How did I get started in music?
Where to start?
I have been around music my whole life. From an early age I would listen to records through headphones while everyone else was watching TV. I must have only been five or six and I had figured out how to use the home stereo and how to record onto a tape to play in the family car. I started to take an interest in drums from early on as well as I was around live bands a lot. I started to “have a go” on drums from being around the live bands and picked it up pretty quickly. I took the plunge at 12 years old at secondary school when someone else was looking to form a band. I knew I had the basics so thought, why not give it a go? I managed to fumble through the first couple of practices and started to learn so much, even just playing in a rubbish school boy band. From there I kept playing and I am completely self-taught. The one thing I do regret is not taking proper lessons earlier on, but I think jumping in feet first was a great way to either sink or swim.
Classical Piano from the age of 6.
I was a late starter, I have always loved the guitar, but it wasn’t until my brother bought a guitar when I was about 20 that I started to play. I used to borrow it from his bedroom while he was out. I had no idea what I was doing so just fingerpicked the strings until I made it sound somewhere near musical. I couldn’t play a chord until I went around to friends who taught me the basics and a couple of Metallica riffs. He lent me some guitar mags and I kept learning new songs.
Inspirations and influences.
Some of my greatest inspirations are not the professional drummers of this world, but the people who love to play. Of course, there are lots of drummers who I admire greatly, and I have been influenced by them and found inspiration in their playing, but I will list those later. If someone is enjoying playing, having fun and loving the drums, this is the greatest inspiration for me. It does not matter how good or bad you are. If you love it and put your heart and soul into playing, that is the greatest part of drumming. I have seen terrible drummers having the best time, and fantastic drummers playing without emotion and I would rather spend an evening listening to someone who is loving playing than someone there just for the money. There is nothing better than showing a young kid a simple 4/4 rhythm and watching their face light up when they realise, they can keep a simple beat going and are playing the drums. There are loads of parents I’m sure, who must hate me for showing young kids something simple and then having the kids run back to the parents insisting on a drum kit for Christmas!
When it comes to the pro’s, of course there is John Bonham, Ginger Baker, Neil Peart, Buddy Rich and all of those legends. Other guy’s out there who get less exposure as drummers are people like Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawks, Dave Lombardo, Simon Phillips, Phil Rudd, Kenny Aronoff, Chad Smith and any number of nameless faces who ply their trade in the session world. I take bits and pieces from lots of these guys, but I try to combine it with my own style.
Didn’t get into my own musical style until I saw Whitesnakes Still of the night video. Influences were David Coverdale and Gene Simmons.
At a young age my parents had rock n roll albums so listened to that a lot, but it was when I heard Live after Death (Iron Maiden) that I found ‘my music’ When I saw them play I knew what I wanted to do. Be in a rock band! All the great rock/metal bands influence me – Metallica, Maiden, Ozzy, Slayer etc but also Poison, Motley Crue etc and newer bands like Trivium, Avenged Sevenfold.
Gigs And Albums In The Future.
We are gigging all the time with the band and yes, we are in the process of recording our first EP / album. It’s taken a bit of time as we all work and trying to find the time to all get together to record is difficult. The only thing I will say is that I think it will be pretty special when it’s done! It has taken some time to all gel together as the band went through some pretty dramatic line-up changes over the last 18 months or so and its really only just now that we are all getting comfortable with each other’s styles and personalities.
With the gig’s, we are trying to get out there as much as possible, applying for festivals, and at local pubs. We are also getting a bit of exposure through South Wales at some of the established rock clubs, so watch this space!
We have a couple of local gigs next but next year is exciting with a couple of appearances at the Dragonflii in Pontypool, The Hiraeth Fest somewhere in Wales and we are also playing at The Dolls House (Abitillery) as part of Dementia Fest.
How do we set ourselves apart from other bands?
I think our music sets us apart a bit at the moment as our style is different to the current modern trend of rock. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, just lots of bands doing this, and doing it really well. The industry is awash with this type of music and it is massively difficult to make any one notice you doing this type of music. We are more towards the classic heavy rock genre, possibly due to our ages and influences. A lot of what we play is very similar to the rock and metal bands of the late eighties and early nineties. This is what we listened to growing up and has had a marked impact on what we like to play, so this comes through in our music. People who grew up listening to the music of this era like to come and listen to us. Maybe it’s the sympathy vote!!!
I like the fact that some of the music I have brought to the band are pieces I wrote some 20 years ago and when Mike puts his magic to them, they become new songs. So, some of our songs are old and new at the same time! I like the fact the vocals are put to music and not the other way around, this makes Mike sing different to the norm.
Advice to aspiring performers.
Just do it! Get out there and play. Play anywhere and everywhere you can. Play for free if you have to. It’s amazing how many places will book a band if they are free even if they don’t like the music!
Write your own stuff if you can, if not, learn some popular covers to start with.
Once you start getting some exposure things will move on from there. If you don’t have enough of your own material to do full gigs, find other bands with some of their own stuff and get them to play with you or go and play with them. This will give both bands exposure.
Another key thing is social media. Bands need to be all over it and this can take more time than rehearsing or writing songs, but it is obviously a massive platform to get onto.
Love what you do, play with better musicians – they will teach you a lot! Don’t be put off by criticism or rejection. I have almost given up so many times after seeing all the young talent about but I saw a game of Sunday football one day, some of the players were slow, overweight, couldn’t kick a ball straight but it was then I realised they weren’t playing because they thought they were great, they were playing because they love the game. I have found that other musicians don’t judge you when you play a bad/wrong note, they applaud you for getting on that stage.
Special thanks to them for this interview & I wish them nothing but luck in their careers. So until then I'll catch you on the flipside!
Stay Awesome & rock n roll!