Simon Ramsay

Fireworks & Rocktopia Contributing Writer
Simon Ramsay
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Call me a deviant, devotee or debauched geek, but if it ever becomes legally acceptable to marry my guitar I'll waltz that curvy beauty down the aisle quicker than you can scream "Holy Hendrix!" Standing opposite my gleaming Les Paul, I'll happily promise to love, honour and obey - before whisking her away on a long honeymoon, where I'll spend my days and nights plucking her senseless.....

It's always been about the wood and the wire for me. Like most young kids growing up in the 1980s, I lost my musical cherry to Michael Jackson (steady...), falling for tracks such as Beat It, Dirty Diana and Give Into Me without quite comprehending why. It's clear my subconscious was ten steps ahead of me, because those songs have one thing in common. And no, it's not the presence of a chimp-loving man child.

I'm talking about dazzling six-string action. From the streetwise funky-rock riffage of Mr Steve Lukather and flamboyant tapping of Sir Edward Van Halen, to Steve Stevens' laser gun licks and the dripping emotive swagger of Slash, a person would either have to be dead inside, or Kanye West, not to be mesmerised by such extra-terrestrial brilliance.

Fast forward to December 1991, and that barely understood whisper mutated into a face-slapping roar following an epiphany that changed my life forever. I still remember the day, mainly because I'd been struck down by the crippling beast known simply as 'Man Flu'. Lying prostrate on the bed, a cassette (Google it kids) of Queen's 'Greatest Hits II' was playing in the background. It barely aroused me from my suffering, until The Show Must Go On came on and struck me like a sonic sledgehammer.

Maybe it was because I was clearly on the brink of death, or the fact that the greatest frontmen to ever draw breath, and sport a yellow leather jacket, had just passed away, but the bleak existential angst of the lyrics immediately had my curiosity. Then Brian May's insanely visceral solo burst from the speakers, and it truly had my attention.

I devoured everything from Freddie and the boys, but remained musically monogamous until a song called 'Let's Get Rocked' blew my tiny mind. Queen may have opened the rock n' roll door, but Def Leppard kicked me through it with Women, White Lightning and Too Late For Love turning my fretboard fascination into a full blown obsession.

I subsequently saw the Leps play the Birmingham NEC Arena in '92, and for a first concert experience it was pure magic. The music was obviously scintillating, but so many other details made it a night to remember: In the round staging, stunning light show, insane levels of volume, an audience full of ladies who were way hotter than my class mates. And Phil Collen's tits.

From that moment I was a post-pubescent man on a mission, desperately trying to score my next six-string fix and slowly progressing from the softer, wacky backy sounds of Bon Jovi, '80s Aerosmith, Poison, Tyketto and Motley Crue, to the harder stuff; Guns N Roses, Skid Row circa 'Slave To The Grind', Therapy, Machine Head, Sabbath and, most importantly, Metallica. Back when they made furious new music and weren't just a cheesy touring commodity.

Around the age of fourteen I began taking guitar lessons, and spent hours in my bedroom playing with – sorry - by myself. A few years later I joined a couple of bands, but my studies took precedence and, even though I dreamt of both, there was more chance of me bedding Kylie Minogue than becoming a professional axe man. How good was I? Not a patch on my heroes, but considerably better than Noel Gallagher. Which isn't much of a boast is it?

By 1996 I'd grown tired of what I perceived to be a rather stale rock scene, and aside from Pearl Jam's 'Ten', Live's 'Throwing Copper' and Garbage's debut, nothing really hit my aural G spot. That same year I departed for Uni and my tastes really changed, with zeitgeist humping acts like Oasis, Suede, the Manics, The Verve, James and The Charlatans leading me into decidedly trendy territory.

To my eternal shame I'd become a Radio One listening automaton, enjoying the same old acts without voraciously seeking out new records or artists. However, life – in all its infinite wisdom / cruelty - found a way to bring me back from the dark side. During the summer of '99 I spent three months working in Greece, serving and consuming copious amounts of alcohol. Little sleep, a dearth of healthy nutrition and way too many cocktails - what could possibly go wrong? Turns out, everything.

I returned to Blighty feeling rather unwell. The doctors diagnosed me with M.E, although to this day I ascertain it was simply the longest hangover in human history. For the next decade the illness wiped me out and shattered my dreams. However, on the plus side it gifted me ample time to reconnect with my love of great music. Every cloud and all that.

My tastes broadened exponentially. I developed a yin for dark singer songwriters like Tom McRae, Rufus Wainwright, Nick Cave, Tori Amos, Elliot Smith and Damien Rice, fell for Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd and The Gaslight Anthem, worshipped Matchbox Twenty, Goo Goo Dolls, Dave Mathews Band, Lifehouse, Counting Crows and, after hearing Gotthard's 'Need To Believe', finally reconnected with my first musical crush.

