I was born.
“I was born into a slum, cos’ of all the bombs had done, when they tried to wipe the factories along the river Don”
I was born in the living room of a two rooms up, two down steelworkers terraced house, in The Vale of Springs, The Big Yard, Sheffield UK in 1955.
I went to Sunday school—God with guns—the only way that I could shoot rifles in the boy’s brigade, where I learned the military snare drum.
I was head boy at primary school and came top in all of the subjects, including music. I lost interest in my chosen academic path of biochemistry at secondary comprehensive school in the 60s—after my teacher hated me—and I accidentally spat in the headmaster’s face.
I was to be caned for this, but when the year head tried to cane me, I knocked him out. By then I was a fit and capable young warrior, being the county and briefly, National Rugby Scrum Half. It seemed best to leave school.
I became an apprentice.
So I became an apprentice electrician aged 15. After three years practical and college experience I decided to quit as an electrician the week before my final exams, so that I would not be qualified and “fall back” upon the trade in the future.
By now I had mastered the electric rock guitar and had a fully pro rig of Fender Stratocaster, Marshall amplifier and Cry Baby Wah Wah pedal. I was earning in one night playing gigs what I had to slave for a week to make as an electrician. I had been offered a recording deal, by Polydor Records London, and I moved to London from Sheffield—never to return.
In funkyafro/jazzrock band Zzebra, my first gig was at Le Gibus Jazz Club in Paris in 1975. High on mirrored Indian embroidered tops and life—my first foreign trip as a teenager resulted in tasting my first Parisienne sandwich. One blonde and one brunette. I never lost the taste for it yet.
Next I was tripping down the milky way in Amsterdam, getting lost in the maze like canals late at night. Lost in my body and lost in Spacecake. I made number one records in the USA and UK and played all the largest gigs there were. I toured on Michael Jackson’s Bad Tour and David Bowie’s Hits Tour. By now I had cars, houses, wives and kids and was the in demand guitarist composer on the London scene for over 20 years.
Then I “died.”
I “died” for a week in 2010. It was cool. I highly recommend it to anyone who is curious. Man, there ain’t no cure-all like Death,with a capital D? Seen on paper I had done it all.
Limousine five a.m. pick ups straight into the champagne cocktail mini bar. Free tastings at the airport in duty free. Into the toilets to empty any illicit packages I may have been given—or just walk on board—looking security right in the eyes, defying them to body search me.
They often did as their sniffer dogs almost knocked me over in their exuberant shows. I never got caught, ever in 40 years. Bombarded with poisons 24/7/365—from water, plastic wrapped food, the polluted city air, the complaining of my bosses and friends and family.
Juggling so many things—father, son, professional—yet still, I now see, as I had been very strictly vegetarian since aged 15, and as I had the work ethic of one born into nothing, I somehow survived—thrived even—in the constant chaos flung at me by the universe.
After all, it has every iota and mote of itself to run—constantly changing.
I never heard the universe complain though.
It just constantly lived in change—as did I—from Jazzer to Punk, Rocker to Mod, all guises and roles, to be used then dropped, moving, always, on the run to nowhere. Until one day in 2012 by now drinking liters of pure alcohol all day and night, my life in ruins—alone and friendless—my liver and spleen failed.
I swelled up to four times my previous size—as six liters of yellow/green bile poison leaked into my abdomen and legs—and my tired body, waved the white flag, and said, “You’re outta here buster!”
Reborn as Lord Green Man
I survived, with the “experts” giving me a 50/50 chance of living out the year—increasing by 10 percent per year for the next five years, if I was lucky. In fact though, I was better in weeks. I lost five stones in weight in a week and was weaned back to life on saline and vitamin B12 drips.
The constant pain subsided, and I was reborn. Renewed. I decided to live now, as I had always secretly dreamed. In a constant flux of improvisation, everything became a portent. I trusted in my own uniqueness. I forgot all I had learned and started over again from nothing.
A chance visit to The Braveheart (Wallace) estate in Scotland, led to me being offered the gatehouse to live in. I moved there overnight and now I spend my time creating music and film, energized by the good and bad Leys that run through here.
Sitting in a secret glade, communing with nature. Deer, robins and ravens sing their songs of harmony to me, and I share them freely with all who wish to share with me.
Such is my Journey so Far.
Lord Stephen Byrd was born into post WW2 Sheffield steelworkers slums. I played rugby at national youth level,whilst being a gifted academic.I was a natural multi-instrumentalist musician,leaving a promising education in my teens after being signed to Polydor Records London. I toured for decades with many number one artists including Michael Jackson and David Bowie. I composed and recorded for The Simpsons, Baywatch, Austin Powers and many other TV and Film programs. I raised three children,”died” for a week in 2010,and was reborn as a new person.Since then I became a Lord, and moved to The Braveheart (Wallace) estate in Ayrshire Scotland,where I enjoy photographing nature,growing my own food and feeding on Leylines. Trying to keep the forces of Evil in check and continue making music and film for free healing with my own companies.
Editor: Carolyn Gilligan