Sunday 18 November 2018

Mervyn Craig - Musician / Designer / Drummer for The Redneck Manifesto

What or who inspired you to take up drums?
I was a complete music fanatic throughout my school years and was pencil drumming on everything for as long as I can remember so I suppose I was always drawn to it from a very young age. I was already playing guitar but what possibly sealed the deal for me taking up drums was my first live gig going to see Therapy? in Dundalk in my late teens. Their drummer Fyfe Ewing totally blew me away and it was shortly after that that I bought my first kit.

Who are your favourite players?
Drummers I was listening to during the early days of playing with the Rednecks probably had the biggest impact on my style and remain firm favourites. Brendan Canty (Fugazi), John McEntire (Gastr Del Sol/Tortoise), Doug Scharin (Codeine/June of 44) and Britt Walford (Slint) were all big influences. Some current favourites are Mark Giuliani, Nate Wood, Alexander Sowinski (BadBadNotGood) and Greg Fox.

What drum gear do you use?
Strangely enough for most of my drumming life I was never particularly into drum gear at all. I originally started out playing guitar so I always thought of myself more of a guitarist who also happened to play drums and only bought guitar equipment/studio gear while just having the core drum stuff needed. In the last few years, I’ve started to get more passionate about drumming and have gone down a rabbit hole of buying vintage drum gear. I’ve always been a big fan of old Premier drums and I’m currently playing a beautiful early 70's Premier mahogany kit in 12”,14", 20" sizes. Premier kits age so well, this one's nearly 50 years old and looks like new! It always amazes me how Premier kits are so overlooked in the vintage market. They’re seriously some of the best made and beautiful sounding drums out there but are always overlooked for the big US brands. I’m currently playing all Zildjian K / Dark K cymbals, I’m probably amassing way too many snares for the amount of time I actually get to play them. Some favourites include a 6.5” 20-ply Pearl Reference,which was my main snare for quite a few years, 5” brass and 6.5” aluminium Pearl Free-Floating snares. I also recently bought and restored two vintage COB snares - a 60’s Premier Hi-Fi and a 70's Pearl Jupiter which both sound incredible. I use mostly DW flat base stands and hardware along with some vintage stands.
Your favourite songs or albums?
That’s a tough one, I have such a wide ranging taste in music that seems to be constantly evolving. Not necessarily all of drumming interest but a few records that’s have stood the test of time for me are Fugazi - In on the Killtaker, John Fahey - Blind Joe Death, The Beatles - Abbey Road, Polvo - Celebrate the New Dark Age and Jim O’Rourke - Insignificance. Some more recent albums I really love are Christian Scott - Yesterday You Said Tomorrow, Szun Waves - New Hymn to Freedom, Skeletons - People and Mark Pritchard - Under the Sun.

What upcoming projects are in the pipeline?
This year (unbelievably) marks the 20th anniversary of The Rednecks forming! We’re doing a show in Vicar St on the 30th November to celebrate and and also launch our new album ‘The How’. It’s our first album in 8 years so really looking forward to getting it out there finally. We also have a second tour of Japan in the works and will be doing some dates around Ireland next year to support the new album too.

What advice would you give someone wanting to take up drumming?
Learn to play rudiments and how to apply them to the kit. I taught myself to play so skipped that enormously important step and struggled with a much weaker left hand for years because of it. Thankfully, with all the amazing video content online these days it has given me a renewed love of drumming so I’ve been actively righting all those wrongs over the last few years. Also, get some decent ear plugs and always wear them when playing. Tinnitus is no fun and your ears will thank you for it, 20 years down the line!

Photo Credit;  Afghaniscan

Saturday 1 September 2018

Kevin Holmes - Drummer with The Kerbs

How did you become a drummer?
It’s crazy! I always found myself tapping to songs as a child! I never knew the lyrics but I knew the drum beat kinda thing! My friend Mark (singer for the Kerbs) had a drum kit when we were young and he was asked to play drums in a band a few of the lads were setting up. Anyways, over night Mark had a change of heart and decided to be a singer instead. When they asked him “who’s playing drums so?” Mark said “Kevin will”. So I went home and learned "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica, "Hate To Say I Told You So" by The Hives and "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes. I had no kit so I used to tap out songs on my legs and that's how I became a drummer.  

