December 2016 #14
Steven Wilson Album
Last week I started recording drums for the new Steven Wilson Album. It was a really intense 4 days but happily I got 8 tracks in the bag and all involved are very happy. Theres a few pictures from the session taken by Lasse Hoile HERE
November 2016 #13
Nominated in the legendary Modern Drummer readers poll, Would you be so kind and vote for me?!
I recently discovered that I'm in the final 5 nominations for the prestigious 2017 Modern Drummer Magazine readers poll in the Prog category. I've watched this poll littered with my heroes for so many years, I never thought I'd ever break into the progressive category, just be featured in it is such a huge honour for little old me, I genuinely have no words
If you can find the time and you'd like to vote for me, share, etc etc you can HERE I'd really appreciate it...thank you SO much for your incredible support
November 2016 #12
Its not everyday you can say you're going to contribute to a Rush album....
on the 16th of December one of my all time favourite bands 'Rush' release '2112' R40, a collection of unreleased material and tracks from their historic album, 2112. Amongst this release, Rush invited some guests to perform tracks off 2112 including Dave Grohl, Alice in chains and Steven Wilson. I'm beyond ecstatic that I played on 'The Twilight Zone' on the new album with Steven and the guys after we worked up a really cool version and recorded it in Linz, Austria. Rush were the absolute soundtrack to my youth and to contribute my drums on their forthcoming release alongside my band friends is one of the biggest honours I've ever had in all my years behind a drum kit. Absolutely and utterly delighted...all the details can be found on Rush's page HERE
September/October 2016 #11
Hello everyone! Where has this year gone? its flying by. September is usually a bit quieter and its always nice to take some time out and relax but not this year. It was really full on. Its started by flying out to Romania to play at the Ziua Chitarelor 4 guitar festival. I was asked if I could be in the house band for the concerts alongside the amazing Or Lubianiker from Isreal and Alessandro Bertoni from LA. The even featured some of my favourite guitarists from around the globe, Frank Gamble, Bumblefoot, Tosin Abasi,Joel Hoekestra, Prashant Aswani and Ganiele Gotardo. I had a ridiculous amount of songs to learn for a very intense afternoon or rehearsals. Every single one of the artist's were an absolute joy to play for and hang out with and I believe I'll be doing a few more of them in the future. It was a real honour. Straight after the flight home on the sunday I was on the Eurostar and over to Brussels to rehearse for the launch of the new TD50, a product I'd been working on for quite a while. The even went really well, it was a bit nerve-racking but I was delighted to be a part of it. You can see my performance HERE Straight after the Roland commitments it was into the studio to record a video for Gear for Music and Mapex, my first in 5 years since I've been back with them. Its not out yet but I'm delighted how the day went and will post when its released. I got invited to to a talk the incredible Kidzania at the wesfield centre as part of their careers week. I'm not going to go on about it loads but check out Kidzania, it was one of the most magical and bonkers experiences I've ever had. Basically a city for kids who undertake normal jobs to show them wan its like, give them career ideas and accustom them to real world scenarios, from Police to A&E and from working in a bakery to being a weatherman, it was simply incredible. To go back to kids level and give a talk on my experiences and talk about the music industry was a very humbling experience. I've been asked to guest at the BETT teachers conference early next year at the Excel, that could be interesting. I was then flown over to play at Drum Festival Switzerland which a fantastic experience and one I won't forget and in the little gaps there were bit of albums to start and finish and little snippets of teaching where I could fit in. All in all its been a blur, but extremely enjoyable. This month I've been keeping myself busy working on a couple of albums, one which I'm really into is Mick Paul's phenomenal prog album and I've been working on my own stuff. I even managed to get to my beloved Brands Hatch to support Colin Turkington in the final leg of the British Touring Car Championship. Due to touring so much I've not been able to get to many meetings, Ive been watching in a hotel somewhere around the world on ITV4 on the iPad, it was AMAZING to see it again up close
Finally, I've decided I'm going to put my own album out next year, conceptually I'm still not sure, I think the Dr oKtopUs project may still be in there somewhere but I've changed a lot since I put that album out six years ago. For this of you that didn't know anything about it, I was extremely proud to put out a Drum and Bass Electronica type album in 2010 and it did pretty well, Info on it is HERE but I think the time has come to do something more "progressive" now, maybe even more "out there" I don't just want to do "another drummers' album that's a chopfest, I've been writing a lot, there are some wonderful collaborations on the table, we'll see what comes out...
Last friday I was on one of the best shoots I've ever been on, this time it was Focusrite. We shot a video together at the amazing Dean Valley Studios, all about drum production, from how to record with 1 mic, to 2, to 4, etc etc everything from placement techniques to tuning to settings and to production. Its a series of videos for their Focusrite Academy to help drummers get the best sound starting on a small budget, going right through all the options, it will be available to all and released in the next couple of weeks, I'll post a link when its launched.
