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Tony Willé

# At school I was the kid who played harmonica in the playground to a crowd of onlookers. I bought my first guitar at the age of nineteen in a back street of Southampton where I grew up. I tortured my sister with bum notes until I got the hang of it and then copied various folk guitarists of the time. As soon as I knew three chords I started to write my own songs.

# I stuck a pin in a map and ended up in Nottingham. The dramatic change of environment inspired me to write many songs and develop as a songwriter. I got a job in a wine bar. There was me in one corner and a parrot called Henry in another. Henry got more attention than I did. I realised then that all you needed was a good hook line and a quirky take on life. Henry taught me a lot!

# As a resident musician at one French restaurant I got fed each night and was given my taxi fare home. I was so hard up at the time I used to save the money and walk.

# I went to Stoke on Trent to study Creative Arts and developed as a writer and performer. It was there that I met Simon Pitt and formed Redman Greenman, a whacky poetry and music duo who toured the alternative comedy circuit and hosted our own venue called the Ho Bloody Ho Show. If you study Frank Skinner's autobiography, there's a picture of one of our old posters featuring us and Frank (who appeared under the name of Chris Collins at the time).

# I moved to Birmingham and there I answered an ad for Felt, a band signed to the Creation label. I met the infuriating Lawrence who told me that he loved Nick Drake and wanted a 'picker' in the band. I ended up playing on a couple of their albums and touring Scotland. I liked Martin Duffy a lot, who went on to play with Edwyn Collins and Primal Scream. When Felt broke up I formed a band with Felt bassist Marco, and we called it The Day.

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