Practice and Play

My most recent blogs have focussed on the mental side of drumming - what's going on in our heads when we play.  My solos from the road videos have had comments from people who like to see what I was thinking, and others from people who think I shouldn't be thinking at all. I received an email recommending the book Zen Golf (see it on,  I don't play golf, but I was assured that I'd find much value in it.  I read it on a week's break from touring skiing in the Alps. Read more [...]

You Can Do It

I watched a great Sean Penn movie the other day.  There's a line in it where he says to his wife "I think I'm depressed".  Her reply is "maybe you're confusing depression with boredom." It got me thinking about learning.  A lot of people say "I'm no good at drumming" when what they really mean is "I don't enjoy drumming".  Or at least "when I've tried to drum I haven't enjoyed it". Why do I say that?  Because I believe that anybody, with the right instruction, could learn to play the drums Read more [...]

How to get better at what you do

I think I'm right in saying that most drummers would like to be better than they are, and we'd all like to know how to improve. It seems to me that there are two main factors to improving. * information * implementation of that information Information When my first drum teacher began playing the drums he could learn from other teachers, by watching drummers play in bands, by listening to records, or from books. Access to all of these things was limited by geography, finances and availability. By Read more [...]

Vinnie Colaiuta lick in Chaka Khan soundcheck clip

Ok, I can't post the video to this, but if you've seen the video of Vinnie messing around in a Chaka Khan soundcheck this is one of the licks he plays (at the 2:28 mark). It sounds a bit like a songo groove if you start it in a different place.  I'm not sure where he was feeling the 1. On beat 4 he plays the &a with the left hand.  After that he goes back down the toms just repeating the same pattern used for beats 1 and 2. Read more [...]

Vinnie Colaiuta fill from Jeff Beck’s Behind the Veil (live at Crossroads)

When I got the Jeff Beck Live at Ronnie Scotts DVD (check it out on ( or my favourite song was Behind the Veil. I found it really haunting and was so into the drumming (and bass and guitar) I had it on repeat for about a week.  I figured out a bunch of fills and groove ideas (I'll put them in a MasterClass video in the near future) which I've incorporated into my own playing. Someone recently sent me a link to another live version of the song and I couldn't believe Read more [...]

The answer to all your drumming problems: is it right under your nose?

Some very common questions that crop up among drummers are things like "Why do I get tense when I play fast?" "Why do I find it so difficult to play that pattern on double kick?" "Why does my playing not sound tight, even though it feels like I'm playing well?" The answer may not be right under your nose but it could be right behind it. Your brain is an incredible thing. Without your brain you wouldn't have much hope of playing the drums, never mind that complex Vinnie Colaiuta lick. However it Read more [...]