Brett Garsed was born in rural Victoria, Australia and began playing guitar at age 12 after hearing Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore play “Speed King”. After about a month of initial lessons he continued to teach himself and formed a band comprised of his two cousins and a mutual friend and began playing live.
His main influences were Blackmore, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, David Gilmour and Jimi Hendrix. This later expanded to more diverse styles such as Leo Kottke, Rory Gallagher (his main inspiration for slide guitar) and Edward Van Halen.
After playing for about 5 years, Brett decided to take classical guitar lessons for about a year which encouraged him to expand his right-hand finger picking technique, which was already beginning to develop.
Brett’s playing style always revolved around left-hand legato from day one: “I don’t know why I started playing that way, it just seemed so natural.” This eventually led him to the music of Allan Holdsworth, a life-changing experience for most musicians. Hearing Holdsworth introduced him to new sounds and possibilities which in turn exposed him to more fusion oriented artists such as Larry Carlton and Scott Henderson.
In July of 1985, Brett was featured in Guitar Player magazine’s “Spotlight” column, which was devoted to exposing new talent to the rest of the world. This encouraged Brett to give up his job as a licensed plumber and pursue a career as a professional musician, prompting him to send demo tapes to as many record companies and management companies as he could find. “I wasn’t looking for a record deal. I just wanted to get into a good band.” One of the tapes was heard by Ross Fraser of the Wheatley Organization, which led to an audition for a short tour by Australian superstar John Farnham. Farnham, at this time still a member of the Little River Band, was planning a solo album and invited Brett to be a part of the project. The resulting album, Whispering Jack, went on to become the biggest selling album in Australian history, followed by sellout tours of Australia and Europe.
Brett continued to tour and record with John until early 1989 when he was invited to the US to audition for Nelson, a band led by Gunnar and Mathew, sons of the late Ricky Nelson. The audition was a success and the resulting album, After the Rain, went on to sell in excess of 3 million copies and yielded a national #1 (“Love and Affection”) as well as 2 top ten follow up singles. In early 1990 Brett also recorded Centrifugal Funk for the Mark Varney label Legato Records, an intense guitar album featuring Frank Gambale and Shawn Lane.
For most of ’91 Brett toured the US with Nelson, and spent ’92 recording Quid Pro Quo with Chicago-born guitarist TJ Helmerich after the duo decided to sign to Varney’s label. With Nelson on a seemingly permanent hiatus, Brett and TJ pursued their career promoting Quid Pro Quo, which featured Bobby Rock on drums, Gary Willis on bass and Paul Mirkovich on keys. Greeted with critical acclaim worldwide, the pair recorded the follow up album Exempt in 1993. In ’94 Brett also filmed an instructional video for REH/Warner titled Rock Fusion which covers, in detail, his unique approach to guitar improvisation.
Brett’s most recent recording projects include the Uncle Moe’s Space Ranch album featuring TJ Helmerich, Gary Willis, Dennis Chambers and Scott Kinsey, the Tapestry album which was released under the band name “Mojo” and features Ric Fierabracci on bass and Kofi Baker, son of the legendary Ginger Baker on drums, and most recently his debut solo album Big Sky with Ric returning for bass and production duties and Toss Panos behind the drums.
Brett is now living in Australia again after 14 years in Los Angeles having just completed the record breaking “Last Time” tour with John Farnham which went for an unprecedented 7 months.