Tony Doré

Music is a vital thread running through my life. I have never made much money from it, but then again very few have. Luckily I have other sources of income (all legal) so I have the luxury of enjoying music as a creative outlet.

Like several other members of the band I was born in Derby, England, and grew up on a working class council estate populated mainly by demobbed servicemen and their families. My parents, apart from being honest and hard-working, were also pretty demanding. That may be why I ended up with a good education (PhD in geology – it's a Dark Art, like music) and why I seem to be seem to be driven to create things. I can't sit still and relax for more than 5 minutes without "doing something useful", be it playing music or writing. If I haven't got a project, I'm a pain in the ass pure and simple.

I was first inspired to pick up a guitar by the Beatles and Dylan. First hearing "Freewheelin" and "Sgt Pepper" in the 60s were life changing experiences, as was "10,000 Spirits" by the Incredible String Band. I would have to wait until the punk explosion of the late 70s for a similar Road to Damascus experience. I played lots of folk clubs in the 60s, often with childhood friend John, struggling a little against the folk establishment who were mainly interested in bands with agricultural-sounding names singing songs about dusty roads or maids with inadequate apron strings. I wouldn't want to slag off traditional folk, though – it's still my oldest and deepest influence. Moving to London, I lived in a flat-cum-hippie commune with John and Caro. I wrote hundreds of songs at this time, some of which appeared on the Tony, Caro and John album "All On The First Day" - a privately produced low-tech affair, the making of which is described in John's bio and in the AOTFD sleeve notes. We were definitely in a creative fugue at this time, with no qualms about mixing up folky strains with pop, psychedelic electronica and vaudeville piss-takes.

In the 70s we joined up with guitar ace Simon, blues harmonica virtuoso Jonny, electronics whizz Rod and (occasionally) my vocalizing sister Julie and wife Barbara to form Forever and Ever, basically a rock band but melding all the very diverse musical influences of the members (folk, blues, rock, punk and electronica). We played colleges, I got electrocuted (see sniggering comments in other band bios, the murdering bastards) and we recorded some better-produced stuff. At the beginning of the 80s I left for Norway and was there for most of that Thatcher-blighted decade, occasionally returning to record more songs with John, Rod and Simon. While in Norway I played in an occasional country band, was a sideman in a rather good folk band called Domeama, and did the round of folk clubs where the British traditional stuff was much in demand.

Back in London in the 1990s I stayed musically active, writing, recording and jamming with sundry FE&E members. Our album "Retrospect" is a sample of what we were up to in the 80s and 90s. It was a tremendous buzz when we found that our ancient album "All On The First Day" had attained some kind of cult reputation on the Internet, largely due to its being classified by afficionados as part of the rare genre "psychedelic folk". Original copies of the 1972 album were on sale for up to £2,700! This bizarre interest from people with great musical perception (or too much money) resulted in the album being commercially released on the Shadoks label. It was just great that John got to see his amazing technical improvisation skills recognized before we lost him in 2005.

Barbara & I went to Houston, Texas for a 5 year spell 2008-2013 where, in addition to my day job, I was able to indulge a developing addiction to accumulating instruments. It's still going strong. During that time the TCJ story continued to roll, with the re-re-release of All On The First Day on Gaarden Records and the rather miraculous release of an anthology of old, unreleased numbers {Blue Clouds) on the Drag City label. Back in London again, my tolerant wife allows me to fill large portions of the house with musical instruments, books and rocks. Nowadays the songs don't come in hundreds – they just seep through from time to time. With Rod's help, I recorded a new selection of songs (Fall Away Like Leaves, also released on Gaarden) and am currently writing and recording with Simon. It's turning up such interesting and surprising stuff that we're both wondering why we didn't try writing together before – like about 30 years ago.

Singing is still a huge pleasure and relaxation. I have a limited vocal range, but think I have made the best out of the hand I have been dealt. I play guitars of various types, mandolin family of instruments and get by on keyboards and blues harmonica. I took up the Sitar in the late 90s – a wonderful instrument to play, but needing several lifetimes to really master. Then I'm trying to get to grips with the banjo, hurdy gurdy and cello -- could take a while.