School: Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Were you a diligent student?

I was good at knowing how to get by doing no more work than necessary. Rather than doing tons of homework, I’d spend most of my spare time playing guitar. But I could go into class, take the test and pass it without studying too hard.

Would you cut class to gig and rehearse?

I only gigged on weekends. But I did record my first album [1995’s Ledbetter Heights] during the last few months of my senior year. We worked out an arrangement with the principal to turn my work in later and excuse my absences. If they’d counted those I’d have been kicked out.

How did your peers feel about you having a deal so young?

They thought it was BS. Until the record came out and went top five on the rock chart. I did gigs in bars, none of them were old enough to get in to see me. Only my girlfriend at the time had a clue what was going on.

What was your parents’ attitude to your schooling?

They insisted I finish high school and get a diploma. I graduated, then went on the road with the Eagles on their Hell Freezes Over tour – and played Wembley three times!

Gavin Martin

Late NME, Daily Mirror and Classic Rock writer Gavin Martin started writing about music in 1977 when he published his hand-written fanzine Alternative Ulster in Belfast. He moved to London in 1980 to become the NME’s Media Editor and features writer, where he interviewed the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer, Pete Townshend, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Ian Dury, Killing Joke, Neil Young, REM, Sting, Marvin Gaye, Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone, James Brown, Willie Nelson, Willie Dixon, Madonna and a host of others. He was also published in The Times, Guardian, Independent, Loaded, GQ and Uncut, he had pieces on Michael Jackson, Van Morrison and Frank Sinatra featured in The Faber Book Of Pop and Rock ’N’ Roll Is Here To Stay, and was the Daily Mirror’s regular music critic from 2001. He died in 2022.