Danny Welbeck, guitarist, vocalist, composer and arranger of the infamous Welbeck Group, talked to me about those people who had influenced his guitar playing, and the Welbeck Group, during their career.
“I guess my father, who I nicknamed Elvis Welbeck, got my interested in music. He played rock and roll in a band in Holiday Camps, and showed me my first chords. It was from him I learned “the three chord trick” and you’d be surprised at how many of the best songs are based on mainly three chords. I then progressed to the chorus, the bridge, the middle eight, the key-change and the hook. I haven’t got the longest of fingers and therefore initially I found playing the guitar not easy. It also didn’t help that my dad’s guitar had very high action, which is the distance from the strings to the fretboard. That meant that I had to use a lot of pressure to get a decent tone from a note or a chord. In fact even to this day I have to exercise my fingers before a Welbeck Group concert.”
“While I admire technical excellence in guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, and the like, it’s guitarists like Brian May of Queen, George Harrison, and composers like Thom Yorke, and ColdPlay that I really admire. To weave a song from just some shaped thrown on a neck of a guitar, plus lyrics never fails to amaze me. Many of the best songs are simple affairs- listen to the songs on Simon and Garfunkel’s early albums. They were a great influence on me and the Welbeck Group.”
I asked Danny Welbeck whether he considered that there were any aspiring guitarists or songwriters that had been influenced by him or the Welbeck Group. “I don’t know- I would be flattered if anyone named me as an influence, but to be frank, I think people should very quickly throw off early influences and develop their own guitar and songwriting style. I wish everyone good luck in that!”