Biography

 

Kevin Armstrong is a guitarist, producer and songwriter who has worked with a huge range of artists and gained wide experience in every genre of popular music. He first made his reputation in his own critically acclaimed band Local Heroes SW9, which made two albums for Charlie Gillett’s Oval label in 1980 and 1981.

Kevin then joined Thomas Dolby and played guitars on The Golden Age Of Wireless and The Flat Earth LPs as well as touring live with Thomas as part of his band. After a brief spell with another self-led band Bush Telegraph who signed with EMI in 1983 and toured Europe with Aswad, Kevin joined Prefab Sprout for the Steve McQueen album and tour and then was asked to play on some demos with David Bowie at Abbey Road studios.

This led on to a ten year working relationship with Bowie. It started with the recording of songs for the Julien Temple movie Absolute Beginners and went on to include being musical director & guitarist for Bowie’s Live Aid  band. Kevin also MD’d the recording of Dancing in the Street with Bowie and Mick Jagger.

He played guitar on Iggy Pop’s Blah Blah Blah LP and later, after two years touring the world as Iggy Pop’s bandleader, recorded the first Tin Machine album and played on the first tour. Kevin co-wrote the song Run for the Tin Machine album and co-wrote the title track of Bowie’s Outside LP produced by Brian Eno.

Kevin was musical director for a world tour with Feargal Sharkey at the height of his success in 1985. During the late 80s Kevin was the guitarist in the house band led by Steve Nieve on the live broadcasts of Jonathan Ross’ first chat show for Channel 4 where he got to play with guests such as Tom Jones, Roy Orbison and Paul McCartney. Kevin went on to do studio work with McCartney and Elvis Costello on the Flowers In The Dirt LP at Macca’s Hog Hill Mill studio.

Kevin was then asked by producer Clive Langer to contribute songs and play guitar on a project with Morrissey, which resulted in the Bona Drag LP. Kevin co-wrote the songs Piccadilly Palare and He Knows I’d Love To See Him for this record.

After establishing Laylow studios in London’s Portobello Road, Kevin started a production career which led to four albums by explosive Nigerian funkster Keziah Jones, whose debut album topped the French charts.

He went on to produce albums for Ashley Maher for Virgin, Brigid Boden for A&M America and Anton Walgrave for EMI Belgium as well as contributions, whether as guitarist, programmer or engineer, to sessions by an enormous array of talent that passed through Laylow from Chaka Khan and Ike Turner to Youssou N’Dour and Peter Gabriel, Ronnie Jordan, Sandie Shaw, Eternal, Carleen Anderson, Tackhead, Junior Marvin and many others.  Kevin toured Japan with legendary English Folk rocker Kevin Ayers, and co-wrote Inside Out for Massive Attack singer Shara Nelson’s first album.

In the early noughties Kevin began to move into the world of television composition and undertook production of soundalike tracks for three series of Fame Academy for the BBC and produced work on the attendant albums with winner Alex Parks and others. Kevin produced all the ambient music for Tesco’s in-store channel for four years and has composed TV themes and commercials throughout this decade.

In 2007 he toured the world as guitarist with Sinéad O’Connor and on returning played on several projects for producer John Reynolds including a solo LP by Andrea Corr and songs by Paul Brady and Moya Brennan/Shane MacGowan.

Kevin is a member of Brian Eno’s  Elgins singing group and has played on the soundtrack of the Peter Jackson movie Lovely Bones with Eno.

He performed at the Wainwrights Christmas concert 2009 at the Albert Hall and continues to tour in Italy and across europe with chanteuse Sarah Jane Morris alongside guitarists Dominic Miller, Neil MacColl and Tony Remy. 

2010 saw Kevin resume a creative collaboration with Thomas Dolby for his ‘A Map Of The Floating City’ album. Performances for the BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test and promo videos followed. Thomas toured the UK, Japan and the US in 2012 with Kevin on guitar to rave reviews. In 2013 Kevin played in London with the legendary George Clinton and also put together a band for the ICA’s Iggyfest event. Iggy Pop not only gave his blessing to the event to mark the 20th anniversary of the Blah Blah Blah album but asked Kevin to assemble a new band for him to tour in 2015/16. Kevin is the musical director and guitarist for Bjorn Tagemöse’s new rock film/ music hybrid show Gutterdämmerung which tours widely in 2017 and he continues to work with Iggy Pop


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