Alex Crowe is a pianist and keyboard player based in southwest France. But he didn’t start there…
Part 1 – the early years
Alex’s first big gig was with Fuzzy Duck, a school band playing hard rock covers by Ozzy Osborne, MSG, Van Halen, AC/DC, and a couple of half-decent compositions. Memorable not least for the home-made pyrotechnic that nearly killed Tony – one of the lead guitarists – in a finale that was straight out of Spinal Tap.
While at Loughborough College of Art & Design, Alex abandoned much of the last term’s course work to co-write a rock opera based on Kafka’s In the penal colony. This was obviously performed by puppets with lightbulbs for heads.
During his time at Exeter University, Alex skipped English lectures to play the piano, and co-created and performed with The Really Rather Brilliant Review Company – a comedy duo. He also wrote some pieces for theatre and started playing the piano in hotels and restaurants.
Two days after his final exams, Alex drove his Mark III Escort van to London to become a rock star.
Part 2 – the London months
Alex had joined a progressive rock band through an ad in the back of Melody Maker, but only stayed for one gig. He did some session work with Drum, and played Brixton Academy supporting The Ramones and Iggy Pop. He also joined an excellent indie band, called The Russians, who headlined in The Rock Garden, The Mean Fiddler and The Cricketer’s Arms. And he had a residency three nights a week at Hardy’s, off Baker Street. Other bits and pieces included producing music for a children’s show on Sky, performing with Hector’s House when they supported The Headless Chickens (Thom Yorke’s band at the time), and writing music for a piece of theatre about the life of Erik Satie.
Part 3 – the commercial years
None of this paid enough to cover overdraft fees with the bank, so Alex went into advertising as a writer. He stayed here for a long time, playing only a few times during an 18-month stint in Minneapolis.
Part 4 – the French adventure
In 2007, Alex moved to the Dordogne to co-create the écovallée yurt camp. Once that was up and running, he returned to music, joining local soul band, Stax, then wedding band, Caged. After another Spinal Tap moment, these bands broke up and re-formed as SouthWest. Glenn, the original singer, retired and was replaced by Wil.
Currently, Alex plays as a pianist and keyboard player in various lineups: as a soloist, in duos, rock/pop cover bands, with a singer/songwriter and more.