Music FOR cows, BY cows, made with the SUPPORT of cows, and with cows very much in mind. And I don't mind admitting that I'm wearing leather trousers.
To hear my music, click here.
   Phil Gardner 2003-8
The drums were my first love. I bought my first drum kit in 1987 at the age of 14. It cost £120 second hand, paid off at £5 a week from a paper round, and was a bit of a mongrel, made up with a few Remo heads, and other less identifiable parts. And for reasons unknown, it was painted red & white. Perhaps by a Sunderland fan. I read books, listened intently to Phil Collins, Chester Thompson, Neil Peart, and Bob Dalton of It Bites, and played literally every day. I always loved drummers who attempted to add a new dimension to the music, rather than just keeping time, and in those four guys I had the best teachers around. I had that drum kit for two years, at which point I sold it... for £120 (not a bad deal), and bought a brand new kit. I'd spent two years wanting the Pearl Export, but when it came to it, I changed my mind at the last moment and bought the Premier APK (pictured), a decision I've always very slightly regretted. Armed with my shiny new kit, I played in a couple of bands in my late teens. We never enjoyed much in the way of success, but playing live music was one of the biggest pleasures I've ever experienced. There's not much to beat it.
It's stuff. And I play it.
The guitar has taken over from the drums as my main instrument in the last 15 years. I started learning it in 1991, motivated mainly by a desire to be able to accompany my own singing - a definite drawback of the drums. I learnt a few chords on a battered old acoustic guitar belonging to my Dad, then bought my brother's old electric guitar from him for £25 when he got a new one. I moved on to a Hohner Rockwood LX90 in 1993, which has a surprisingly good tone for its price, and which was the guitar on which I first seriously started writing songs. I then splashed out on an Ovation Celebrity CC167 electro-acoustic guitar (pictured left) the following year, which became the main guitar I played for the next ten years.
Bass Guitar
I bought a 3/4 size bass for £22 from Basildon flea market in 1992, then immediately bought two books to teach me to play it, which cost almost as much as the guitar. For about a year I fell totally in love with the bass. I found it a very easy instrument to get into, and at a time when playing bar chords on the guitar was seeming like a feat achievable only by contortionists and circus freaks, the ease of the bass was very appealing. I played it daily until my fingers were so sore I could barely hold a pen. In 1994 I bought a second hand Vision bass for £60, then finally got my first brand new one, a Yamaha (pictured) in 1999. The amount I play the bass is directly related to my proficiency at the guitar. As I've mastered the latter, I've felt less drawn to the bass, and apart from an occasional blues jam with my brother, I now play bass very little.
I bought a second hand Romanian mandolin (pictured) on a whim from Basildon flea market in 1992. It was £25, and very slightly damaged, but it has a nice sound. I bought a mandolin chord book the same day, and was soon strumming a few songs. I've never taken it particularly seriously, but that said, I did play it in public a couple of times in 1993, an act which prompted one lady to come up to me afterwards and ask  "What was that small guitar?"
Banjo Ukulele
I bought this for £25 from the Sussex Beacon charity shop in Brighton in June 2007. It's made by G Houghton & Sons (G H & S), a British banjo manufacturer based in Birmingham. I've been told their factory closed in 1962, so it's probably a good fifty years old.
They're MP3s. And they're mine, all mine!!! Mwahahaha!!!!!!
I've always enjoyed tinkering about on keyboards, without ever becoming much of a pianist. I had a small Yamaha keyboard when I was about 12, then moved on to a full size Yamaha PSR a couple of years later, on which I learnt to play enough chords to blag my way through a number of songs. Next came a second hand Roland EP-3 digital piano in 1993, then the extravagance of a shiny new Casio WK-1500 (pictured) in 1994, which is the keyboard I still play to this day. I bought it mainly to utilise the MIDI facility and use it with my old Amiga computer as a sequencer. I would occasionally program drum and basslines to accompany myself on the guitar. These days I use it mainly as a simple piano, connecting it up to my Roland to fill out the sound.
I used to write a lot of songs, a habit I've found it hard to maintain over more recent years. These days I prefer to butcher the superior work of others. But here's a small selection of musical offerings, some my own, others illegal forays into the world of copyright infringement. These are all lo-fi recordings made with a guitar, a microphone, and a lot of unfounded optimism. Left-click to download and play automatically, or right-click to save to your computer and send off to a record company under your own name.
Over the Railway Tracks (3.95MB)
Music & Lyrics by Phil Gardner

This was written on 5th August 1993, at a time when I was writing a lot of songs. I tended to write quickly, but this song probably ranks as the fastest I ever wrote - both music and lyrics coming within the space of half an hour. Which is probably the reason I like it - I didn't give myself time to fall out of love with the song.
Gone Away (2MB)
Music & Lyrics by Phil Gardner

This was written on 4th February 2000. I've got out the old electric guitar for this recording, so pump up the volume, and in the words of Smashie and Nicey, "Let's Rock!". Um... sorry.
Back Again (3.3MB)
Music & Lyrics by Phil Gardner

Having written a song called 'Gone Away', I obviously had to write one called 'Back Again', so I did on 30th November 2000, based on a riff composed whilst idly playing guitar in front of my computer waiting for a friend to come online.
I Have No Right (2.58MB)
Music & Lyrics by Kitson/Kitson
Arrangement by Phil Gardner