What is your drum set up and equipment?
My preferred set up is one mounted tom, two floor toms, two crash cymbals, one ride and hi-hats.

Because I play primarily in clubs and pubs I decided to go for a full birch Pearl Vision kit I purchased 7 years ago. I use all Zildjian A custom cymbals. My kick pedals are Pearl Demon drive. I use Vic Firth 5a sticks, Aquarian performance 2 drum heads, Audix FP7 drum mics and a Shure SE315 in-ear monitor.

Who are your drumming influences?
If I was to put my drumming influences in the shape of a house I’d have to say Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) as the foundation John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) as the walls and Matt Cameron (Soundgarden/Pearl Jam) as the roof!

Who would you love to jam with?
To jam with Rage Against The Machine would be awesome! But for sheer craic I'd have to say Chic and Nile Rodgers and I also love jamming with the Kerbs...I suppose have to get that in there!!

What up and coming projects are in the pipeline for the Kerbs?
We are heading back to Attica Audio in Donegal to record two more tracks for our upcoming debut EP which is being released at the end of October. Along with that we have some exciting gigs coming up:
A promo unplugged session in Ballina, Co. Mayo for Other Voices Sep 8th
Whelan’s supporting Deep Sky Objects Sep 13th
EP tour:
Roisin dubh - Oct 12th
Cruisers Foxford - Oct 28th
The Workman’s Club - Nov 5th
JJ Harlow’s - Nov 24th

What advice would you give someone thinking of starting a career in music?
Take your preferred instrument, find some people who like music, learn a few songs, then book a gig! The added pressure of knowing a gig is coming up makes everyone kick into crazy-learning-songs mode, trying to get the 2 hours down! Next thing your gigging! It always worked for me.

Can you tell us your favourite songs or albums?
Albums: Nearly all of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' albums
Ten - Pearl Jam
Superunknown - Soundgarden
Sublime Gold - Sublime
Dave Matthews - Crash
Rage  Against the Machine - Rage Against The Machine

That's about that!

Sunday 12 August 2018

Jason Feenan - Drummer with TOUTS

Jason Feenan is the drummer with Derry based punk band TOUTS. The band has completed tours and shows with Paul Weller, Liam Gallagher and Blossoms. They are currently doing a load of festivals, SXSW, Reading, Leeds and Electric Picnic. TOUTS signed to Domino Publishing earlier this summer and have released two EPs and a number of singles.
Jason, when did you start playing drums?
I started playing when I was 14, I didn't have many friends at that age, so I had plenty of time to pretend to be John Bonham, in the shed. I took lessons with Mickey the Hat, and managed to catch a bit of his, "practice every moment of the day" attitude and that stuck with me. 

What made you want to be a drummer?
Hearing John Bonham made me want to be a drummer and after that I started enjoying the way Stewart Copeland, Stanton Moore, Ian Paice and even my teacher Mickey the Hat played. I love Vinnie Colaiuta, but I haven't a hope of sounding like him.

What are your favourite albums?
Led Zeppelin II, Outlandos d'Amour by The Police, The Undertones first record are all firm favourites. In terms of drumming, Apostrophe and Joe's Garage by Zappa are masterclasses of playing.

What has been your best gig or drum moment?
The best moment I've had so far was either managing to get a drum solo televised on Other Voices last year, or doing a cover of the Auld Triangle supporting Liam Gallagher in an airport hangar in Dublin, the whole crowd singing back the tunes was class, probably was one of the best things I've been a part of.

What drum gear do you use?
At the minute I'm rocking a Premier Elite kit from the 80's, 12" 16" 22"
13" Ufip Custom Class hats;
14" 16" Paiste Twenty crashes;
20" 5 Star Zyn crash ride, it may be cheap but it fills a big hole in the sound of the band.

Photo Credits; Meg Paine & eurockenness festival

Saturday 4 August 2018

Kevin Foley - Irish Metal/Rock Drummer based in France

How did you become a drummer?
I started playing the drums when I was 5. My parents were always listening to Rock/ Metal music and I was always air drumming to it. They bought me my first kit at this time and I've never stopped playing since.

