Phil Barker

Phil's Gear Page > Songwriter, musician Iona / 1997-present
Fretted Bass / Fretless Bass Fretted Bass / Fretless Bass Fretted Bass / Fretless Bass Fretted Bass / Fretless Bass Fretted Bass / Fretless Bass Fretted Bass / Fretless Bass Fretted Bass / Fretless Bass Fretted Bass / Fretless Bass Fretted Bass / Fretless Bass Fretted Bass / Fretless Bass
Photos by Joe del Tufo, Lutz Diehl, Janien Kommer, Mike Anders, Henk Oosting (henkoosting.com) & Monica Duffels
B orn in Perivale, London in 1970, I first wanted to learn to play drums. However, after watching Mark King (Level 42), I soon dropped the idea of drums and decided to learn bass. I was really into Genesis and It Bites in my teens, but no one in my area was playing that kind of 'muso' stuff, so I had to settle for playing in Goth bands (in one band the singer wore make-up and women's underwear on stage!).

In 1988, I began playing in Jazz Funk bands. I thought "now's my chance" and, with Status Bass in hand and Trace-Elliot amp, I began slapping and popping uncontrollably for about 2 years (one band I played with at that time was called 'Pigs in the Parlour').

In 1991, I joined the Saltmine Band (Christian) which later became Funky Beehive. After 18 months of bad jokes, no money and packing up at midnight in the rain in Reading, my Christian charity had depleted.

In 1993, I began working with Sal Solo of Classix Nouveau, spending a lot of time touring America and Europe. At that time I learnt some valuable lessons on how to be a good Catholic, how to shave your head, and how not to eat food with dead animals in it. Sal always insisted that the band was paid cash (local currency) after every gig which is a rare and excellent thing. I also recorded 2 albums with Sal Solo.

In 1994, I met producer Andy Piercy and began working on various projects with him and session guitarist Dave Clifton. It was also at this time that I met my long time sparring partner and pal Terl Bryant and we began working as a rythmn section both live and on recordings together.

In August 95 I'd been depping for session ace Phil Spalding (Robbie Williams, Seal, Mick Jagger, Mike Oldfield) in the band 'Chief Seattle'. Terl asked me if I could fill in for an gig at the Borderline, London, standing in for Tim Harries (who had replaced Nick Beggs). I was not at all familiar with Iona's music. Terl's advice was not to play anything FUNKY because Dave would hate me. I had to learn about 20 songs for the gig as the set list hadn't been finalised (no change there!). Listening over and over to the songs I realised just how intricate and well thought out they were. The gig must have gone pretty well because Simon (the manager of the band at the time) told me "well done, anyone would have thought you'd been in the band for years". A few months later, and I was on tour with the band for what was the most influential time. The album 'Journey Into The Morn' was released, and was very busy with the longest UK and US tours ever. We all got on famously, especially after we nearly got killed on the road twice in 2 days!

In 1997 I took over the job permanently from Tim and we (Iona) recorded the live double album 'Heavens Bright Sun'.

I count Dave, Troy, Terl, Jo and Frank as some of my most valued friends.

As well as working with Iona, I have also had the privilege of working with the following:

Faith Hill, Robin Mark, Matt Redman, Don Moen, Paul Wilbur, Andy Piercy, Eoghan Heaslip, Dave Clifton, Geraldine Latty, Chris Eaton, Barry & Batya Segal, Kim Hill, The Woodthieves, Caroline Bonnet, Paul Mills, Chris Norton, Tim Hughes, Noel Richards, Ricky Valance, Paul Field, The New Scottish Orchestra, oh and Paul Naylor.

I have played on at least 60 albums so here is short selected Discography (sorry to anyone I haven't mentioned, please don't take it personally).

I live in Surrey with my wife Claire and our children, Francesca and Madeleine. I do not have my own studio, but I am currently working on my solo project, brewing beer in the understairs cupboard!
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News:

23rd May 2022

Just a few tickets left!


