Friday, 7 February 2020


So how did you start Drumming?
I suppose it’s in the DNA as they say, as my Dad played recreationally and my older Sister played from very young and eventually toured with some showbands in the late 60’s early 70’s. Though there was a Drum kit in the house I was always more interested in Motorbikes as we had the famous annual Skerries 100 race just outside the door. 

But then Skerries also had the famous Red Island ballroom, where my older sisters raved about the famous Rory Gallagher, Thin Lizzy and Horslips gigs. Though I eventually caught Rory and Lizzy years later, I did however catch Horslips in late 75/76 and it changed my life! 

After witnessing the great Eamon Carr and his big Green Ludwig kit up close, and of course his gorgeous playing, I was blown away, and then I knew I wanted to actually play Drums. I was reluctant to tell my old man afterwards that I wanted a Kit, as I was underage and was not supposed to be in Red Island at all, mingling with all the Hippies and the smell of freshly rolled lawn! 

He’d have been furious if he knew I’d sneaked in through a toilet window after being refused entry at the door ! But my fate was sealed, and I wanted to be a Drummer.  

So after much badgering and pocket money, I cobbled together a rackety old set. I can’t remember the make, but then eventually bought my Silver Tama’s in 1980. They are rare now, originally bought in 1980.  I've lovingly minded and maintained them all this time. They have a lovely history and have been used by RTE for Late Late shows and other different recordings over the years by Horslips and others, but always loved and cared for by yours truly. They have a big birthday this year!

Who are your favourite players?
Well as I was such a Horslips fan in my teens, I suppose the brilliant Eamon Carr was my original inspirational hero. He has since become a great friend and mentor. I also love and adore all by Thin Lizzy, and when I started to play and try and emulate my original heroes on the skins I quickly realised just how amazing Brian Downey is, and still is! We only spoke recently and I told him, I recon he’s probably one of the most underrated drummers in the world, (He laughed politely!)
I also believe he’s one of the most inspirational players due to his mastery of Groove, Pocket, and the sheer simple beauty of his shuffles, rolls and constructions within whatever track he’s playing. 

Who here hasn’t played a Lizzy tune?... and when you really listen to what he played you realise, Phillip Lynott and Lizzy were giants, but they would never have been the band they were, without Downey’s brilliance and very tasty and clever drumming. 

Some are great at individual styles but I believe Brian could play Heavy, intricate, and also with groove and sympathy to the actual song he’s inside. Sheer Genius!. 

My other inspirations I suppose were all players that I could actually watch and learn from, as I went to see everyone, at every gig I could attend and I still do! 

I loved Robbie Brennan and his many collaborations with Auto Da Fe, Scullion, Stepaside, and latterly Grand Slam. There’s variety for ya ! 
I also loved watching Fran Breen and Peter Mc Kinney, and they have played with just about everyone.  On a world stage I greatly admire most Drummers, but especially Bonham, Copeland, Mark Brzezicki, Vinny Colliuta, Mel Gaynor, and of course Simon Phillips. 

The new breed of Carter Beauford, Todd Sucherman and some of the new guys and girls on Drumeo are just unreal. 

On the home turf, Simon Freedman, Rob Kennedy and Johnny Boyle are fantastic, especially the latter two on the “Whole lot of Zep” outings. 
My personal fav of the last few years is Eamon Ferris, he’s an amazing drummer from the Vibe for Philo house band “The Low Riders” and currently touring with Sinead O Connor. His precision and accuracy are gorgeous to watch and hear.  

Do you have favourite songs and albums ? 
Gimme anything by Horslips, Thin Lizzy,  Big Country, Simple Minds, The Cult, Frank Zappa, include some Led Zeppelin, Thunder and the Police and I’m rocking. My fav drumming tunes are many but I’ill pick these, as I just love them for their construction and execution. 

“Down by the Sea” off the first Men at Work album is my kind of thing, its got everything. ( Have a listen to this hidden little gem) 

















Another I adore is Joni Mitchell’s “ Dream Flat Tyres” Vinny Colaiuta is right inside and driving this brilliant track. 