What is your drum gear setup?
I'm endorsed by DW drums and Paiste cymbals. I use everything DW Drums produces, from PDP concept maple to DW Collector Series. I'm also using Paiste 2002s.

Who are your drumming influences?
The drummers who made me want to play were the classic rock ones, Bonham, Paice, Moon. I grew up listening to them and they're one of the biggest reasons I play drums. I also like more "modern" drummers such as Vinnie Signorelli (Unsane) and Mackie Jayson (Madball, Bad Brains, Cro Mags)

How did the gig with Sepultura come about?
In May 2013, Eloy Casagrande hurt himself while playing in a show in Bourg en Bresse (France). I wasn't at the show, but a friend of mine told the tour manager I could learn the set and play with them the next day, instead of them having to cancel the whole tour. Luckily for me, the manager called me and I joined Sepultura that evening. We jammed in a fan's basement and played the show straight after that. Great memories!

What upcoming projects are in the pipeline?
I'm currently touring in France with a band called Lofofora. We've just recorded and released the first acoustic record ''Simple appareil".
I'm also gonna be touring with the Canadian Hardcore band "Get The Shot" through Europe in the upcoming days.

What advice would you give someone thinking about a career in music?
Always be honest to yourself and tour as much as possible. To me, touring is a better way of learning than going to music school.

Can you tell us your favourite songs or albums?
I would say my favourite song is "Against the grain" by Unsane, on their album called Visqueen. Everything is really simple here, but the energy and the sound are immense. Everyone who's into rock music should listen to this at least once.

Black and White photo was taken by David Sanchez.

The Sepultura photo was taken by Dutchpix.

Friday 15 June 2018

Thomas O'Brien - Drummer with Deep Sky Objects

Who are your drumming influences?

Sam Fogarino (Interpol) Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys) Dominic Howard (Muse) and Ralph Rolle (Chic) are drummers that I have huge respect for. Irish drummers like Paul Kenny (Columbia Mills/ James Vincent McMorrow) and Stephen O’Brien (Brian Deady) are also fantastic musicians to watch and learn from.

What is your drum gear setup?

I use DW PDP M5 maple shells with Pearl hardware. I’ve a 22”
kick, 12” rack and 14” floor. I’ve always loved Zildjian cymbals and have a Zildjian K Series 20” Ride, 18” and 16” dark thin crashes with beautiful 14” hats. I’ve recently added the Roland SPD-SX sample pad to my rig and have been introducing it into our live sets a bit more and experimenting with it in the rehearsal room like it’s a new toy.

Favourite albums or songs?

There are a lot of favourite albums but the stand-outs have to be REM’s ‘Out of Time’ and ‘The Queen is Dead’ by The Smiths. Those would definitely be listened to on repeat!

Besides them, some favourite songs, to name a few, would be:
The Smiths – Still Ill
REM – Bad Day
Arctic Monkeys – 505
Morrissey – November Spawned A Monster
Radiohead – Let Down
David Bowie – Ashes to Ashes

When did you start drumming?

I was given a drum set when I was 7 years old and at that time I spent more time looking at them in awe rather than actually playing them! But when I turned 8 and 9 I began to drum more and more. My brother, Kevin, got a guitar at the same time so we began to jam together and eventually formed a band. Since then we’ve been playing together in different bands until myself, Kevin and DD Foley formed Deep Sky Objects.

Current or upcoming projects for DSO?

We released our debut self-titled EP ‘Deep Sky Objects’ almost a year ago and since then we’ve released a single ‘This City’s at War’ in early 2018. We’ve spent some time in the studio recording some more singles, one of which will be released in July. In the meantime, we are gigging like crazy around the country and playing some festivals like Indiependence in the summer. We also have some exciting announcements coming in the winter so keep an eye out for that!

Advice to anyone getting involved in music here in Ireland.

The Irish music industry has bloomed over the past few years. Irish bands are among the best in the world so it’s very encouraging for Irish musicians starting off today. What I would say is try and reach as many people and gather as much exposure as possible, in other words gig, gig, gig!

