On The Up
A new UK blues rock hope? The crowd goes Buck wild
When guitarist Chris Buck was a child growing up in south Wales he began his playing career in stolen moments with his dad’s treasured US Strat. Years later, he would secure his own guitar – a Tele – but fate still seemed against him. “The memory of that day is my old man being pulled over for speeding,” laughs Chris. “I’d been told, ‘Don’t take the guitar out until you get home’, but I had it across my lap, when these blue lights came on behind us. I was convinced that we’d been pulled over because playing the guitar in the back of a car was illegal!”
After that, Chris and his guitar were inseparable. An early flirtation with The Offspring soon gave way to Slash and full-blown GnR worship before a couple of YouTube videos led to a complimentary email from Alan Niven (GnR manager, ’86-’91) and, in turn, Chris’ appearance onstage with Slash in Birmingham in 2012. “Luckily, there’s a video because I can remember almost nothing about it!” says Chris. “I remember looking up and Slash standing two feet away from me and it suddenly dawning on me, ‘He’s the reason I play guitar!’”
Most 21-year-olds might struggle to hold their own in that scenario, but not Chris. He has an astonishing ability to wring supremely soulful bends, overdriven jangle and exhilarating leads from his Strat. Now managed by Niven, Buck & Evans – the band Chris started with vocalist Sally-Ann Evans – is quickly garnering fans, plus there’s a debut album on the way.
“Guitar was the only thing that I ever felt that I had a level of natural aptitude for,” reflects Chris of the journey. “I’ve got to stick at it, because I can literally do nothing else!”
Chris wrings soulful bends, overdriven jangle and exhilarating leads from his strat