The Artists

All the artists who have collaborated with us to produce such great stories, will be added here soon. Each artist will also have the opportunity to showcase and/or sell their other work from here.

Lynn Monk (Partner & Founder of 17stories)

Hi, I'm Lynn. Partner and founder of 17stories. I've been involved in the music business for some time, and there are plenty of sites on the web where you can find details of the businesses I run. But what about me as an artist? There is actually very little I've divulged about how I got here...until now. So for those of you who aren't interested in background stories, perhaps you'd prefer to listen to some music, browse the artwork, watch a video, or check out some of the other artists who have collaborated to bring you this project. But if you're curious as to how all this came to be, read on...

My earliest fascination for music ... specifically live music, happened before I was old enough to remember. I was only 2 years old. My father, who came from a large family of 8 brothers and 4 sisters, had never been all under the same roof together, as the eldest had already got married and left home before the youngest one was born. So they decided to have a big party in a hall for the whole family. It was such an event that it appeared in the local newspaper of the day.

The music was supplied by a live band and I'd never seen one before. My mother recalled that whilst all the other kids were running around screaming and generally being a nuisance, my 2 year old self was glued to the front of the stage gazing at the musicians for the entire length of their set!

My parents had only ever dabbled in music. My father seemed to like collecting instruments, but never learned to play any; and my mother had a good singing voice and an ear for a tune, but took it no further. So there were always a few instruments lying around that I tried to play with. Somewhere I have a picture taken of me at the age of 3 with a Keech Banjolele that I still have in my possession (and still not learned how to play, LOL). If I come across it, I'll scan it and post it on here for you. There was also a Wheatstone Concertina belonging to my grandfather who used to be a champion player. Sadly he passed away when I was 2 and I don't recall ever hearing him play it. Apart from being too heavy for me to lift at that age, it was also a family heirloom and therefore out of bounds to a 3 year-old!

When I was about 5 or 6, my parents asked me what I wanted Santa to bring me for Christmas. Did I want a doll? No way! I was already far more excited by my fathers train set and racing car set. So I just said, "I don't mind as long as its got loads of buttons on it!"... So they bought me an electronic reed organ!

I remember sitting at the kitchen table with my mum as I unwrapped it. It also came with a music book of nursery rhymes. I couldn't read music of course, but my mum could play them by ear and so I started on the same path.

A few years further down the line and TV began to get more popular. With the addition of ITV, we had a choice of 2 channels! There wasn't much TV in those days. My earliest memory of TV was Richard Green in Robin Hood. The theme tune of that, and that of its rival, William Tell, were two of the first tunes I taught myself to play. I wasn't into pop music at the time; prefering to listen to either classical, or the novelty/comedy records and light orchestral music being played on the BBC light service.

TV at that time only broadcast from about 4pm till 11pm. The rest of the day could have been spent watching the test card, or the white noise after the National Anthem, if you were that way inclined! So then came probably my biggest influence for live music ... The Marx Brothers! I'm pretty sure that there would be few, if any, other musicians who would list them among their musical influences, but I was absolutely fascinated by their performance skills. Particularly Chico on the piano and Harpo on the harp.

Chico & Harpo got a solo spot each in practically all of their films. You could say it was the earliest form of music video. There were certainly no other films that included such a performance without actually being classified as "Musicals".

It was then that I felt the need to start playing music myself. Unfortunately my primary school had no specific music tuition, and my parents couldn't afford private tuition, so for a time I just carried on playing tunes by ear. I used to go to Sunday school. Again, I was facsinated by the Salvation Army Band. I asked to join them, playing tambourine, but they were very stand-offish, and refused to let me even try. That's when I decided to abandon my pursuit of God, and pursue other avenues instead. I left Sunday School in favour of watching the Thunderbirds on TV. There were no video recorders at that time!

At the age of 11, upon joining secondary school, the music department offered extra tuition to students who showed interest. I managed to get a place with the piano tutor. I had to share lessons with one other student, who I totally ignored until the 6th form, when he and his younger brother became my best friends and my first band mates. The piano lessons didn't last long. My 2 octave reed organ was insufficient to practice on properly and when the tutor tried to get me to play Hickory Dickory Dock with one hand whilst at the same time as playing Pop Goes the Weasel with the other hand, I gave up! I knew there had to be an easier way into music.

Fast forward to the fifth form. My best friends, Rick and Alan, were brothers who were far better at music than me. Rick was a classically trained piano player, and although Alan wasn't at the same level as his younger brother on piano, he composed his own music and was also a great harmonica player. They used to meet up with the drama teacher after school some days to play as a band. The teacher played bass, Alan did some singing and harmonica, and of course, Rick played keyboards. I went with them one Sunday afternoon. The teacher also had a drum kit set up in his lounge. They played a few classic rock standards of the day. One specific tune I remember was called "Sandman".

They didn't have a drummer, so I volunteered to join in with them. Despite their version only requiring a bass drum, the drama teacher threw me off the kit and told me I couldn't be in the band!

Shortly after I was abruptly sacked before even getting started, I decided that drums would be my instrument. We discarded the drama teacher and began practicing on our own. Alan took over bass, and one of Rick's friends joined on guitar. My mum bought Alan's first bass guitar and the first few weeks were spent blowing up hi-fi amps by plugging the bass into them, and me practicing on a tambourine and a miscellaneous assortment of pots and pans with a pair of chopsticks!

Eventually we managed to borrow enough money from family to get kitted out with a proper bass amp and 4x12" cabinet (Vox Power) a small 4-drum kit from Rose Morris, and a Crumar Organ. After just 2 weeks of practicing instrumental versions of top 40 hits, we held our first ever concert for family and friends where we played a 2 hour set with an intermission. The music was terrible!!! But everyone enjoyed themselves and we even had someone join us on vocals for one song.

Our guitarist started writing a few instrumental songs and we soon recorded our first ever record! Actually. we recorded a rehearsal onto a reel to reel tape, then took the tape down to Charing Cross Station where there was a machine that recorded sound onto a vinyl disc. I still have the record; it was called "Hello Fans!" and maybe one day I'll get around to digitising it and posting it here ... Rough though it was!

Between then and now, I've experienced many facets of the industry...

As a drummer with a professional band (The Flatbackers) who had some success in 1979-81

As a Deejay and Lighing Engineer with a touring roadshow.
As a manager and agent for a few bands.
As the founder and chairman of the National Association of Sound & Lighting Companies
As sound engineer and PA & Lighing Company owner
And now as a Record Producer with my own studio and label.
Bakehouse Studio
SeniorSounds Record Store

Now my main aim is to help other emerging artists. As a lover of all the arts (not just music), 17stories is going to be the brand that I hope will get them noticed. It has been a joy formulating this brand with my business partner in the enterprise, Jepist Jepist, who will be telling you all about himself here soon. Though I doubt he will be anywhere near as long-winded as me!

Thank you for listening to my meanderings ... Now go and explore the other artists and their work on this site! Help them to make more great art by buying or donating!

Jepist Jepist (Partner & Founder of 17stories)

Jepist will be adding his biography soon!

Sharon Chadwick - Artist and Musician

Sharon's biography will be here soon!

Damian Smith - Artist, and Writer

Damian will be adding his biography here soon!

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