Photo credits to Jack Deacon and Daniel Brohan 

Sunday 6 May 2018

Tom Coll - Drummer with Fontaines DC, Be Curious Kid and The Hit Machine

What inspired you to take up drumming?

I grew up in a really musical household surrounded by a lot of trad music and my Dad was involved in the world of pipe bands so I was immersed in rudiments and sheet music from a young age. I got a drum kit when I was 12 and spent my teenage years in my room trying my best to play along to Thin Lizzy and Led Zeppelin tunes. I guess the inspiration to take up drumming was just born out of a love for music and drumming was the only medium that I felt I could express myself through.
I have to mention my teacher Anthony McNamee who really made me feel I could actually do this professionally and prepared me for studying drums at third level.

What is your drum gear setup?

I'm currently playing a Gretsch Renown. I've always loved the warm sound of Gretsch kits and my Renown is nice and deep sounding.
The shell sizes are 22" Kick,12" Rack and a 16" Floor
I mainly play a 14x6.5 Gretsch New Classic Snare with an Evans Heavyweight head to get a nice low crack.

I proudly endorse Sabian Cymbals and Vater Drumsticks and I use a 20" Legacy O-Zone Ride as my main Crash, a 20" HHX Evolution Ride and 14" HHX Evolution Hats.
Vater Fatback 3A's are my sticks of choice.

Who are the drummers that most influence you?

Studying drums at BIMM exposed me to so many legendary drummers so it's really hard to pick which influenced me most. Levon Helm is probably the one that sticks out the most. His sense of just sitting in a groove and playing for the song is class.
I was lucky enough to spend a week learning under Mark Guilliana at the 21 Drums camp last year at Grouse Lodge and he really influenced my approach to improvisation and creativity at the kit. The lad is a genius.
Then there's people like Topper Headon of The Clash, James Gadson, Rob Turner from Gogo Penguin, Adam Faulkner of Girl Band and Matt Helders from Arctic Monkeys who I've definitely been influenced by a lot.

What are your favourite songs / albums?

It changes all the time. I'm listening to a lot of Post-Punk at the minute so bands like The Fall, Joy Division, Bikini Kill, Gang of Four, Savages and Eagulls.
If I was to name a favourite album at the minute it would probably be 'Brutalism' by a band from Bristol called IDLES. It's the most engaging and aggressive new music I've heard in quite a while.
My favourite song is definitely 'The Steady Song' by Republic of Loose. It's a perfectly written pop song from start to finish and the best fun to jam along to.

What current projects are you involved in?

Fontaines DC is my main project these days. We've released three 7" records this year and have a busy summer of European and US dates ahead of us and hopefully the debut album in the very near future so it's been a really exciting 2018 thus far. I also play in a post-rock band called Be Curious Kid and with a great bunch of Dublin drummers in The Hit Machine.

What advice would you give someone embarking on a career in drums?

I know it's sounds really clichéd but try and be yourself behind the kit. I spent a long time being really demoralised because I wasn't this virtuoso drummer with crazy chops but I think developing your own style of playing and focusing on the aspects that you're good at or you enjoy is so worthwhile. Personality in your playing is the most important thing for me. 

Play music that you believe in, surround yourself by good people and work really hard. That's all the advice I can give.

Photo Credit: Erica Coburn Photography

Sunday 29 April 2018

James Ryan - Drummer with Big Generator

James, what is your drum gear set up? 
I've always loved Gretsch drums. They make some great kits. Right now, I'm playing a Gretsch New Classic series in Satin finish. Sizes are 12",16", 22". My main snare is a Pearl 12" x 7" Soprano maple. 
All Remo Emperor clear heads on toms and a Remo control sound on the Snare. Evans EMAD on my kick. 
Mainly Zildjian A-Custom cymbals but I've a liking for Paiste's stuff too. Have some vintage Paiste 2002 gear from 1976 on the kit that I'm blessed to own. 
Hardware is all Pearl. I find their gear durable and reliable. I play Pearl Eliminator series double pedals also. 
I use Vic Firth 7A wood tip sticks and Wincent Mallets.
When did you start drumming? 
I started drumming at 13. One of my friend's parents had bought him a drum kit and myself and a few others took turns playing. From that moment I knew it would be something I'd pursue and grow to love. 

