Drummer loves beat Matamata life offers
It’s the 1970s in England and The Clash have just finished their first tour of Britain. Fifteen-year-old Alex Johnson and his band, none of whom are old enough to drink, are crammed in a tiny pub on the coast.
The punters seem more interested in keeping their drinks full than listening to the young band, but that doesn’t seem to deter them.
Alex, who started playing only a year earlier, is a little nervous behind his drum kit.
The Tiny Steps, named after an Elvis Costello song, was the first band he ever played in and would set the path from Devon all the way to Matamata, New Zealand.
The drummer has played in almost every genre of band since that first gig, from punk to full reggae.
‘‘For a while back in England I was playing in six or seven different bands at once, and they all played different kinds of music,’’ said Alex.
‘‘Sometimes I would forget which type of beat I was meant to be playing. It was a bit mad.’’
For the past four years, Alex has played drums in The Mixed Nuts, with two friends from the Bay of Plenty.
‘‘When I was a kid, I would see bands play and I would always want to be the drummer,’’ he said.
‘‘They always looked having the best time.’’
Alex moved to New Zealand with his Kiwi wife 10 years ago and started work as a radio producer for Coromandel FM.
After six years of sneaking 14-minutelong Dire Straits songs on to the air, he made a career change and started work at Tonezone installing home theatre systems.
Alex still plays drums as often as he can, but he is also kept busy with a number of commitments in the Matamata community.
He is the captain of the Matamata Golf Club, a member of the local Lions, teaches badminton to the juniors at the Matamata Badminton Club and even plays bridge once a week.
‘‘It’s good to get involved in things in the community,’’ said Alex.
‘‘It’s a great way to meet some interesting people.’’
And at heart, Alex is still that same 15-year-old playing in a crowded bar.
Jack of all trades: Alex Johnson plays drums in a local band, is a member of Matamata Lions, teaches badminton, plays bridge and is captain of the Matamata Golf Club.