Since heading to NAMM in January, my world has been a crazy mixed up world of organising events. Not only for myself, but for other artists I’ve been working with over the last few years. Creating a network of music friends not only opens doors for yourself as a player, but you should also expect them to contact you in the same form. You can’t expect them to give you work in their part of the world if you don’t return the favour. I mention this because I have recently hosted a couple of Clinics and masterclass featuring Massimo Russo, Sergio Bellotti, Paul Hose and Rob Hirons.
The relationship between us guys is a mutual agreement and works within the education world. It has opened up more opportunities for me as an educator, being that I have been invited to perform in their residing countries. Unfortunately due to my mad schedule, I have not been able to take the kind offer, but I’m already planning 2015- watch out guys!
So here lies a point also forgotten by lots of musicians. Planning ahead is vital for your survival as a player. As I said, I’m already planning out 2015. After the clinics in May, I have been talking about new fresh ideas to take a clinic tour on the road. Obviously I’m not going to spill the beans just yet, but I’ll be calling in a few favours regarding dates across Europe and Canada.
In other news, I’ve just recently completed a rather lengthy recording session in Nottingham preparing material for my Rock n Roll drum App. It will be an interesting insight into early Rock n Roll drumming and will set you up nicely if you are planning to play with a 50’s style band. I say that, but of course good learning of the drum set comes from listening to some of your favourite players also. This is sometimes overlooked with student drummers. We are constantly reminded that we should learn as many different genres as possible. An example being Jazz. You can’t have a drumming event without someone mentioning jazz or dropping a few names related to that genre. Alright, this might sound a bit harsh, but how many times have you been at a drum event talking to someone new about a player you’ve never heard of? Guess what? I reckon you’ve pretended to know the player… Right? Okay, this might sound very pretentious of me and possibly an excuse for my own failings. My point being is that we are sometimes afraid of admitting that we’ve never heard of Billy Cobham etc, don’t be! Learning at any point in your life is fun, even if you’re an experienced player of many years. I’m building my knowledge of drummers everyday and I expect that this will be a lifetime event. Don’t fall into the trap of going with the obvious. Just because the all time best drummer poll in Rhythm Magazine says that Neal Peart, Keith Moon, John Bonham are the best, it doesn’t mean you have to think the same. There is a massive collection of music out there with many professionals playing drums who have never graced the pages of Rhythm. Listen to these players and decide for yourself. Before I get loads of drummers slating me for not liking the fore mentioned players, I grew up on The Who, Rush and Led Zeppelin.
The App should hit iTunes in time for Christmas, the perfect present for any budding drummer in your life. It will include a very long list of my suggested listening, including the drummers’ names. This will give you a chance to research the player and hopefully introduce your ears to some new music. Being in my late forties, I’m still amazed that we have all this information at the end of our finger tips, ironically talking to you via my blog page and discussing a drum App. Whilst I’m on the subject of the App, I’d like to thank Paul Hose and Dave Buckley of Curly Lead Recording Studios for your excellent patience and belief in me. It was a fun day and also a big learning curve for me, here’s hoping that my students will get as much out of it as I did.
So what is happening in the not so distance future? I’ve recently flown back from Edmonton in Alberta and as always, I’ve been influenced by the great players I shared the stage with. This has already got me thinking about extending the App to maybe a book, but my concentration needs to be focussed on the next few months of teaching and playing. As I type, I’m currently visiting family in the Czech Republic. On my return, schools start back and my teaching goes into top gear once again. This is also alongside my regular gig with a Rock n Roll trio Wild. This year we managed to release our fourth recording together called Rollin’. It’s a five track EP featuring a few of our favourite rockabilly tracks. There is even a track from the Shadows, worth checking out, even if I do say so myself. Click on my Bandcamp page below and have a listen.
I always feel lucky to have the chance to do what I do and it’s not without hard work. I often describe my job as the best job in the world and then follow up with ” I wouldn’t know how to do a proper job anymore”. Joking aside, of course, I have a proper job, but because I enjoy it so much, it doesn’t feel like it. Work hard, make contacts and practice a lot.
If I can do it, you can!
Thank you for reading