Who are your drumming influences? 
So many to mention but around 2010 I became aware of Gavin Harrison and he's been my main source of inspiration ever since. The stuff he comes up with is so well thought out and tasteful that it has improved my playing massively ever since discovering him. I was lucky enough to meet him in 2011 at a drum clinic at X-Music Dublin. 
Besides him: 
Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters) 
Karl Brazil (session for Feeder, Robbie Williams, etc) 
Mike Johnston (Mikes Lessons), 
Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys) 
and last but not least Ash Soan (session for Adele, James Morrison). 
What are your favourite songs or albums? 
Lots of variety. But the albums I'd pick off the top of my head:
Parachutes - Coldplay 
Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not - Arctic Monkeys 
In Absentia - Porcupine Tree 
(What's the Story) Morning Glory? - Oasis 
Anthology - Alien Ant Farm 
Wasted Light - Foo Fighters 
Polythene - Feeder 
What upcoming projects are you involved in? 
At the moment, I’ve just finished up with my current band in Cork and just started with the well known and talented guys in Big Generator as a full time gig. Looking forward to being busy throughout 2018 and beyond. Catch you out on the road! 

Monday 19 March 2018

Stephen O'Brien - Drummer / Currently on tour with pop soul artist Brian Deady

Stephen O' Brien has rapidly become one of Irelands most in demand drummers. He plays on a full time basis with pop soul Artist BRIAN DEADY, he regularly performs with Voiceworks Studio (Vocal Tuition Centre) as part of their house band, Wedding band The Stars, Soul Driven, Ian O' Doherty and was the drummer for well known original funk outfit Jericho + many many more.

He has played at many of Ireland's and Europe's leading music festivals including Electric Picnic, 3 Arena(Christmas Ball), Longitude, Forbidden Fruit Festival, Body and Soul,  Sea Sessions, Mitchelstown Indiependence, Eurosonic Noorderslag Festival, Wilderness Festival UK, Great Escape Festival(Brighton), Latitude Festival UK, Live At Leeds and recently played the Barbican London as part of the Imagining Ireland gig. Steve has played support to Chic, The Rubber Bandits, Billy Ocean, Omar, José James, Lee Fields, Beardyman and Ham Sandwich to name a few. Steve has also shared the stage with Artists such as Kendrick Lamar, The Lumineers, Kodaline, BellX1, Picture This and Walking On Cars. Steve has played on many national radio stations including RTE Radio 1, NewsTalk, 2 FM, Today FM, Red FM and 96 FM and has made TV appearances including RTE's The Late Late Show. He is due to tour Ireland with BRIAN DEADY in 2018, Check WWW.BRIANDEADY.COM for dates.

Friday 16 March 2018

Hue O'Neill - Don Baker / Freelance

When did you start drumming?

It’s hard to say really, I`ve always been a "tapper". From as far back as I can remember I’d be tapping tables, chairs, doors, cookers, anything that made a sound. I used to love standing with my back to the cooker tapping out different beats, I loved the rattles and bangs. My older brothers had a band so I’d busk along while they were practising in the front room, at the same time my sisters would have whatever they were listening to blaring from upstairs. By the time I was about 7 I had already guested on cooker with everyone from Gene Pitney to Deep Purple, I think my Mother worked from the logic of once she could hear us she knew where we were and what we were up to. I got an old set of sticks from my brother and progressed from the cooker to the "bed kit" when I was about 12 or 13, the old folded pillow trick for hi-hats, mattress for the snare and the gorgeous thud of my heel on the carpeted floorboards made a magic bass drum. It wasn’t very practical for lugging around but I’d drift off into my own little space and in my head I toured the world playing the bed with some fabulous bands.

Care to mention who they were?

