Drum­mer loves beat Mata­mata life of­fers

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By NI­COLA STE­WART

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.

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‘‘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.

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