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TONE MOUNTAIN

Guitarist Neil Ivison has toured the world as a tech working with the likes of The 1975, Klaxons and Corinne Bailey Rae, and his interest in vintage instruments has recently developed into a guitar-building venture of his own. Chris Vinnicombe finds out more…

PRIVATE COLLECTION

PHOTOGRAPHY RICHARD SHAKESPEARE9

Growing up in Herefordshire with a Wurlitzer jukebox in his living room meant that Neil Ivison’s relationship with music was cemented at an early age. Although he distinctly remembers Little Richard’s scream kickstarting an obsession with the crackle of old vinyl records, his “lightning bolt” moment came on 16 December 1991 – “I still remember the date!” he admits – when his mother and DJ father took him to see the mighty Status Quo at Birmingham NEC.

“I went to school for the next 18 months, wearing the Status Quo t-shirt my dad had bought me from the gig, it was my prized possession”, Neil remembers. “Coincidentally, at the same time, the music teacher started a guitar club, teaching guitar after school. I was straight there, first in line, with a list of Quo songs, ‘I just need three chords to play these, don’t worry about the rest!’”

Then at high school, members of staff that had their own band helped Neil and some fellow students put a group together, mentored the fledgling act for a summer and organised an end-of-term concert. Playing in front of 300 screaming kids was mind blowing”, he recalls.

“At that moment, any chance of academic qualifications went straight out of the window, I was obsessed!”

TECH SUPPORT

By the time Neil left school, he’d already been playing in function bands for about three years. “I’d already got a ‘job’, so to speak. I did go to college and get a diploma in sound engineering but, in rural Herefordshire, I didn’t really have many options available to me so I ended up selling parts for tractors for three years while doing three or four gigs a week in the evenings. Then, by chance, I got a call from a guy I knew who needed a guitar tech urgently for a gig at Download Festival. So I jumped at it.

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