Roger Taylor’s Drums – and me!

How I got closer to the Queen drummer’s gear

The internet’s a funny old thing, a double-edged sword at the best of times. One minute you can be finding all sorts of information about stuff you didn’t know existed, the next arguing with somebody on the other side of the world you have never met. The latter is something I steer clear of these days, aided by my shunning of all things Social Media, but the former can produce the most unexpected and fulfilling experiences and truly enrich your life in the on-line world.  [...] 

read more

‘Wait For The Ricochet’ – The Story Of ‘Deep Purple In Rock’

My Ian Paice Knowledge Finally Comes To Fruition

It was back in 2010 that Stephen Clare tracked me down from an article I wrote about an Ian Paice drum clinic I’d helped to promote to ask me if I’d care to write some words about Paice’s playing and general style for a potential book. There was no release date, but it was going to go through the Deep Purple fan club channels and officially sanctioned by the band members and my knowledge would be greatly appreciated on the analysis of his playing on the ‘In Rock’ album.

Well, “Why not?” I thought; it would be nice to get into print again on hard copy (everything is just so digital these days) so set to work with an appraisal of the man’s work on this classic album.

Not my favourite Deep Purple album, but revisiting it once again, revealed how much Ian Paice has been to an extent overlooked, in the 30+ years rippling wake of John Bonham’s death. If you listen to any of Paice’s work, he shows himself as an absolutely astounding, musical drummer, easily on a par with his Midland’s contemporary. The fact is, both guys were cut from the same musical cloth, but it may just be the case that Bonham got a slightly bigger slice of the legend cake when it came to bands. Maybe the line-up changes endured by Deep Purple proved too divisive, whereas Zeppelin managed to keep their fall-outs under the tight wrap of Peter Grant. Either way, my personal opinion is that I don’t think that Ian Paice is lauded enough – and that’s coming from Bonham disciple.

Truth be known, I got into Paice before Bonham, so both men must be accountable for shaping my early drumming physiology.

Ian Paice grew up listening to the same music as John Bonham, due to the limited access to vinyl at the time and both drummers were pretty much self-taught. Both relied heavily on Big-Band licks they’d picked up from Buddy Rich/Gene Krupa recordings (Paice gaining exposure via his father’s dance band), both had big, phat, swinging grooves and both had the ability to solo ferociously like 1940’s showmen.

When John Bonham died and Zeppelin called it a day, Paice was still extremely active on the A-List Rock circuit. Deep Purple had finished in 1975, but Bonham’s premature death seemed to signal the death knell for the classic British Blues-Rock based bands of the 70’s. Although still working, Paice had almost been forgotten by the end of the 1980’s and into the 90’s when the Olympic drum-slingers really started to take hold. The Bonham legend had set a foothold in the psyche of drummers, but in my opinion, there was never enough being talked about Ian Paice. Hence, when the opportunity to share my critical appraisal of the man appeared out of the blue, I didn’t hesitate (much) to offer my contribution.

Initially, with all my Bonham-worshipping, my short-lived reservations were that I may not be able to do Paice justice. Once I got into the job however, it was very easy. The man’s drumming did all the talking and I was reminded what was so good about being an impressionable 14 year old wannabe drum God, back in my schooldays. This was my chance to do the man justice in a book people can actually hold, put on a shelf and be forever in the archives of the British Library.

With a little bit of help from Bill Ludwig III, I was able to obtain the exact drum setup used during the recording of ‘In Rock’ and judging by the rest of the content in the book, the research on other band members instruments has been kept to the same high benchmark. If you are a Deep Purple fan, this is a book you shouldn’t think twice about buying; it really is a gem and a true labour of love from Simon Robinson & Stephen Clare that I am proud to be associated with. read more

Modern Drummer Published Me Again!

Mark Brzezicki Modern Drummer Magazine Feature

Funny how the cookie crumbles; one part of your life, you’re listening to a drummer who is currently top of your inspiration list and reading a hard-to-buy leading American drumming magazine, fast-forward 30 years (give or take) and you’re interviewing the aforementioned drummer and writing in the magazine about him!

Six months after meeting up with Mark Brzezicki in the recording studio whilst he was making the ‘The Journey’ album with Big Country, my ‘What Do You Know About?’ article about him was published in the September 2013 issue of Modern Drummer.

At this point, Mark and the Big Country boys were on the back-end of their American jaunt to promote ‘The Journey’, their first time back to America in quite a few years. No doubt, this was like going back to basics for the band, what with no 1980’s style record company budgets to work with, but I hope it was successful enough for them to warrant a return to the other side of the pond.

In some ways, it would have been better if my article had been published a couple of months earlier, but that’s how it goes in publishing. You never know when your submissions will (if ever) appear. Anyway, I’m not grumbling, Mark was grateful and I am once again, pleased as Punch (was that crazy seaside puppet ever happy?) to be published again within the pages of an international drumming magazine – nay, the international drumming magazine!

Will I be published again? Who knows? But when the passion to write hits, I’m more than just a little bit confident the produce will be equally worthy of international publication!

What, is that me blowing my own trumpet? Hell yeah! It’s my writing, it’s my BLOG and for once in my life, I’m going to celebrate something I’m actually quite good at! read more