This is a Senators song by Mick and Jim Kitson, and one of my all time favourites. I have a bad habit of taking other people's songs and creating my own arrangements, and this is one such example. The title is especially apt here. Apologies to Mick and Jim for the liberty, but it could've been worse - I very nearly put my metal version of 'The Little Things' on here. For more on The Senators, click here.
I've Had It (3.26MB)
Music & Original Lyrics by Aimee Mann
Arrangement & Butchered Lyrics by Phil Gardner

An Aimee Mann song from the album 'Whatever'. It's about playing in a band, so I couldn't resist changing a few of the lyrics to make it more personal. So sue me.
The Luckiest (4.45MB)
Music & Lyrics by Ben Folds
Arranged for guitar by Phil Gardner

A love song from the Ben Folds album 'Rockin the Suburbs'.
It's stuff. And I like it.
You know those sad people who fill their homepages with endless banal lists of all their favourite things, as if they think anyone could actually give a monkeys what their top ten ANYTHING is??? Good. You'll know what to expect here then.

1. Keane
2. Matchbox 20
3. Aqualung
4. The Senators
5. Hot Rod Circuit
6. Hanson
7. Ben Folds Five
8. It Bites
9. Veruca Salt
10. Crowded House
11. Squeeze
12. The Wreckers
13. The Railway Children
14. The Big Dish
15. The 4 of Us
16. Echobelly
17. Deacon Blue
18. The Wonderstuff
19. Frazier Chorus
20. Goodbye Mr Mackenzie
Solo Artists

1. Nina Gordon
2. Ben Folds
3. Michelle Branch
4. Pink
5. Neil Finn
6. Martyn Joseph
7. Lucy Woodward
8. Tom Petty
9. Aimee Mann
10. Avril Lavigne
Songs I Wish I'd Written

1. Brighter Than Sunshine
    - Aqualung
2. Where is the One
    - Ruth
3. The Little Things
    - The Senators
4. The Luckiest
    - Ben Folds
5. Dolphins Make Me Cry
    - Martyn Joseph
6. Nowhere
    - Aqualung
7. Low Maintenance
    - Nina Gordon
8. Bedshaped
    - Keane
9. Push
    - Matchbox 20
9. I Have No Right
    - The Senators
Bits of Music I Wish I'd Come Up With
(Warning: I put about five minutes' thought into this list, so don't quote me on it)

1. Neil Finn's off-key guitar solo on 'Nails in my Feet' by Crowded House.
2. Glenn Tilbrook's extreme wah-wah guitar on 'Wicked and Cruel' by Squeeze. Frankly I could name just about any Glenn Tilbrook guitar piece here. The solo on 'House of Love' is another favourite.
3. Francis Dunnery's delayed guitar piece on 'Charlie' by It Bites.
4. The drum duet by Phil Collins & Chester Thompson on the Genesis Invisible Touch tour.
5. Francis Dunnery's 'guitar' intro and solo on 'Rose Marie' by It Bites.
6. Bob Dalton's drum beat on 'Yellow Christian' by It Bites.
7. The drum riff on 'Disbelieve It' by The Senators. It's a simple piece, but I've always loved it. It's the hook on which the whole song is hung.
8. Dougie Vipond's train-mimicking percussion on 'This Train Will Take You Anywhere' by Deacon Blue.
9. The intro to 'There's No Other Way' by Blur. I'm not a big Blur fan, but I love this intro guitar piece.
10. Steve Nieve's piano on 'House of Love' by Squeeze.
I Don't Want to Sleep (4.21MB)
Music by Phil Gardner
Lyrics by Helen Grice

This was written on 5th August 2003, and recorded that same afternoon. It was the third Gardner/Grice song written in three days, and my personal favourite. I added the backing vocals on a whim the following day.
It's You (5.19MB)
Music by Phil Gardner
Lyrics by Helen Grice & Phil Gardner

This was actually written on 19th August 2003, more than a week after I'd finished the CD, and was another 'all-in-one' effort - this recording being made within a couple of hours of writing the song.
In August 2003 I got back to enthusiastic songwriting for the first time in ten years, which resulted in a CD of ten songs, recorded in my living room with the windows shut on the hottest week of the year. That's what I call timing. Here are two of those songs, written in collaboration with my lyricist buddy Helen. I like to think of us as the new Lennon and McCartney. I'm John Lennon, obviously, because Helen's 41, so if she was Lennon, she'd be dead. Sorry, was that in bad taste?
August  2003
My MP3s now feature on the SoundClick website, where you'll find a new recording of 'Over the Railway Tracks', and two new versions of 'Back Again', as well as songs not featured here. From now on, any new songs will be added to the SoundClick site, rather than this page, so ignore the pitiful efforts below, and CLICK HERE to see what's available.
February  2003
Note: Due to webspace limitations, I have been forced to remove the MP3 of 'It's You' from this site. However, you may still download it for free from the SoundClick site. Hurrah!
I bought a Kramer Baretta (top right) in 2001, partly to pose as a metalhead, but mainly because it came in purple. This was followed in May 2006 by an Ovation Tangent MOB ('My Other Board') (bottom left), which replaced my previous Ovation as the guitar I tend to play most. In April 2007 I bought a Bell & Head 'Bloody Nightmare' electric guitar (bottom right) designed by Cassandra Elk and made in Germany. To be honest I didn't need another guitar at all, but when you can get something like that on Ebay for forty-six quid, you just have to go for it.