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
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