2016-03-07 17:24:31Posted in: Music musings Read more... 0 comments
Sorry it’s been a while. Been doing stuff that’s stopped me from writing. Plus I’m actually kinda lazy.
What’s been happening? Well both Hercules Mandarin and Driven By Harness have finished the records that we’ve been working.
HM’s Enjoy The Flight came out digitally at the end of 2015 and we’re an album launch at The Old Hairdressers at the end of March where the album will be launched proper. We’re creating an ‘evening with’ kinda vibe where you’ll get a drink on arrival plus your cash for your ticket will also pick you up either a CD or a T-Shirt – whichever you’d prefer. Support for the evening will come from Paul Gilbody – an Edinburgh based singer/songwriter who’d we’re really excited to have come and play for us.
DBH launch their ep the following week at the Depot in Leith, Edinburgh. The 7 track disc is called ‘The Trade in Lunacy’ and will be available to purchase on the night and from Bandcamp when out. A sold out show is a given for both so get your tickets fast.
The Invitations have been hard at work, prepping and shooting some new video content. We shot 2 videos in one day, again with Rod Tamime at the helm. It went pretty smoothly and I’m again excited to share the finished product when it’s ready. We introduced a new bassist to the band – Mark Paterson. A young guy making his way up in the circuit and already he’s proving to be awesome. Really positive, a great player and just great to be around. He took over at the turn of 2016 and has fit in right away.
Drummers Only continues to grow and grow. We did our first proper ‘Pad night’ for our students – which I led and took the students through some fundamental practice pad ideas in order to facilitate their development. It was set up in a kind of drum circle idea and about 20 or so students came along. We hope to continue these events monthly and the next one will be the 30th of March.
So it’s been a busy and successful few months in drum land again and I hope it continues in all aspects.
Till next time, I hope to see you at a gig.
2015-11-09 16:27:26Posted in: Music musings Read more... 0 comments
Sorry it’s been so long since posting – been busy here in drum land over the past few months so I’ll give the abridged highlights. One of the biggest things that I’ve been part of was the inaugural Glasgow Drum Show that Rhythm Base put on. We ran the event in June and it consisted of a 1 day event, in the Glasgow Royal Concert hall. We had 3 main artists performing that day who were Kaz Rodriguez, Scott Pellegrom, Mark Mondesir and Chris Coleman. The day was a resounding success with all the artist performing incredibly well, as you’d expect. Kaz played a host of original music for his set, including a track penned especially for the show. Scott, who is know fro getting really unique sounds from a standard drum set, started of with drumming with his mouth and head and then played a blistering solo, and fielded some question to great applause.
Mark Mondesir played a great set, bringing with him his brother, bassist, Mike and they played wonderful duo music in the fusion vein. He also fielded some question and answered most intellectually. Chris was the last one up to play and was greatly anticipated. He absolutely didn’t disappoint and his brand of humour was greatly appreciated, as were his monster chops and bitching groove.
We were also very lucky to have the wonderful Emma King, from STOMP, display he Cajon playing skills. Emma is a De Gregorio artist and gave a great interactive session for a very receptive audience. Our main exhibitor area was populated by all the top brands, including Tama Yamaha, Sabian, Zildjian, DW, PDP, Dream Cymbals and many more and people were treated to great bargains on the day, making the event a massive success. Here’s to more in the future.
Scott Pellegrom also taught some lessons the following day and I was lucky enough to get a spot. We talked about a whole bunch of things but the main aspect was technique. Scott is a big proponent of the Open/Close technique which he picked up from the wonderful drummer and teacher Gordy Knutson. He took me through the mechanics of the technique and it’s application which was a real eye opener. A truly great teacher.
July saw me playing the inaugural Bute fest, on, you guessed it ,the island of Bute. It was with Driven By Harness and it proved to be a great weekend. The band’s reception was great – we had an awesome crowd and a great spot, 10pm on the Saturday night. We hung out a bit with guys from Stanley Odd, a great east coast based Hip Hop band which was a real pleasure. Burton then did a solo spot at midday on the main stage to open it up, which was a perfect antidote for people’s heady weekend. He held the stage really well and was received warmly by the audience. We’re heading back to Germany this October for another show which is pretty exciting and the e.p. is nearing conclusion which I can’t wait for either. We’re all looking forward to people hearing the music.
