Nicky's story truly begins aged 17 when he left his hometown of Manchester in a hurry to hitch hike his way to Calcutta and beyond, soaking up the heady, new, exotic and unfamiliar scents and sounds of the East. He loved it there, feeling totally free for the first time in his life. This forged his personality and set the tone from here on. By now he was playing his first three chords on his newly acquired, battered guitar and to support himself for the next 3 and a half years, began dealing antiques from The Khyber Pass to Paris and back again, playing gigs in every bar and cafe and dive along the Silk Road. Nicky was now speaking and sometimes even singing in fluent French and Farsi.
The next chapter was etched out in Paris where Nicky spent his time moonlighting between the antiques and the music. He bought his first set of drums and started gigging relentlessly, soon progressing to front the band and start singing the stories of his quite remarkable life so far. Every Sunday Nicky would load up his Mercedes van full of antiques and his trusty old guitar and head off to sell and play in every major city across France, Holland, Belgium and Switzerland, heading back to Paris for weekend rehearsals before one rainy day in Geneva, sick of smelling like an antique, he made the decision to concentrate on the music full time. 6 weeks later he was shacked up in London's Earl's Court, knowing no one.
(Alfredo photo to be added)
Nicky bought himself a old black London cab to transport his guitars and drums to play with countless bands across the city. He even got involved in some Cockpit and King's Head Theatre productions working alongside actors Tim Roth and Dennis Lawson. But his northern grit kept dragging him back to the music and his latest 3 recordings were snapped up by Lamborghini Records and passed onto Steve Lewis from Virgin Music, who although interested, in truth was finding it hard to place this young man who's face wasn't pretty enough for the cover of Jackie magazine, or musically not alternative enough to be the next Joe Jackson or Elvis Costello and certainly nothing like the new and emerging Boy George. The Ugly Mother seeds were starting to propagate.
As Nicky's relationship grew with Steve at Virgin music, and by now, knowing a thing or two about songwriting, he ended up being offered some work as part time A&R, getting dragged all over the country with a brief to look for new compositions. As his reputation grew within the industry, he was approached by a ridiculously persistent manager who finally persuaded him to venture north to see his latest signing in Derby. He went, and he liked what he saw, although the delicate truth was that the singer wasn't cutting it. Aware of Nicky's own vocal talents, they snatched him from the corporate thighs of Virgin to front the band now known as the Horse Thieves. His nine month career in publishing was now history and he was back where he belonged, behind the microphone.
(Horse Thieves photo to be added)
The Horse Thieves went lame after less than a year and Nicky disappeared to Sicily for a few months to have a re-think. Language count now 4, chord count now 8. The one positive element about the Horse Thieves, had been Craig Chester the keyboard player, and Nicky salvaged his talents and moved him and new guitarist Ian Lovatt down to London to put together their next project, The Great Divide. Nicky, ever the adventurer, re-mortgaged his flat to finance a 12 month whirlwind tour of Europe. First stop, the south of France, then Germany, Budapest, Barcelona where they were mugged at gunpoint, and eventually on to Vienna. 93 gigs later and living off their wits, shoplifting, scamming, fighting with venue owners and using their combined charms to get beds for the night to avoid sleeping in the van in either the sweltering St.Tropez temperatures or the biting -27° Vienna winter, they made it back to home shores relatively unscathed.
The Great Divide divided upon it's return, and Nicky, now at a very low ebb, guitar in hand, headed back to Paris to write. However, out of the blue and with perfect timing, came a call from Phil Pickett, one of the writers of Karma Chameleon, who'd heard Nicky's composition 'The Colour Of Rain.' This gave him a much needed boost; it was like a shot in the arm for him and Nicky hightailed it back to London, where he met up with Phil to write 'Missing You.' Phil's idea was to incorporate the new songs into a reincarnated band situation now called Zigoyna, a gang of edgy working class heroes from the streets of London. The vibe was unbearably intense, but out of this toxic soup came Nicky's introduction to producer Daniel Steggall, who collaborated on half of Nicky's first album, ironically entitled, 'Back Catalogue' and went on to produce Nicky's 'War and Peace'(link) album. Steggall's engineer, A. Steve Davis and guitarist, Trevor Hird now became the bedrock of Nicky's sound.
The 'War and Peace' album opened the doors to distribution deals in Holland and Ireland and various tracks were included on American and Irish compilation albums. This got Rubin back in the promotional and touring saddle. The next few years were spent travelling to far flung destinations, playing hundreds of gigs and writing songs about all of his continuing adventures. From Tanzania to Crimea via New Zealand and South Africa and on to the continents of North and South America, before settling down in the Ukraine for 8 years to explore his Russian roots. A new Ukrainian band was assembled, and he engrossed himself in the Slavic psyche, writing a plethora of material which gave rise to his next Album, ‘Displaced’(link). Language count now 5, chord count 105. Nicky promoted in North America where he met his next collaborator, Producer Peter Monk, for a dance track entitled, ‘Keep lifting Me Up’.
The Revolution by now was taking hold in the Ukraine, the supermarkets and restaurants were empty, bullets and bombs were flying by his apartment day and night and the Russian tanks were at the border. A dark cloud of insecurity and uncertainty was hanging over the city of Kiev, Nicky stuck it out for another three months, but it was nearing the time to leave anyway as instinctively, he felt he needed to push on musically. Throughout this Ukrainian period, Nicky had stayed in close contact with his old producer, Daniel Steggall, and together they decided it was high time for a studio reunion. Daniel had a new sound and vision inside his head for Nicky in the shape of the lush strings of Stella Page (Elbow/Blur), the viking drums of Nikolaj Bjerre (Lamb) and the cinematic sounds of Pippo De Palma, guitar, and Tiago Dias, bass (Loungedelic). Nicky didn’t need asking twice! The first product of this collaboration can be heard on the new Ugly Mother Record’s single, ‘I’ll Never Forget You’(link).