• Who was a big influence as you progressed as a drummer?
Simon Phillips has always had a sound and approach that appealed to me. He’s also been gracious enough to spend some time talking drums with me, both in my early days and over the years.
• What was the first record you ever bought?
My most memorable early record (aged 16) was Metallica’s Master Of Puppets. It proved to be an influential album for both the band themselves and me as an aspiring young rock drummer at the time.
• What is the most memorable experience you’ve had in your music career?My first gig with pop band Republica at ‘T In The Park’ when singer Saffron asked the thirty thousand plus crowd to say ‘Hello’ to their new drummer.
• Tell us about some of your favourite gear and equipment you’re using?
A few years ago a reasonably spontaneous eBay purchase of an old Yamaha Recording Custom kit reignited my passion for them. I now own a substantial collection and play them exclusively. I’ve also used and endorsed Vic Firth sticks and Zildjian cymbals for twenty-five years.
• Give us 1 tip for working in the studio & 1 tip for playing live.
In the studio be as objective as possible about both the sound and performance and do whatever you can to make it sound as good as you can.
When playing live let the size of the venue impact upon your playing style and volume. In other words let the PA do the work. It sounds obvious but as an acoustic instrument psychologically we can sometimes feel the need to play harder as venues increase in size.
• What projects / bands are you involved with at the moment?
I’ve been busy of late building my drum play-along website www.totaldrumtracks.com, but now that’s established it would be nice to get involved in some creative music again.
• What’s your best advice for being a professional musician in the modern age?
As a freelance player the industry is probably a more competitive place than ever as a rising number of musicians compete for a diminishing amount of work. As a result it’s probably more important than ever to have the essential skills in place, both musical and professional.
Check Out Pete Riley breaking down Fusion Thang by Guthrie Govan, on totaldrumtracks.
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