Kirk: I’ve known you for quite some time Lloyd, but I don’t know that much about your background. Can you tell me a bit about your history?
Lloyd: When I was about 12 or 13, my Dad ( Eddie Reid ) built a studio in his friend’s house. This was a guy called Finlay Lawson. He was a Blue Angel .
Kirk: The motorbike club?
Lloyd: Yes. He built the studio to record another friend’s album. A guy called Billy Murphy. I was playing football at the time. I was playing with Aberdeen and Celtic and I was doing pretty well.
Kirk: Really? What position did you play?
Lloyd: I Was predominantly a winger. I was small and fast. So, during that summer that the album was being made I kept going to the studio and I started missing the football training. I was fascinated by everything that was going on but I couldn’t play anything. I think I had a guitar but I just couldn’t play it. There was a guy playing guitar on the album called Willie McGonegal and at the time I thought he was the coolest guy ever, he was great. So all of the musicians would go into the studio and I would be left in the kitchen with this guy Finn. This Blue Angel guy. Now Fin had one full arm and hand but his left arm only went down to his elbow. He was a welder and he had this thing that he put on and it had a plectrum coming out of it and he used to play rhythm guitar. So he started teaching me how to play guitar. I struggled for the first couple of months and then I started picking things up and then that was it, the football just stopped.
Kirk: It was that powerful?
Lloyd: Aye definitely. So that was it. As soon as I could play anything my Dad had me out gigging with him. I was 14 or 15 and I played anywhere that he could get me in.
Kirk: What kind of gigs where you playing?
Lloyd: My Dad would get gigs in local pubs on Sunday afternoons. I think the first gig I played might have been The Clutha. I don’t remember but my Dad reckons that’s what it was. He reckons I was sitting on a beer crate but I’m not sure. Then when I was about 18 I started getting into bands with people that I had gone to school with.
Kirk: What kind of stuff were you playing with your Dad?
Lloyd: It would be songs that my Dad had written himself or Bob Dylan or similar.
Kirk: So did you and him sit at night and rehearse.
Lloyd: I guess we had a couple of run-throughs but I would mostly go away and learn all the stuff by myself. I remember he had music nights in the house and people like Big George ( Big George and The Business) and Al Brown ( Rev Doc and the Congregation ), John Manning and Willie McGonegal would come around. They were all really fantastic guitar players. Al and George were the Blues influences but John was the Country influence and was a great flat picker and was the nicest guy you could ever meet and a fantastic pedal steel player which after he passed away his family gave me his steel guitar which was extremely humbling. He always took an interest in me and I was always very grateful for that. They would sit and play and I would watch them and then go up the road and try and remember the shapes of the chords they played and try and put it all together.
Before that I was really into bands like Oasis, Ocean Colour Scene and that kind of thing and then Big George got me into a pub when he was playing a gig and I remember that it was a whole other thing that I never seen before. Well, George was a whole other thing that a lot of people had never seen before. He was one-off. That’s when I got into Stevie Ray Vaughan and that is all I listened to for about two years straight. I think that happens to most guitarists, it’s a good jumping off point. I left school at about 15 and any wages I got I was trying to source rare bootlegs and VHS tapes…anything I could get. I was obsessed.
Thne I remember that Al Brown took me to the Blues Jam at Studio One and at that point I realised that there were a lot of people trying to sound like Stevie Ray Vaughan so I went off it a bit.
It was also at that point that I heard Al playing and I thought “Ok, that’s what it’s about!” Even back then I didn’t want to sound like anyone else so I spent some time with Al and he helped me work on a few things. The thing with Al is that you can sit with him for 10 minutes and that’s enough to keep you going for a couple of years trying new things out. It’s still the case. Whenever I feel frustrated with my playing I can go over and see him and have a coffee and 20 minutes later you’ve got enough to work on for the next 6 months.
Kirk: So, where did it go from there?
Lloyd: I joined a band with my cousin. It was a band called “The Licks” and we started gigging around the unsigned scene in Glasgow. We did tons of gigs for about a year but I just wasn’t feeling it. I joined another band with some mates from school which was to become “The Black Arrows” and I remember i was trying to be very cool all the time. Everyone would turn up to rehearsals wearing their “Game Face”. But I remember the first time the guy who would become the drummer,a guy called Craig Richardson, who is still one of my best mates to this day. He suggested we all play in our pants to get to know each other,which he did!. ( laughs ). I’d never met him before and I was like “ Who the **** is this guy??” It took us all a couple of weeks to get our heads round this guy but we eventually figured him out and like I say he’s still one of my best mates all these years later.
