Where are you from and/or where do you live now?
I’m originally from Nth Qld but moved to Melbourne with my family in my early teens
How long have you been playing drums? And what initially drew you to the instrument?
I’ve been playing drums for 20 years and I was drawn to the instrument when I first saw a parade of marching drummers at a local festival when I was a young child.
Do you play any other instruments?
Yes, I also play guitar and do a lot of singing.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently working regularly with a band called Frequency (frequencycoverband) – a 5 piece cover band in which I am hired as a drummer/singer. I get to play a large variety of musical genres in this outfit which I really enjoy.
What else are you (currently or previously) involved in (bands/shows/projects etc)?
I also play in a 70’s Rock outfit called “ Mother” featuring the music of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, David Bowie, Black Sabbath, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Queen, Status Quo, A.C.D.C and The Sweet. Drumming and singing along to some of these classic songs definitely keeps my technique in check and my creativity open with drum solos.
Do you write music or develop your own shows? What are they about/how have they come about?
I do write my own music, it’s something I have always done. I am currently working with a producer on my new original project entitled “She Said Yes”.
The genre is pop/rock and I co-write all the songs with my producer Adam Gresty.
Adam plays all the guitars, bass and keyboards and I record all the drum parts and lead vocals. I also have another good friend of mine Rikki Arnot on some additional vocals. We have released one single to iTunes and another one is on it’s way with the view to recruit a full live band to play live with in 2018. I will be putting myself in the vulnerable position of fronting the band as the lead singer, jumping behind the kit for a few songs during the set.
This original project came about after working on a song with Adam Gresty and Rikki Arnot 2 years ago. The working relationship with all 3 of us was so powerful, we decided to make it an ongoing project.
What are your thoughts on collaboration in music and in the projects you’re involved in or the projects you run?
I believe collaboration with others in music can be extremely inspiring if you are working with the right musicians whom you connect strongly with and are on the same page with in terms of what you all want from any given project.
Who are you listening to/whose music are you enjoying right now?
I always listen to a wide variety of music of all genres but right at the moment I’m concentrating on songwriting and so Fleetwood Mac is high on my playlist as I believe they are a band who have given us so many great songwriters all within one group (Stevie Nicks, Lindsay Buckingham and Christine Mcvie). I am studying their songcraft you could say. Not to mention what a great drummer Mick Fleetwood is…. He always plays exactly what is right for the song.
Do you have any favourite drummers? Or other musicians who inspire you? why?
I definitely have a number of favourite drummers – to name a few….. John Bonham of Led Zeppelin comes to mind. After playing a lot of his parts over the years in the band Mother I am constantly reminded of how powerful his style is and how innovative he was….. Moby Dick would have to be one of the greatest drum solos of all time! - Jeff Porcaro of Toto for his immaculate sense of groove – one of Toto’s hit songs “ Rosanna “ shows off Jeff’s innate sense of groove with one of the best rock shuffle beats I’ve ever heard. Sheila E. who was Prince’s drummer for a long time is someone who has always inspired me. Sheila does it all….she can turn heads playing a solo on timbales one minute, play a killer groove behind the kit the next and then hit us with her voice in a song that she is most popularly known for “ The Glamorous Life “ with a few very cool dance moves to go with it! Sheila is also a songwriter and producer… two other skills I have so much admiration and respect for.
How would you describe the kind of music or projects you’re mostly involved in? And/or what kind of unique perspective/sound do you bring to these gigs?
The type of musical projects I’m mostly involved in range from theatre based work to rock/pop, funk and soul bands who are driven by a large array of diverse material within the one band. I also find myself involved in other musicians’ original projects that interest me where I can just come in and be a session player without necessarily having to be part of the writing process and lay down the best of what I have as a drummer.
As a singer as well I know how important it is to have proper space for the lyrics and melody of a song to come out in the best way possible. Coming up with the right grooves, patterns and sometimes signature fills can be paramount to how a song is felt and heard by the listener. For example – the very well known signature fill that brings the drums in halfway through the song by Phil Collins “ The Air Tonight “ is so powerful in how it takes the song to a whole other level and the groove that follows it carries it perfectly to it’s end.
Do you have a particular warm up or practice routine? Or favourite exercises?
Depending on how technically hard a gig coming up is going to be, I will put in the amount of practice I feel I’m going to need a few days leading up to the show where I will put in quite a few hours a day. Just prior to a gig starting though, I am more likely to warm up my voice than my hands to get through a lot of high harmonies for backing vocals.
Does social media play a big part in how you promote yourself as an artist and your various projects? Do you promote your work in other ways?
Yes, social media is pretty vital when it comes to promoting your work as an artist these days. Facebook and You Tube are the main stays for me when it comes to promotion and mainly word of mouth.
Do you make a living from music? What different types of work does this comprise?
There are periods in my life where I am and have been able to make a living from music. I was able to financially kick start my adult life as a late teen in Circus Oz touring the world for 3 years as a drummer/singer/performer. Since then I have been involved in some intense periods where I have worked in theatre and cabaret, most recently with The Melbourne Theatre Company as a drummer/backing vocalist in a show starring “Bernadette Robinson" called “ Pennsylvania Avenue” at the Arts Centre and Dracula’s theatre restaurant in Melbourne where you are suddenly able to earn a decent weekly wage, which is not always easy to attain in the world of arts.
Currently, I teach drums, play in a regular working cover band, take on any session gig I am drawn to as well as work a few days a week in an area that has nothing to do with music….working as a nanny for an agency specialising in caring for babies and toddlers. This is a job that can work as a bread and butter situation if the gigs get low and also the opportunity to be involved in something separate to music that allows me to stay excited and passionate about music rather than feeling like I have to take any gig even if I don’t like it just to pay the bills.
Where’s the coolest place that music has taken you?
The coolest place music has taken me would have to be during all of my touring years overseas with Circus Oz and the various bands I have toured the globe with.
Being able to get paid well while pursuing your musical dream and experiencing all the different cultures around the world while doing that has been a large sum of what has made me the musician and person I am today.
If you could give your younger drumming self some advice what would it be?
That’s a great question….This may come across as a little boring for an answer but after experiencing all the components that come into surviving as a full time musician, I would say that I wished I had dedicated some time into studying music business. A musician can be very talented, skilled and creative at what they do, but not necessarily skilled in how to harness all of those abilities into situations that can bring them greater financial opportunities that could sustain a lifetime career.
I have very talented musician friends in this industry who possess the business skills I am talking about and they are living proof of my statement above.
Having said that, I am full of gratitude that I have been able to create the amazing opportunities I have been involved with over my musical journey so far.
I always look forward to the future and what other exciting opportunities may be just around the corner!