My Dad had walked out on our family by the time I was nine years old so I had become used to living in a one parent environment as I grew up. I think that helped develop my nomadic lust for travel and the search for the different drum to boogie to and when Mum found another guy to marry I decided to go and stay with her and her new beau in Lancashire.
Noel Wyatt S.O.C. / Aka ‘Ratty’
Chapter Two: So you wanna be a rock star?
First Published: 8 March 2012
Up to this point I had been living in a biker squat in Bristol. At the tender age of sixteen I decided it was time to go out into the world. As it happens the world I went into was Preston and it was a shit hole.
I started working in a factory and at lunch used to chat to one of the lads who had an interest in music. He was a guitarist and we decided to form a band. I managed to raise enough money to buy a kit and we started rehearsing in an old broken down youth club. I don’t really know why but we never seemed to be able to get things going. We were living in a really rank bedsit and had no money.
It was awful. One day one of the other residents was taking a dump in the bathroom which was above the kitchen. He must have gotten up a bit quick and he and the bog came crashing through the ceiling. The floor was rotten.
We couldn’t find anyone else that wanted to play and eventually I just gave up. My Mum and Stepdad had moved to Reading by now so I joined them there. They were running an old working men’s club and I used to bartend to make my rent.
There was a functions room upstairs in the club and when it wasn’t being used I would set my kit up and play along to records. There were a few available females that came to the club and I availed myself of them at every given opportunity.
One night some young blokes walked into the room whilst I was practising and asked me if I would be interested in joining a band. This was the first time I had really played with anyone else so I jumped at the chance. We practised several nights a week. Mostly Bowie covers and glam type stuff. We got pretty good and actually did a couple of gigs but, as seems to always be the case for me it was not going to happen.
One day I turned up for rehearsals and there was a new drummer in the hen house. I didn’t argue, I just walked away laughing.
I was just coming up to my twenty first birthday and I still hadn’t found the magic that is the right band. It was about this time that I met my future ex-wife and it was this encounter that was to spin me off into a whole new direction.
Her name was Liz and she worked as a barmaid in a local pub not far from my parent’s place. I bumped into her at a nightclub on my 21st birthday and ended up banging her in an old Morris Minor in the car park. We started going steady and I ended up working at the same pub as her.
The landlord suggested to us one night that we should think about going into the trade as pub managers and that sealed our fate. We started the training programme and got married during a lunch break. Within six months we were running our own pub in Oxford.
The music virus invariably reared it’s ugly head this time in the form of a local band. They used to drink in my pub and one night I overheard them talking about not having anywhere to practice. I had an empty functions room upstairs and offered them the use of it free of charge.
They came and practised three times a week and they were pretty good so I said I would see if I could get them some gigs. Things kind of mushroomed from there really. I started ignoring the pub and concentrating on the band. Liz got really pissy about it and we constantly argued about my priorities.
One day the whole thing came to a head and she said to me: “Tt’s either me or the band”. There was no question really, she had to go. And go she did.
I was now in free-fall. The pub was going to the dogs, I had bands staying and partying all night long and I was having a whale of a time. On a night out at a club in Oxford fate grabbed hold of me by the scrotum and pointed me straight into the face of an angel.
Her name was Jacky Gunn and I was in love. She was a blonde, skinny little thing with a laugh that made me turn to jelly. I couldn’t believe that she wanted to talk to me but by the end of the night we were in bed together at my place. A couple of weeks later I flew her to Paris for a weekend break and not long after took her to Malta for a holiday.
I didn’t know it when I met her but Jacky worked for Queen and had done since the early days of their career. It was her that was to get me my first laminate and introduced me to the wonderful world of the rock star.
By now the pub was going all to hell and it wasn’t long before I was asked to leave. Luckily, Jacky stuck by me and we eventually bought a small house together. I was working at a print shop by now and she was travelling up to London on the bus every day. When I wasn’t working I would go up to London to a pub across from her office called The Sun In Spleandour in Notting Hill Gate to have lunch.
Quite often the band members or the crew would accompany us to the pub and I found myself sitting having lunch with Brian May or Roger Taylor on a number of occasions.