Monday, 18 September 2017

July/August Updates

Guilty Party - Jacksons Lane. 17th July
Just got back from Jacksons Lane Theatre in London where we took over the entire venue with our Guilty Party show. It was my first time at Jacksons Lane and straight away everyone made us feel really welcomed, it's a great venue ran by a a core group of very passionate people. I decided to take my 'bop' kit for this event as we were a little pressed for space (sometimes up to 15 of us on stage at any given time) Plus with the mixture of hoop acts, aerials, dance and theatre I wanted to keep it all compact. All in all, a great evening and hopefully the start of more Guilty Party events to come.

Ducking Punches
Another hugely busy couple of months with Ducking Punches which begun with our first time playing 2000 Trees Festival in Cheltenham. I had heard a lot about this festival over the last few years but had never made it down so I was excited to see what all the fuss was about. To make things even more special we were opening up the Main Stage on the Saturday.
First impressions were amazing, it was one of the most friendly and well organised festivals I have attended and we were made to feel welcome straight away. After catching a few bands (including our buddies Muncie Girls) we got a fairly early night on the Friday so we were fresh for the show.
I was humbled by how many people showed up to watch us. It felt so special looking out and seeing so many people singing along as well. I have vowed to come back to 2000 Trees next year, it really is a special little festival.
Another highlight was getting back over to Germany for a few shows. It was my first time in Trier, which really is a spectacular city. In fact it's the oldest city in Germany and for once we got a rare full day to explore as well as try plenty of local mosel wine. Another first foe me was Ulm, which has the tallest spire in the world which we went to the top of. The shows were excellent and as usual, the people and venues went beyond expectations and treated us wonderfully.
We have also just finished demo-ing up the 3rd album. Drums were recorded at mine using my Zoom r16 before everything else was laid down at our guitarists. Really happy with how the new songs are sounding and even more excited to get to the studio in September to start recording.

Drum Shows
Over the next few months there will be two huge UK drum shows happening. The first one is happening the weekend of the 23rd and 24th September at Manchester Central and will see the likes of Thomas Lang, Dennis Chambers, Gerald Heyward and Simon Phillips amongst many others performing. There will also be all the major companies showing their gear (as well as plenty of independants) a vintage room, clinics etc. It's shaping up to look like the best show we've had in the UK for years. I'll be there for the weekend on the Amedia stand so come and say hi.
More info at ukdrumshow
Then on the 11th and 12th November, the London Drum Show will be making it's return to the Olympia. It's always been a great weekend and there are some really big names confirmed including Anika Nilles, Aaron Spears, Steve White and Jimmy Chamberlain. Jimmy (from Smashing Pumpkins) is always at the top of my list when it comes to influences so I am especially excited to see him, for what will be my first time. A lot of exhibitors haven't confirmed yet, but hopefully we'll start to hear of some companies being involved soon.
More info at londondrumshow

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

May/June Updates

After a few days recovering from our Ducking Punches UK tour (I always need a few days to adjust back to 'normal life'), it gave me some time to catch up on some teaching as well as working on some new songs that we're currently working on.
It was great to see how my students had progressed over the last few weeks and to make sure that any were prepared for any up-coming Rockschool exams.
By the time we had booked the van, crossings, merch, worked on the set-list etc, it was time to head off on tour yet again. This time it was going to be two weeks around mainland Europe.
We left on the 25th May, playing The Monatgue Arms in London before heading to play El Topo Goes Loco Festival in Mol, Belgium. We had played El Topo a few years back and it's always a brilliant place to catch up with old friends, make a tonne more and see some great bands. They always have a live punk karaoke band at the end of the night and we couldn't resist joining in, and so the night ended with me rolling around on the beer soaked floor singing 'Gotta Go' by Agnostic Front.
The following day we played another festival (Incore) in Saarbruken, Germany which our UK buddies Apologies, I Have None were also playing. It had been a few years since I had seen them and they smashed it, proving why they are one of the hottest bands in the UK right now.
The next few days, as always, started to blend into one. You lose track of days, times, bands playing, and where you even are. We played a great place in Switzerland before working our way through Mainz, Leipzig, Berlin (always my favourite city) Zittau, Prague, Gottingen (where we got our own private cinema viewing of The Blues Brothers) Plan B in Bielefeld (best bar in Europe) Eindhoven, Merksam and finishing off in Eupen in Belgium where we stayed above a bakery shop and got amazing bread in the morning. It was all over so fast and as much as I wanted to get home and see the family, it's always hard to fend off the post-tour blues.
Luckily, I had a 2 week holiday booked for Wales the day after I got home. We took our camper and amazingly were there when the 2 week heatwave heat. 