And so to the next instalment of touring, I'm leaving for India on Wednesday to start the final cycle of Steven Wilson's Hand Cannot Erase tour (which i'll be doing a tour blog). Taking in India, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan and the USA. Off the stage I'm going to be a bit of a recluse this time around, I'm making so much progress on the book and I want to break the back of it over these next two months to get it out in the spring, that is a huge priority so I'm going to be a geek. My quest for sporting memorabilia for my collection room in every city I visit is still going so if any of you know places I should visit or there are stadiums or club shops nearby where I can get club scarfs/penants/collectables or something a bit weird and cool then please let me know !! :)
August 2016 #10
Just after finishing festival season with Steven, It was straight into a fairly last minute but very enjoyable Roland Hybrid tour in the first week of August, we took in PMT Manchester, Rhythm Base, Drumshop Gateshead and Absolute in Bournemouth. The little outing was a huge success so thank you all for turning up and making it special. It was then out with David Cross for his album launch at the Lexington in London for "Sign of the Crow" which was extremely full. I don't get to play with the guys that often so it was a lot of funned a little bit on the edge!! Most of this month on the brief downtime I've been working with my friends at Roland Japan, but more news on that in the next couple of weeks...
Last week I had the great honour of playing at the 3rd Integration and Groove Camp in Poland, a 3 day camp for people of all ages and abilities, it was extremely memorable and very rewarding to get to teach the guys and hope we can do it again very soon. Its been really full on with Programming, Learning and logistics this month I've barely had time to concentrate on any of my own stuff, apart from this...I shot a little video over the weekend in the car and had a bit of fun with Polyrhythms and car noises, you can watch it HERE
July 2016 #9
Well its been an interesting few weeks. I thought I was back to full fitness after the op but sadly had a few complications during the outing with Frost8, but, I'm finally back and feeling good. The Frost* dates were a huge success and this past month i've been in Modern Drummer and Drum magazines, two of the biggest drumming publications on the planet. I was back out with SW in Barcelona at the Be Prog festival last weekend which was a lot of fun, it was nice to play 'full tilt' again! Yesterday I was in the studio with David Cross (King Crimson) rehearsing for a gig on the 17th of July at the Robin 2, which will be great, I hope to see you there, before all that, I'm out with SW from tomorrow, I'll be updating as I go. I've announced my teaching dates for July and August so make sure you check them out if you fancy a lesson
June 2016 #8
Interview on Mike Dolbear.com
If you get a couple of minutes today, I’d be delighted if you read this, my interview on Mike Dolbear.com. Over my hour with Tobias Miorin I talked about, my experience with mental health. The reasons I’ll never be a mainstream pop player and not being able to ‘fit in’. My fascination time signatures and electronics. My love for The Royal Marines Band service and how I became a pro after many, many times of trying. I hope you enjoy it, you can read it HERE
May 2016 #7
Video Interview on World Prog Nation
Last year whilst in San Fransisco on the Steven Wilson tour, I caught up with 'World Prog Nation' backstage at the 'Warfield' we spoke about so many subjects in the 15 minutes we had together, from getting the gig to dealing with the pressures and from musical heroes to future plans, please check it out HERE
May 2016 #6
Frost* album Falling Satellites is launched
Music has a habit of delivering some amazing twists and turns, It's a funny thing, I love listening to prog but there's only a few bands I really like, prior to being asked to join Frost in 2010 they were one of my favourite bands as was SW and Porcupine Tree before being asked to join him last year. I get to make music with people I respect massively and there's no better feeling than that as a working musician.
I'm incredibly proud of my contribution on this my first Frost album which is launched today consider it was all wrapped up in about a day!
I hope you guys dig it, Godfrey, Mitchell and King are on fire on this record with an added bonus of Joe Satriani, it's a real privilege to be on it alongside them.
The video to "Numbers' is also out, check it out HERE
May 2016 #5a
Good morning from my front room! I'm supposed to be in Japan right now but sadly last Monday, I had to go into hospital for a very unexpected but thankfully straight forward much needed operation after falling ill on my way home from a videoshoot. Without going into details I'm all patched up, a bit bruised and battered but I'm and fixed. The recovery process is going to take some time so unfortunately all clinics and playing commitments have had to be cancelled until i'm on the mend. I'd just like to mention the incredible efficiency of the NHS medical staff at Bedford hospital that were incredible when they were stretched to the max, I turned up at A&E, I was seen too pretty much straight away and operated on before I could blink. All of this can't help but make you reflect on things, suffice to say, I was a very lucky boy. Thank you for all your well wishing's on social media. Its extremely frustrating being laid up but I absolutely know its for the best
May 2016 #5
Drummers Resource Podcast now live
I'm genuinely flattered and deeply humbled to be featured on the incredible 'Drummers Resource' podcast. In this hour long interview I talk to Nick Ruffini about getting the SW gig, turning pro, the ups and downs, mental health, dealing with trolls in the early stages, how I learn material and practice routines plus loads more. I'd be really honoured if you'd give it a listen. It was a pleasure and privilege to be asked by this iconic site, to feature alongside some of the worlds greats and some of my absolute my heroes, I'm utterly delighted......
