Owen VickersAs far as guitar goes, I started playing the day I saw Eric Clapton playing Layla on a TV show. I decided that guitar was what I was supposed to be doing. After that I learnt to play almost every song every made by The Shadows.

Then one day a friend played me a tape of a song called “Eruption” by Van Halen. That was the day I decided that the clean channel wasn’t for me!  Armed with a Vester ‘Strat’ and a Peavey Rage amp, I embarked on my “tone quest”. Unfortunately all I got was a sound like an industrial machine in a small wooden box.

Skip forward a few years of learning and I heard the album “Surfing With The Alien” by Joe Satriani. Since then I’ve been a confirmed Satch nut, learning his songs, tricks and trying to incorporate his style into my own. It’s a work in progress… Around that time I also started listening to Steve Vai, George Lynch, Vinnie Mooreand Yngwie Malmsteen. I went into a confused neo-classical-rock-blues phase with lots of sweep picking, which was quite enjoyable!

Reading a lot of guitar magazines lead me to the incredible technique of Paul Gilbert. 3-note-per-string alternate picking took away much of my childhood, in a good way.

Most recently I have been immersed in the wonder that is Andy Timmons. Amazing tone and although he has head-ripping chops, he often chooses melody over flash.

I am mostly self taught, but have had some great teachers in the past. Firstly was Rangi Hadfield who taught me a lot of Shadows songs. Later I had lessons with Grant Wills. Grant was also in a Malmsteen phase when I met him, and he taught me some incredible stuff about technique. He now makes the fine G2D pedals. Currently I am just trying to find some spare time in the day to actually play the guitar!

Outside of my guitar playing, I am a nerd, a geek, whatever you’d like to call it; I live in front of a computer.  I started fixing computers back in 1988, the good olde days of DOS and even Windows 1 and 3.0 a little later on.  I spent a lot of time building and maintaining Windows NT4 Servers for some decent sized organisations.  I now work as a Senior Systems Engineer and web designer (I know, weird mix) in Napier for Neocom

I’ve even moved on from NT4 😉  Currently I spend most of my day running Citrix environments, VMWare ESX systems, web servers (Linux and Windows 2003 or 2008) and generally fiddling and tweaking with servers.  When I get a break from that, I build websites and have fun with Photoshop.