Guilty Party - Jacksons Lane
Tickets can now be booked for Guilty Party at Jacksons Lane Theatre, London.
This was a show that I was involved in at the end of last year and features cabaret, live music, interactive theatre and DJ's. Last time we took over the whole of the Norwich Arts Centre and this time we'll have different locations set up around Jacksons Lane for you to explore. I might even be doing some 'acting' as well as being in the live band.
As this is part of the Postcards Festival it's a pay what you like event.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

March/April Updates

So after 20 years of teaching I had my final timetabled student in today.  
It's scary yet exciting to think that my bills will have to be paid mainly through playing (plus the odd bit of teaching between touring)
The first thing I wanted to do today was get my studio set up so that I could record at the touch of a button. Mega thanks to Peter Fellowes from Southpaw for helping me get started. I've got a lot to learn but that's the fun of life right? I think I thrive being out of my comfort zone.
The second thing was a celebratory cup of tea and oreos.
I'm a great believer in following your heart and just going for what feels right and I believe that with hard work and being nice you'll reap the rewards. Keep the passion burning and never have any regrets.

My teaching schedule can now be found online here so please give me an email or text if you wish to book in. 
I'm very excited to start recording, so if anyone or any band is after some drum tracks for any project then please give me a message.

Amedia Cymbals 'Pop In' Day
Thanks to Stu and everyone else at Create Norwich for welcoming me and the Amedia crew in for a 'try out' day in March. Thanks to everyone who came down, it was great to see so many drummers all together, we'll be running another event like this later in the year so if you want to come down and try the finest cymbals on the market then keep your eyes out.

North Custom Drums
Just took delivery of an additional 10" rack tom that I wanted adding to my 2'nd set up. As you can see, it's truly stunning. Andrew and the rest at North Custom Drums truly do the most incredible job, swing by and have a look at their new website.

Rhythm Magazine Review
While I'm on the subject of North Custom Drums, it blew me away to see my own personal snare (the one I got from the London Drum Show) being reviewed in Rhythm Magazine. It meant a few weeks without it, but it was worth it when the issue dropped through my letterbox. 4 stars. It is a beast.

I Said Goodbye - Epic Studios
At the end of March my band I Said Goodbye headed down to Epic Studios in Norwich (the former ITV studios) to record a couple of live songs. 
We picked two songs from our upcoming album Fairweather; they were Money And The Crown and Smokehouse. Both of these videos should be up online soon we hope
We are also very pleased to announce that the album will be getting released on the brilliant  Little Rocket Records label late 2017/early 2018 with a couple of music videos to be released before then.

Car booting
I really do love a carboot, I think it's because I'm the sort of person that doesn't really like spending much money on anything. I always keep half an eye out on any drum bits, but to be honest it's rare that you see anything other than a cheap starter kit. However this week something did catch my eye and after a bit of haggling I managed to buy this pretty Ajax snare for an amazing £8! After a little bit of research online I managed to date it from around 1948. Sure, it doesn't look like much right now, but once I've stripped it down and cleaned her up she'll be a beauty. 

One of my favourite bands are called Lemuria and their drummer Alex Kerns is one of the best about. I've always found his approach to drum parts interesting and non-conventional. I was so happy when they recently announced they were to tour the UK in July that I though I'd work out one of my favourite grooves of his; the verse part in Paint The Youth. 
It's a really interesting linear groove with some cool snare syncopation and interesting tom accents. It's a lovely groove and really fun to play, I even worked out the notation which you can see below.

Hope you're all having a great time and looking forward to Summer. I've just got back from our headline tour of the UK and have a couple of weeks to chill at home before we head back out to Europe on the 25th May.

Last day of D.P. tour at Norwich Arts Centre. Photo by Charlie Wallis

Thursday, 9 March 2017

January/February Updates

First of all, I'd like to say a Happy New Year to everybody. I hope you all saw the New Year in having fun and are feeling a lot more postive about this year. 2016 was a strange one in many ways, I saw a lot of division and hatred rear it's ugly head and what with Brexit and Trump being elected it seemed like we'd gone back a step or two.
However as the months passed on, I found that a lot of people round me were intent on not letting this bring them down and in many ways made them feel more proactive to make their lives and the ones around them better. I personally did a lot of thinking about my carrer and my aims and goals going forward. Ducking Punches have got to that position where we are looking at pushing on in terms of more time touring, so I made the slightly scary decision to stop regular timetabled lessons to allow me much more time to focus on all the other apects of my drumming. I will be taking a few lessons around my schedule and an online calender can be found under the 'Tuition' section. If you want to book into an available slot then please email or text me.
Speaking of Ducking Punches, we have just announced the first couple of tours for the year. Starting in April, we will be doing two weeks around the UK ending in a hometown show at the Norwich Arts Centre. Followed by a European tour in May into June. Details can be viewed below.

