Snowy White

 

 

SNOWY WHITE - GUITAR 1980 - 82

Terence Charles Snowy White was born in Devonshire, England and grew up on the Isle Of Wight in the English Channel, where, as a child, he gained his lifelong nickname for the blondeness of his hair. Taking an interest in music early upon hearing blues heroes such as BB King, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy and Albert King, he took up the guitar and started to play his own blues. At the time, London seemed more attractive and after leaving school at 17 he moved to the capital. A meeting with a Swedish woman led to him moving to Stockholm, where he soon found himself playing in a band called The Train who mostly played covers but threw in some of their own songs once in a while.

 

Returning to London he spent the early '70s making a reputation as a reliable session musician and a great blues guitarist. During this time he played with Joan Armatrading, Linda Lewis and Peter Green; who, incidentally, offered him the famous ’59 Les Paul Standard that would eventually be owned by Gary Moore and used throughout his career. Snowy declined, believing that one guitar was enough for anybody and continued to use his trademark Les Paul Goldtop.

 

He went on to form Heavy Heart with Jonathan Kelly and Snowy's guitar playing was etched in vinyl for the first time with Waiting On You. Jim Cregan of Cockney Rebel then asked Snowy to play rhythm guitar on tour. Halfway through this tour he also got a call from Al Stewart to join his tour, this time as lead guitarist.

At this stage in his career Snowy’s reputation was about to increase tenfold. He was invited to join Pink Floyd as an additional guitarist to David Gilmour on the Animals tour of 1977 and subsequently The Wall tours of 1977 and 1980. During this time, and in-between touring he also had a band with Kuma Harada and Reg Isadore – later all three of them were invited by Peter Green to play on his album In The Skies.
Whilst considering a replacement for Gary Moore, Philip Lynott recalled being impressed with Snowy’s playing for the Floyd and approached him, asking him to jam with Lizzy and subsequently to join permanently. Snowy’s tenure with Lizzy lasted for the Chinatown and Renegade albums and tours, through 1980 - 82.

 

Leaving Thin Lizzy was a mutual decision; Snowy is a blues guitarist with little interest in playing fast, hard rock. He was more interested in playing the slower, bluesier numbers in the band’s set. Don't Believe A Word was one such track that was reverted to its bluesier and slower original arrangement. Philip Lynott was sure Snowy would bring that little extra light and shade to the band, but later admitted it didn't turn out the way he'd expected. Although often overlooked and underestimated in the history of Thin Lizzy, his playing and writing produced some classic moments, including the masterpiece that is the track Renegade.

 

After leaving Thin Lizzy Snowy recorded his first solo album White Flames in 1983, which unexpectedly brought him a UK hit single with Bird of Paradise. The style of the music ranged from blues to jazz to pop ballads. Two further albums followed in a similar vein: Snowy White in 1984 and That Certain Thing in 1987. Snowy then formed The Blues Agency, which dropped the other influences and continued in a more pure blues direction. After producing two albums to little acclaim, Snowy again rethought his approach and after meeting bass player Walter Latupeirissa and drummer Juan van Emmerloot at the Jimi Hendrix Festival in Holland in 1992, he invited them to play with him with the thought of forming a band. They originally performed under the name of Snowy White and the Shadow Indians but eventually settled on Snowy White and the White Flames.

Their first album together in 1993 was Highway to the Sun which featured notable guest performances from Gary Moore, David Gilmour, Paul Carrack and Chris Rea. Further releases have been No Faith Required in 1996, Little Wing in 1998 and Keep Out – We Are Toxic in 1999. These releases are among Snowy’s finest recorded work, featuring a more unique blend of blues-rock with jazz blended in to the mix.

 

In 1990 Roger Waters invited Snowy into his Bleeding Heart band to play on the historic live performance of The Wall, to mark the dismantling of the Berlin wall. This performance also featured other artists such as The Scorpions, Bryan Adams and Van Morrison. Snowy has since been a mainstay of Roger Waters band whenever he plays live, most notably on Waters extensive tours of the USA and the World in 1999, 2000 and 2002 and his playing was featured on Waters’ live release: In The Flesh. Snowy released Melting, a new White Flames album in 2002 and is contributing to Roger Waters new studio album, scheduled for release in 2003.

 

Ozzie Adenborg & David Hirst