I love “Rise” by The Cult, I just love Mat Sorum’s style and push throughout this ripper. 














What’s your current drum gear setup?

Tama 5 Piece
Snare 5.5x14
Tom 12x8
Tom 13x10
Floor Tom 16x16
Bass Drum 22x16
Remo Tops and Evans bottoms. 
Iron Cobra Double Pedals
Zildjian 14 ZXT Hi Hats
Paiste 404 16 Crash
Sabian AAX 18 Crash
Zildjian ZBT 22 Ride
Meinel Classic 8 Splash
Old China’s Small &Large

What gigs / projects are you currently involved in? 
I’m currently on a Sabatacal from my regular hot seat with Skerries/ Dublin based party-rock-pop outfit called "Risky Business". We released our first Album "Unfinished Business" in 2018 to rave reviews and great airplay on both RTE and Nova Radio stations. 
We do everything from corporate gigs, weddings and birthday gigs alongside our own perennials. Our annual "Risky Christmas" is now in its tenth year. We’ve played gigs in Canada, weddings in Spain, London, and recently an Irish pub anniversary in Portugal for the second year running. We’ve also played Electric Picnic on the Trailer Park stage for the last five years running.

I also have a great hoot playing with my other Muso’s ”The Hipaclaptics”  We play a Dirty Guitar Rock, glam-punk set, including anything from Slade & T Rex to Billy Idol & The Clash, including our twist on some other glam punk classics. It's a real fun, dirty rock'n'roll vibe, and the punters love the craic of it. 

I’m also teaching some Kids/Adults through my “Silent Drum Lessons” page on Facebook. I love how stuck in the kids get during lessons as I’m completely self taught and would have loved lessons like it when I started. 

So how did you end up with the drumming gig with the legendary Horslips?

Ohh it’s a dream come true for me as I landed the Slips gig when both the original Horslips drummer Eamon Carr and most recent Horslips drummer, Ray Fean (Who’s another Irish drumming legend !) both proposed that I periodically dep in the hot seat as sometimes Ray is fully booked with gigs in the US and UK with Celtic Woman and  also the new award winning “Come From Away" Musical tours. 

At first I couldn’t believe it!!!  Think of how many times I Drummed all those tracks in my bedroom as you do, in yer teens! 

What an honour it was as I've been a huge fan ever since Eamon Carr inspired me to play drums after first seeing Horslips live in 75/76.  

I'd already sat-in at some other Horslips gatherings over the years, so although initially daunted, I knew all the tracks and slotted in perfectly. 

It's funny that its all come full circle for me, as I looked after the set up of Eamon’s legendary green Ludwig kit for many Irish gigs in the late 70's as I travelled around as an eager roadie/fan watching my heroes, (I'll include a pic, don't laugh, I had hair then!)  

My first real opportunity to play with my Celtic Rock heroes came about at the end of last year, at the John O'Connor Literary Arts festival in Armagh last November. Playing a set of Horslips classics, that included collaborations with the event organiser, Pulitzer prize winner Paul Muldoon as part of the Muldoon Picnic, along with some original numbers with guest vocalist Lisa Lambe.

The next opportunity came from the festival in Armagh, when we were approached to take part in the BBC Two NI TV Arts show “Collaborations"
which aired last year. 
We did the horslips classic “Sideways to the Sun” in collaboration with the trad outfit Ulaid. 

Later in November of 2018 I also played the Horslips Con in the Black Box in Belfast  to hundreds of fans that travelled from all over the world. 

Last year we did some sold out gigs in Donegal and then a brilliant live TV special for TG4 at the Fleadh in Drogheda, Its just been mad, but such a thrill. I pinch myself sometimes between songs, especially when I watch the front row bopping along, where I’m normally in the middle of them !

“Sword of Light”
 














What advice would you give someone wanting to take up drums?
 Ohh Id say if you feel it in your heart go for it, as all the best ones play from their hearts. Go to as many gigs as you can and watch how others work and execute their parts and you will always learn something new. Watch some online tutorials but don’t get dismayed by all the flash intricate players you’ll find online, most are so technical and dextrously excellent they put other drummers to shame but I doubt they could play with a real band and become part of it without wanting to do intricate solos all the time ! 

