Not for Pussies was born in the course of 2008. Brian & Janette Kidd had been together as a couple for just over 30 years and had been writing and playing music together for over 25 of those years. We had played in a proggy band - Alternative Communication - at University and shortly afterwards, then after a fallow spell, began to seriously write, record and play again as a twosome. We felt this new period of creativity and new project needed a name – so Not for Pussies was born.
The name comes from a Bette Davis quote when she was asked what it’s like to grow older.. “It’s not for pussies!” she growled. We both readily identified with this perspective!
Brian has played guitar since the age of 6. He bought his first electric guitar at 17 and fell in love with the soundscapes it could produce. His guitar heroes are the fast guys - Jan Akkerman, Robert Fripp - as well as those who create atmospheres and experiment with sound -Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead) and Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins) - as well as a scandinavian jazz guy called Eivind Aarset. And who wouldn't mention Jeff Beck... A particularly inspirational moment was when he saw Cocteau Twins play Exeter University in the early ‘90s and was blown away by the sounds Guthrie made by just strumming his guitar (through a bank of effects!). Brian also played trumpet from the age of 12 - Janette can remember his beetroot face, playing the trumpet in school orchestras. brians dad was a big fan of jazz and his family have a history in the brass band world. After school, the trumpet gathered dust in its case for many years, but after getting into Miles Davis in recent years, as well as seeing live acts like Beirut or Calexico, Brian has dusted off and polished up both trumpet and his embrasure and is exploring a new and exciting world of brass.
Brian is also a frustrated drummer who has always had a really solid sense of rhythm - but no kit. His response has been to be a whiz-kid on drum machine and percussion. His other area of growing expertise is on Pro Tools – mixing and production… definitely the technical-wizard on all Not for Pussies albums!
Janette began piano lessons at the age of 3, after driving her family nuts by climbing onto the piano stool and playing the theme tunes of various TV programmes she’d heard. Thus began many years of struggling with sight reading etc, and a difficult relationship with the piano, but eventually she gave up the lessons and accepted a more relaxed approach to keyboards – going back to her initial style of playing by ear! During the years when she abandoned the piano, she decided to take up guitar, but just couldn’t get to grips with it… She then saw someone playing a large 4 stringed guitar on Top of the Pops, whipped two strings off her little acoustic guitar and a love affair with bass began. She bought her first proper electric bass at 17 and hasn’t looked back since. Her heroes are Tony Levin (King Crimson; Peter Gabriel), Chris Squire (Yes), John Wetton (King Crimson, Roxy Music, UK) and more recently, Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree). In recent years she’s returned to keyboards and tried her hand at a range of“easier” string instruments such as mandolin, Greek tsuras and, very recently, autoharp.
Both Brian and Janette sang in choirs at school and during her early childhood Janette was a bit of a rival to Lena Zavaroni on the stages of Blackpool, but the less said, the better…. Nowadays she loves exploring vocal harmonies, which comes across on all the CDs. Her other main contribution to the band is to write the lyrics. She’s written poetry since childhood and for a while was a member of a performance trio of poets, performing around Devon and the southwest in the early ‘90s (The Three Disgraces). Her poetry heroes include Norman McCaig, Charles Bukowski, Ruth Padel, Carol Ann Duffy as well as German poet Friedrich Hoelderlin.
Janette would say that whereas Brian is the technical wizard, she brings an intuitive side to the mix.
Neither of us would claim to be technical geniuses on our instruments, but we do believe we have a unique creativity. If we have enough technical skill to express that, we’re both happy.