Sunday 29 January 2017

Back in the 90's, Georgia, a band from County Donegal released an album entitled Everybody's God, published by Danceline Music. The members of the band were Jason Kelly, John Kane, Stephen Gallagher and drummer Michael Christie. Apart from drumming duties, Michael is also credited as being the composer of a number of tracks on the album, including the title track Everybody's God and Ghosts.

Irish Drummers; Michael, what have you been doing, drumming wise, over the last number of years?

I played all over Europe in the last 10 years with blues/rock guitarist Johnny Gallagher and shared stages with Supertramp, Quo, Govt Mule, Joe Bonamassa, Beth Hart and Marcus Miller among others. I also filled in for some gigs with Pat Mc Manus formerly of Mamas Boys.

Irish Drummers; When did you start drumming?
Well, I first started drumming in a school marching band and didn't start on a kit until I was 16 or so. Back in those days you learned by watching Top of the Pops on TV, watching other drummers especially in showbands and being thrown in at the deep end in bar bands playing every genre under the sun.

Irish Drummers; How did Georgia come about?
By the time the band Georgia formed, I was also singing a lot from behind the kit and writing some songs. All of us in Georgia were local players, who started writing and recording songs with influences from Squeeze, Marshall Crenshaw and Neil Young amongst others. We financed, produced and recorded the album Everybody's God ourselves and enjoyed a lot of airplay on national radio. We toured with the Frames, played in Europe and even in Nashville-- but we never managed to get the big business players involved and called it a day a few years later. All of us are still living within a half hour and jam together every now and again.

Irish Drummers; What happened after Georgia?
After that band I decided I had spent an awful lot of energy on managing, promotion, and song writing to the detriment of my drumming. I did the Rockschool grades and got back to practicing drums and from there I eventually drifted into the blues rock scene.

Irish Drummers; What is your preferred drum gear?
I've been playing a Pearl Masters Maple kit for a long time now with a Reference snare. Not fussy about cymbals-- tried every brand -- but I do still use the 22 inch Avedis ride that I bought way back at the age of 17!! 

Irish Drummers; What music projects are you currently involved in?
Nowadays I teach drums to some great young local players and I play in my own 3 piece pop/dance /rock band The Trutones as well as a 4 piece classic rock band called In Your Town which plays at the Rory Gallagher festival in Ballyshannon every year.

Irish Drummers; Who are you're favourite drummers?
Favourite drummers include Topper Headon, Bill Bruford, Matt Abts, Pierre Van Der Linden,Brian Downey & Remi.

Irish Drummers; What advice would you give to someone pursuing a drumming career?
For any young drummer starting I would advise not to value technique above feel and to embrace music in every way not just rhythm-- sing a bit, if you can and more work will come your way!!!

Photo credit; Oakfield Photography

Live video of Michael from his Johnny Gallagher days. Enjoy!

Saturday 28 January 2017

Primarily known on the live music scene, Shane Mc Cormack has played anything from jazz sets in the legendary JJ Smyths to album launches in Vicar Street and everywhere in between! 
Highlights outside of Ireland have been successful shows in Germany, England and a tour of Cuba, which saw him playing in an all drum and percussion ensemble. 
After a bad motorbike crash in 2010 in which his right wrist had to be completely rebuilt, Shane had to take time off from playing. Since then he has worked back up to a very busy live schedule filling in with various bands as well as enrolling in BIMM Music College to study a Degree in Commercial Modern Music.
Along with live work, Mc Cormack has covered recording sessions including an EP with Dublin band 'Reech', a live radio session on Today FM with Cork band 'Neon Atlas'! plus a RTE recording session with 'The Parlaz'.

Irish Drummers; Shane, can you tell us your involvement with Newpark Music Centre? 
In 2016 the faculty at Newpark Music Centre offered me a chance to work with their degree ensemble students with the aim to getting them into years 3 and 4 at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston Mass. 

