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