Music-mad Spike Arrowsmith is only 14 but he’s already played on the same stage as some of his guitar heroes.
There’s a picture of Spike (real name William) as a toddler clutching a ukulele and he now has 14 guitars and plays lead in skiffle band More Dog with his grandad Ed Marshall on rhythm and vocals.
Spike, who lives in Scrooby, near Bawtry, Doncaster, has played at the Dome with the Doncaster Youth Jazz Orchestra and his most recent gig was in the Vulcan Bomber Hanger at a black tie fundraiser.
But the highlight of his burgeoning career came recently when he got to play at the world-famous Ronnie Scott’s in London.
Spike, who is a pupil at Elizabethan Academy in Retford, was invited to be part of Big Band in a Day.
Young musicians attended a free workshop run by James Pearson (musical director of Ronnie Scott’s and a well-known pianist) and Georgina Jackson (jazz singer and trumpeter) in which they are formed into a jazz big band and performed on stage at the club that evening.
His proud mum and dad, Charlotte and James, and grandparents Ed and Izzi and Bill and Barbara were there to see him on the stage that has been graced by his musical heroes Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Doncaster-based trombonist Dennis Rollins.
Not only did Spike play with the Big Band In a Day during the evening performance, he was also chosen by James Pearson to perform with him and a singer on two numbers, playing several solo breaks.
The organiser of the day said that she had excellent feedback about Spike and she was keeping his details for further opportunities.
Spike said: “It was an amazing experience – I want to go back as soon as I can, not to watch, but to play again.
“I most enjoyed the intense day of rehearsing with like-minded people. I loved meeting and being able to play alongside premier musicians who valued my opinions. Also, the burger restaurant across the road was brilliant.”
Mum Charlotte said: “We loved watching the big performance in the evening, but the highlight of the day was watching him rehearse with such a professional attitude during the day.
“Getting a behind-the-scenes’ look at Ronnie Scotts was amazing. They also made a mean Martini!”
Grandad Ed, aged 71, said that Spike was in his element at the legendary club.
He said: “He loved it. He can be quite shy but he doesn’t mind showing off when he’s on stage. He tuned up with the rhythm section, was told to get into a B flat groove and away he went.”
Ed added: “We were sitting in the practice room with all these pictures of greats like Ella Fitzgerald, Jeff Beck and Charlie Watts all around and he said ‘Who’s that behind me?’ and I said Ray Charles.”
Spike, who has had guitar lessons with Doncaster guitarist Dave Angel, of the Angel Brothers, is hoping to study music at the Yorkshire College of Music and Drama in Leeds after he’s done his GCSEs, but Ed says he needs to work on his theory if he wants to pursue a career in music.
Ed said: “It’s no good hoping he gets noticed out busking, because that’s a real lottery.”
It’s clear that Spike is aiming to go as far as he can with his music. One of his aims is to be the youngest ever performer at Glastonbury.
On his Twitter feed @spikeguitargod he describes himself as legendary guitarist. Spike’s gran, Izzi, says that her grandson already considers More Dog as his band.
Ed has been playing in bands since 1964, when he started out as ‘a Bob Dylan impersonator’. He better watch out for the young pretender.