Gary Hopkins

I began my musical career driving my parents mad by tapping on the formica kitchen worktops at their Birmingham home after joining the local Boy's Brigade marching band as a drummer. A year later I had my first drum kit - a three-piece Broadway kit. If I had kept it, it probably would have been worth something by now as a collectors' item.

My interest in music blossomed at school and a band was formed. The drum kit grew as did my talent over the coming years, performing in a variety of pop and rock bands as drummer and backing singer. I played some of the largest venues in the country and featured on television and radio. Twelve years ago, a frustrated songwriter, I took up the piano in a bid to write my own complete songs and was classically trained for several years. In 1992, after years of singing backing vocals I decided to leave live drumming behind and head for centre stage as a lead singer and frontman.

Over the last few years I have been working on my own mainstream pop and rock material, under my own name and the band moniker Chaos & Vegas. I have made three album CDs and have my own website. Furthermore, I have now tried to stretch my talents to the limit and have been playing guitar for the last three years.

Having a varied number of musical influences including the Corrs, Genesis, Barclay James Harvest, Go West, Tears For Fears, David Gray, The Bible, Cutting Crew, Journey and The Big Dish to name but a few, I first got into Rush around 'Farewell to Kings' and 'Hemispheres' time. I first saw the band at the Birmingham Odeon with the fabulous Max Webster supporting on the 'Hemispheres' tour, and last saw them at the NEC with the 'Roll The Bones' tour.

I joined YYZ about six years ago after former Shy singer Tony Mills quit. I answered an advert on a rehearsal room wall and went for it, albeit feeling a little apprehensive at the time trying to emulate Geddy Lee. The band had little to choose from at the time but saw my potential and snapped me up for the princely sum of three pints. The rest is history, or hysterical from the point of view of some.

I can also put pen to paper. By profession I was a journalist and for many years wrote for the two biggest newspapers outside of London, but more recently worked freelance writing "how to do" articles for aspiring musicians on Future Publishing's website website.