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New Video!

Thanks again to Martin and all at Swindon Viewpoint, here is another Black Sheep Apprentice video from the Swindon Shuffle 2011!



Swindon bound...

This Wednesday I will be returning to Swindon for the first time since September.  I am very excited!  Not only do I get to see all my family and friends, but I also get to play lots of drums with some amazing musicians!  I have missed my bands...  I have missed them a lot.

I wonder if I will miss Berlin?!

For those of you in Swindon - see you soon!

For those of you in Berlin - see you when I return!

For those of you elsewhere in the world - where's my invitation for a visit?



Thursday 1st December 2011 saw the official launch of my new endeavour:

Click here to visit DRUMAZINE!

This is a mini on-line blogazine dedicated to drums and drummers and drum education and all that kind of nerdy stuff...

There are three main things I want Drumazine to share with the world.  They are:

  1. My thoughts about drum education!  Not that I think I'm right, or better than anyone else or that I know more than anyone else, but I do have some ideas...  You might not agree with my ideas, but that's the point!  I want to hear your thoughts too.  I want to know if you disagree and why.
  2. INTERVIEWS!  Type #1:  Interviews with drummers!  Some interviewees will be "famous", some will be "semi-famous", some you will never of heard of and maybe one or two will be some of you!  I want to ask questions which will give insight into a broad ranging and diverse cross-section of drummers, drum teachers and drum students from around the world.*
  3. INTERVIEWS! Type #2: Interviews with instrument manufacturers!  I am a bit tired of the "Branding Giants"; you know, the big boys.  The heavyweights.  The giants of instruments manufacture that everyone knows.  I am bored of them saying that they are the best, just because Johnny Fathands from whatever band-of-the-moment is using there stuff.  I am not however, saying that they are not the best.  I am just saying "what about the little guys?"**  Those small companies from Slovenia or Brazil or Turkey that are tirelessly working away super hard making quality instruments by hand and not getting any press or recognition because they can't afford to spend $1,000,000 on advertising.  These are the people I am interested in sharing with my readers.  There are some amazing companies out there that you probably haven't ever heard of but probably should know about.  And the big-boys have too much press already anyway...  :-)
So, there you go.  That's what it's all about.  It's still only 2 days old, (so please be gentle), but go have a look and share it with all your drum nerd friends!

AH!  I forgot about the little * & ** I put just now:

*For the interviews with drummers - if you have any ideas about drummers you would like to see interviewed and questions that you would ask them, please get in touch with me and I will do my best to make it happen.  I have already had huge success with this concept and would like to carry it on...

**If you are a "smaller" manufacturer and you would like some free press and advertising, please also get in touch and I will be happy to interview you about your products and share your company with the drumming world!

That's all for now - go check it out:



There are a mountain of gigs coming my way over the next 6 months with various bands in various venues, towns, cities and countries!  Hopefully some of you will be able to make it to one of these:

Firstly on 16th Dec I will be playing for (at least) The Dacoits at the annual 12 Bands Of Xmas event held at The Vic in Swindon, UK.  This is always a very drunken affair where bands are asked to play any 2 cover versions in a style of their choice.   I'm sure I've had very much fun at all the previous 12bands nights - you'll have to jog my memory if you saw me at one of the last ones...

Next up is a full on rock set with The Dacoits again on 17th Dec at The Bear in Marlborough, UK.  This will be along with the wonderful Vooz (a drunken bunch of locals who always manage to tear up the joint whenever we play with them - especially Robin the last time I saw them at the Vic when he managed to fly across the stage face-first and not miss a note: Professional.)

Then is a more acoustic style Dacoits gig at The Beehive in Swindon on 20th Dec.  A little light Christmas jolly full of hot wine, hot bass player, hot chicks, hot music and a hot fireplace where the drum kit is usually set-up.

On 21st Dec is another full on Dacoits show at The Vic in Swindon to support Black Sheep Apprentice on their album launch night!  Even though I am not sure if their album is ready to launch.  Having been a very temporary drummer for BSA I am excited to see them perform with Mr Andrew Cox behind the kit.  And, as an added bonus (for me definitely!) I get to also play a set this night with the wonderful BabyTrain.  2 gigs in one night!  I don't usually get involved in such shenanigans...

After what I'm sure will be a very cold but beautiful Xmas and New Year in Berlin (and Salzgitter), I am proud to say that I have been asked by Mr David Marx to accompany him and bass player Kai Wiergert under the guise David Marx & The AK Poets.  There is a gig scheduled for early Jan in Berlin - details to follow.

Also, exciting news from the System Of A Clown camp:  We might do another gig in April!  Venue and date TBC, but it will be in the UK somewhere...

Hopefully I will see you at one or maybe more of these gigs.

So long for now


Another video from the Swindon Shuffle 2011

Thanks to Swindon Viewpoint for another great video!  Here is a link to My Sweet Insurrection by The Dacoits from this years Swindon Shuffle.
I hope you enjoy it!


old news and new news...

Here I am again!  Blogging!

I wasn't going to write for a while, but there are a couple of stories I discovered today...

After a week of English company whith two very good friends visiting from my home town (a fellow Dacoit and a fellow TrainBaby - I am still cleaning up the mess they left behind), I am now back to reading things on the internet:

The first story I came across this morning was unfortunately a bad one.  For those of us trying to make a difference and also make a living in music, it is really heart-breaking to read stuff like this...

The second story however was a nice surprise!  The top 50 Beatles covers of all time, (compiled by Paste Magazine), features the song 'Here, There and Everywhere' which I played on with my old band, belarus for a covermount CD for Mojo Magazine a few years ago.  It was a nice surprise and is an honour to be included among such amazing company!

So, one nice story and one not so nice, but both got me thinking...

