveFiveSix allows me to indulge my rock guitar side with an awesome bunch of musicians. FiveFiveSix is also the backing band for BBC Introducing Artist Roxze, so in that version of the band we do more R&B/funk/original material – if it has a groove, it’s likely to make the setlist.
We’re also in the final stages of rehearsing a very stripped back acoustic set that we’re debuting at the Cellar Bar on 31st March fronted by Roxze but just with acoustic guitar and a cajon. Choosing the music to play is a pretty diplomatic process in each of those line-ups but if there’s ever something I fancy playing live and it’s not one for the band, I’ll take it to one of the local open mic nights and play over a backing track. With such a good local music scene, there’s always an opportunity to play all sorts of music & people are very supportive.
How important is it do you feel it is to listen to current music as well as music from the past?
I’m terrible for this. If it’s not on Planet Rock, I won’t hear it. I heard a couple of friends playing an acoustic cover of a song at an open mic the other week and when I asked what it was, it turned out it had been in the charts for weeks. I do listen to friends’ releases on social media so I do get to hear some new music. There’s loads of brilliantly diverse music being written and released locally. I do look out for Classic Rock that I haven’t heard before but my musical diet is pretty one dimensional.4
Do you feel it is important to watch other acts perform and to watch other live music?
Absolutely, and I wish I could do more of this. We’ve got so many good music venues around Bedford and it’s great to go out, have a beer and watch live music.
Finally what tips do you have for anyone starting out when it comes to playing guitar & performing live?
I’m going to give today’s top ten but this is a fluid list…
Playing with other people will improve your playing.
Turn up on time, with the right kit & sober enough to play.
Use less gain than you think.
Get your guitar set up to play as well as it can. I run ‘Page Guitars’ and you can always get in touch with me via Facebook or Instagram if you need a local guitar tech.
Don’t play for free unless you want to.
Get some decent ear protection. I use military spec ACS moulded ear plugs because they’re good - not because I have any affiliation with the company.
You don’t have to be a flash player to connect with an audience.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get good tone but great tone doesn’t come cheap.
Occasionally, try playing through your set with a clean, dry tone – or unplug completely. It’ll highlight any areas you need to work on.
Network with everyone and don’t be a diva. Talk to venue owners, other musicians, the person doing the sound/light, bar staff etc. If you’re easy to work with, you’re more likely to get another gig. It’s not just about how well you play.
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