Martyn Ward


Martyn comes from Rotherham, Yorkshire. It is built primarily of white concrete and governed by a town council consisting of councillors with shares in concrete companies. His musical career began when his grandparents returned from holiday in Ireland and brought him back a ukulele. He quickly mastered “Puff the Magic Dragon” and managed to play it on one string. In the pursuit of perfection he continued to play this song exclusively for two years and only stopped when his parents hid the instrument, and tried to get him treated for autism.

In later years, his playing didn’t really improve but he liked carrying a (usually empty) guitar case around and dressing like one of the Furry Freak brothers (Phineas). Musically he peaked early, and was a founder member of Apricot Lil, a progressive heavy metal orchestra. They played one Sunday lunchtime gig in a South London pub that was attended by the landlords’ dog.

A solitary and indecisive person, Martyn felt that he had more to offer musically and began responding to adverts for bands requiring guitarists. This period of unaccustomed activity met with few auditions. Some months later he realized that you don’t ask how many legs the audience has. By this time he had begun putting a guitar in the guitar case and figured out that a bigger case might get him more work. This led to the purchase of a Gibson twin necked guitar which had easily the biggest case on the market.

This was an effective strategy, and led to a period as a lead guitarist in a Lancashire working men’s club band. His musical career peaked once more and they were the headline act at the North Staffordshire Annual Pigeon Flyers Dinner and Dance – a remarkable performance that was only marred by the winner of the team event. This eighty year-old insisted on carrying a box of twenty birds up onto the stage to receive his trophy. Shaky on his pins, he fell off the stage, dropped the box, and all the pigeons escaped. Gig cancelled.

The ensuing years saw Martyn steadily increase the number of chords he knew and endlessly revisit ‘Puff’. Consumed by regret at how his music never really led anywhere he ultimately found happiness wearing a cowboy hat and jamming along to Lynyrd Skynyrd songs with the amp switched off.

When asked to get involved in the Abubilla project he jumped at the chance. He likes Jimmy’s family and it satisfies a need for him to hang around tall people.

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Martyn’s Top Ten

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