...I'd better get back to work.


Swindon Music

 I grew up in Swindon.  I am proud to say so too.
Swindon is a lovely town and it is and always will be my home.  I think Gaz Brookfied wrote a song about that...

Anyway, I am not in Swindon any more, even though my heart, my friends, my family and my bands (well, most of them), still are.  My band, The Dacoits is the one band in particular that I am missing.  And, just because I am not living in the UK any more, doesn't mean that the band will not continue.  In fact, we are currently working on a second album and already have some UK shows booked for December this year.  We are also planning a UK/European tour for next summer (starting in August).

You can see videos from The Dacoits on my Videos page.

I would like to also include some more video footage here, as Swindon Viewpoint and Martin Parry have been amazingly active when it comes to getting out to shows and making some fine live footage of bands around Swindon.  At this years Swindon Shuffle, Swindon Viewpoint cameras seemed to be everywhere!  They managed to get footage of most bands.  And, seeing as this blog is all about me me me, here are some videos of 'me' and the bands I played for at this years event.

Firstly, a video for Black Sheep Apprentice and the song: Let It Go.
I filled in for the band after the original drummer left to become a model.
I recorded drums for a few tracks on their debut album and I am very excited about hearing it when I return to the UK for the album launch show at The Vic in December.

This is a video for the band BabyTrain and the song: Forever.  This video was shot at The Beehive in Swindon.  BabyTrain are another band which I will continue to play for when the occasion presents itself!  There is even talk of a gig in Leipzig, Germany, in May next year!

Finally, The Dacoits again with Keep On Moving.  A monster guitar riff written by Neil Mercer.  Who, I have to say is also a master of acoustic guitar.  After seeing them just before I moved away, I must highly recommend that you listen to, or even better, go and watch Rumour Shed.  Beautiful stuff.

And, apart from all that, I decided (for a laugh - I was drunk when I agreed to do it!) to play in a System Of A Down tribute band.  Well, actually, I wouldn't say we were a tribute.  More of a bunch of drunken fools playing loads of System songs in a brutal fashion.  Here's one from the Furnace in August - footage by Mr Townsend (I think).

There are also rumours of another SOAC show, (we've already done 2 one-offs!)...
News to follow.

Will write more soon

Welcome to Berlin

So, it's been nearly 5 years since belarus split up!  I can't believe how long ago it all was!  An amazing band with some truly special and talented friends...  Well, I have been extremely busy since then.  I crafted a nice career for myself in Swindon teaching drums full-time.  This was punctuated by many many band projects both recording and live.  I will post some more recent videos and pictures up from these bands soon.
The teaching was really interesting and very challenging.  From teaching complete beginners one-to-one, to classroom diploma & degree level drums at  The Academy Of Music And Sound, I have met many fantastic young drummers and musicians with more potential than I could have dreamt of at their age (god, I sound so old!)
Spending time with young musicians and teaching drums has been a massive part of my life for the past 10 years, but, in my deranged wisdom, I decided in April that I would move on, leave Swindon behind and try something new.  So, I have said farewell to all the inspiring people Swindon has (and there are a LOT!), and I have relocated to Berlin.

My move to Berlin has also meant farewell to my teaching for the time being and I have to say that I really miss it.  The students I have had the pleasure of spending the last years with have probably been some of the most inspiring of all.  Some students that had a massive positive affect on me in particular have been at The Commonweal School in Swindon, (a performing arts academy for 11 to 16 year old's).  Commonweal have a fantastic P.I. unit and even though some of the students there have severe disabilities, they wanted to learn the drums.  This was a huge challenge for me as well as for them.  But, teaching children with physical disability is probably the most rewarding job I have ever had.  It makes me realise how the rest of us have got it really easy.  And still we complain!  Ah well, the human condition, eh...

Amazing work, amazing school and amazing kids.

It has been a pleasure to teach all of my students and I have to thank each and every one of them for the enjoyment I have had over the past years.

So, what now.  I miss teaching, I really do.  But, my plan for Berlin has evolved continually since I had the idea back in April.  The one thing I definitely wanted to do (and am doing) is to play the drums every day without having to analyse the process so much.  The thing with teaching, (which actually helped me to improve no end) is that you have to really understand what it is you are trying to teach.  So, you spend an awful lot of time and effort understanding fine details in every part of what you do.  Then you have to spend an awful lot of time and effort trying to get someone else to understand it and learn how to achieve it.  Teaching drums sounds easy.  It really isn't.

So, by not having to teach any more, I can now enjoy playing again.  Playing without thinking about it all so much!  So, the first part of my plan is working.  Yay!

The other things I am doing...  well:

I am currently trying to find my own recording studio in Berlin so I can have a drum-session studio of my own, for recording anything for anyone, anywhere in the world.  I already have a few albums to record, so that's my main career focus.

I also have a music synch licensing/publishing/library/record label type thing I am working on.  As I said before, I have the pleasure of knowing and working with some fantastically talented people and I know an awful lot of musicians, singers, songwriters and produces who are making amazing albums and recording some truly magical work.  So, I though I would try to help get this music heard.  It needs to be heard.  I will discuss this business another time, but that's another project I am working on.

I am writing a book!  A big fat old nerdy book about drums.  I might post some of it up here when it's ready to be read...

I need to learn German.  Mein Deutsch ist echt schlecht.  Enough said.

And, I would be happy to teach anyone in Berlin who is looking for an English speaking drum teacher.

So, I am planning on being extremely busy.  My main focus being a recording and session drummer.
I will have a studio set up very soon, and I am available for travel anywhere in the world to play live or record.
Just let me know what you need and I'll get it done!

So, there's my welcome to Berlin and to my plans for now.
Blog again soon