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Phil Wilkes - Keyboards

Phil was born in Nottinghamshire but spent much of his childhood in Coventry. When he was ten, the family bought a home organ and Phil used to eavesdrop on his mum having lessons – until she got fed up with this and arranged for lessons of his own!

By the age of 15 he was playing regularly in local clubs and bingo halls. He joined a band playing popular covers around the West Midlands under the name “Savoir Faire” (“The Band With Flair” – yes, it sucked, even then!). Then a friend introduced him to what we now know as progressive rock, and in particular to the music of Yes.

He never looked back…

University – and then real life – meant that musical interests became more of a personal than public pursuit, although he continued to play and compose music for his own amusement. This changed with a chance business meeting in 2005 where the person he was meeting mentioned he was in a band. “You’re not looking for a keyboard player, are you?” joked Phil, but as luck would have it, they were! So Phil joined “Rewind” and spent a happy couple of years playing rock covers around Leeds and the North Yorkshire area (with Kev Currie on guitar).

In late 2007 Rewind folded and as Phil was keen to continue to play live, he posted some ads on musician websites. For several weeks, he heard nothing, and then within a week, he received four offers of auditions – but one stood out as a name he recognised – “Guy Manning”.

Phil had been a member of the Classic Rock Society for many years and had attended many of their gigs, including a gig by Focus in 2003 at which Manning were the support. So when Phil received the invitation from Guy, he at last saw an opportunity to play the kind of music he really loves. Phil takes up the story:

“I was given a couple of songs to learn for the audition – Lost In Play and the closing sections of Holy Ireland. I guess Guy thought that if I could play those, I could cope with most things! I must have done OK because I was invited back the next week. I love Guy’s music, and it is a real thrill for me to play in this band!”

In addition to contributing keyboards on “Number Ten” and playing live with the band, in both Elektrik and Akoustik flavours, Phil also had a major hand in designing and producing the images for the “Number Ten” cover and booklet, as one of his other main interests is computer art. Phil’s musical interests are very wide ranging, and he cites Yes and Rick Wakeman, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Asia, Camel, Spock’s Beard, Magenta and Mostly Autumn as amongst his favourites – oh, and Manning!!












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