Saturday 15 April 2017

Rickie O'Neill - Drummer with The Saw Doctors and Actor

Irish Drummers; Rickie, when did you start drumming?

I started playing drums when I was around 6 or 7 and I was very heavily influenced by Chad Smith. His groove, speed and skill just blew me away and still does. Then John Bonham started to creep in more and more over the coming years, to the point where he was all I ever wanted to be.

Irish Drummers; Apart from Chad Smith and John Bonham, are there other drummers that have influenced you?

There are so much more - Keith Moon, Kenny Aronoff, Roger Taylor, Zac Starkey but my favourite at the moment is Max Weinberg. I just love his commitment to the groove and how little he cares for showing off. He is just there to make the song as good as it can be and I love that.

Irish Drummers; What drum gear do you use?

In terms of my gear, I use a hybrid kit consisting of a black DW Collectors series along with white sparkle Yamaha customs. My snare is a 14 x 8 Ludwig and all my cymbals are Meinl Byzance. Years ago, I used to use Vater Rock sticks but have since switched to Vater 5bs as I find they are easier on the drum heads. They're awesome sticks to play with.

Irish Drummers; Rickie, what advice would you give to someone starting out in the music business?

My advice to anyone starting out in the music industry is to just keep playing and playing. For me, I was religious about my practice and that too plays a hugely important role in learning the fundamentals of drumming and how the drums fit into certain genres but you can never beat just going out there and playing songs with people that are better than you. You will rise to their level before you know what has happened.

Irish Drummers; What are your favourite venues?

My favourite venues in Ireland are The Olympia Theatre in Dublin and The Ulster Hall in Belfast. They are amazing venues in every way. In America, it would have to be The House Of Blues in Boston and in the UK I'd say Shepard's Bush Empire in London and Manchester Apollo in.....Manchester. Savage places.

Irish Drummers; Rickie, what current projects are you involved with?

Right now, I'm getting ready to go on a three week tour of the UK with the Saw Doctors (full details of the tour can be found on and after that I will go to Dublin to do a three month long run in the Olympia Theatre of Once, the musical, doing another thing I love to do - acting. It's setting up to be a fun summer for sure.

Photo credits; Audrey Rubotham and Rickie O'Neill