Mike Byron-Hehir

Lead guitars

Mike Byron-Hehir

Mike (then known simply as Mike Hehir) shared a revolving position as lead guitarist with Sad Café with Ashley Mulford for 8 years.

He joined the band towards the conclusion of the recording of the Ole album. He was then lead guitarist with the band during the difficult years of 1982-1984 when they were unable to record a new album because of contractual difficulties. He featured on the singles “Keep Us Together” and “Why Do You Love Me Like You Do”.

Leaving the band at the end of that period, he did not play on the majority of the “Politics of Existing” but joined the band on the encore at the final night of their 1986 tour with a rousing welcome from the Manchester audience.

When the band recorded the “Whatever it Takes” album in 1989, he was again present on lead guitars.

Since 2002, he has been a vital part of Barclay James Harvest Featuring Les Holroyd, but he also joined the band in their work on Paul’s final songs in 2009 / 2010.

Mike was born on December 15th, 1953 in Davyhulme and was educated at St Mary's Secondary school, Stretford (the same school attended by Morrissey from The Smiths!). After hearing Apache by The Shadows he decided he wanted to play the guitar:

"It was something I always wanted to do and when later on I heard Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix, I knew that was for me."

It wasn't until he was 15, however that he got his first electric guitar,

"A Gibson Les Paul ... which I still have. My influences are anything and everything but guitarists who made me go WOW .... Hank Marvin, Scotty Moore, Cliff Gallup (Gene Vincent), Danny Cedrone (Bill Haley), Paul Burlison, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Dave Gilmour, Gary Moore, Larry Carlton, Steve Lukather, Edward Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Ry Cooder, all the blues and country guys and recently B J Cole ..THE pedal steel man. I was doing some stuff with him in 2004 and he is phenomenal."

After playing in many local Manchester bands Mike met Andy McPherson who was building the studio that later became Revolution:

"It was through Andy that I got into session work and from that, one gig led to another."

At the end of 1981 Mike joined Sad Café.

“I had known all the guys for a while, Paul and Ian in particular, from Gyro days and had seen the Mandala band with Robin Trower in 1974. I had actually worked with them too, writing material in the studio when Ashley Mulford was unavailable. I played on a couple of tracks on “Olé”. Mike stayed with them on tours and recordings right up until the passing of lead singer Paul Young in July 2000. “I left in 1984 and went to the US with Corey Hart but I played on the last Café albums “Politics” and “Whatever”. There was always talk of putting the band back together to do something but it was not to be. Paul’s passing was a terrible shock to us all and no one could replace him. Such a shame.”

In 1983 Mike met Canadian singer Corey Hart:

"He was doing his first album at Revolution Studios and that proved to be very successful (thanks to MTV which was just starting then). He asked me to join his band and I was with him till 1990." Mike spent much of the 1980s working with Corey, playing on Corey's first 4 platinum albums and touring the States, Europe and Japan.

"Ian and I have been together on and off for years. We’ve played live and worked on many albums with people like Paul Rodgers (ex Free, Bad Company) and Kenny Jones (The Faces, The Who), Dave Gilmour, Chris Rea and Bryan Adams”.

Since 2002 Mike has been working with Les Holroyd in Barclay James Harvest Featuring Les Holroyd:

“We did an album called Revolution Days in 2002 and have been touring since. We played Manchester in March 2005 which was really nice because it was the first time we had been back for a while. There is also a lot of history we all share, between Sad Café and Barclay James Harvest, going back many years. Sad Café was a good band and should have done more. When I went to the US in 1984 I met a lot of people who knew of Sad Café and I still meet people who remember particular shows and talk about the band. My personal favourites were the first two albums and my all time fave Café song is Mario. Regards to all. Fanx...Ta-Ra”