“Une Pause Dans Le Temps”
Martin Plumb began playing guitar at 13. He was naturally left handed and plays right-handed guitar slung over (ie upside down with the strings not reversed). He had his first school ‘garage’ band at fourteen, (Chicago R and B) did his first live performances at fifteen, was regularly gigging at seventeen, made his first recordings for PYE at 19 and was signed up by Phil Pickett (Sailor) for Chappell as a songwriter at twenty (1971). Edison Lighthouse and Lulu were going to record material of his, but in the end nothing came of it. This was mainly acoustic folk / rock / blues. He also taught himself bass (upside down) and learned the blues harmonica. At twenty he severely damaged a wrist and to aid the healing process, and strengthen the arm, took up piano as well. To date apart from the reverse playing style, he has never had one lesson on any instrument and cannot read from music.
During his education time (71-72), he was signed by an agency and appeared as a solo artist on the same bill as a number or stars and he dueted with Al Stewart. He was also short-listed for a position in the New Seekers after Pete Doyle had left. Martin first met Ian (through Fulham and our mutual Ashford location) around 1970, and they started playing self-penned material together around 1973 as a duo at places that included the Marquee. The pair moved into a couple of four / five piece bands during 1974-76 ‘4-4-T’ and ‘Supercruiser’ promoting Ian’s songs electrically but regrettably they disbanded without performing live, Martin now mainly on keyboards.
In 1977 saw the first link up with Richard and Dave for the first ‘French Lessons’ incarnation and a number of varied gigs and interesting demos, but this fizzled out to a degree in 1980.
Through the French Lessons drummer Geoff, Martin had joined ‘Hard-up’ in 1978 and this band gigged one a once/twice a week basis for almost fifteen years, whilst Martin continued to juggle a busy IT career. The band was a soul / blues band full of experienced musicians who had played with, amongst others: The Others, Calum Bryce (Sixties Hit), PJ Proby, The Walker Brothers, Cliff Bennett, Alan Price, Elkie Brooks, Jimmy Cliff, Carl Douglas and Georgie Fame. He played predominantly keyboards, but occasionally lead / rhythm and bass.
In the early to mid eighties, and still on keyboards, Martin played for a number of years in a melodic rock band ‘KGB’ influenced by the likes of Lizzy, Toto, Journey and Foreigner and this band was full of pro musicians in between bands and tours. The “Who’s Who” of on and off members makes an interesting gallery: Pink Floyd, ELP, John Wetton / Asia, Thin Lizzy, UFO, Bernie Marsden, Uriah Heep, Gillan, McCoy, Wishbone Ash, Wild Horses, Grand Prix, Grand Slam (Lynott) and Bronz.
After a bout of illness in the early nineties and the continued pressure of a family, long working hours and working away from home in the IT world, Martin put the guitars and keyboards away for twelve years, before meeting up again with Richard and Ian in 2006 and the start of a happy second incarnation of ‘French Lessons’. Since retiring at fifty-five, Martin has dusted everything down and returned successfully to music and weekly gigging, sometimes depping for bands on bass, keyboards or guitar but mainly as bass player for the Surrey-based originals band ‘Eddie and the Redheads’.
In a part-time music career of well over forty years, Martin can boast over 2,000 live performances on many different instruments and many different genres of music, having a happy attachment to all of them. He has played with top musicians at top venues and probably had the best of both worlds of a working career and a music career.
At a charity gig with Chris Rea, the impressed star described Martin as a ‘Very good player, he reminds me greatly of Ry Cooder, one of my favourite guitarists,’ he is more than happy to live in that company.