Centre of the music scene

Published on 13 July 2021

Event in Bedford Town Centre

The Music Centre in Tavistock Street is a hub for anyone linked to the business of making music in Bedford.

Known to old rockers and music-lovers as the gang who were Union Street Music, which Bruce Murray opened in 1986 with his partner Sid Worth. 

They helped to found today’s live music, destination venue: Esquires. 

Today’s Music Centre  “shop” opens up into a rehearsal room, studio, teaching space and beyond the guitars and drum kits, is the sheet music suite - still essential teaching tools for real artists.

The shop sells a variety of musical equipment, Guitars: Electric, Acoustic, Bass and Classical, Electronic Drums and acoustic. Keyboards, P A equipment - and loads more.

The cool owner Bruce Murray, 75 (puts his youthful good looks down to no drugs) has a enthusiastic team around him.

Mick Newman: Repairs and servicing of electrical equipment, Max Milligan: Guitar Teacher. Flo Thoulman Drum Tuition 

Manager Ross Anderson has been with Bruce for 20 years. He runs the shop with his assistants Danny Barton and young Andy Northwood (interesting back-story arrived in Bedford from South America as an adopted babe) loves opera and what Bruce call’s “devil music” - modern stuff apparently.

Bruce is a familiar face to followers of the ever-popular ‘A Band’ of Bedford, and three decades in, he’s still the lead vocalist and they still do gigs at Esquires.

Some time back in another life, Bruce's school band, The Hectics, had a piano player called Farouk Bulsara who morphed into someone called Freddie Mercury. Bruce says laughing: "He was just my piano player!

“We’ve survived by being diverse here in this business, selling, repairing, teaching, and offering the studio and rehearsal space. International bands like Don Broco  The Quireboys and the Blockheads use our rehearse room. His stepson Guy Griffin plays guitar in the Quireboys who do an annual gig at Esquires.

The Music Centre has links to local schools and Bedford College (where John Verity once inspired a new generation of music makers).  

People who are new to music need not feel intimated, they’re an amazingly helpful bunch. And they sell Ukuleles which is the latest fad among people of a certain age who want to tap into their musical talents.

Bruce’s wish would be to see a Nashville-style music all day/all weekend event around Bedford’s High Street venues. 

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