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McIntosh in 2009
25 October 1957 |
England, United Kingdom
|Instruments||Guitar, bass, vocals|
|Associated acts||The Pretenders
The Foster Brothers
The Robbie McIntosh Band
Robbie McIntosh (born on 25 October 1957) is an English guitarist. McIntosh is well known as a session guitarist and member of The Pretenders from 1982 until 1987. In 1988 he began doing session guitar work for Paul McCartney joining his band full time until early 1994. He continues to do session work and has performed both as a sideman with John Mayer and with his own band, The Robbie McIntosh Band.
McIntosh was born in Sutton, Surrey, and started playing guitar at the age of 10, picking out things from any records listened to at the time. He had two older sisters, and their record collections became early influences: Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Spencer Davis Group, Jimi Hendrix etc. His father's love of jazz was also a factor: Fats Waller, Django Reinhardt, Louis Armstrong - and his mother plays the piano.
"Lightnin' Hopkins was the first blues artist that captured my imagination; I've been besotted with blues music ever since."
McIntosh's first band was called 70% Proof. They played original material and covers of Humble Pie, The Who, Free and Stevie Wonder, amongst others. "The other guys in the band (Paul Eager, Russell Ayles and Graham Mincher) had all left school, so we used to rehearse on Sunday afternoons at the local dump works canteen. We were pretty good really."
McIntosh took A-levels at school, and had plans to do biology at university but failed miserably, so joined up with older Raynes Park boys Graham and Malcolm Foster in their band The Foster Brothers. He toured and recorded with them throughout 1977; the band gradually folded in early 1978.
After the Foster Bros., McIntosh worked for about 6 months as a lorry driver for a builder's supply company, delivering sand, cement, bricks and the like on a 3-ton lorry; he became an expert tipper. Completely out of the blue, he got a call from Chris Thompson who, at the time, was the singer in Manfred Mann's Earth Band. He had an outfit called Filthy McNasty who played a lot at The Bridge House, Canning Town, The Golden Lion, Fulham, etc. Thompson asked McIntosh to join as lead guitarist. In November 1978 the band went to L.A. to record with Richard Perry for his Planet Record label. The name of the band was changed to Night.
The band toured in America for most of 1979, supporting The Doobie Brothers.
Night split sometime in 1980, but Thompson and McIntosh stayed together to form Chris Thompson and the Islands with Malcolm Foster, Paul "Wix" Wickens (who would also join McIntosh in Paul McCartney's band in 1989) and Mick Clews. Despite many gigs and various bouts of recording, a deal was never secured and McIntosh left at the end of 1981.
Living in Kingston at the time, McIntosh formed a fun band to play local pubs called Dean Martin's Dog, with Malcolm Foster, Mick Clews, Jez Wire, Rupert Black and Mike Dudley. Not surprisingly it won band name of the year in Time Out magazine.
"Even when I'd joined The Pretenders the DMD gigs continued when I could fit them in. We played a bit of everything. Good band."
Sometime in 1977/78 McIntosh met and became friends with James Honeyman-Scott. It was this friendship that led Honeyman-Scott to contact McIntosh in 1982 with a view to his joining The Pretenders as an extra member to help fill out the sound of the band's live sound. Honeyman-Scott died in June '82, and Billy Bremner took over initially; but McIntosh was auditioned and joined The Pretenders in September '82.
In 1988, McIntosh resumed doing studio work, doing sessions with Paul McCartney. McCartney was preparing a band for his 1989-90 World Tour, and with Chrissie Hynde's endorsement, McIntosh was chosen as the lead guitarist in the new Paul McCartney Band. He appears on all McCartney's albums from 1989 through 1993, and also can be seen in the concert films Get Back and Paul Is Live.
McIntosh went back to doing sessions until about 1998; he started to realise a dream by putting together a band of his own. "I decided to pick some of my favourite players and mates for a band that I thought would give a particular sound and edge to my songs; so I grabbed Paul Beavis, Pino Palladino, Mark Feltham and Melvin Duffy and The Robbie McIntosh Band was born. We did some gigs and recorded Emotional Bends, the debut album."
Prior to this, at his friend Douglas Adams' insistence, McIntosh had recorded all his instrumental tunes. "This was a collection of compositions and arrangements that I just played for fun at home to amuse myself. Douglas insisted that I record them. This collection became the album Unsung, which was to be my second album, even though it was recorded before Emotional Bends."
The Robbie McIntosh Band released their second album, Wide Screen, in June 2001. "We did a bunch of gigs after the release of Wide Screen, but owing to a certain amount of domestic upheaval (a house fire in July 2001, had to move out for 7 months), the band activity kind of fizzled out. Mark still plays with Nine Below Zero who I go and sit in with now and then. Melvin plays with Los Pacaminos as well as working with Robbie Williams, and I still do sessions and gigs with Paul and Pino so I still see a lot of the guys."
McIntosh has done session guitar work for many artists throughout his career including: Aynsley Lister, Kevin Ayers, Boyzone, Cher, Diane Tell, Eric Bibb, George Martin, Gordon Haskell, Heather Small, Chuck Berry, Joe Cocker, Daryl Hall, John Mayer, Kirsty McColl, Luz Casal, Mike + The Mechanics, Nine Below Zero, Paul Carrack, Paul Young, Mark Knopfler, Roger Daltrey, Russell Watson, Mark Hollis, Talk Talk, Tasmin Archer, Tears for Fears, Eros Ramazzotti, Thea Gilmore, Tina Arena, Tori Amos, Vin Garbutt, and Norah Jones.
McIntosh toured with John Mayer from 2006-2010, providing both rhythm and lead guitar, dobro, and mandolin. He performed all of Mayer's slide guitar work.
McIntosh is also currently a member of BluesClub, with William Topley, Peter Hope-Evans, Alan Rogan, and long-time Mark Knopfler sidemen Guy Fletcher and Danny Cummings. BluesClub's debut album, Rollin' and Tumblin' Vol. 1 was released in September 2011.2 The album is a collection of blues covers.3
- Night (1979)
- Long Distance (1981)æ
- Flowers in the Dirt (1989)
- Tripping the Live Fantastic (1990)
- Unplugged (1991)
- Off the Ground (1993)
- Paul Is Live (1993)
- Unsung (1999)
- Emotional Bends (1999)
- Wide Screen (2001)
- The Village Sessions (2006)
- Where the Light Is: John Mayer Live in Los Angeles (2008)
- Battle Studies (2009)
- Rollin' and Tumblin' Vol. 1 (2011)
- Official website
- BluesClub Official Website
- Pretenders 977 Radio
- 1999 Interview: Robbie McIntosh: The English Country Gentleman 
- Performing "Hot Summer Night" with Night 
- The Robbie McIntosh Band Tour Promo