You can read the podcast HERE
April 2016 #4
Back in January I was asked by Kelly Paiste if I'd share some thoughts on my Paiste cymbals...I've just watched this link I got sent yesterday. I genuinely can't tell you what appearing on the same video alongside Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Lombardo, Stewart Copeland and JR Robinson really means, they are true pioneers, real drumming legends...I'm still not quite sure why I got asked but I'm so happy I did. Having watched these masters for over 25 years and now being on the same video sharing our thoughts is truly, truly mind blowing for me. I'll always be that little drummer idolising my heroes that's a huge fanboy at heart
January 6th 2016 #3
For nearly 25 years as a reader of this brilliant publication I often had a silly dreams that one day I'd be on the cover following in the footsteps of my heroes, today they came true. To some it might mean nothing..To me, after the roller coaster of many years of giving it everything I have to achieve my goals THIS means absolutely everything. A whole hearted 'Thank you' to each and every one of YOU that has helped put me here, without your incredible support of what I do, this wouldn't of happened. I absolutely have no words to say what it means....
Subscribers get theirs from today and it his the shops on the 12th.
I'm genuinely overwhelmed. Thank you so very, very much
January 5th 2016 #2
I've been extremely lucky/fortunate to play on some pretty great albums these past few months that are coming out this year, Steven Wilson's New EP 4 1/2 (Out Jan 22nd) Lonely Robot, which went down an absolute storm, the new Ideas as Opiates album which will be out this year and the Frost* album which comes out in May. All of which I'm proud of for many different reasons. I think the fact that I feel my playing has come on more than ever in 2015 means I can really give these challenging sessions complete justice and finally after all these years actually play what I can imagine when I'm learning the tracks, its taken a while but the hard work has been worth it, it makes the job easier and I'm all for that. Yesterday the final touches were put to bed for the forthcoming David Cross album. Those familiar to prog circles will know David from King Crimsons classic albums and more recently "Stickmen" with Tony Levin et al. This album is a true "progressive" album and one i'm extremely proud of. Yes its got lots of fiddling/widdling and ridiculous time signatures, but it all has a purpose. The one thing it has that I find lacks a lot of when I'm listening to CD's on the road is "songs" its got some real masterpieces on it and I'm really excited about the release which isn't too far away. And on to today, recording drums for Lonely Robot 2 with John Mitchell...
January 1st 2016 #1
Happy new year! firstly may I apologise for the lack of updates since August, things as they always seem to nowadays got a little bit crazy and before I knew it, it was christmas and time for a much needed break. Welcome to my first instalment of updates for this year. As a lot of you may know, I'm out with Steven Wilson for a large percentage of the first part of this year so downtime is very short so there won't be a lot of teaching, the tour dates are on my "live dates" page, I hope you guys can check out a show, there will be more.... My next availability will be the end of February which I'll announce on all my social media platforms soon. So there's little more than a week before I go off on tour again with Steven, Nick Adam and Dave, I'm really looking forward to it this year, I think all the nerves have subsided and i've been working on my playing a lot these past few months to push myself on to the next level. Talking of which, I'd like to thank all of you that voted for me in the Rhythm magazine readers poll of best progressive drummer of 2015. Its one of the most fiercely contested categories and to finish in the top five in the world was simply mind-blowing, so thank you all for taking the time. On the subject of Rhythm magazine, after being an avid reader for over 20 years, I'm delighted to be the cover for the next issue that hits the shops on the 12th of January, its a real dream come true. In it, i'm talking about my work with Steven, how my playing has changed so much and why and the realities of being a busy working drummer. This month also see's a couple of nice things happening, Steven's album 4 1/2 is released and its the first time I've recorded with him which was a blast. I'm sharing drum duties with Chad Wackermann and Marco Minnemann so I'm in incredible company. I played the majority of the album and Steven also asked me to do some programming on it so I experimented with lots of soundscapes and glitches which I'll also be triggering live on the tour. I'm genuinely thrilled with my performance on this record. In November and December I also recorded drums for the new Frost* album, I've been hearing snippets these past few days and its staggering, genuinely, I'm very happy to of been a part of this truly magnificent album.....Its straight into the routine now and Christmas seems so far away, It was great to spend it with all my family, something I haven't done for years, but its been full on since. Yesterday I played on 18 tracks for the great Jennifer Batten (Jeff Beck Michael Jackson) They were all Jeff beck tracks that I had to record for a Trufire guitar online course that she's doing, it was a bit of a chopfest but managed to get them all wrapped up in the day. Tomorrow I'm on a Roland video shoot and next week is full, Monday I'm with David Cross (King Crimson) recording and shooting a video, Tuesday I'm recording drums for the new Lonely Robot album (I'm learning drums for that on Sunday) and then Wednesday I'm on a session for a Toronto based band that still haven't sent over the music! then its straight into rehearsals with the gang before heading over to Germany to start the tour. Its full on but I'm always bowled over that I get to get the opportunity to work with these monsters of their art, I feel very lucky. Please make sure you keep checking back this year, I'm going to be keeping a tour diary and some lessons and videos along the way. Thank you for your incredible support
I am delighted to announce that I am returning, as a global artist, to Mapex Drums; the company that supported me when I first turned professional. Over the past 5 months I have had contract offers from many well known and respected global brands which has been both flattering and career- affirming.
