Tuesday 27 December 2016

Irish Drummers; Mark, when did you start playing drums?
I started playing at 4yrs of age, early influences through my Keyboardist Dad’s record collection, from The Beatles to Swing Jazz and all in between. By age 13, I was playing in his band. First  lessons at 7 years of age, rudiments training  at Dublin’s musician’s union with Peter Pringle and Mick Ward then studied with some of the top Jazz players of the time, John Murray at The Dublin Drum School and privately with  John Wadham. I also studied piano through The Royal Irish Academy of Music.

Irish Drummers; Can you tell us some of the artists you have played / performed with
In a career, now into it’s fourth decade, along with a huge array of working cover bands and shows I’ve played with and for a diverse variety of artists, musicians, producers and musical directors in the live studio recording, TV and movie soundtrack settings, the artists include; Dean Friedman, Michelle Heaton, Shush, Jacobs Ladder, Stano, Billy Farrell, Tony Perry, Tim Ambler, Tony McGuiness, Dickie Rock, Connor McKeon, The Legends Of Swing, Steven McKeon, The Camembert Quartet,etc.

Irish Drummers; You also provide drumming lessons  
I’ve been teaching from my own Drum studio here in Dublin for 20 years. I’ve had the privilege to teach  hundreds of drummers. Some former students of note include; Vinnie May, Rob Kennedy, Ian McTigue, Donal Bowens , James Mackin. On occasion I’ve also lectured on drum studio set up, in Pulse Recording Studios and Colaiste Dhuiligh Multi Media College.

Irish Drummers; Mark, can you tell us about your hybrid drum set up?
I’m one of the original guys using hybrid drum set-ups here in Ireland. From the beginning of the 80’s, Simmons Drums, right up to current Sample triggering technology etc, I’ve been a demonstrator for Roland V Drums at music exhibitions. As a Meinl cymbals endorsee, I’ve opened clinics for Mike Terrana and Thomas Lang. Depending on the application, I play Pearl and Ludwig vintage kits and Yamaha maple custom, Natal maple and ash kits and Roland TD30 and SPDSX se-ups.  I’m endorsed by Meinl Cymbals, Evans drumheads and Pro-mark Sticks.

Irish Drummers;  Mark, who are your drumming influences?
My influences are many and diverse, from song based drummers through to my love for Jazz funk fusion and progressive rock. Names include; Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, Ricky Lawson, Stewart Copeland, Steve Gadd, Billy Cobham, Dennis Chambers, Omar Hakim, Simon Philips, Benny Greb, Johhny Rabb, Gavin Harrison, Phil Gould, Marco Minneman, Thomas Lang, Virgil Donati. I’m  continually influenced and inspired by all the amazing drummers both  past and present and the pupils that come through my door.  The list is endless. Some great Irish drummers I’ve been influenced by include; Brian Downey, Robbie Brennan, Fran Breen, Paul Moran and Paul McAteer.

Irish Drummers; What projects are in the pipeline for 2017?
Busy heading into 2017 as the drummer  with Prog-Rock band M-Opus, we’ll be gigging in support of our “1975 Tryptich” album while pre- production and recording work begins on our 2nd album. Regular gigging with “The Favours”,pit band, panto duties January, teaching as usual and also rehearsing for “Legends Of Swing “gig at National Concert Hall in February.  

Irish Drummers; Thanks Mark, much appreciated.

Photo from Robert Graham 

Links:My Youtube channel:MK Grist1

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