David, at the age of five years, remembers knocking at neighbours’ doors in search of a piano to play. His parents bought him a small toy piano, for fun, which sounded like an African harp! Piano lessons started six years later from a teacher three doors along. A good classical training ensued for the next five years, at which time a school friend played David some Miles Davies, and that was the beginning of a jazz love affair!
On leaving school, David joined the Cherry Cam Band; a seven piece outfit playing many dance functions and cabaret support gigs. An apprenticeship and thorough induction into the world of professional musicianship came about. After about a year he left the band, having learnt valuable lessons about playing with others.
Pete Sutton, a local singer/songwriter, invited David into Bob Flag’s Balloon & Banana Band, a comedy band which had him living at a Hippy commune in Crouch End, North London and paved the way for the first of a few psychedelic experiences.
The psychedelic trips, and one in particular, changed his perspectives on life and music, to the extent that he wished to explore the inner psychic realms, having seen beyond a doubt that there was more to life than an otherwise grey, mundane world of limitations, rules and regulations. A (life long) Hippy was born!
Alan Shacklock, the guitarist/producer contacted David at the commune, and asked him to join ‘Shacklock’, A new, funky band with rock, classical, Spanish and jazz roots. It was time to move on from the comedy band and so David joined Alan and David Hewitt the bass player for a new adventure. After a few gigs the band secured a recording deal with EMI Records Harvest Label. Janita Haan joined as vocalist and the band’s name was changed to ‘Babe Ruth’.
Babe Ruth recorded their albums and singles at Abbey Road Studios and toured the world playing the best venues. They made five albums throughout the 1970s and David left after the second one. He felt a huge desire to explore his spiritual side and found a Guru to help him. Before moving into the teacher’s ashram (meditation centre) David played for a brief time with the very talented guitarist, John Grimaldi, and the band ‘Flux’. This was very much a ‘Mahavishnu Orchestra’ type group which challenged and tested the instrumentalists techniques.
Unfortunately, John died at an early age of Multiple Sclerosis.
Eight years in an ashram meditating, in the morning and evening two hours at a time, taught David to appreciate the internal ‘spiritual’ world, and also showed him how an organisation, albeit a spiritual one, can be so rife with political activity and power jostling. It was, in many ways, a greater insight into human nature than it was a voyage to transcendental highs ! Making music within the ashram environment was, however, a deep and rewarding experience, and a welcome contrast to the stressful life as a musician signed to a major record label !
Whilst in the ashram, David had, for a time, the opportunity to study keyboards and arranging at Leeds Jazz College and benefitted from the concentration which meditation brought to his mind whilst studying and practicing the music.
Although working for the ashram’s whole food company, David was asked to take a second job to help finance the household, which he did, as keyboard player for a German - type beer cellar band. In order to build rapport, he felt compelled to drink beer with the other band members. This prompted his exit from the ashram!
Brighton was the next port of call, playing music throughout the hot summer with pleasant bohemian friends, but London was never far from David’s mind. After a few months he moved to the big capitol city and met singer/songwriter David Sye with whom he started a song writing partnership. They started a band called ‘DD Raz’ and worked together for five years, writing and playing live gigs, at which point life took them in different directions and the partnership split.
From 1991 to the present day David has been writing music scores for computer games. In 1994 he met composer/producer Richard Wells and they wrote the music to over thirty games. They were both signed with the Air Edel film composers agency and formed a partnership with Chris Nuttall at Air Studios London (at that time a Dubbing Editor and sound effect expert) in order to provide music and sound effects to clients.
During the 1990s David studied extensively orchestral composition, arranging and orchestration at both Goldsmith College and privately. He was also taught how to conduct by Laurence Leonard at Morley College.
In 2003, whilst writing music for the famous game company, The BitBap Brothers, Richard and David flew out to Bratislava to record a theme with the Slovakian Radio Symphony Orchestra. At the session David met Austrian classical flautist Karin Leitner, who liked his music and commissioned him to write her a Flute and Harp Concerto. Over the next three years the ‘Starlight Concerto for Flute and Harp’ was completed, and in 2007 performed by the Rousse Philharmonic Orchestra in Bulgaria, conducted by Nayden Todorov.
During this period David lived in Vienna and Southern Ireland for a year (2003 - 2011) working as an orchestrator once a month in London at the same time as once again writing with David Sye, with whom he reunited.
Babe Ruth reformed in 2002 for the B-Boy World Championships at Brixton, where they headlined, playing their popular hit ‘The Mexican’. The B-boys had adopted this song from the 1970s onward as a popular break dancing number. DJ Hooch brought the band back together for this event.
In 2006 the band went to Nashville to record a new album, ‘Que Pasa’ at Alan Shacklock’s studio and in 2010 played a reunion tour in Canada, where they had a great deal of success in the 1970s. In 2014 they performed at the Milwaukee Summerfest in America, where they also had a fair deal of exposure due to tours and record sales through Capitol Records.
In 2003, the partnership with Richard Wells finished due to his successful film score writing career. In fact, he went on to become BAFTA nominated for his music to the TV series ‘Being Human’.
Currently, David is developing the ‘King Hippy’ project with David Sye, in addition to music for meditations and for David’s poetry. Occasionally the Dave Punshon Trio (jazz) plays live gigs and David plays keyboard sessions for others.