I intentionally took my time in making this decision and thought through all the offers extremely carefully. I met with the International A&R Director for Mapex and was really excited about the company's proposed future plans involving myself. In my few years away from the brand I feel that I have progressed as a musician and have more to offer them and I have watched them continue to innovate and inspire while continuing to make great drums. I personally feel that I have more to achieve with Mapex globally and really look forward to the next chapter working with my old friends and new colleagues.
Its been a couple of months since I updated the site due to touring so thought it best I get an update in before another month passes. So much has happened since May I'm not sure where to begin. The Americas leg of the Steven Wilson tour was a success professionally and personally, it helped me conquer a few things and I felt personally it changed my playing massively. I've never hit so hard in all my life, I've certainly never had to replace broken Hi-Hats!, but that was the stage "vibe" that was needed and once the body got used to it, it all settled in just fine. I was supposed to be finishing at the end of the Americas tour but I've been asked to play with him a little while longer. I'm not going to say too much more on that right now, but I'm very much looking forward to playing the Royal Albert Hall in September. I've been putting a lot of time into my playing for this next leg of the tour, I'm currently in the midst of piecing together quite a few hours of music for the shows, its getting there, I can play them all now but I've been asked to put my stamp on the material and that's what I'll do.
As a lot of you know, I sadly parted ways with Premier in May at the start of the tour, drums were a bit of an issue on the tour in South America but we made it work. As a mark of respect to a couple of people I didn't just want to jump onto another brand straight away, Its not what I do, I got through the tour and now I have enough kits at home that I've bought over the years to do my job for forthcoming UK based stuff. I'm extremely flattered that offers have really come out of the woodwork and a few I'd never of expected. I didn't want to jump into anything that I'd regret, its not about free gear (where some people get it so badly wrong) its about forging relationships, elevating a brand that wants to work with me and vice versa and of course the tour support is paramount. I know people have been asking on social media but I've purposefully taken my time and thought everything through, It has to be right. At the moment its looking good, there are few things to sort out but I will reveal more before the tour.
Straight after the Canadian leg of the tour it was home and then a few festivals which were great and then it was time for the legendary Freddie Gee drum academy. This has been running for 16 years here in the UK and its one of the best drumming academies on the planet. I stood in for Gregg Bissonette 8 years ago and have been the main tutor alongside Steve White ever since. Students from all over Europe have studied at this week long course. Its a real highlight over the summer and I get to push the guys extremely hard over a 5 day period, by this time, I'd been away for the best part of three months, I was tired, It was nice to have a break, play some golf, go catch some of my friends motor racing and catch up with family.
I've got a couple of things I need to finish before I hit the road again. Yesterday I recorded 3 tracks for a Canadian label that I met at Montreal Jazz festival. As some of you may of seen (on my facebook) I recorded the drums in my hallway yesterday, going for that big sound they wanted, they really liked what I did so have given me another 6 tracks to do. The great Jennifer Batten has asked me to play on a 16 Jeff Beck tracks that she's doing on a Trufire course in the US. I'm not quite sure when I'm going to learn it all and record but its just too good to say no to, playing along to Batten and Beck, oh yes. I've had a few little one off tracks from bands that want me to clean up a track or play on something for them. Yes I can record here but I don't undertake every project. If you want me on your album, just ask!
And that brings me onto the next two weeks, a little bit of time at home. I'll be teaching at my studio near Bedford, something I'm extremely passionate about. Next week, apart from two spaces on the Saturday has now pretty much gone but the week of the 24th has a few more including the Saturday. If you would like more info, visit the tuition page on here or send an email to email@example.com
If you want to follow me on social media, the links to my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are on the home page
Wherever you are in the world, Stay safe and have a fantastic weekend everyone
Drummer | Educator | Writer | Programmer | Clinician