Thunder Drum

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 Hi Philip how did it go at Cambridge rock fest this year.

As a Cambridge resident it was a great honour to play at the festival. We were treated very well by the organisers and crew. We had a great sound and we got a fantastic response. We had our fantastic fans turn up from all over  the region, who have seen us in various pubs and clubs that we play throughout the year. The great thing about the festival was that we could play all our own material, normally with the pubs and clubs we have to do mostly covers with one or two originals. We actually earned ourselves an encore, Which was really cool. We sold a few cds and t shirts picking up new fans as well. The added bonus was that we had several people photographing and filming us, including my wife Jo and son Archie. So we had plenty to post up on our facebook and website. Also we have been offered the support slot to Wishbone ash in Newmarket which is being organised by the Cambridge rock fest guys.

How did you get the drum seat in Soulweaver.

I had played in a band with Goodge, Guitarist/vocalist in Soulweaver, several years ago. He moved on and I lost contact with him.3 years ago I was gigging in a pub and saw a poster for a duo that Goodge was in with his wife M on bass and vocals. I thought I would get in touch to say hello, it turned out they were looking for a drummer. We met up and I heard some of there own demos and was instantly very interested, we had a practice and we locked straight away and we have never looked back since.

When did you start playing drums and what got you started.

I have been playing since I was 10 years old. I remember seeing a band called flintlock, who had there own tv show. The drummer Mike Ho;;oway had a massive set up and I thought how good that looked. I bugged my parents to get me a kit. My dad worked with local drum legend Peter “Tubby” Rhodes who gave me lessons. I Learnt all the dance beats, Waltz, quickstep, foxtrot etc. I then moved onto playing along to records by the Beatles and Beach Boys and Glam bands of the seventies.

First kit you had.

I can not remember the make of the kit but it was orange and very small. My drum teacher who was not a small man used to have a play around the kit at the beginning of each lesson and I thought he was going to demolish it!!!

Equipment you are now using.

Clear blue Ludwig Vistalite power tom kit which I had since 198110, 12, toms and 16 inch floor tom, 24 inch bass drum. I do have  13 & 14 inch toms but do not use them at the moment.

14in Ludwig Supraphonic snare.

I use evans hydraulic blue heads on the toms, as well as looking cool they sound great, as the toms have now internal damping the oil filled skins dampen the sound well avoiding the use of too much tape.

I use a remo pin stripe on the bass as evans no longer make a 24 blue hydraulic. On the Snare I use a coated remo ambassador on top and hazy remo on the bottom.

Cymbals are

24 Paiste 2002 ride, 18 Zildjian rock crash, 16 Sabian Paragon crash, 16 Sabian China, 10 Paiste 2002 Crash 14 Sabian paragon Hi hats, 6 Stagg Bell.

Sticks pro mark hickory nylon tip 5A

Why do you use an older kit opposed to a newer release.

I have had the kit from new since 1981 apart from it looking  stunning, getting remarks from lots of people at gigs it sounds awesome, it does not need an awful lot of fine tuning and I can go from a pub gig to a large venue with full system and it feels and sounds pretty much the same..

 What approach do you use when writing new drum parts for tunes?

In soulweaver, Goodge our guitarist/vocalist is our main songwriter. When I joined he had already been recording demos as a duo with his wife M. These were recorded with minimal drumming, which for me was ideal. I have a cheep electric kit that I use at home. I took the recordings and started playing along to them. For me I spend time getting to know the song and try playing it different ways. We will then get together as a band and run through tracks, as I am familiar with the song I can then concentrate on structure and any breaks I am planning to put in. Some songs on our debt album Liberty were worked up more as a band in rehearsal room. Prior to recording I will have a backing track with a click which I can then really focus on the whole song. This hopefully means I can nail some good takes once we record the drum tracks.

 Whats your fav album

Very tricky to choose one album.

AC/DC. If you want blood. The live album. The first band I was in worked out a lot to this album.

