You played guitar before you discovered synthesisers. Who
were your guitar heroes?
Dave Chandler, Nottingham
I was a big Marc Bolan fan. The reason I got a Gibson Les Paul is because Marc and Mick Ronson both played them. I’ve still got it – my mum and dad bought it for me when I was still at school. I still use it now. It’s been on every album I’ve ever made and every tour I’ve ever done. Funnily enough, for all my blasé feelings about synthesisers, my guitar means the world to me! It’s symbolic, somehow. It played on the very first demo I ever did, the very first gig I ever played, the very first TV appearance – it’s been part of every single stage of the career.
You got a lot of stick when you admitted to voting Tory during the 1980s. Do you still stand by that?
Nicola Whey, Sheffield
That particular one, I do. I’m not much of a political animal, to be honest. The thing to remember about when I voted Conservative is that they had a landslide victory – it wasn’t me alone voting for Margaret Thatcher. Whether we were fooled or not, whatever she did she managed to convince the majority of the electorate to vote for her. It was the only time I ever voted.
Did you really fly Lawrence from Denim to the V Festival in 1996?
Eddie Hammersmith, London
I flew him, but not to the V Festival! There’s nowhere to land there. I flew quite a lot of people around – literally hundreds of people. I used to do low-level formation aerobatic displays all over Europe; I was an examiner in that for years. I flew a Harvard – a two-seater, WWII radial engine airplane. Eventually, pretty much everyone I knew [involved in aerobatics] was killed in one accident or another. I used to do formation aerobatics as The Radial Pair with a friend – then when he was killed in a crash flying another plane my wife said, “Fuck that.” She knew him really well and his death shook her. We were talking about starting a family as well, so I thought, ‘I should probably think about getting out of this.’
What was your first band called?
Debbie McCulloch, London
They were called the Monkee Juniors. It wasn’t really a band. We were kids – 10 or 11 – and we would go to people’s houses and put on a show, as we called it. We’d put on a Monkees album, and mime to two or three tracks. We’d get a couple of shillings each and then off we’d go and try and blag into someone else’s house and do that same thing. We all had to be a particular Monkee, and I was Mike Nesmith!