Musical genes alive after smashing break

GUITARIST Jesse Hutchinson is well known on the local music circuit for his intense performances. He talks to reporter IAN DUNCAN about smashing his guitar and growing up with a dad who was a Spider From Mars.

IT must have been a shock for the audience when Jesse Hutchinson smashed his guitar after one of his regular gigs at Cellars in Valley Road.

The 38-year-old musician finds it hard to pinpoint the exact date but guessed it was about seven years ago and marked the start of a five year break from performing.

He said: "I trashed my guitar. I just put my foot through the guitar but there was no anger in it. I know why musicians do it – it's like you can't wring any more out of that bloody instrument. There is a frustration that you can't perform.

"I'd been doing the same thing week after week and I knew that I needed a break and I knew that my wife wouldn't let me buy a new guitar."

He added that the pieces of his guitar were hung on the pub wall. He said: "People were shocked and it caused a real buzz. The landlord hung the bits on the wall and over the years people have taken the bits as souvenirs."

The gigs were a weekly event and he said the crowd was full of the same people week after week. He said: "There was a good atmosphere and they all knew each other. It was different every week. I tried to keep it fresh every time as much as possible."

And when he was first starting out he used to play gigs at the Jolly Roger – which is now known as the Merchant. He said: "People met there and got married through meeting there. Friendships were formed between people.

"It was so dark. People say to me that they used to go there every week and I don't know who they are. There was a great little music scene associated with the place."

And he has returned to play regular slots at both venues – every Tuesday at the Merchant and at Cellars every Thursday.

Critics have often said Jesse can be overly self-critical which sometimes leaves him developing a lot of tension within himself which he blames for regular broken strings.

He said: "It's when you get tense and frustrated. If things are going well, and everybody's behind you, you can really hammer the strings."

Jesse grew up in the Scarborough area in what could be described as a musical family because his father, John who was better known as Hutch, was a member of David Bowie's band the Spiders From Mars – not to mention his sister Hayley, step-father John Neaves and step-brother Jonathan.

He said: "We lived in Newby and we were very poor. It was great then, it was nice, that whole area was lovely. Everything was very simple then not like it is now. I didn't start playing until I was 20 which is quite late by today's standards.

"My dad met Bowie right at the beginning of things. He was in Buzz and Feathers. He used to joke that he wrote the chords for Space Oddity. I remember being little and getting postcards from Japan."

Jesse added that his father never pushed him to become a musician and after he left the Spiders From Mars he worked with other well-known musicians of the time including Lindisfarne.

He said: "Bowie's done all that and he still has made millions. To be in that elite few and get success requires drive because it can all

fall apart and you end up with nothing. I think you've got to be selfish, absolutely blinkered, because you are up against the whole industry.

"I'm quite happy to do the minimal gigs that I do and put every ounce of energy into it. My dad was very much like that. But you meet

people like Bowie and you know he was going to be someone.

"If you get the right kind of drive and belief and you don't conform and stick to your guns you will go absolutely nowhere or possibly very far."

Jesse admits that he has never pushed himself and started a course in computer science and design when he left school before running away from home with his then girlfriend.

He said: "We moved to Chapeltown in Leeds and we were the only white people there.

It was great and it was fun. I was a musician for 10 years."

His music career has been varied and covered many styles – including funk, folk, Cajun and bluegrass – and the musicians that he says have been most influential include Bob Dylan, Steven Stills, Neil Young and Paul Simon.

He said: "Those are the people I've listened to again and again. I am paranoid about getting older and being naff. Dylan is still going strong."

Jesse still plays solo gigs and plays with a band called Railroad Bill. He said: "We've played for years. It is a great mix of skiffle and blues. We are becoming a big hit on the country music scene. I never realised it was such a big scene."

He has now settled in Staxton with his wife, Sharon, and their two sons nine-year-old Harry and seven-year-old Zak.

And he added that despite not gaining his college qualification he has now come full circle because his current business involves web design.

He said: "I've done really quite well over the last few years.

"For a long time I thought there wasn't anything I'd ever stick at. After years of drifting I've discovered I'm a workaholic. I stopped playing for about five years when we first moved to Staxton. It's only the past two years that I've started to play again."