Del began playing guitar at 12 years old after borrowing a Guns ‘N’ Roses tape from a classmate and deciding that being a filthy rich rock behemoth like Slash was marginally preferable to being an underdeveloped Barnsley schoolboy. Saving up a princely £35 over the course of a few months he bought a half size, unbranded electric guitar from The Band Box (Doncaster Road, Barnsley – long gone) and taught himself timeless melodies including ‘My Darling Clementine’ and the theme from ‘One Foot in The Grave’. After this world shaking start he had lessons with local committed alcoholic blues guitarist Dave Appleyard who would occasionally fall into a drunken slumber while teaching. However, the inevitable risk of airborne cirrhosis aside, Del learnt a lot during his time with Dave and showed promise as a guitarist.
At 19 he auditioned for and was hired by a recently formed local club turn who spent the next 4 years hawking their largely 80s wares around the nation’s least pleasant WMCs. This was a truly eventful 48 months (a particularly memorable moment found him falling from the band’s ruefully maintained van while traversing a rather tricky junction in Hemsworth, jewel of West Yorkshire) and, again, he learned much, especially about arranging and live sound.
With the band precariously established on the club circuit (it went through several changes of name due largely to the frequently questionable and often R18 exploits of the band’s locally infamous singer) he left his job at a timber merchant and enrolled on a music course at Wakefield college. Here, he studied classical guitar with Kevin Bolton, a revered exponent of the instrument, and studied jazz theory with composer/saxophonist Tony Davis, who recruited Del for his jazz and latin ensembles. The two years at college taught Del an enormous amount about music theory and playing different styles as well as exposing him to the bands and artists (John Martyn, The Smiths, Jeff Buckley, Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, etc.) who would later become his songwriting influences. Under Tony’s tutelage he gained a place at the Birmingham Conservatoire’s jazz degree course and, in 2001, left Yorkshire for the Midlands.
He hated the Conservatoire and lasted a little over three months. However, having already entered into a relationship he decided to stay in the Midlands and complete a music degree at the University of Wolverhampton. It remains a truly terrible decision and, in 2005, he moved back to Barnsley barely any wiser, completely clueless about what to do with his life and several thousand pounds in the red. After a little under two months on the dole he found a job at a local music shop and started teaching guitar to supplement his wage. Needing a more creative outlet he also joined local indie punk band The Baddies and, having met and formed friendships with other Barnsley musicians, began forming and writing for the indie/folk/prog (each of those descriptions being more tenuous than the others) band Mynas, with which he would play, write and record until 2014.
Mynas (a very fine band, in all seriousness) eventually became a six piece with two couples among them. This would ultimately be its undoing and, during the last few years, the band came to resemble Fleetwood Mac, albeit without any of the glamour, cocaine, recognition or money. Arsed off with it all but still writing almost daily, he started recording acoustic demos and playing solo acoustic gigs. The demos became the now almost entirely ignored first album released in November 2016 and marked the starting block of a self set challenge to record and release three albums in a year. He completed the challenge and his fourth (most accomplished) album ‘The Pen, The Sword and The Song’ was released in April 2018.
Since he started playing solo he has supported The Subways’ Billy Lunn, The Stranglers’ frontman Baz Warne, Gomez frontman Ben Ottewell, blues guitar hero Ben Poole and British folk guitar’s final-level-boss Martin Simpson. His fifth album ‘Lantern’, something of which he is already very proud, is due for release in December this year.