Irish Drummers; What projects are in the pipeline?
Future projects include recording sessions with singer/songwriters Peppy, Michelle Revins and Gavin Doyle as well as maintaining a 100 plus gigs a year schedule. 

Irish Drummers; Who are your biggest drumming influences?
Biggest drumming influences are deffinetly Vinnie Colaiuta, Elvin Jones, Philly Joe Jones and Ireland's own Conor Guilfoyle!

Irish Drummers; What is your preferred drum gear?
I'm happy to support/use Ayotte pro/custom drums. Sabian cymbals. Vic Firth sticks. Ultimate Ears U11s. Porter and Davies tactile monitor system.

Photo credit; Alan White

Tuesday 17 January 2017

The friends and family of Mike Arrigan have come together to honour a friend, brother and musician who sadly passed away on the 13th of November 2015.

A powerful musical Show, which tells the story of Mike's musical life, is now in production to pay tribute to his talent, his teachings and his contribution to the Music World, particularly in Galway. 

The Show will take place in the Town Hall Theatre on Thursday 26th January 2017 at 8pm. Tickets can be purchased on the Town Hall Theatre website, phone 091 569777 or through the Facebook page "A Tribute to Mike".

This show tells the story of Mike Arrigan's musical life as a Drummer, Musician and Mentor. He was determined to learn from the best in the business and while in America he studied under Gary Chaffee who was a world renowned teacher of musical theory. Mike was involved in forming the now world famous Macnas Drummers. 

He entered the Irish charts on two occassions, with The FUZE and with his Contemporary School of Music. Mike continued his passion and his unique way of teaching right up to the day he passed away.

Thanks to Paul Gaughan for words and photo.

Sunday 15 January 2017

Some time back we interviewed Dave Hingerty and will always recall what he said about Fran. 
" I remember seeing Fran Breen when he played with Stockton's Wing and I loved watching him as he was like Bonham, as regards chatting while he was playing. My friend, Paul Cantwell, he is a drummer and he is always quoting Fran Breen".

Irish Drummers; Fran can you tell us about your early drumming days?
I did a lot of my early learning in Ireland, working with some great musicians, singers and songwriters. I played clubs, pubs, concerts and theatres. One week it’s The Baggot Inn in Dublin and the next it’s The Royal Albert Hall. They were great days.

Irish Drummers; When did you decide that drumming was to be your career?
From when I first got the bug and from then on it became my main focus. I always have enjoyed the love of playing.

Irish Drummers; What is your preferred drum gear?
For years and years my go to kit for recording was Remo. Yes Remo, engineers loved them, 10-12-and 14 Toms 20 kick, but one on my favourite kits is my Sonor Delite; yum yum-- but if truth be known a lot of it is down to tuning. Most of my snares are Ludwig, different models,Supraphonic-Black Beauty-Bronze.

Irish Drummers; Where are you currently based?
I’m now living and working in Nashville. I’m very fortunate to be still doing what I love, which is playing.

Irish Drummers; You have toured and performed extensively.
I have done extensive touring, throughout Europe and the USA. Also I’ve done a lot of recording for TV and Theatre. In fact my last big recording in Ireland was The Commitments sound track.

Irish Drummers; Fran, can you tell us some of your drumming influences?
Steve Gadd,Jim Keltner, Vinny Colaiuta and Dave Garabaldi to name but a few. Bass players - Jaco --Rocco Prestia. May I also add that I learned a lot from some great players in Ireland who were my peers and mentors and now they are multiplying.

Irish Drummers; Can you list some of the many great artists you have performed with?
I have toured and recorded with the likes of Paul Brady, Nanci Griffith, Gilbert O’ Sullivan, Lucinda Williams, Shelby Lynn, Mary Black, The Waterboys, Everly Bros and Poco etc. The Commitments, regarding film soundtracks.

Irish Drummers; Do you have a favourite record?
I really don't have a favourite record as each can be so different, in fact some of my fav's are often demo's and smaller recording  projects. I always try and get a copy of a rough mix before they go to final mix. I like the rough element rather than it all smoothie.

