MORPETH - NORTHUMBERLAND
Martin Fletcher is a harmonica player.
The 'harmonicagod' brand name is intended to be somewhat ironic, I'm not that arrogant! It was partly inspired by the woeful public understanding (among musicians just as much as audience) of how the instrument should be played, and the enormous possibilities it offers for lead playing in the style of sax/guitar/horn parts/etc., never mind the unique sound and feel it has in expressing emotion in a way that is almost vocal. Many famous musicians play it so badly...if they played their guitars/keyboards etc. like that they'd be laughed off stage.....so why is it OK to do that with the harmonica? Rant over.
I've played diatonic harmonicas (mund-harmonica for the clearest European understanding) since I was about 16....and that was in 1970. In the early 1980's I got heavily involved in the Tyneside Blues scene, which dates back to the late 50's and has produced The Animals with Eric Burdon, Sting (with a fair bit of jazz, too), and many other great musicians. I've been lucky enough to know and play with some of them (but not Sting! ;-) )
Eventually I joined the Blues Burglars and have worked with the guys for the last 20+ years in all kinds of formats. In 1999 I formed MFUS, a hiphop-blues fusion band which combined an MC and DJ with a 5-piece blues band. The results were great fun and experience, and rekindled my interest in many forms of music which I'd put on hold because of my blues obsession.
In 2004/2005 I began to produce and engineer in my own mini-studio. I try to make all kinds of music and be involved in all kinds of music. I have always loved free jazz, Alice Coltrane, Terry Riley, Miles Davis 70's period, John McLaughlin, ambient electronics etc. My son and daughter kept me in touch with the Manchester baggy scene, Primal Scream and on into dance culture and hiphop. I worship Blackalicious, and lately, Burial. Most indie music leaves me cold....but electronic, ambient, chillout, glitch, dubstep, dub etc.are all things I've loved and tried to create, or at least honour, at different times.
Being a harmonica player, I have never made much money from music, but I've been to great places and met great people.
I play Hohner Marine Band harmonicas - old school. I use a custom-made Heumann mic - a Spherex with old-school Green Bullet innards - (which I fell in love with on sight, but which Charlie Musselwhite had first refusal on - fortunately, he chose others) for amplified playing. My amp is a Gibson single valve, no tone control, 5-15 watt piece of gorgeousness....but I have a '59 reissue Fender Bassman for larger gigs and I run them together.
If you like any of what I do - thanks very much. By all means drop me a line to discuss stuff. I love comments and feedback - it's all about learning. Always happy to do parts/collaborations for other Soundclouders.
Finally, I have to mention how much I appreciate my musical compadres - PJ White / Bill Sharp / Bruce Campbell / Pete Redhead / Garry Browning / Ed Bowman / Graeme Hare / Jason Toner / Fareez / Jim Murray and many more. A harmonica player usually needs a musical backdrop to work with, and they've provided it many times over. Thank you, gentlemen (sadly, no ladies on my list!).
I currently play with the inestimable Chris James in a duo/trio/quartet format, more that ably assisted by Finn McArdle on percussion (Martin Stephenson, Johnny Dickinson and many more) and Paul White (Blues Burglars, MFUS etc.)
All the best - Martin