January 1st 2017 and I was feeling fairly sure it was to be a quiet year for me musically. I was concentrating - (and still am, although now time is definitely an issue) - mostly on my teaching work. Dr Paradiddles Wonderdrumporium boasts two (three, including me), excellent teachers in Alessandro Guida
and Todd James (more about Todd in a bit...).
But, back to my story; I was concentrating mainly on the school and working hard to get us teachers all super busy, but slowly and surely, a whole bunch of other projects started to creep in...
As you may (or may not) know, I was already, (and still am), playing for a few bands: FlyCatFly, Marakesh, The Deja Nova Trio... The occasional gig here and there and some recording new ideas. I was happy with that, especially with the pressure of running a school. (And also playdead music - but more about that later too...) Then, later on in January this year I got some requests for recording;
Last week I was in Bremen to be a part of Zeki Min's new album.
Recorded in the same old-school "live" style as Zeki's first two albums, it was a fun week playing with some true talent and super top nice people, and experimenting with loads of different sounds and instruments, culminating in me playing the football... no, really.
I can't wait to hear the finished record.
We also played a show while I was there, at this amazing venue right on the water. A Maritime museum and art gallery with moveable walls and the nicest hosts ever.
It was a slapdash affair as we didn't actually rehearse - just turned up, set-up and played. Amazing funny fun.
Christian Bendel was also on board in Bremen, taking some wonderful photo's and documenting the whole thing.
And, we also managed to fit in recording a folk/trance track... Zeki, where's the video?! I didn't hear that song enough!
I am in the midst of recording drums for an album for a band through my good friend Idan Altman. He's vacated Berlin in favour of the Dutch wilderness - I hope to visit him soon...
And, like I said, I have also been working on new material with FlyCatFly and Marakesh, and have done a few rather amazing shows for both Marakesh and The Deja Nova Trio, including a slot at this years Berlinale, a silent concert(!), a lakeside show and being joined by a special guest at one gig...
Late spring saw a session at my studio in Berlin for the upcoming album from Israeli singer/songwriter Asaf Meir. He and his Brother, Nadav, came over to the studio and we recorded some drums for Asaf's new album which should be out later this year. Beautiful stuff...
Not only have I been teaching and recording and playing live a bit, I have somehow taken on the role of manager for Berlin's very own "Beranger".
Beranger and Todd are both incredible musicians, and combine piano, drums and voice to make intense classical grunge - a treat for your ears to indulge and beats primed and ready to make feet to dance to. Sing-along instant classics with grooves to match, try to catch them live when you can. You won't be disappointed...
Now, the craziest bit of the story so far this year:
About 3 weeks ago I got an email from this guy Paul.
I met him and his band in a studio last year whilst on set making a music video for Marakesh.
His band were recording an album in the same complex.
Anyway, me and the drummer got chatting over a cup of tea in the kitchen. These guys are also English. We were talking about drums and England and tea, and it turns out (to keep the story short), that, these guys are from a teeny tiny town up north, about 7 hours drive from my home town. This mini little place, so far away from Swindon that they were sure I'd never heard of it...
But, I do! I know this family from there and, I in fact stayed with them about 25 years ago!
Turns out the band know this girl I was staying with and her family! Crazy coincidence!
So, I guess Paul remembered that story and remembered I play drums, so recently, when his drummer was unfortunately unable to make some shows, Paul emails me and asks if I can step in last minute.
Now, this all in itself isn't so crazy - apart from them knowing this girl and her folks back home...
What's crazy is that these guys are made up of musicians whose previous bands are some of my favourites; yourcodenameis:milo, The Cooper Temple Clause, White Belt Yellow Tag, The Automatic... So of course I said yes!
There's another coincidence: Tom, it turns out, having been the drummer in White Belt, Yellow Tag, was actually booked, by me, to play a show in Swindon about 10 years ago... where my old band supported him... and he used my drums... but neither of us can remember meeting before last Friday!
Anyways, "Losers" are an utterly incredible band made up of some of my favourite musicians, and I am totally and utterly stoked to have the chance to play with them.
With one show in Berlin already chalked off, we have an XFM session in London this coming Friday and then will be playing Camden Rocks festival on Saturday.
So, that's it so far, and it's barely June.
Tomorrow I head to the UK.
I am running a masterclass, booked in for June 9th at 7pm, at the brand spanking new Western Audio Recording Studio. Which, if you don't know about and are a musician in Swindon, or within driving distance of there, you should definitely check out. An amazing place, where in fact I will be also sitting in on a recording session for Beranger later in June. Very very excited to be spending some time there next month.
I also have another class penciled in at The Academy Of Music And Sound in Swindon, (at their new premises?!!?!) for June 12th (TBC).
Then, upon my return, what next... who knows... Maybe I'll get some more of my absolute favourite all time artists and musicians emailing me asking if I can join them for some project or another... I should be so lucky.