Best advice is be yourself and just play, and play, and play, ohh and remember to practice! 

Thanks Myles ......

Sunday, 2 February 2020



Who inspired you to take up drums?

I started playing drums when I was around 5 or 6 years old. My mother sang in a band when she was younger, and me and my brother got to go to rehearsals and some shows. I remember her drummer, Bocker would always let me sit in behind the kit and give it a go. One Christmas I got a small kit from Santa, and the rest is history. How they got that kit into my room without me hearing I'll never know! I guess you could say it was my parents who inspired me to pick up sticks, as I wasn't really aware of any drummers back then. I just played along to what I liked at the time, not paying too much attention to who the band or drummer was. But as I got more familiar with the drums and actually began listening to, learning and picking apart music, the one drummer that inspired me as a kid was Steven Adler. I had "Paradise City" learned when I was around 7 or 8 and just fell in love with rock music and hitting hard. Nothing's really changed since!

Who are your favourite players?

Growing up I listened to a lot of nu-metal and heavy rock, so my favourite players back then were John Otto, David Silveria, Morgan Rose, Iggor Cavalera, Danny Carey and Dave Grohl. But as I got older and began seeking out other drummers, I fell in love with the greats - Buddy and Gene, Ringo, Keith Moon, Bonham and Tony Williams to name a few. I think you'd be hard pressed to find a drummer, especially rock drummers, who weren't somewhat influenced by those guys. But the contemporary drummers are killing it, and it's hard not to notice the likes of Aric Improta, Anika Nilles, Tony Royster Jr. and Benny Grebb.

As far as educators go, I am in awe of Todd Sucherman and Mike Johnston, I love how they communicate and their playing is just beautiful. As far as Irish players go, Shay Cosgrave ranks high on my list, and pretty much the entire roster of The Hit machine Drummers and BIMM tutors. We have an absolute plethora of amazing players, and I am so proud to even be in the same conversation as some of them.
 
Your favourite songs or albums?

That's a tough one, as my musical mood always changes. But as far as influential albums, I'd have to go with "Significant Other" by Limp Bizkit. This album opened up my eyes to ghost notes, chops and over the bar playing. I love John Otto's finesse and groove on it, and it remains one of my favourite drumming albums to this day.

I'm really digging Tool's "Fear Inoculum" right now, and I cannot deny the brilliance of their previous albums. Danny Carey's playing on songs like "The Grudge" and "Forty-Six and Two" are mind-blowing. In a similar vein, I would invite people to listen to the Mudvayne album "L.D. 50" all the way through; Matthew McDonough's playing and ingenuity is amazing.

Some songs that have moved me, irrespective of the drumming would be "Come Alive" by Foo Fighters, "Welcome Home" by Coheed & Cambria, "Vengeance" by Zack Hemsey, "Bubbles" by Biffy Clyro and "Shadow on the Sun" by Audioslave. I love listening to music that puts me in a mood or a headspace, I'm not the kind of person who just listens to music for the sake of it, there's always a reason.

What’s your current drum gear setup?

I have a few different rigs at the moment. I rehearse on a sturdy Pearl Vision 5 piece (4 toms, one kick) and a Pearl Chad Smith Signature snare. When I'm out with my tribute bands I use a beautiful Premier Signia 5 piece and a gorgeous Pearl Sensitone snare which I just adore. I also have a brass snare for the Signia that I use for recording. I have a rig over in the UK that's mainly Yamaha drums, but I haven't played it in a while as I usually use other gear when I'm overseas touring. I normally use a DW 5000, and my hardware is a mix of Yamaha, Pearl and Gibraltar.

Currently I use, and am proud to endorse Sabian cymbals and Vater Drumsticks. I've mainly been playing the HHX models, in particular the Evolution series, and I'm in the middle of testing out the new Complex range - they sound fantastic so far, the 14" HHX Complex hats are just what I'm looking for. With regards to sticks, I switch between a 55BB, 5B Extended Play and a 2B stick, using the Vater Stick Shields so I can rimshot for days. I'm absolutely over the moon with all of the gear I use, and am extremely grateful for all of the support I get from such wonderful companies.

