Friday 23 December 2016

Irish Drummers; Cion, when did you start drumming?
Having played biscuit tins and the furniture from the age of 10, it wasn't until I was 17 that I bought my first drum kit (from Jimmy Shields, brother of My Bloody Valentine founder and frontman Kevin, who lived nearby). 

Irish Drummers; Did you study with anyone and after that when did you realise that drumming was to become your career?
I studied with John Wadham soon after and then, after a few years in college, I began to embark on a career as a musician and not knowing where to start I decided to just go out and join musicians on the street with a set of bongos. Luckily for me, an entire generation of Irish artists like Paddy Casey, Mundy, Glen Hansard, the late Mic Christopher, to name but a few were already out there plying their trades. Jump on a year or two and those strays on the streets were being signed by major labels.

Irish Drummers; Cion, what was your first real gig?
My first proper playing gig was with Mundy's first band, recording his debut album Jelly Legs with him. The next few years were spent touring alongside and opening for acts like Neil Young, Alanis Morissette and The Long Pigs (in which Richard Hawley played guitar). Since then, I have played live or recorded with all sorts of artists, everyone from Adrian Crowley, Rosey, Ami Grady, Shane Mc Gowan & Ronnie Drew (just the once!), James Vincent Mc Morrow, DFF (fronted by the great Dr Dave Flynn and including Niwell Tsumbu and Viv Long in the line up), Gavin Glass and the Holy Shakers, Kid Coy, The Rags, The Tigers of Tin Pan, Daniel Anderson, A Sample Answer, LotusEater as well as many years playing percussion with Paddy Casey.

Irish Drummers; Cion, you certainly have been busy as a drummer
I would call myself a session drummer, only a great Irish drummer once told me you shouldn't call yourself that until you are waking up one morning to play with Tina Turner or Lionel Richie! Jim Keltner is a session drummer, Josh Freese is a session drummer, I'm a jobbing drummer. Call it what you will, I have loved every minute of it!' 

Irish Drummers; Have you taught anyone?
As a teacher, I have had Dara Kiely (Girl Band), Conor Egan from The Coronas and Danny Lang amongst my past pupils.

Irish Drummers; Who are your drumming influences?
As for my own influences, I love the likes of Steve Gadd, Matt Cameron and Paulinho da Costa (one of the most recorded percussionists of modern times), but my greatest influences have been those around me, you can only really learn about being a good musician by playing with good musicians and I've been very lucky. Long may that continue. 

Photo by Lucy Warren