August saw me playing the Edinburgh fringe yet again with Baby Wants Candy, the Improvised musical. I’m now in my 5th year of Fringe runs with them and this year was no less amazing. It’s always a real treat to play with them as the cast are incredible and the band are great friends and we’ve developed a great relationship over the years. Dan Wessels who is our M.D. did an awesome job, and the songs really developed into great musical statement for the cast to really go to town on. Always a pleasure. Following the success of their 50 Shades! The Musical show, they brought over Thrones! The Musical which is a musical parody of Game of Thrones. An incredible seek out run was great news and worthy of all the hard work put in by everybody concerned.
In other news, I’ve started dealing with the social media aspect of Drummers Only, which is great. I have been writing blog articles for them which can be read here. It’s a rewarding job as I can find a way to impart knowledge about some great subjects that I maybe couldn’t in a drum lesson air that are maybe overlooked in a drum lesson.
2015-06-08 22:31:29Posted in: Music musings Read more... 0 comments
Afternoon/Evening drum fans!
May has been a busy and rocking month in drum land. On the jazz front there was lots of good fun. Firstly I enjoyed playing drums for Stephen Duffy, the host of BBC Scotland’s Jazz House Programme. Stephen is a fantastic singer and has a lovely take on some standards which we played in Whighams Wine Cellar, in Edinburgh. I’m looking forward to working with him for his Glasgow Jazz Festival performance celebrating Billy Strayhorn and Billie Holiday, alongside Jay Kilbride and Euan Stevenson. It promises to be swinging, fun and feature some beautiful music.
I also had the chance to play with RCS alumni friends Jay Kilbride and Scott Murphy, with pianist Charles Lyall playing some great music composed by Jay, Scott and dare say it, myself. The music is in the ECM vein, mostly straight eight based jazz. We played two gigs, on in the Edinburgh Jazz Bar and the other in the Glasgow Art Club. The houses were attentive and appreciative of different music it was nice to play this kind of music as I haven’t for a while now. The band interaction was strong and I look forward to doing it again. We have a gig pencilled in for September 17th in The Blue Lamp in Aberdeen.
I also had the luxury of launching my ‘Grounded‘ album with my Connected band, once again at the Glasgow Art Club. Much like the Jay Kilbride Quartet gigs, the show was presented in association with Bridge Jazz and was a personal resounding success. A decent number of people turned out to see the band and were very receptive of the music performed for them. I had Scott Murphy on Tenor Sax and he played beautifully as did Euan and Stephen respectively. We played the entire ‘Grounded’ album, plus a collection of newer music that I had written for the band and the occasion. Some videos can be seen here. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some of the newer music recorded in the near future for people to have a listen to.
In Hercules Mandarin news, we took part again in the annual Montrose Musical festival. The festival is always very welcoming to us and this year was no exception. We played two gigs in rapid succession in The Black Abbot and The Market Arms where the crowds were busy, receptive and bought some music which is always a nice experience. The album is moving closer to seeing the light of day with Mastering as the next process before we release it. Really excited about this record as it sees the band, at what I think, is its strongest yet. The music is great and it sounds really strong also. Fun times ahead.
I spent most of April and May working with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland within the Musical Theatre dept. and in particular, delivering classes to the M.A. M.D. students. We covered a collection of topics – from styles, to time keeping issues, to arranging and even the odd drum lesson for them. It was rewarding for both them and myself as I’ve never really been put in this position before so the challenge was relished. From there, I ran the band for the M.A. MT Candid Cabarets in Sloans. The annual event ran by the department is always a success and the music is always fun to play and is usually more in the pop vein.
photo – Dustin Struhall
The event was successfully attended and received with the performers really pulled the stops in order to make their stories and songs work. The MDs worked tirelessly in order to aid the process and a lot of fun was had and it was rewarding to see the work we’d covered in class, being put into practice. Personally the running of the band was a new experience and involved spinning a lot of plates in order to make sure all the chairs were covered for rehearsals and performances but I relished it and working within the department, even for just a few weeks was lots of fun.
I’m still loving the teaching that Drummers Only is bringing for me, with some students now working towards their graded exams and others just enjoying personal growth in their lessons. Long may it continue. A new paradiddle lesson which I filmed is available to watch on the Lessons page. Hopefully some more short lessons coming your way soon.
Til next time
2015-03-31 15:03:47Posted in: Music musingsTagged in: Read more... 0 comments
Hello drum world.