How important is it to put yourself out there and have a good work ethic?

I personally think that work ethic is the main ingredient that gets players their jobs. I cannot tell you how many times I've looked forward to certain gigs because I know the people I'm working with are professional, diligent and respectful. While musical virtuosity, chops and showmanship can get some gigs, I believe your attitude is what wins people over and encourages call-backs. When I'm looking for musicians to work with, I like to find that perfect balance of good work ethic and musical prowess, and for me, the weight lies in the former. In fact, I've gotten gigs based on my attitude and professionalism alone, which is a testament as to how one should consider how approachable they are, not just how they approach their chosen instrument. But, keep those chops up too, there's nothing wrong with putting a smile on your fellow musicians and the audiences faces with a little flourish here and there.

I'm slowly but surely getting to grips with the social media aspect of the music business, so putting yourself out there with videos and interesting content is key. It also goes without saying that you should have an EPK ready to send to prospective MD's, musicians and labels or promoters. I offer EPK services on my website.

What advice would you give someone wanting to take up drums?

This one kind of depends on what stage of life the person is at, as different people will have certain amounts of time to dedicate to practise. But, every musician starts somewhere, at some point in their lives. Learning can be seen as linear, and if you're dedicated, passionate and thirsty for knowledge, you'll go far. Progress might seem out of reach for a long time at the beginning, but don't lose hope just because, for example, the proverbial you at age 20 can't do the same things as a 10 year old; every single person who undertakes a learning endeavour starts at the same place, the very beginning.

I would recommend keeping fit as there are a few factors to consider when becoming a drummer. Depending on the genre of music you prefer, playing a show or rehearsal might be more or less demanding on your body. Another thing to consider is that until you're lucky enough to have a roadie or crew with you, you'll be lugging your drums in and out of venues. Drumming in and of itself will aid in keeping you fit, but working on your cardio will enhance your playing, or will at least help you get through the longer shows you may eventually get to play.

A last piece of advice I would give would be to learn how to sight-read, even if it's just the basics. Being blind myself, I find it extremely difficult to read setlists during gigs, never mind sight-reading! But, I can sit down and read drum parts, or even write my own to help make sense of more complex music. It will also aid you in getting across some of your ideas when communicating with other drummers or band mates, and will make it easier for non-drummers to lay out ideas they have for you to try.

Can you tell us what projects are on the horizon? 

I'm extremely lucky to be busy this year with various projects and artists. My band Car Crash are releasing our debut album "Blindspots" in February (which you can pre-order here), and I am really proud of it. We'll be playing shows to promote it, and it'll be available on all of the major online stores and streaming services. Paranoid Visions are in the process of recording our 5 EP collection "Countdown to Pharmageddon", the first of which is already out. It's a really interesting way of releasing music, and I'm interested to see how well it does. The first one is doing really well, and we'll be doing a few gigs and tours to promote them. I've also recorded an album for The Black Pitts which is due out sometime this year. I sat in for a recording and song writing session with Andrew Bass who runs Oblivion Studios, and two songs from that session should be available sometime this year.

On the gigging front, I've been asked to play drums for ex-Crass founder Steve Ignorant on his tours for the next couple of years which will take us throughout the UK and Ireland, Europe and various festivals. More will be announced on that, but I am really excited to hit the road and play these songs. Currently I play drums in two brilliant tribute bands Whole Lotta Voltage (AC/DC) and Motorheaders (Motorhead) who are fairly busy this year. I also play drums in The Hit Machine Drummers when I'm not out on the road.

Any final thoughts?

I appreciate the opportunity, and thanks for your time. I would like to make people aware of my website Jay Bagnall Drums where you can book me for gigs or tours, and I also offer lessons and EPK services.

Photo Credits; Jason Cook / Stuart Hayes / Cormac Figgis 

Saturday, 4 January 2020


Who inspired you to take up drums?