I Said Goodbye video shoot
My other band I Said Goodbye shot our first music video on the 12th February. The song is called Take Me Home and is from our upcoming album Fairweather which is in the final mastering stage right now. The video was shot around Norwich before the final 'live' shots at my studio. You can find out more about us here.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

November/December Updates

So, we've just hit the end of 2016 and what a crazy year it has been. From a personal point of view it has been another brilliant year; I toured 14 different countries including America, secured three endorsement deals with the greatest companies out there and saw my pupils progress beyond belief.

London Drum Show
November always brings the London Drum Show and this year would be my 5th year. However this time I was there to represent North Custom Drums and Amedia Cymbals. I feel very proud being asked to help out by Andrew (North) and Alex (Amedia) and it was a complete pleasure getting to chat and show the many hundreds of drummers who stopped by 'our' gear.
I took my own personal set up down for people to stop and try and the feedback we recieved was just incredible. It was wonderful to meet so many new people and feel 'involved' in our little scene, the major highlight was when Brian Frasier-Moore (Madonna/Justin Timberlake/Janet Jackson) stopped by for a little play on my kit and told me I was such a lucky man to have such a beautiful set up.
All in all a really fantastic (if loud) couple of days; there is rumours flying around of a new drum event starting in 2017 so I'll be keeping a very keen eye on developments there.

While at the LDS, I fell in love with a snare on the North Custom Drums stand and I just had to have
it. It was one of those times where each time you hit it you smile, the sound and look of it is pure perfection.
Luckily I played it as the doors for the first day were opening and I whipped it up before anyone else had the chance to!
This is one of only two 'hybrid' shells that NCD have ever made; it's a 14x5.5 10 ply mahogany with a copper core and beech re-rings. It's finished in white marine pearl, has single flanged hoops, beaver tail lugs and trick throw off.
The combination of the two shell materials really work together, so you get the warmth of the mahogany but with an extra crack from the copper core. I can't wait to start gigging/recording with this.

I Said Goodbye
My new band I Said Goodbye starting playing some shows as well in November and so far it's been getting a great response. The album is now being mixed and pencilled in for a spring 2017 release, we are also planning an April Euro tour with details up soon.

Rockschool Results
Once again, well done to all of my students who took and passed their Rockschool Grade exams. There was some incredible results and comments back from the examiners. As always I'm very proud of how all the work they put in both at home and within their lessons. Anyone wishing to take a grade exam in 2017 please discuss with me and we can get you entered in.

Guilty Party
The year was wrapped up nicely with my involvement in 'Guilty Party' This was three nights of cabaret, circus, live music and immersive theatre. The entire Norwich Arts Centre was turned into a downtown speakeasy where audience members could explore and follow the story of some intriguing characters throughout the night. I was in the club band playing a cocktail kit (for the first time ever) in the bar area before moving onto a full kit during the cabaret. Everyone involved worked their socks off to create a really fun event that was a pleasure to be involved with.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

September/October Updates

PMT Drum Clinic
First of all a huge thank you to every single person that came down to my first ever clinic. I was incredibly nervous as it was something that was completely out of my comfort zone, but I think I got through it unscathed! I decided to chat about how to come up with new fill-ins using different groupings of semiquavers; eg; 5+5+6 = 16, 4+3+5+4 = 16 etc. If anyone wants to have the exercises or videos of me demonstrating them then just give me a message and I can sort that out. An especially big thank you to Joe at PMT and Dave Major for all your support and for Al Watts for letting me use one of his songs to demonstrate (see clip below)

New Ducking Punches video out/American Tour
We've just released the music video for the song Greedy Bones. It was an eventful day which sadly ended with our singer Dan breaking his leg, for the full story read here.

On a much brighter note though, at the end of October we are heading out to America for the the second year running to play some shows on the East Coast.
We begin on the 24th October in Orlando, before playing Tallahasse, Ybor and then THE FEST in Gainesville. I am planning on a road trip to New Orleans at the end of tour with the intent of seeing some old school jazz at Preservation Hall!

New North Custom Drums kit!
Thank you to Andrew and the rest of the crew at North Custom Drums for building me another incredible kit. I had spoken to them on the phone a few times with some ideas of what sounds/sizes/finish etc that I was after and after some discussion we decided on 10 ply mahogany shells in 20x14, 12x8 and 14x14 (with a 10" tom to follow) with single beaver tail lugs, a maple outer and black diamond inlay. It took about three months for them to build this for me, but they have nailed it. Not only does it look perfect, it sounds absolutely incredible.

