It looked like something that fell out of a UFO. It was guitar-like with sets of strings and other onboard controls that allowed the triggering playing of synthesizers. What was unique was that guitarists could therefore play a synthesizer without needing a great amount of keyboard expertise. Holdsworth has always sought a horn-like voicing with the ability to manipulate a note in a myriad of ways.
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Early life[ edit ] Holdsworth was born in Bradford , where he was raised by his maternal grandparents, Sam and Elsie Holdsworth. His professional career began when he joined the Glen South Band, which performed on the Mecca club circuit across Northern England.
Early career and s[ edit ] Holdsworth performing with U. They played live but never released any recorded material. This angered Holdsworth, who said decades later that he still loathed the album intensely and wished it were never made public. Shortly afterwards, Bruford formed the progressive rock supergroup U. Their second album, One of a Kind , was released in and featured extensive contributions by Holdsworth, but by this point he wished to pursue his own musical aspirations and soon left the group, albeit with some reluctance.
Their first collaborative release The Things You See followed in , and was a largely similar effort but without percussion or bass. Soon afterwards, Holdsworth joined up with drummer Gary Husband and bassist Paul Carmichael in a trio that became known as False Alarm.
Their self-titled debut album was released independently in , followed by a mainstream reissue through Enigma Records in Records executive Mo Ostin. Van Halen had previously enthused about Holdsworth in a issue of Guitar Player magazine, saying "That guy is bad!
Holdsworth, however, disliked Road Games because of creative differences with Templeman. Having relocated permanently to Southern California and acrimoniously parted ways with Warner Bros. Making his last appearance on vocals was Paul Williams, with whom Holdsworth claim to have fallen out due to the selling of live bootlegs by the former. The next year saw the release of a fourth album, Sand , which featured no vocals and showcased further SynthAxe experimentation.
In the late s, Holdsworth set up his own recording studio named The Brewery in North County, San Diego , which would become one of the main recording locations for all of his studio albums beginning with Secrets in , and throughout the s.
In a interview, he stated that he no longer owned the studio following his divorce in With former I. A collaboration in with brothers Anders and Jens Johansson resulted in Heavy Machinery , an album with more hard-edged playing from Holdsworth than was usual. Immediately afterwards, he abruptly slowed his solo output due to events in his personal life. Further new material with Chad Wackerman and Jimmy Johnson was also said to be in the works.
In , Holdsworth launched a PledgeMusic venture to release new studio material, as part of a collection named Tales from the Vault. Both are archival live recordings. Live in Japan , released in , is the first authorized release of the widely bootlegged "Tokyo Dream" laserdisc, with a limited edition bonus DVD. Two of his most recurring singers were Paul Williams featured on I.
One of the reasons for his renowned emphasis on legato, as opposed to picking , stemmed from a desire to make the sound between picked and legato notes indistinguishable.