That was the first band I played in that ended up doing Festivals and bigger gigs. We managed to play The Barrowlands and The Carling Academy. I had just met Daniel Meade and the guys in The Meatmen. They were a 3 piece and they were looking for another guitar player. So here were these guys that were playing 50’s Rock ‘n’ Roll, Country and all of the stuff that I had been listening to but never managed to ever play and they were also going to pay me! No brainer! So I jumped at that chance. Those 5 years with that band were the best time! Just crazy!
That was the first proper tour, the first time I was getting paid properly. I was playing 4 or 5 days a week and I chucked my job and became a full-time musician. I was 24, single, out every night, having fun.
The trip of a lifetime was when we went out to Morocco for 3 months with the band. My Dad had been working out there and he set us up with the gigs. We did really well out there. We also moved to Dublin for a time after the promise of fame and fortune, which never happened. We were living in a 4 Bedroom Townhouse in this posh part of Dublin for a whole summer. Playing gigs in Dublin for a whole summer with this amazing pad. It was ridiculous! If a could have known back as that 13 year old kid that this kind of thing could be a reality for me I would have worked my ass off even more.
Kirk: At this risk of going too deep, what is your personal opinion on life in general. In particular the strength of belief in yourself and making things happen? Lloyd: Manifestation? Visualisation? I totally believe in it! If you are going to believe in anything why not believe that you are in control to a certain extent. Why leave it up to someone else.
Genuinely, there are things that I have thought about all of my life and they have ended up happening. You can mark it down to coincidence or whatever but I don’t think so. Positive thinking is the thing. I’m all for it. I’m in. I signed up years ago! And in the past few years when really crazy shit started happening. Like John Prine inviting me on stage. That was an extreme example of the Laws of Attraction or whatever you want to label it.
There were too many tiny wee pieces of the jigsaw that all fell into place in a matter of 2 days. There is just no way it ever should have happened, unless it was meant to happen. I’m not saying that I work at it every day and try to make things happen or sit and practice for hours every day. I turn up on time and I play what I’m asked to play. I’m not one of those guys that is very good at schmoozing and pretending to like someone to get work but I make genuine friendships and things do happen.
This might sound a bit off but just to expand on what I mean. From being a 13 year old kid that grew up fascinated by American music to the point that I was playing in a festival in Ireland and some guy came up and asked me to play guitar from him. Not realising he was the “next big thing” in the States. His name was Sturgill Simpson. I then became friends with him and then living in his house out in Nashville and then meeting my musical heroes out there one-by-one. Just walking through a door…and there they were! The crazy thing is, John Manning, who I spoke about earlier, his favourite two people in the “Playing World” were Jerry Douglas and John Prine. I walked into this session and Jerry Douglas was sitting there playing. John Manning had just passed away. I remember thinking, I’m from Old Kilpatrick, I stay in the back of beyond, I can play a wee bit of guitar and yet, here I am. It was ridiculous. And then literally, 4 months later I’m on stage in the Royal Concert Hall with John Prine. This is the guy, whose music John Manning used to play to teach me how to flat pick! I was buzzing just to meet the guy. I knew that I go back to John Manning’s wife and let her know that I had met John Prine and she would have known what that would have meant. So just before John Prine went on stage his wife popped her head through the door and said that John would like to know if I would like to go on stage and play the last song with him. Of course I said yes but that was the gig screwed for me. I was sitting there, 1. sh***ing myself and 2. Trying not to burst oot greetin because I was thinking about John Manning. My night was ruined and then I was going to have to go up in front of a couple of thousand people and play a song I never really knew!
It happened, and I don’t know why it happened, other than it was something that I had wanted to happen. There’s no way that it was luck. Nobody gets that lucky, that’s my point. You couldn’t join all of the dots in a straight line to make any coherent sense of it. I think it was just meant to happen and you move on and see what happens next.
Kirk: Would you say that was the career highpoint…to date, obviously.
Lloyd: John Prine, the man’s a legend! To be asked to go on stage with him…. To be honest it still feels a bit weird.
Kirk: So what’s happening this year?
Lloyd: Daniel is recording a new album and I’m getting the dates in for that at the moment. I’m also planning to get back out to The States in the Spring.
Kirk: What’s the best thing about the musician’s life for you Lloyd.
Lloyd: I just love being away. I love touring. Staying in a hotel, getting kicked out at 10am, jumping into a van, driving to the next gig, soundcheck, get your dinner, play the gig. I just love that routine! It just makes sense to me. Somewhere new every day. I’m lucky that I have been able to do it. It’s addictive. You feel like you are achieving something.
Kirk: You’ve achieved a fair bit Lloyd and I know there’s more just around the corner. Keep the faith.
Glasgow storage yard