I Said Goodbye
The first weekend in October I headed to Wongs studio in Nottingham to record an album with my new band I Said Goodbye. I recorded back here around 5 years ago with Jamie Ward and was so happy with how that (Bad Ideas - Murder Of Gods album) came out that I was very excited to get back there. We were recording drums and bass together using guide tracks that Alan (guitar/vocals) had previously tracked at home, so it was a pretty quick and easy job to get the 10 songs down over the two days. My kit and cymbals sounded incredible, I'll put up more details once the album is completed. We have just confirmed out first show which will be at The Waterfront in Norwich on the 18th September.

Hearing Protection
In my last post I mentioned about a new hearing protection scheme that has been set up by Help Musicians UK, well today I just received my custom molded ACS ear plugs! Through this scheme I managed to get these made up for £30 which is an incredible price. You can apply to the scheme and find out more information through their website. 

Monday, 22 August 2016

July/August Updates

I hope everyone has been having a beautiful summer so far? This time of the year always seems the busiest for me, from teaching to gigging to recording, I've barely had time to catch my breath.

Rockschool Results
Another great set of results for my students from Rockschool. All of those who took an exam worked extremely hard and it paid off as they all received Merits and Distinctions, so a huge congratulations to everyone. The next examination period is fast approaching, so anyone wanting to take their exam must make sure they have entered by October 1st!
Lucas with his Grade 3 with Merit certificate.

One of the songs from the ClownSmashEverything album has been released here. I recorded the 12 tracks of 'The Bombs Are Getting Closer' last year but due to time constraints am unable to continue, so if anyone in the Norwich area is keen then give me a shout and I'll pass your details on.

Frozen Light Theatre Company
On Sunday 31st July I went into the studio to record some backing tracks for the Norwich based theatre company Frozen Light. They specialise in multi-sensory shows for audiences with PMLD, so to be just a small part of their new show 'Home' was a privilege. Their musician Al Watts had sent me a rough guide of the tracks, so once we were set up and happy with the sound it only took a couple of run throughs till we were done. My North Custom kit and Amedia cymbals were sounding paticularly lovely. 'Home' starts it's Autumn tour in Canterbury on 27th August. You can find out much more about Frozen Lights work here

Recording backing tracks for Frozen Light.
Ducking Punches
I can now confirm that we are heading back over to America in October to play FEST and Pre-FEST in Florida. Last year was my first time playing America and we ended the tour off by playing FEST, which is one of the worlds biggest punk festivals in Gainseville. The show turned out to be one of my favourite shows I've played and to be asked to come back is just amazing. Some of my favourite bands are playing this year, the full schedule can be found here. I have also planned an extra week out there with my wife and son to visit New Orleans, fingers crossed I can get a lesson with the legendary Stanton Moore whilst I'm there!
In the meantime we recorded a video for the song Greedy Bones which is a song off our latest album Fizzy Brain. We wanted something raw, organic and unscripted, so we decided to build a box-car racer. Long story short, it came out great, unfortunately the day did end up with our singer breaking his leg (when you see me, ask) so we have had to postpone a couple of shows. However I'm hoping (and he is definitely hoping) that it's all worth it. I'll post it up as soon as the editing is completed.

Hearing Protection
The amazing lot at Help Musicians UK have just launched their Hearing Health Scheme, which gives pro-musicians access to bespoke hearing protection for only £40 (£30 for MU members). For this you get a music-specialist hearing check up, advice and custom moulded plugs. Not many things are more important to a musician than hearing so getting decent protection is vital and for this money you can't really pass it up. More information on the scheme can be found on their website.

PMT Norwich Drum Clinic. 26th September
I'm absolutely thrilled to announce my first ever drum clinic. I will be opening up for Dave Major who is currently one of the shining lights amongst UK educators, session players and clinicians. His clinic hits PMT in Norwich on Monday 26th September.  I have followed Daves work closely so to be part of the same bill as him in a true honour and I'd like to say a huge thank you for PMT for approaching me. Doors are 7pm and tickets are £5 which can be purchased from the store or online.  Make sure you book in advance as it's sure to sell out quickly. It's also worth checking out and subscribing to Daves Youtube channel as there's a wealth of information available from him.

New Amedia Cymbals!
Today I took delivery of something rather special; my custom made 8" Hi-Hats from Amedia Cymbals. A couple of months back I chatted to Alex from Amedia about having these made up and around 7 short weeks later they arrived - all the way from Turkey. They are truly beautiful and once more the craftsmanship shown here is stunning. I'd like to thank Alex and everyone else at Amedia for making this happen, it really is a pleasure to work alongside some of the best people in the business.