It was a powerful reawakening. All of a sudden I felt like a teenager again, embracing Rock and AOR in a way I'd never done before, as well as power pop, progressive bands such as Dream Theater, loads of blues artists and contemporary groups like Halestorm, Shinedown and Black Stone Cherry.

Around that time my health improved and I realised that – along with rebuilding my physical strength – I needed to get my emaciated brain working again. I started penning reviews for Allgigs, before moving to Stereoboard, where I'm now one of their longest serving writers. I've also become a huge fan of country music and feel proud to enjoy so many different genres, especially as I was such a blinkered tosser in my youth.

Having said that, I'll always return to my premier passion. Guitar based music just feels like home, and will continue to thrill me until the day I ascend to the great gig in the sky. Which, even though I'm only 38, will probably be before the release of Metallica's new album.

Contact Simon Ramsay
Your Name: *
Your Email: *
Day Phone:
Evening Phone:
Contact Preference: *
(Maximum Characters: 300)
You Have Characters Left.
Enter Security Code Above
   Copy me on this email

Member Login


<<  January 2021  >>
 Mo  Tu  We  Th  Fr  Sa  Su 
      1  2  3
  4  5  6  7  8  910

Search Here

Shout Here

Latest Message: 4 weeks, 1 day ago
  • Johns Band : Will videos appear again in watch and listen. Good way for who albums to buy. I have Wrathchild - Live From London on DVD that might have been here. YouTube have averts now.
  • Berny : @rocktu: We used to produce a series of podcasts that were available for download on Rocktopia. Other than that, there's no radio station I am aware of.
  • rocktu : Hi i would like to know was there ever a radio station of fireworks
  • rocktu : Hi
  • Rocktopia Te : Fireworks #93 is out now! : - )
  • Berny : Hello @zigma33, you should have received a download link two days ago. Could you pls check your inboxes? Many thanks, B. :)
  • zigma33 : Hi! I purchased your latest issue #92 yesterday but never received my download.
  • daveomd : Got it along with my download, everything looks great! Thanks, Dave
  • Berny : @daveomd: We sent you a mail immediately after your purchase, and have just sent another email now. Please contact me at «email» should you not receive it. Many thanks!
  • daveomd : I purchased your latest issue #92 but never received my download.
  • Berny : @Hysteria & @KI2000: Many thanks for your kind words! :)
  • Hysteria : Received my download copy almost immediately and downloaded 50 magazines for free. Cannot complain! Thanks guys!!!
  • KI2000 : Love the new issue guys, great magazine!
  • Berny : @Mugi89: Your confirmation mail was sent on the 22nd, I've just sent it again. Please contact me at «email» should you not receive it. Many thanks!
  • Mugi89 : Hi! I purchased my digital copy of issue 92 2 days ago but still didn't receive it. When am I gonna be able to download it? thanks
  • Berny : @zom414: Your mail was forwarded to the Fireworks team yesterday, I am going to ask them again. Sorry for the delay!
  • Berny : @Mitch Perry: Your order was received at 4AM local time. As stated on the order page, all payments have to be processed manually. Your copy of Fireworks 92 was added to your download section, many thanks for the purchase.
  • Berny : @RobC68: I sent you two emails explaining the situation. There's not much more I can do for you at the moment, so I'd suggest you stop buying the magazine. Thanks.
  • zom414 : Still not received the latest issue by post, I've emailed as well but not heard anything. Can you let me know what's happening please?
  • Mitch Perry : Can I have my download link, please? Issue 92 22 Sep 2020 07:57:11 BST Paypal Transaction ID: 1BS38875MX3700248
  • RobC68 : purchased issue 92 in download version. been waiting more than a day....PATHETIC SERVICE as it happens with every purchase!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Berny : @rgilman: Please check your e - mail for download instructions.
  • rgilman : Hello I bought the Deep Purple issue how do I download it? Thanks
  • Berny : @jharper36: Please check your e - mail.
  • jharper36 : Hi, i purchased the download of issue #92. How do I download it?
  • Berny : @loudjlopez: Sorry for the troubles, pls. check your mail. Many thanks!
  • loudjlopez@m : Any word on my digital download of issue 91. Paid on Saturday. It is Tuesday. Thanks
  • loudjlopez@m : Paid for Fireworks #91 for digital download. No word since Saturday and it is Monday.
  • Berny : @fdr: Magazines were sent on Monday. Thanks for your purchase and best regards, B. :)
  • fdr : Hi, yesterday (august 12th) I sent you a payment for 21GBP for the purchase of issues 91 and 82 of Fireworks magazine. (code 7D3182072X778721A) but still haven't received a word od confirmation. Can you please check?

Only registered users are allowed to post

Quote of the day

"When I started singing high-pitched metal tunes my mom said, 'You sound like a dying cat'." (Sebastian Bach) - Quotes collected by Dave Ling (

Follow Us


This website uses cookies to help us give you the best experience when you visit. Cookies used for the essential operation of the site have already been set. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our Privacy Statement.

I accept cookies from this site