Cambridge Drum Company Beech Snare Drum

Two of the brass section from Jools Holland’s band were raving to me about Gilson’s new Cambridge drum set.  I was intrigued, so I contacted Bob their Sales Director and he popped over with some snares for me to try.  The quality of construction is second to none and they sound amazing.  Bob lent me this 4.5” beech shell snare. I took it into my show, Five Guys Named Moe and it sounded great.  Here’s a quick video recorded with a Shure 57 on top and two overheads. Check out their website

Five Guys Named Moe

I’m playing a show in the West End for the next few months, called 5 Guys Named Moe. If any of my old pupils are in town, it would be good to catch up.  Here is a promo of the show we recorded recently. 

Five Guys Named Moe

WARNING: Our new trailer contains dangerous levels of delicious soul, on the money moves and an atmosphere that ZINGS! But that’s nothin’ compared to seein’ it live at the Marble Arch Theatre! Five Guys Named Moe – the 5 star musical.

Posted by Five Guys Named Moe on Monday, 23 October 2017

Jim Blackley & Bob Armstrong R.I.P

We have lost two incredible drum teachers recently, and two people who have been big influences in my career.

Jim Blackley wrote many books including Syncopated Rolls for the Modern Drummer. I was lucky enough to spend two days with him when I toured Canada about 15 years ago.

Bob Armstrong was my teacher for many years. He was the go to teacher the majority of Pro players for many years. When I first went to see him I’d been playing professionally for several years, I came away from my first lesson realising I didn’t know the first thing about technique. He opened my eyes to so much. When I saw him earlier this year we promised to get together for a cup of tea, unfortunately it was not to be.
There is a tribute to him on 17th September with many of his old pupils playing. Tickets from PMT Music Romford.


Touring a drum kit.

One of my pupils came with me to the Strictly tour I am currently working on. He was surprised how quickly the kit was set up and mic’d ready for sound check, so I thought it would be good to show you a few tips.

My whole kit goes into two flight cases. This is important, as all the set, lights, staging and backline (keyboards guitars amps etc) are toured in an articulated lorry. The first flight case takes the bass drum, floor tom, snare and cymbals.
The second case takes the small toms, extra snare, stool top, bass pedal and spares in the bottom, then a tray fits in the top to take all the stands. I only have to open and close the legs of the stands as the case is long enough to leave the stands at the desired height, saving a large amount of set up time.
All the stand heights are marked with a Sharpie, just in case I need to alter the height slightly. Some theatres have a raked stage (a slope towards the audience) so a small amount of adjustment may be needed on some gigs.

My riser on the stage has carpet stuck to the top. I mark where the stands go with chalk or tape, this way I place everything on the stage in the same spot every night. This helps the crew if they are setting up the kit for me, I also number each stand and the riser with a Sharpie.
With 45 venues on the tour it’s important you have a system that means you are not holding up the sound check. Stands

RCM Festival of Percussion with Benny Greb

RCM FESTIVAL OF PERCUSSION. Royal College of Music. London

11:00am | 07 May 2017 | Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall

The RCM Festival of Percussion returns with special guest, the international rock, jazz, classical and funk drummer Benny Greb.

The jam-packed day features O Duo with the Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment, drummer and RCM professor Ralph Salmins performing with three different groups, top percussion quartet Amadinda, and Brazilian workshops with The Lion King percussionist Damien Manning.

The Festival also includes the RCM Trade Fair with leading UK instrument manufacturers, family workshops and the chance to try out the RCM’s performance simulator.

7:00pm | 07 May 2017

Britten Theatre

Top international drummer Benny Greb performs toe-tapping Buddy Rich tunes with the RCM Big Band in this grand finale of our Festival of Per