I had the pleasure of attending an early morning Masterclass with Mr Aaron Spears at the weekend. For those who don't know, Aaron is one super talented guy with more chops than a well stocked butchers. I didn't know what to expect, to be honest, but it turned out much more than I expected. Far from being only examples of cool phrasing that mere mortals will never attain, he devoted time to candidly answering all sorts of questions. It was awesome to see other drummer's perspectives, and of course, benefitting from Aaron's opinions. However one thing stood out for me throughout the whole session, which I found really encouraging for our chosen instrument, and the people involved in it. Rather than being a show case of incredible talent from start to finish, our esteemed colleague made the point that it is about everything, practice, listening, being comfortable with yourself as a player, and maintaining healthy balance in life, family and friends. This was a really important point to me, as I have been victim to it in the past. I have lost countless hours to macro-analysis of beats, or driving myself nuts trying to hear the difference between super dry, dry and drought level cymbals. You know what? Life is too short. If your track feels and sounds good, then it probably is. If you like the slight buzz from your snare, awesome. It's your sound, embrace it and develop it. Spend more time playing rather than researching. Learn from mistakes, and pick up tips and things wherever you can. This will make you be the best drummer you can be. That's the point. Some will disagree with me for sure, but that's a good thing; it all helps to keep drummers and drumming as diverse as possible, and that's why drumming will always be an integral part of composition. A machine can only do so much, but it cannot emphasise with surrounding, mood or feeling. With the slightest touch drummers can influence all of these. That's enough now. I'm away to play drums.
It’s been a really tough period of time lately, period. The music world has taken a battering across talent and fans. Chris Cornell, Hard Bop drummer Mickey Roker, my lifelong favourite actor Roger Moore, and then we have the Manchester atrocity. I have tried to write this an number of times, uncertain if anything I say can convey the grief I, and I’m sure we all feel. I had written a piece on the amazing clinic with Aaron Spears, but now is not the time. I think the reason I personally find this so hard, is I have always thought of Music and associated arts as pure joy. An absolute pleasure afforded to all, crossing all boundaries, be it social, economic, ethnicity or religion. Then it happened. The outside world interfered with the joyful one. I will not go into anything more, as this is not the place. All I wish to express is my utter emptiness at it all. It will pass, I know, but memories will remain for all, both happy and sad, but we can be sure, the people will move forward. What all seem to forget is music has a power to unite, universally. Since time began, the first resonances of music spanned the world, and throughout everything, this has remained constant. Good, happiness and joy will prevail. Of that I am confident. So there we have it. Nothing else except to offer thoughts to everyone involved in that has transpired. Hug your people, Enjoy your music, and look forward to tomorrow. Drumfights.
The average life span is 28,000 day apparently, according to popular search engines. Every day, I have thought about drums, drumming and drummers. It probably adds up to a huge amount of time, but I could care less. For most drummers, it is an addictive pastime. We can drum on any surface, along to any track, at any time. Heaven for us, irritating beyond belief for the non rhythmically minded. The point is, drumming is so diverse in its interpretation, application and concept, no two drummers will ever be the same, or more importantly to me, agree on who, what or how is best. As a collective, drummers have a wealth of knowledge to share, and a wealth of opinion. (That's the bit I really love!) So, as I go on with this project, I invite drummers, or those who may not play, but just love the instrument, to give their opinion to our drumming peers. Madness, you may shout, but there will be limitations and rules! More will be revealed in the coming weeks. All I will say now is we will come to some great conclusions, some surprising outcomes, but I am certain it will be a lot of fun along the way. Stay in touch, and help us along the journey. That's it for the minute, hello everyone, and hopefully see you soon. I will part with one thought, from an old ad I remember from Kerrang magazine, many, many years ago. The ad was for some entry level musical equipment, and the tag line for the drum kit went thus: ( Paraphrased from bad memory) When you stop, the music stops. You are the king. Why do you think you sit on a throne? Cheesy, I know. But to my mind, at that young age, Drummers are that important.Maybe we shouldn't have the delusions of grandeur the old ad implied, but I'm proud to drum. I'll take all the old drummer jokes, and just smile laying down a fat groove! Play on everyone! Drumfights.