4th March 2022

Hi Everyone, I've been working towards launching my Patreon page for the past several months and am thrilled it's finally 'live'! Of course I'd no idea when I started preparing it that the world would be in the grip of yet another terrible crisis, with Putin's totally unjustified and brutal invasion of the sovereign country of Ukraine. This of course affects all our lives in many profound ways, the enormous ramifications of which are still unfolding. Like you I'm sure, my heart is aching for the innocent people who's lives are being devastated by this totally unjustified war, especially the young children caught up in a terrifying situation they don't understand. I thought of postponing the launch of the page as it seems so trivial a thing to be doing in such unsettling times. However, if our peaceful way of life is undermined and artistic expression is stifled, then the enemy wins. More than ever in this divided world we need to come together and find common ground through the things that unite us, and our shared love of music is one way we can do this. When our hearts are crying out for peace, music can help to soothe our souls and connect us to a deeper, eternal reality. Thank you for reading this, and, if you choose, your patronage. I will continue to make music because I profoundly believe in the hope of a better future for us all, and this is the way I can express that hope.


18th April 2022

People who love Iona's music - have you heard Dave Bainbridge's new album 'To The Far Away yet? Here are some quotes from people who have:

“The lockdown had taken Dave away from touring, putting himself in composing mode and the result will probably outclass the previous glories as this whopper is a timeless classic of the finest vintage…..A no nonsense top 3 album for 2021, a true prog classic. A must hear and a must have.”
progarchives.com

“To The Far Away, just might be, well - the best thing he’s ever done – and with his years of output that’s saying a lot. Of course everything’s subjective, but I think it’s safe to say that 'To The Far Away' is easily Dave Bainbridge’s most accessible work, containing not just the expected virtuoso performances from all involved, but compositions that will please followers of Dave’s work with Iona, his solo projects, and his contributions to albums by the likes of Strawbs and Lifesigns. A brilliant balance of vocal and instrumental tracks, 'To The Far Away' will thrill and delight fans of both Celtic and ‘traditional’ prog-rock, and anyone open to more adventurous realms of music in general……If you’re a fan of Iona, Dave Bainbridge’s solo work, Celtic prog, classic prog-rock – whatever! You need this.”
Bert Saraco - tollbooth.org

"If you remember the band 'Iona' you will love this album. It's a masterpiece of Celtic Prog Rock...a thrillingly epic, goose-bump inducing journey of heartfelt songs and soaring instrumentals with the beautiful sound and imaginative playing of Dave Bainbridge and a host of superb guest artists."
Nigel Cameron - Celtish

"It sounds wonderful and as I miss Iona it is like they have returned."
Clive Poyser

"To the Far Away, is a wonderful journey of the mind, full of captivating music throughout. This album is one of the best albums of 2021. It is definitely in the top ten progressive rock albums of the year. With Dave Bainbridge’s years of experience making great music with Iona and on his own solo work, I knew this would be one of the best albums of the year, and it definitely lived up to and exceeded every expectation. Please get this album, relax and enjoy the journey. Every song is captivating and full of the kind of music that made Iona famous."


"To The Far Away is deeply beautiful and stunningly majestic. There is vision and sentiment that touches and is touching. From beginning to finale, not a wasted note, not a wasted space. It is reminiscent of Clannad and Capercaille and soars with the energy of The Mahavishnu Orchestra. The singing is lilting and sweet. The lyrics, stories of depth and a passion for the best of humanity. Tremendous performances by all involved in this truly noteworthy album. Each piece is strong and leads to the next. I couldn't stop. Congratulations on an amazing album."
Ken Stasion

“And just to get straight to the point, the music is of great, if not exceptional, class….the wonderful Celtic influences in the music are back. Both Troy Donockley and Martin Nolan, his successor at Iona, sprinkle liberally with Celtic flute sounds….lovers of atmospheric symphonic music have a pearl in their hands with this album. This is hashtag #heavenly.”


21st October 2021

THE MAP PROJECT PART 2.....
Finally, 4 years including a pandemic later, the Map Project Part 2 is completed. The order has been placed for CDs so I’ll hopefully have those ready to post out by the end of November.
I’ll keep you posted. 😁




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