Talk for 2 minutes about sheep farming… GO!

BEFORE YOU READ THIS ARTICLE… If you want to get the most out of this article, and you’re alone, then actually time yourself and try to talk about sheep farming for 2 minutes as if an audience of people were in front of you.  Your aim is to keep them entertained and keep going without stumbling too much, getting stuck or giving up.  It doesn’t have to be accurate, just give it your best shot… ready - GO! That’s what it’s like being in the middle of a song when the band leader Read more [...]

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 Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com).  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 [...]

What Is Improvisation?

On the current Wishbone Ash tour I have to play a drum solo every night.  On the last tour I was doing the same and I was rarely happy with what "came out".  I didn't have the chance to practise on a kit for the whole tour so any ideas I had only got tested during the actual solo. Over christmas I gave the solo a bit more thought and on this tour I'm recording it every night and adding annotations to the videos so you can see what's going through my head while I'm playing it. I've received Read more [...]

How To Remove The Stress From Learning

I recently decided to tackle learning to cook.  For years I've said I'm not bothered about cooking, or that I'm no good at it (see previous article).  The biggest challenge I have is motivating myself to stick at it. I've begun to analyse what it is that stops me from tackling this.  I've come to a few conclusions about how to make this process enjoyable. 1. Re-frame the topic If I think of cooking as something that stresses me out (which it usually does) then it's hard to convince myself Read more [...]

The Kelly Shu kick mic mounting system

If you usually mic the kick drum through a hole in the head with a short mic stand maybe you've experienced some of the same problems I have... - the singer kicks the stand and knocks it out of place - it's a shitty stand that keeps drooping - the mic suddenly swivels round in the middle of the gig - the vibrations from the stage get picked up by the mic - the venue doesn't have an appropriate stand Out of all the things that could go wrong in a gig, these were the most common problems. Read more [...]

How should you set up your kit?

I get asked a lot about where's the best place to put your drums and your cymbals.  I think the assumption is that I feel comfortable behind my kit - which is actually rarely the case. Over the configuration of my kit has changed again and again.  I'm fairly traditional in that my set up is usually pretty basic.  I've done the thing of copying set ups in drum catalogs and magazines.  I've had my ride cymbal almost vertical and in my face like my favourite drummers did in the 90s.  I've had Read more [...]

Drum groove from the new Wishbone Ash album

I'm pleased to announce that Elegant Stealth, the new album from Wishbone Ash, is now available! You can get it here :http://wishboneash.bigcartel.com/ I'm pretty happy with the final product.  There are some great songs and I felt like I got some interesting grooves in there. Here's a video lesson breaking down one of the grooves from Warm Tears. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03kWdGzthQ4 You can follow Wishbone Ash on Facebook Read more [...]

The Book That Changed My Life…

Back in 2004 I moved to London to try and make a career out of drumming.  I auditioned for various bands, found a function band to join to pay the bills, and did bits of online session work here and there.  After a while my life started to become a bit mundane and the excitement of moving to London had worn off. In December 2005 (I just looked it up on Amazon) I bought the book Yes Man by Danny Wallace (check it out on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk).  The night I finished reading it I was sitting Read more [...]

Playing Drums on Mick McConnel’s “My Kinda Heaven”

Last summer I had the pleasure of recording drums for Mick McConnell's solo album 'My Kinda Heaven'. I got the call after Wishbone Ash came back from playing in South Africa with Deep Purple and Uriah Heep. Trevor Bolder, Uriah Heep's bass player, is also featured on the album and he recommended me to Mick. Mick's regular gig is with Smokie but he's been saving up songs for a solo album for some time. He was a great guy to work with and some of his enthusiasm for scuba diving rubbed off on me Read more [...]

750 Words – Day 9 : Show time

Right now I don't really have a topic for today's post - I just know I have to write 750 words.  Let me write about what goes through my head during an average gig with Wishbone Ash...Firstly, I think it's important to warm up.  The reason I warm up is because I know I have a more enjoyable gig if I do so.  I never used to warm up - I just figured the first few songs would sort that out for me.  What I found was, if I went out without warming up, I'd end up gripping the sticks Read more [...]