An Interview with
affable Christie lead guitarist Adrian Foster
(Extracts from a series of chats conducted by Ray Chan)
Tell us something about yourself, Fos.
A) I was born in Derby, England, and became interested in
the guitar at an early age, forming a band and playing my
first gig when I was just 10. My friend Kevin Moore, Christie's
bass player, was the singer! We played mainly our own songs,
but also did other chart songs from people like Marmalade,
The Beatles, The Herd, etc. There was an amazing guitar song
by Dave Edmunds in the charts too - but far too difficult,
and I vowed that one day I would become good enough to play
When I left school I became a management trainee
with the National Bus Company, and progressed rapidly to a
senior position within a couple of years. However doing that
and gigging four nights a week proved to be too much and I
decided to go professional.
Q) What bands have you been with?
A) I answered an advert in Melody Maker, joined a band from
Bristol called Trilby, and within a month was playing in Johannesburg
- far away from the cold British winter! Work in Spain, Greece,
Turkey and Italy followed as well as long periods in Germany
with a group called Airtight - which included regular trips
to Berlin, a place I love.
Upon my return to the UK a few years later,
after a spell playing bass, I was invited to join Tubeless
Hearts, which reunited me with Kev, and introduced me to Simon
Kay, Christie's drummer. He was a big record collector and
often used to talk about the local music scene in the 60s
and 70s and that's when I discovered Christie were originally
I had the first K-Tel compilation album and
one of my favourite tracks on there was
Iron Horse - loved the jangly guitars and rolling rhythm.
The music fitted the lyrics perfectly. Little did I know that
one day I would be a member of the band!
Q) Do you have any favourite Christie
A) I think my favourite Christie single is San
Bernadino - it is just one of those perfect songs which
ticks all the boxes for me. Inside Looking
Out is another big fave.
Q) When you started playing with Christie,
there were songs in the playlist you don't do now. Like Fool's
Gold, Alabama, Handle with Care, City Streets. Why
don't you play them now?
Choosing songs in the early days was very different from the
way it is now. When Tubeless
(pictured right) joined up with Jeff, we were a five-piece
at the start with Trevor Midgley as a keyboard player who
was also an outstanding vocalist, so we did some big harmony
stuff. However when he left Jeff decided to keep a raw
edge with the band, and stay as a four- piece. We had to drop
songs as a result.
I bought a guitar synth to add extra textures
on certain tunes like Jeopardy
and No Reply, but from around
1996, this wasn't used abroad, due to excess baggage charges
and problems with it getting lost between flights. We then
settled as a purely guitar-based act doing a set list fairly
similar to that of today.
As an aside, in 1994 we played for a couple
of weeks in Tel Aviv, and needed extra songs. Some of
the early ones were brought back again and re-worked using
the guitar synth - City Streets
and Learning To Fly come
to mind - and some new ones were also drafted in on a temporary
basis. Most were discarded after the trip but one turned out
not to be temporary after all, and is still played to this
Q) Sabre Dance
has been a consistent inclusion in set lists of the past few
years. Whose idea was this?
A) When we were looking for songs for Israel, Jeff suggested
we have a song featuring guitar to give everyone a break from
singing and asked me to see if I could find anything suitable.
I'm only an average guitarist anyway, so how could I find
an instrumental from the 70s that featured me and lasted for
more than 6 minutes? It took quite a while and then one night
my mind went back to when I first started out and I remembered
that song by Dave Edmunds - Sabre Dance.
Could I play it? I realised I could, so then came the job
of extending it, and trying to make all the bits come together
as one big song.
Eventually I presented it to the band, and after
much debate everyone said " yes" and we worked and
worked to get it right. I remember the first time we played
it live and how amazing the reaction was afterwards ... so
it has been part of the show ever since.
Click on the image to watch Fos play
Q) All the other members of the band handle lead vocals at
some stage during the stage shows. When are we going to hear
A) I used to do background vocals. However the big harmony
songs have gone now and as the other three are all great singers,
there is nowhere for me to fit in. It would look odd if I
only used the mic once in an hour spot! I have been known
to introduce songs in German though on Jeff's behalf :)
Q) What do you do when not playing with
Christie? Are you in another band?
A) I work with a girl singer named Caroline in a duo called
Adrenalize, playing guitar and doing backing vocals. She's
amazing - she can sound just like Whitney Houston if necessary
, but equally at home with Bon Jovi and AC/DC. Incredibly
talented. We do two to three gigs a week in the North of England.
Q) What are some of your treasured Christie
A) The outstanding memory I have with Christie is an outdoor
gig in Bonn - the show had to finish by 10pm due to noise
restrictions and the park was packed with people in beautiful
sunshine. I think Jeff said there were 40,000 there. We had
played earlier, but the promoter had misjudged times and asked
Jeff if we could go back on and do another 20 minutes to finish
While he rushed off to find the others, I prepared
the guitars and climbed up the stairs onto the stage to be
greeted with a huge roar from the crowd. I stopped to take
it all in and couldn't believe the view of all those raised
arms and smiling faces stretching away into the distance with
a fading sun and incredible sunset behind them. A truly spectacular