March has been a fun month in drum land. The biggest news is that my Connected Band’s debut album arrived. It’s called ‘Grounded’ and we had the fortune of playing some of the music in The Caves in Edinburgh. The gig was in support of the wonderful Edinburgh based band Slow Gear and their EP launch. The gig was a resounding success and the band played the music superbly, really coming in to their own. See the photos of the band here. The sound of the band is starting to harness itself and I look forward to hopefully bringing the music to Glasgow and other audiences. The next step is to bring some video promo out and letting people see and hear the band before gigging it.
I hope to have that with you in the very near future. Meanwhile, ‘Grounded’ is available here in both CD and Download formats. Feel free to have a listen to the sampler and pick one up if it takes you.
Another great gig was in Henry’s Cellar bar, again in Edinburgh, with Driven By Harness. We we sharing the stage with the Immeke All Stars. The band have been a mainstay at the Immeke music festival in Germany, which DBH frontman Burton has been attending/playing for the last 16 or so years, so there was a wonderful camaraderie between both bands. We hd the fortune, as a band, to play in Immeke in August ’14 so it was nice to see friends again. Both bands played great sets, with the Allstars turning the rock up to 11 for well over an hour with wonderful musicianship on display – especially from the guitarists. Fingers crossed we get to reunite soon.
Wedding season began with DMS at the beginning of March, and we had a blast in Fife keeping the dance floor full all night, We even had a guest come and sing some Neil Diamond with us, which was a hoot.
The Invitations continue to grow with some gigs in The Corinthian and the Crafty Pig on Glasgow’s Great Western Road. Crafty Pig is turning into a nice regular slot for the band and helps us get into shape and get tighter with each gig. We are rocking up Wild Cabaret this weekend in Glasgow which should be fun indeed.
Drummers Only continues to grow which is great. Some new students are joining my roster and the teaching side of life is getting more and more rewarding each week. I’m really enjoying imparting knowledge and talking all things drums both new and old students.
All in all a very positive month – making me very grateful to be making a living playing drums.
See you next time.
2015-03-01 21:07:10Posted in: Music musingsTagged in: Read more... 0 comments
February was a quieter month in comparison to my busy January. My usual roster of students on Drummers Only continues to grow both in ability and numbers which is nice. I spent some time covering lessons for a good friend and fellow teacher, Jamie McGrory, over at the Loud N Proud School of Rock in Paisley. It’s always a blast to teach over there and the students are great fun.
The beginning of the month also saw The Invitations do a new promo shoot both for video and photo. The wonderful Neil Thomas Douglas was our stills photographer for the day. Neil is a fantastic photographer and produced some amazing images for us in order to help grow the band.
The video was directed by Rod Tamime, who is a freelance TV director working with the BBC and beyond and it was a great opportunity to work with him in this kind of context and an unusual experience for a musician to get to do this kind of thing and work with someone from a different art form like this. The end results will be out soon and up for people to see on our website.
The music was also edited and mixed by the wonderful Barry Reid (Treacherous Orchestra, La Chunky Studios) I’ve had the fortune to work with Barry on a few occasions (recording with Hercules Mandarin – he oversaw our album, and recording drums for Semiotic). He’s always a pleasure to work with and gets great results in no time at all.
I also took the time to see some gigs in February. Jason Mraz was the first up. Love or hate him, his live shows are always great and this was no exception. He played to a busy Royal Concert Hall and was backed by the all female Raining Jane. The music was superbly played, sang, paced and all of the things that make for a great concert experience.
Secondly, I got to see and hear the amazing Fat-Suit. A 14 piece collective, mostly from Glasgow, they played a launch for their 2nd album, Jugaad, which did not disappoint. A packed Stereo on a Tuesday night brought some amazing music, fantastic performances and an amazing atmosphere. It’s a rare thing to see such a full house for what is ostensibly a jazz gig.
The band are great for the jazz scene in Scotland, and some are good friends which is great to see. They are continuing a tour throughout Scotland, through the month of March so if you have the chance to see them, then I suggest you do. The music really is fantastic.
I also played my first trio gig in quite some time at the Butterfly and The Pig on Bath Street. Myself, Jay Kilbride on Bass and Scott Murphy (Fat-Suit) on Tenor saxophone. We spent the night playing original music mostly that has been composed by all of us. The gig was great fun and something of a stretch to play out in this context. The music was challenging and I relished the departure from playing back beats for the night. Hopefully we as a trio get to do it again soon.
So another varied month in Drum land. A fortunate life to live. March should bring more of the same with a Driven By Harness date in the diary, Wedding season starting back up and hopefully a Connected gig in there too.
Till next time, Gadget.