Independent (Ed Sheeran, Mikill Pane, The Remedies)
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Canterbury, Kent UK
Currently living in
I live in a lovely rural market town, Saffron Walden near Cambridge, but spend most of my time hopping between friends' spare rooms and sofas in London (and various modes of transport and hotel rooms, all over!)
I am a very keen cook; anything Italian. I probably have as much kitchen goodies as drum gear!
COFFEE!! Grind my own blends and everything!
Car that you currently drive
I was given a ford fiesta to launch gear into. BUT-I have only just booked my test! I have had many helpful friends and colleagues thus far.
Not counting drums, what do you do for fun
Passionate hobby photographer, drums are incredibly cheaper though. I loved skating when I was a teen! Surfing and snowboarding (especially snowboarding) are incredible but I never get the chance to go out! So instead ... I cook and drink coffee!
Been playing kit since 2001 ish. Went straight into my schools touring big band and percussion ensemble after a month of playing. My resounding love for percussion has been growing since.
With MEINL since
MEINL percussion used
I prefer the string Cajons and have a couple I use, the artisan editions look and sound stunning. On top of that I use the cabasa foot pedal, the Luis Conte signature shakers (amongst a thousand others) Headliner dancing Djembe, Free Ride wood series bongos, Headliner series chimes, classic wood claves, the Irish Bodhran also the compact wood tambourine, percussion blocks and the Drummer Snare Timbales are ideal kit add ons! The list could continue with countless other Meinl bits I've collected over the years and sure I will keep collecting!
Favourite MEINL percussion
A hard one! I get very excited about percussive voicings, possibilities and traditions; Meinl more than delivers on this! So can I cop out and say all of it?... If I had to pick one bit though I suppose it would be their Djembes (and Nino Djembes). I do a lot of Djembe workshops including a lot for charities for children and young adults with special and additional needs. Any group playing of Djembes is an amazing feeling.
Matched Grip or Traditional Grip
Predominantly matched but use both. Also play bongos left handed sometimes depending on set up.
Back at school, my kit teachers were Tom Reavey and Steve Hynes, two very influential players whom introduced me to percussion also. At BANM college Alex Wilson (a top keys session player/writer) introduced me further into Latin percussion. Recently I've been catching up with a friend of mine Gary Griffin whom played percussion for the likes of Nina Simone! I also feel the best lessons are learnt from meeting and sharing ideas with peers and musicians.
Keeping it real (or rather, cheap) on my own! Saying that a friend of mine Tommy Rock (his actual name!) has kind of adopted the position for certain TV bits, festivals and shows. He's been a huge asset to my drumming and a dear friend.
Highlight of your career so far
I've done stadiums such as Wembley and countless festivals all over but still hold playing at Ronnie Scotts (jazz bar in London heaped with history) as a highlight. Pretty small venue and was for (at the time) an Indie label artist. The buzz of holding the same stage where I'd seen the likes of Roberto Pla, Cobham and Weckl and others throughout history was an honour. That and the sound was on point!
I've got chops and can juggle a stick, as do all drummers! But what's important to me and what I pride myself on is being a very sympathetic percussionist and drummer. I've spent most of my life studying genres, techniques, styles and all sorts of musicians, in the hope of being able to translate my playing musically and especially to portray the ideals of playing for the song. Finding the right sound or voicing or knowing when not to play is top priority for me. Choices within music across any instrumentation is key!
Drumming means to me
A cliché I'm sure but, everything! When I'm not playing, I'm practising. When I'm not practising, I'm researching and learning. When not that, I'm teaching or meeting up with other drummers and musicians and so on! Just gigging as much as I can! Percussion especially excites me. The options and voicings and techniques and traditions are endless! Even the humble shaker has infinite possibilities. I will never stop learning all the percussive world has to offer but Meinl, since day dot, has meant I've been able to find my next step there.
Advice for up and coming drummers
I highly recommend doing as much music as you can! In and out of school. Throw yourself at every opportunity. Learn from all different genres and your idols. And learn from your idols-idols and so on! As many people say, every gig should be played as though you are in front of the world, play your best and enjoy it; as I do!
Also it may be horrible to hear at first but the sayings “its more who you know, then what you know” and “its more luck than talent” ring true with me! HOWEVER, the more you do and learn and the more places and scenarios you put yourself into, the more people you will befriend and the more opportunities you will give luck to find you.
Finally, enjoy it!! The day I stop enjoying playing is the day I'll reconsider my career choice; I don't see that thought coming in this lifetime though!
How would you describe yourself
A person that takes it easy and takes things as they come. I'd like to say I'm the joker of the group. Life's too short to get nervous and hung up on things and when the proverbial does hit the fan, if you don't laugh it off, you cry!
When I look back on my life one day, I would like to be able to say
I'd like to say: thanks to my lovely wife Natalie Portman and my dear friends Sting, Steve Gadd, Dave Weckl, Giovanni Hidalgo and Luis Conte.
Only the best
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