I was inspired to start drumming by Larry Mullen Jr. and Topper Headon from the Clash. I was very inspired by the Clash's songs in particular. 'Should I Stay or Should I Go?' was one of the first songs I played with my band The Flies. I learned how to play on an electronic practice kit plugged into a stereo in my aunt's house. 

Who are your favourite players?

I really like Matt Helders from the Arctic Monkeys and Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters. I love the style of music that both bands play. I also play some Jazz and find David Lyttle very inspiring to watch. My brother James is obsessed with the Arctic Monkeys so we play their tunes a lot together. James is the lead singer in The Flies. When we started gigging two years ago we played mostly covers - songs by bands like Nirvana, The Stooges, The Who, The Arctic Monkeys, The Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Kinks. I guess that gives you a sense of the kind of music I love to play. My cousin JJ who plays bass in the band and I are both really into older Rock and Roll and Punk bands. Over the last year we've moved on from playing covers and now play 100% originals in our live set. 

Your favourite songs or albums?

The first album I was really into was London Calling by The Clash. I also love 'War' by U2.  I also got obsessed by The Minutemen and Husker Du a couple of years ago. I love the Minutemen's 'Double Nickels' album and 'Zen Arcade' by Husker Du. I also really love REM - 'Murmur' is my favourite album of theirs. 
My absolute favourite song is 'This ain't no Picnic' by the Minutemen. I love the funky drumming on it. I also really love 'I Bet you Look Good on the Dancefloor ' by the Arctic Monkeys. I think the drumming on it is amazing. 

I also really like our own song 'Rip-Off'. It's a rip-off of the Stooges who I like a lot. It is punk and energetic! It has a crazy hi-hat sound on it too - which came from the hi-hat breaking as we were recording it. I think it adds a lot! It was a happy accident!

What’s your current drum gear setup?

I play an old stripped down and pretty battered kit which our guitar player Darragh's Dad dug out of his garage. A friend of his had abandoned it there when he emigrated quite a few years ago. To be honest I don't have a clue about the type of kit it is! It is very distinctive visually which I like. The shells of the drums are all different colours. I guess you could say I play a stripped down punk style kit with no frills! Kick, snare, floor tom, hi-hat, one rack tom, ride and one crash. I use a double kick pedal when it is needed. I use the double kick pedal on 'Panic' on our EP. 

Tell us about your latest EP?

It is called the 'Catch up to You' EP. It is our debut release and is available on Spotify, Bandcamp and Youtube. We recorded it in Black Mountain Studio outside Dundalk in mid 2019 and released at the end of June. We really wanted to get the feel of our live sound on the EP so all of the songs for the EP were recorded fully live except for vocals. Some of the tracks are first takes! We recorded six tracks in a day and then chose the strongest ones to mix down. All of the tracks are originals and are I guess the best of the first set of maybe twelve songs we wrote together as a band. We've gotten a great reaction from people about it. We were thrilled to get praise for it from people like Jinx Lennon, Fang Club and The Stunning. It got played on the radio too quite a bit which was amazing. We made a video for the lead track 'Is this What you Wanted?' in October and that got a lot of views and attention which we're very happy about. 

Can you tell us what projects are on the horizon? 

We are in the middle of writing material for a second EP right now and intend to record and release it early in 2020. We have only played a couple of times outside of Leitrim and Roscommon to date so it is a big aim of ours this year to get out of our local area and play support slots wherever we can get them. We've gigged a lot locally for two years so we feel ready for it now. We are also in the process of applying to festivals for Summer 2020, for slots. We think the EP and video will make it easier to get opportunities like that. We've already been promised a slot at the Indiependence festival which we are thrilled about. We're all in secondary school so we are trying to fit in as much as we can around that. Myself and my brother James, are doing our Leaving Certificate exams in June, so we have to do a bit of work for that too! We've had some music industry interest too - so who knows what'll happen in 2020!

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

One final thing I'd like to tell your readers it that I'm autistic. I want to say that because I think it is important for other autistic people to realise that being autistic shouldn't stop them from pursuing their interests. Playing in a rock and roll band has helped me a lot in different ways and I find that it is a really great way to express myself!