The Start of Nick Harper – The Wilderness Years

‘Writing about music is like dancing about architecture’ – Frank Zappa

                     Photo – Paula Cuccurullo

‘Thank you all for turning out tonight and supporting live music, giving the babysitter some money and the PlayStation a rest………………….. I’m stalling until I find out what I’m actually doing’Nick Harper


I’ve known Nick Harper for most of his life. I was a young student living the bohemian life of the sixties underground and he was the young son of Roy Harper. I’d just been knocked for six by Roy’s take on music, society and the universe at large and he invited me round to glimpse his life. Nick was part of it.

Since then I’ve been a teacher, writer, parent, partner, traveller and avid devotee of rock music.

I love guitar playing. When it comes to guitar playing I have seen all the greats up close playing in small halls – from Jimi Hendrix to Bert Jansch, Jimmy Page to Peter Green, Davy Graham to Eric Clapton; but there is one who stands out for me. His sheer brilliance is beyond anything else I have seen. What Nick Harper can do with a guitar is magical.

To quote Rob Adams from the Glasgow Herald – ‘If you haven’t heard Nick Harper you are missing out on one of the musical phenomenons of our age.’

The strange thing is that the bending of the strings, the tuning and retuning of strings within songs, the creation of new upside down chords and even the surround sound delay is never a gimmick. It isn’t showing off. It actually works to create great music and the tricks are integral parts of the songs that always add to the composition. He is recreating the sounds in his head. Nick expands upon the possibility and generates extensions of improbability.

I have only ever seen one person capable of such a thing and he was Jimi Hendrix. Nick’s limitation, as with Jimi, is merely the extent of his imagination. It goes without saying that Nick’s imagination is of the scope of galaxies. It is phenomenal.

I have been fortunate to observe Nick’s talents develop over decades and I never get tired of the crispness and range that his fingers tease or pound. He can make the guitar thunder or trill with delicate melodies. Nick produces music you can get lost in.

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