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Garry Roberts(b. Garrick Roberts 17 June 1950, Ireland)

Garry's father, Rex Roberts, played double bass with a dance band, called The Melodists, in the 1940s.

The headmaster in Garry's first "big school", The High School, Dublin, called Mr Roberts in one day to suggest that he might be well-advised to move his son to a boarding school, "where someone can keep a closer eye on him". Garry was spending a lot of time in detention and had even been caned - at the age of 10, for some petty transgression, so he did not put up a lot of resistance to the idea.

His subsequent move to a Quaker-run boarding school, Newtown School, in Waterford - having been bribed with the promise of a bicycle, proved successful, but not just for the reasons anyone anticipated. When Garrick clapped eyes and ears on the electric guitars of the school band, he knew that was what he wanted to do.

"I was already listening to the Pretty Things, the Kinks, the Yardbirds, The Rolling Stones and John Mayall and this was it."

His early efforts with his dad's acoustic guitar were cut short when it was lost in a school fire, which destroyed the first-floor dormitory he had been sleeping in and the woodwork and music rooms below, but his mum and dad stumped up the cash for an electric replacement and from then on, he never looked back. Soon after they had both left school, Garrick and his mate Johnnie Fingers became regular crashers of parties. Johnny on piano and Garrick on guitar provided compulsory entertainment to the assembled party-goers, who mostly seemed to enjoy it.

Eventually, as is often the way these things go, they decided to form a group and assembled a couple more friends and a relative. It was Garrick who approached Bob Geldof to be their manager and invited him to a rehearsal.

"I'd known Bob as a friend for a couple of years. He only lived a couple of minutes' walk up the road from me. He knew quite a lot about music and appeared to have an astute business brain."

Bob arrived for the band rehearsal, in Johnnie's brother's front room, carrying a harmonica and a Dr Feelgood album. To abbreviate an otherwise long story, it wasn't long before he was invited to be the singer.

"I was originally appointed to be the lead vocalist," Garrick explained, "but I had enough to do with trying to play the guitar, without having to do the singing as well. Bob looked and sounded the part and could play the harmonica reasonably well so we decided to ask him to join the band."

The rest is history.

When Geldof went off to pursue a solo career away from The Boomtown Rats, Garry had to find something else to do in order to knock a few shillings together. For a while he worked as a sound engineer, with acts like Simply Red and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, and mixed front of house for a band called Flesh For Lulu on a three-month American tour. Then, having nearly been killed by an idiot running a red light on his way to the PA company warehouse in West London, became a "financial adviser" for 15 years, and, still later, became a central heating engineer. His beautiful pipework is legendary in Herefordshire and the adjoining counties.

The dials on Garry's custom-made guitar go up to 11, which is one more than 10, for when he needs that extra push over the cliff.

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