Liverpool is not a bad place to be born if you want to be in the music business. It has a certain kudos worldwide due to my uncle Ringo and his mates (just kidding about the uncle thing!). I got my first gig with a band when I was 14 due to the bands drummer dying in a bizarre boating accident ... destiny.
Since that day, the drumming bug bit and I was hooked.
It's an interesting ride, sometimes brilliant, sometimes scary. Playing "dives", moving continents, practicing, not practicing enough, meeting great people (musicians are the funniest people on the planet) meeting not so nice people (record executives are NOT the funniest people on the planet!) playing beautiful venues in countries I never would have visited and generally feeling very lucky to be able to make a living at the thing I love the most.
Most of the 80's were spent back and forth to New York, which became my home for 5 years. There I became professional, more confident and a more experienced player after doing a lot of gigs, a lot of little sessions and my first big budget sessions with people like Regina Belle, Aretha Franklin and David Sanborn. The New York experience taught me everything, as I met and played with so many great musicians. I also did a bit of studying at the Drummers Collective.
I got the taste for touring too, completing two long crazy jaunts around U.S.A with platinum selling indie popsters: Modern English, playing every city on the map, it seemed. I thought all tours would involve stage invasions, fans throwing themselves at our moving cars and revelry of the highest order, but no ... it doesn't always happen like that. In fact, it has never happened since!
On the birth of our first child we returned to the mother country and I basically started again. Not easy, but since then, I have managed to continue to play some great music with some wonderful people, touring and recording in equal measures all over the place. Not living in London and therefore not being part of any 'clique' I have found myself playing with some non mainstream, artists from far flung parts of the world, such as Israel, Germany, Australia and France. This is great as you get a cultural experience as well as a musical one.
Adventures.. Prog-Rock, Pop, R+B, Blues, Acoustic, Indie Pop, Rap/Dance, Country, Folk, Avant-Garde, Experimental Instrumental, Gospel.
That's what the last 30 years of drumming has encompassed. Never a dull musical moment (No ... actually, that's not exactly true!!).
With all the negative stuff you have to deal with as a freelance drummer: the uncertainty, the diplomacy, the absence from your family, the insecurity, I occasionally sit behind my drums and look out at a venue, such as a Roman Amphitheatre on a balmy Mediterranean evening and I realise why I keep doing it, despite everything.
When i was 10 years old i went with my elder sister to see Deep Purple at Liverpool Stadium and was floored by Ian Paice, my first drumming hero "In Rock", "Fireball" and "Machine Head" were then my drumming bibles. He is and will always be, for me, the greatest ever rock drummer. Groove, power, precision, invention and taste. It still always makes me smile when i listen to his playing.
When i was further into my teens though i started to discover the American groove masters and three drummers in particular really affected me and inspired me to emulate their approach. Andy Newmark, Jeff Porcaro and Steve Gadd.
I met Andy Newmark in 1985 and we became friends and it was a great priviledge and pleasure to sit and talk drums to him as a 23 year old wide-eyed novice, as it is to this day. He remains, in my book, the ultimate pop/groove player with a totally unique feel.
The late great Jeff Porcaro seemed to be on so many records that i liked as i was growing up. Strangely it wasnt really the Toto records that drew me to him, but the breadth of different artists and styles he was called to play, always sounding so sympathetic to the music and forever with that astounding groove.
Steve Gadd, as everyone knows, is just about perfection. Immaculate on every note. He plays quarter notes with an intensity I have never heard from anyone else. Each and every note has his heart and soul in it. It wasn't the early jazz/fusion records that inspired me but the later, simpler grooves that i could relate to more easily. He is a true genius i believe.
The more I listened and read about these players i then discovered other players who inspired and were admired by them. People like Jim keltner, who was Newmarks hero, John Robinson and Steve Ferrone and of course Bernard Purdie, who I once had the opportunity to have a lesson with, but was too intimidated to go!! Idiot!!
Jungle Fever - Neil Larsen
The Nightfly - Donald Fagen
Simon & Garfunkel - Live in Central Park
Have recorded many jingles and library music in U.K and U.S.A for Warner Chappell, Atmosphere (London) and OmniMusic (New York).
Been featured in drum magazines: 'Sticks' in Germany, 'Batteur' in France.
Featured on film soundtracks for the movies:
Also recorded drums for the walk on music for the Champions League theme.
16" x 16" Floor tom
Orange County Custom drums 14" x 6"
Baskey Rug Lugs (endorser)