Irish Drummers; Fran, any advice to someone starting out in music?
 I think it has become much harder for guys now starting out as the whole musical landscape has changed so much. Its harder to get a record deal, gigs that pay etc etc. You have some guys in Ireland that are out there really doing it, great players. I think first, enjoy what your doing (playing) its a trickle on effect, if you got a buzz the guys in the band get it and so does anyone else hearing it. If you can eek a living out of that, your ahead of the posse. 

Irish Drummers; Any other advice?
Yes practice,not just chops but time and dynamics. Being able to make the guys in the band feel like a band is important to me, it's important to me to make who ever I'm playing with comfortable. Always remember, that if you don’t groove they don’t move

Photo credit - Fotos by Folletts

Wednesday 11 January 2017

Tommy is in high demand on the Irish music scene, and for good reason. Since graduating from the prestigious Newpark Music Centre with first class honours in 2010, Tommy has demonstrated great musical depth and technical ability with bands like Zaska, Monster Monster, and Come On Live Long. He has toured both nationally and internationally, and has recorded in some of Ireland's most acclaimed studios such as Grouse Lodge and Windmill Lane. He is also a teacher at BIMM Dublin and Waltons New School of Music. BARQ have performed at many of Ireland's major music festivals including Electric Picnic, Indiependence, Longitude, Body & Soul, and Other Voices, and have been invited to play at Canadian Music Week 2017. 

Hot Press Magazine described BARQ as "One of the hottest new acts of 2016".

The Irish Times has selected BARQ as one of 50 people to watch in 2017.

Tommy’s preferred Drum Gear is;


10", 12",14" Pearl EXR Toms
20" Pearl EXR Kick
14x7" Yamaha Handcrafted Maple Snare
14x10" Beverley Mahogany Snare

22" Zildjian K Constantinople Thin Overhammered Ride
20" Istanbul Agop Ride Stacked with an 18" Zildjian A Crash
14" Zildjian A Hi-hats

Drum Influences include;

Brian Blade, AriHoenig, Chris Dave, Aaron Spears, Perrin Moss


Photo credit - Pedro Giaquinto

Friday 6 January 2017

Irish Drummers; Chris, when did you start drumming?
Essentially I started drumming at 18, I'm 33 now. I played in various original bands back in the day. I got my first big break on the music scene here in Ireland when I met Ed Holland and got asked to play with Hurricane Highway.
Irish Drummers; Things are really going well for the band.
 2016 was a big year for the band, appearing on the Ray D'Arcy Show on RTE. That was an amazing experience! I've had the pleasure to record drums in Windmill Lane and Westland Studios with a good friend of mine, Philip Kelly, amazing Songwriter, Engineer and Producer.
Irish Drummers; What plans do you have for 2017?
It's a big year for Hurricane Highway, lots of shows planned. The band will be playing at Harvest 2017 Country Music Festival. This is a 2 day event taking place at the end of August with Enniskillen Airport, County Fermanagh and Westport House as the two venues. In addition to the live shows, there is an album due out in March.  
Irish Drummers; What is your preferred drum gear?
I play Mapex Drums, Saturn V, they sound huge. I use a mixture of cymbals.
Irish Drummers; Chris, who are your drumming influences?
My influences are Steve Jordan, his playing changed my whole outlook and approach to the drums. Steve Gadd, Bonzo (John Bonham) of course. I could be here all day, there are so many great drummers. For me though, it's Steve Jordan, his approach, his timing and his ability to play for the song. Something I've really learned playing with Hurricane Highway, less is most definitely more.

Irish Drummers; Chris, you mentioned Westport and we know Hurricane Highway played a big gig there recently

Yes, in the Town Hall Theatre. It was brilliant. I just want to take this opportunity to thank my family and friends and of course all the many people who come to support us at the shows. 
Irish Drummers; Thanks Chris, that’s great and all the best for 2017.

Photo credit - Vincent Kerrigan