By Joe McFarlane
A determined musician born with only one hand has proved his doubters wrong by becoming the lead singer and guitarist of his own successful rock band.
When Keith Xander was born without his right hand, many people put limitations in his way and pre-determined what he could and could not do in life.
The apparent cause of Keith’s success in later life was due to a small number of people looking past his limitations and giving him the help, support and encouragement, he would later need in order to become a successful rock star.
Wanting to play guitar just like his big brother Stu, and inspired by seminal musical moments like Woodstock and legends like Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix and Prince, Keith’s dreams of simply being able to play guitar were repeatedly dashed by many people who thought it wasn’t possible for him to play the career-making instrument.
It wasn’t until the age of 13 that a teacher advised Keith to put a broken ruler in his hook to act as a plectrum, meaning Keith would have an ‘everyday hook’ and a ‘guitar playing hook’. This encouragement helped Keith on his way to his rock ’n’ roll lifestyle.
Now 40-years-old, along with brother Stu, 43, and fellow bandmates, Mike Gay, 35, slide guitar, Joel Goldberg, 44, bass and Adam Goldberg, 41, drums, Keith is front and centre of Xander and the Peace Pirates.
Formed in the home of The Beatles, Liverpool, in 2014, the five-piece band combines soul, blues and rock to create incredible live performances that enrapture audiences around the world.
From becoming a resident band at the legendary Cavern Club’s to recording their debut album, Keith has come a long way from being told he couldn’t achieve his dreams.
Keith said: “The main thing that we hope to accomplish with the music is to free people’s minds from their self-imposed limitations.
“We want to help people to see that anything is possible if you put your mind into it, put your focus into it, and believe you can do it and to see the possibility and potential to do great things.
“To overcome our limited thinking is a huge thing for us all and is one of the most important things to realise. We can all overcome our limitations with the right knowledge.
“We aim to manifest peace and harmony through the music. To inspire people to create something positive. If I can play guitar, you can play guitar.
“The main reaction I get is inspiration, which in turn is inspiring to me and the rest of the band, which is a beautiful thing.”