The polyrhythmic wizard on 30 years of playing
You just opened the Harrow Drum School. What else is keeping you busy?
“I’m on my 30 Years Drumming tour, because I started playing when I was 10 and I’ve played for 30 years. The London Drum Show is going to be a pinnacle event, but it’s really part of an international tour. I’m doing the UK, Germany, Hungary... I’ve already done the Czech Republic with Aaron Spears, and I’m going to Italy and Switzerland. It’s a miracle it’s happening because times are not easy and it’s difficult to organise anything, but I managed to pull this off. I’ve been organising it since January when I went to the NAM show in LA.
“I’m doing a lot of clinics and I’ve got two schools now. Harrow Drum School is the newest: it’s aimed at beginners and we’re located in the Harrow Arts Centre. And I’ve got my private studio in my garden also in Harrow, that’s called Gabbey Road Studio.”
What do you have planned for the London Drum Show this year?
“I’m planning to play all the hits from my Drumeo film titled Percussive Drum ming And Independence, and I’m also going to play the new tracks that I filmed this January for Drum Channel in LA with Don Lombardi. That lesson is titled 30 Years Drumming: that was sort of the launch of the tour.
“I’m also doing a clinic the following day; that’s 12.15 on Sunday. My plan is to perform the hit songs and drum solos on the main stage, and on the Sunday discuss what happened the day before, break it down.”
What drum kit will you be bringing?
“I’ve got a beautiful Pearl Reference Pure in a natural matte finish. It’s a double kick set, so I’ve got a 22” main bass drum, 10”, 12”, 13”, 14”, 16” toms, and an 18” auxiliary kick with a double pedal.It’s like a Terry Bozzio thing when you’ve got a jazz bass drum on the side. Multi-pedal orchestrations will be featured: I’m playing double hi-hat things, I’ve got a cable hi-hat on my right foot side, and a lot of foot cowbell independence. That’s mainly going to be for the solo stuff, but I also use it in some of the tracks.”
What song will you perform for the Keith Moon tribute session?
“I’m playing ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’: it’s my favourite tune from The Who. I was really lucky because I got in early so I could choose my favourite. I’m very excited about that. It’s a pleasure to be invited to do that gig.”
What can people expect to learn from you at clinics and masterclasses?
“It varies, but most of the time I get technical questions; ‘How do you do this? How did you achieve balance and a roughly equal level between the right and left hands and the feet, and also the coordination, multi-pedal orchestrations, how do you achieve freedom over the clave, what are the groupings?’ And breakdowns of my original groove compositions, so mainly those.
“I really enjoy sharing, I’m an enthusiast for education. I’ve been giving drum lessons for 24 years, because when I was 17 people started approaching me for drum lessons and I really enjoy seeing people grow and progress. I think we drummers are cool in that sense, we’re not jealous, trying to hide our licks and fills: we’re more of a sharing bunch and I’ve really enjoyed talking about these things.
“My clinics and masterclasses are very interactive, so it’s not like it’s just me working there. I get people to clap the different cross-rhythms and polyrhythms, and I’ve got a good independence, coordination exercise everybody can practise without even having a kit. I get people involved, that’s my method.”