Machine Head The Blackening. This is the ultimate heavy album.

Yes yessongs. The live album. My first introduction to this amazing band.

Soulweaver. Liberty. I am very proud of what Goodge, M and Myself achieved making this album.

 Who influenced you the most drumming wise.

My drum teacher Peter “Tubby” Rhodes obviously set me on a solid path.

John Bonham, such a great spontaneous live drummer.

Neal Peart for showing what can be achieved at a technical level.

Buddy rich. Not sure what to add, just check you tube clips. The man is a legend.

 Best and Worst gigs.

Ones I attended

Best  Queensryche town and country club London at the beginning of the operation mindcrime tour 1980s, Pearl Jam University of London, There first british gig.

Worst Kiss Wembley arena no make and no energy.

Ones I performed at

Best Cambridge rock fest and Peterborough beer fest this year.

Worst Too many dogy pubs setting up between toilet and ciggie machine and being asked to play”sex on fire”.

Your debut cd got some great reviews, how long did it take to record?

From when we first started, our aim was to record our own album. We spent a long while working on the songs prior to recording them, Playing them live and recording demos, so we really had everything organised. The whole recording process took about 6 months on and off, fitting in sessions inbetween gigging and video making.


Some time ago you recorded a charity song Remembrance Day. How did that come about?

This was our first attempt at recording, which we did over 2 years ago. The thinking was there was not really a rock song that honoured our service men and women. Goodge had known several veterans and was moved by their stories. The lyrics focus on the fact that there are military personnel past and present living and working around us, and that we should spare a thought for these “unknown soldiers” and what they do to protect this country.

The money raised from cd sales and donations. Which is about £2500 at present is going to 2 charities, “help for heroes” and “Erskine” a charity that helps injured servicemen, they have been very supportive and even supplied video footage featuring actor Ewan Macgregor, a patron of the charity, which we used in our promo video for the song.

We found it very difficult to get support at the time, but we are hoping to push the song in time for the next Remembrance Day and as our profile is a bit higher we hope for more support.

The follow up cd of covers why?

We had recorded a few covers and some of our demo tracks prior to recording the Liberty album to keep people happy that were waiting for the official album. Also as a lot of gigs we play are social clubs and pubs where we do mostly covers, we were being asked if we had more recordings of those songs. We thought a covers cd would appeal to those people, and that we would only make it available to buy at gigs, meaning that people could go away with something at the end of the night. Hopefully they would then want to check out our Liberty album. We have a wide range of tracks on cd, from, Small Faces, Bowie, ELO Gnarls Barkley, Hendrix and Fleetwood Mac..

 If you had the choice of being in any band in history who would it be?

It would have to be Led Zeppelin. I am an avid collector of their live stuff. They played with a great deal of freedom changing arrangements from night to night and seemed to be totally at ease with what they were doing. They arrived on the music scene just as rock music was exploding and they seemed to be in the right place at the right time, playing some major events, breaking box office records wherever they appeared. Hearing concerts and reading reports from the time they mesmerized audiences, there gigs were major events. They were one of the first bands who had control over their own music and artwork without record company involvement, and led the way when it came to artists getting properly paid. Obviously they would have been a very exciting band to be in.

 Do you enjoy the Video’s and who comes up with the ideas for them?

Yes I like making the videos. It is good fun and is the first band I have been in that has made any. As we are totally independent we work through the whole process ourselves. Goodge comes up with the ideas and we all contribute. I felt very awkward on the first ones we made. But have got more comfortable with it.

We have tried all sorts of styles; we have used live footage on some. We have filmed outside some interesting locations and for our latest video for our track Media Frenzy we had help from a load of our fantastic fans who turned up for an afternoon to be filed in all sorts of outdoor settings. Goodge and M do all the editing which is a very time consuming process, but we have had some excellent results. We are hoping to have all videos available on DVD for Christmas.

Well Thanks Philip and Good luck withe the Single and Album.


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