Emerson Lake and Palmer were one of my favourites to "gig" with at the time, with absolutely no stick response from the pillow or mattress Id let Carl Palmer do all
the flowery stuff and I’d hold down the beat for him on the bed. My first kit when I was about 15 was a mongrel conbination of a bass drum and tom that my cousin was throwing out,
a snare drum with 3 wires left on it that my brother didn’t use anymore, a cowbell, cymbals with chunks cut out of them and hardware that I only found out later weren’t actually made of gaffa tape, they just looked like they were. Everytime I lifted my left foot the hi hat stand went west, so I played closed hi hats until Eddie (my brother) needed a new one. I don’t exactly remember why he needed a new one but I’d safely say I had something to do with it. I’m rambling as usual but what I’m trying to say is I`ve been a drummer of one kind or another ever since I can remember, and I`ve been very lucky, cos its all I`ve ever wanted to be.

What is your drum gear setup?
I play an old Pearl World Series kit I bought in 1986, 22" 10" 12" 13" 14" toms, my snare is a 13"x 7" Sonor, I sit fairly tight to the kit so the 13" snare gets me in nice and close.
It’s a long, long time since I`ve used the full kit but I do use different set ups depending on who I’m playing with, but it’s always some combination of those drums. At the minute I`m using 22" bass 10" rack and 14" floor. I`ve had all sorts of kits over the years but I always go back to the World Series, having said that, I`m looking at a lovely Sonor kit right now so who knows, I`m always open to change, I just haven’t found another kit worth changing for yet. Cymbal wise I use a mixture of Paiste Signature and Sabian HHX. My usual set up is
14" hats, 10" splash, 14" and 16" crashes and a 16" China. My ride cymbal is an old Sabian 20" that I fell in love with many years ago, I don’t even know what range it is but I love the sound and feel of it. I swapped a 22" Paiste 2002 for it at the time so we both fell on our feet, that was a lovely cymbal as well. I still use the cowbell I found when I was rooting in the shed for the Gaffa tape covered stands for my first kit, so let’s just say its old, but it still sounds great, its kinda like my Blankie. I`m a bit of a lightweight when it comes to sticks, 7A Nylon Tip, I`d be more touchy feely than heavy handed so 7A are just right for me. Over the past few years I`ve been using rods a lot, I found wooden rods take a long time to "play in" so I went on a bit of a mission and I found Rohema make a nice range of Poly Brushes. They are pretty much like rods but they have Nylon fibres as opposed to wooden strands. I also use Rohema JB 3 Brushes. I like the balance of the stick grip and Nylon Brush, I feel more in control. Retractable wire brushes with rubber or plastic handles always felt heavy and floppy to me so the JB 3`s are ideal. They`re basically a drumstick with a nylon brush on the end and that gives me the best of both worlds.

Who are your drumming influences?
I mentioned Carl Palmer earlier as someone I would play along with at home, but my main influence would have been my brother Eddie. Eddie pretty much devoted his life to drumming. He played kit with Geraldine Brannigan and Phil Coulter amongst others during his gigging career. He moved from kit playing later on and formed Irelands first Taiko drum corp. He played the Noel Eccles written Taiko piece at the opening cermony of the Special Olympics Games and he's now a Remo Certified Health Rhythmist and runs his own Wellness and Personal Development Centre in which Drumming still plays an important role.
I'm rambling again but that's just a small but Important insight of what was going on around me growing up. I loved listening to him playing, it was a great advantage for me being so young to watch and learn close up from someone so talented. He introduced me to the likes of Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Ed Shaughnessy, Tony Williams and a few other guys.
I remember he told me once to have a listen to a particular Tony Williams album. He said there was a drum break on one of the tracks that sounded like he just picked up the
kit and threw it down the stairs, so I listened, and his description couldn`t have been better, but it was a real turning point for me, cos although I had been listening to the brilliance of
Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa for years I really couldn`t tell them apart, but this guy Tony Williams was the first drummer I ever heard who didn`t sound like anyone else.
I`m sure what he played was technically brilliant but more importantly for me his style was really individual and at the time I suppose very original, that’s when I really started to listen to other drummers. When i was about 16/17 the flood gates opened. I discovered the likes of Bill Bruford, Billy Cobham and later Steve Gadd and Jeff Pocarro.
A huge plus for me also was, from where I lived in Dublin, since I was say 17, I could walk into the city centre any night Monday to Sunday and watch guys like Noel Bridgeman, Don Harris, Robbie Brennan, Paul McAteer, Fran Breen and others. The gig scene was booming, bands playing every night of the week. It was a great time to grow up and very educational to watch those guys play live rather than just listen to records at home.

