Doug Boyle was born in 1962 into a musical family. His early exposure to music ranging from Bartok, Miles Davies and The Beatles gave him a broad appreciation of the art form but it was the sound of the electric guitar that fired his imagination most vividly, the desire to own one finally being realised at age 11. He began to form his own bands after a couple of years of diligent practice and had little doubt about pursuing music professionally.
Having thus seriously acquired ‘the bug’ he joined a variety of touring bands, and began to make inroads into the world of session work. His career kicked off seriously however after a bleary sunday morning phone call from singer Robert Plant who was looking for a guitarist for a forthcoming album. The resultant ‘Now and Zen’ was a worldwide hit and renaissance for Plant and Doug found himself on a five year recording and top level touring carousel. The follow up album Manic Nirvana gained further critical and commercial accolades with Doug featuring on several co-writes and though no longer a band member also appeared on Fate of Nations, adding guitar hooks and writing credits to cuts such as 29 Palms.
After this association ended Boyle found himself back in London and returned to freelance gigging and session work, working with artists such as Paul Young, Kiki Dee and Neil Innes. Later joining up with Never the Bride, Doug continued to play live extensively in the UK and the States where he also recorded two albums with the band under the auspices of noted producers Ron Nevison and Bruce Fairbairn. Shortly after his departure he began to work with violinist Nigel Kennedy, initially on his Kafka album and various live projects. When Nigel moved on to other fields he joined the resurgent Caravan, recording several albums and hitting the road with furious abandon. This line-up proved highly durable and although the band had always enjoyed solid European support, the next few years were also to see a return to North America and Canada for a sizeable and successful tour as well as visiting new territory in Brazil, Mexico and Japan (where they toured three times).
During a few months off, Doug re-united with Nigel Kennedy for his ‘Kennedy Experience’ project. As the name suggests, the music of Jimi Hendrix was the focus this time round. This band recorded an album and toured extensively through Europe, the U.S and Canada, Doug sharing guitar duties with John Etheridge.
Back in London, Doug began composing production music in earnest, his music surfacing in shows such as ‘Spooks’ and ‘Murder, She Wrote’. He also began work on a project that would become a four year marathon, his solo album THE THIRD RAIL. This album was a celebration of the rich palette of music Doug felt fortunate to have been involved with. It was also intended to showcase some lesser known musicians such as peerlessly melodic flautist Jimmy Hastings, and function as an oblique comment on the locale Doug grew up in on the border of North East London and Epping Forest.
On the completion of the album Doug resumed working with Nigel Kennedy. This period marked the most intensive recording and worldwide touring since the Plant days; this time kicking off in Australia. The music itself encompassed everything from Bach and Duke Ellington with orchestra to Hendrix with small band. His association with the violinist continues until the present day. Doug appeared most recently on Kennedy’s forthcoming release, a radical reworking of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
Doug has recently moved back into producing as another stream to his goal of achieving a comprehensive overview of music from all angles. He has recently co-produced Anna Maria Kauffman, with Nigel Kennedy, as well as Nigel’s own forthcoming release ‘Dedications’ featuring many of Nigel’s regular musicians and the Oxford Filomusica orchestra. This album features Nigel’s own compositions inspired by fellow violinists Yehudi Menuhin (his original mentor), Stephane Grappelli and Mark O’Connor. The centrepiece of the album is the epic ‘Three Sisters Suite’, a compositional collaboration between Nigel and Doug based on their live incidental music for the Chekov play performed at London’s Cockpit Theatre.
Doug also continues session work between these projects and associated tours as well as composing music for media, film and art’s sake.
No wonder then that he considers himself, in so many respects to be a “Lucky bastard”.