Sunday 2 July 2017

John Fitzsimons - Drummer with VISIONS OF FLOYD

Irish Drummers; John, when did you start drumming?

I started drumming when I was about 15/16 years of age and had just seen Tommy McManus, who was probably the same age as me, play with Mamas Boys in Ashbourne Community Centre. Everything about that first gig turned me into a drummer. The three brothers, Pat, John and Tommy walked out for a sound check and went straight into ‘Needle In The Groove’ and that was that, my Eureka moment. I had to drum.

Irish Drummers; What was your first drum-kit?

My parents, Eamon and Rita, were hugely supportive of my noisy obsession and bought me my first Pearl kit in Dempseys Music Shop, Parnell Street, which is now sadly closed, another Dublin music institution which is unfortunately now long gone.

Irish Drummers; What is your drum gear/set-up?

I'm lucky to be endorsed by an amazing British Drum Company called Liberty Drums U.K.
They're based in Shildon, County Durham, in the United Kingdom and I travelled over to their factory last December and Andrew Street, who owns the company, built a kit to my specifications.

It's the show kit for the VISIONS OF FLOYD concerts;


Bass drums-(22"×20")×2


All constructed with Elm Burr/ Cluster wood and they sound amazing. Definitely the best drums I've ever played.

I use Sabian cymbals, rototoms, a bell Alesis samplepad for triggering, our original videos and animations and a gong for our live shows. No cowbell!

Irish Drummers; Who are your influences?

Early influences include;Tommy McManus, Brian Downey, Ian Paice, Carl Palmer and Neil Peart. Drummers like Steve Gadd, Billy Cobham, Vinny Colaiuta, Dave Weckl and Buddy Rich were people I realised you had to watch because they were the drummers pushing the limits all the time.

My current musical influences include Steven Wilson, Mike Portnoy, Craig Blundell, Virgil Donati, Gregg Bissonette and Gavin Harrison. There are so many amazing drummers out there it constantly reminds you of how limited your own playing is, haha!

Irish Drummers; What projects are VISIONS OF FLOYD involved with?

We've sold out twice in the National Concert Hall and played the Olympia Theatre on Saturday, 17th June which has gotten amazing reviews/ feedback and attracted a lot of new followers and Facebook/ social media interest.
We've huge plans for the band and are currently developing our stage show with production manager, Paul Hunt. The visual element of our show is uniquely ours and is being developed on an ongoing basis, so future concerts will be distinctly Pink Floyd but have instantly identifiable VISIONS OF FLOYD elements. 2018 is going to be busy.

Irish Drummers;  What are you’re favourite venues?

I've been lucky enough to gig in brilliant venues around the country like Monroes in Galway, Spirit Store in Dundalk, Button Factory, Grand Social,etc. but walking on stage with VISIONS OF FLOYD in the National Concert Hall and the Olympia is hard to far!

Irish Drummers; What makes Irish Drummers unique?

Irish people love music, we've long musical traditions and for the country's size we punch way above our weight musically and I think that motivates a lot of us.There's some incredible Irish drummers out there gigging every weekend and any of my drummer friends will help out with gear or deputise at the drop of a hat if needed and then spend six months reminding you constantly what a legend they are, so I've always found the community really friendly, haha!

Irish Drummers; What are your favourite songs?

My three favourite drum-breaks/songs are:

1.Honor Thy Father-(intro) Dream Theater.
2.The Mule-Deep Purple
3.Shyboy-Steve Vai

Irish Drummers; Thanks John, anything else you'd like to add?

Just to say the very best of luck to everyone at Keep up the good work and continued success.