Favourite songs or albums?

Not sure if I have a favourite album as such but I still give Al De Meola`s Elegant Gypsy a blast every now an then, Lenny White and Steve Gadd`s playing on it is superb. Lee Ritenour`s Feel the Night album would be another but there are so many its really hard to single out one as my favourite. It`s not all drums for me. I'd have bands like Zero 7, Massive Attack, Sneaker Pimps and a few others on around the house, and then again when the mood takes me I love to listen to Paco Di Lucia playing flamenco guitar. Friday Night in San Francisco is a great live album with Paco, Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin.
Muse, Spin Doctors and Crash Test Dummies are always in the car for long journeys and a Stevie Wonder album would never be too far away. My favourite songs range from Waylon Jenning`s "Dreaming my Dreams" to Muse's "Hysteria", but once again there are so many songs I like it’s very hard to narrow it down. I know that’s a very varied selection of albums and songs but I really do listen to everything.

You got the call from Don Baker, that must have felt good?
Yea it was nice for sure, its almost 20 years since I`ve worked with Don and even then he always liked the idea of intimate theatre type venues. At that time the gigs were mainly rock bars and festivals so it was fairly full on and heavy going for everyone. Don`s recognition as one of the worlds greatest Blues Harmonica players opened doors but it also created expectations of a stomping rhythm & blues set for 2 hours or so every night, the result being a lot of Don`s softer heartfelt songs that really required listening to were put to one side. This current theatre tour is the perfect chance to play some of those songs, and there ain’t nobody I can think of that can sing a slow blues or a soul song quite like Rob Strong. Rob is playing bass and doing a lot of the vocals. I think most people would agree that Rob is without question one of the finest soul singers we`ve ever had in the country, but he`s also a super bass player to play with. His sense of groove, rhythm and dynamic are all gorgeous and his natural feel for bass and drums makes it so easy to lock in with him, he really is solid but he`s a very musical player as well. Salvatore Urbano is on piano and keyboards. I could listen to Sal all day even when he`s not playing the piano, he speaks with the same passion he plays music with. He`s a fabulous pianist with a beautiful blues/jazz/funk kinda thing going on that really is lovely to listen to. That sounds very serious but it`s not at all. There's not a hope in hell of Don or Rob doing a gig without an odd shuffle or two, but there`s a lot for listeners to enjoy as well so I`m really looking forward to it.

In your opinion what makes Irish Drummers different to other Drummers?
God that’s a tough one cos there really are so many drummers here, and different types of drummers at that. Every second person I meet knows a drummer, and the funny thing is they all seem to gig on a Thursday. Nine times out of ten when I tell people what I do they say something like "that's great, I know a guy who plays the drums in a band, can`t think of the name of the band now but they used to do every Thursday in whatchamacallits pub". The only thing they`re 100% sure of is that the gig was on a Thursday, and now that I think of it I can’t remember the last time i read an ad that said "Drummer available for Thursday", so maybe there's something in that. I`m obviously busking here while I try to think of an answer. Actually in saying that, busking is something I`ve always thought Irish Drummers are really good at. I mean busk in a "stand in or dep" situation, most drummers i know are very comfortable with it and enjoy the challenge, but it`s an art in itself so I`m not sure it qualifies to make us different. I think the general view of drummers is that we`re all a bit Nuts.
I`m not necessarily supporting that view but in my own particular case it certainly hits the post so that rules out not being the stereotype for me at least, so I`m gonna have to
stick with the Thursday thing for now, or dancing, god yea dancing, we`re certainly different at that.
What other upcoming projects are you involved in?
I`m essentially freelance so I always have to be up to something. This tour with Don and Rob is priority right now but on days we`re not gigging I'm doing some dep work and an odd bit in the studio. There has already been extra dates added so its very likely we`ll do it all again later on in the year. The nice thing about being freelance is that I never really know what the next phone call will bring. I like the mystery of that and it certainly keeps me busy learning new stuff all the time.

See you all real soon I hope,
Thanks again,