A few words…


Dear ladies and gentleman. It’s been a weird week this week. I got back from Japan, pretty tired and opened my email from my website to a few shitty emails from prog fans that seem to think that drumming is essentially a completion, I must play like all that have gone before and be a clone but then if I am i’ll still not be good enough?! It’s all very strange this freedom of speech thing and something that I struggle with. It’s so easy to tell a player in a comment or contact box that you don’t like them then at a gig come up to them and shake their hand and say you loved what they do, I find it all very strange but accept that’s the world we live in and it’s easy to vent for on a keyboard whatever reason to make yourself better without worrying about the affects it has on the recipient

All of my professional career playing this label music as ‘prog’ I’ve been the so called “hired gun” the substitute, or got the call after the drummer had left so I’m kinda used to it, Frost, Pendragon, David Cross, Steven Wilson, Steve Hackett, I could go on. Jobs where I’ve got the call and it’s split opinion. It’s amazing to get the support and awful to be on the end of the naysayers. To a lot of people I’ll still never be good enough or as they put it, not in the same league as “insert drummers name here” which is absolutely fine but sometimes hard to read or hard to accept but accept it I have and in some weird twist of events I use it as a bit of a ‘fuck you’ and practice harder to push myself personally

I think that particular genre (which I’m
A fan of) attracts much music snobbery and also people struggle with change, I’ve always chuckled about progressive fans that can’t progress?!! I was one of them too by the way with a couple of bands that have had line up changes but I sit in the wings, keep my negative thoughts to myself and wish the people every inch of success. I also think the drumming dynamic has changed massively. Lots of drummers bash other players now, it’s sad to see but it is happening, I’ve had more than my share and every time I post a set up picture, suddenly the experts come out to say, too little, too many, I would have chose?! Maybe so but you didn’t get the call so it’s not your problem so why waste your time? That’s not me being an arse but that’s my theory when I see another drummer, It’s strange. There’s two main factors of someone posting, their post and wanting to do so, their motivation, whatever that maybe, what a lot fail to recognise or understand is the implications to how the recipient feels. Before I post I try to think ‘would I say that to that person face to face’ its an interesting question where the answer (if thought through) would largely be no and I’ve had to stop my selves a LOT of times arguing with the trolls. I understand it’s a small minority but if people really thought before they posted, I’m sure there would be a little bit more general harmony in the planet.

I find it weird to see a post or read a mail basically when people go out of their way to tell me that they are sitting this tour out because it won’t be the same or I hope you play this part like this or it won’t be the same, things that people wouldn’t say to my face, we all remember the Steven Wilson early days, I’ve never experienced anything like it, I had really thin skin back then and really struggled dealing the negativity, thankfully not so much now, to a point

I thought really hard about deleting the whole social media thing this week and thought of going back to just having a website so I wouldn’t have to look or feel compelled to respond to the idiots, it’s bloody tiring!. There is the ‘fuck them’ argument but I don’t have the really thick skin that others are blessed with. I was taught to be respectful of others, I like interacting with people. Rightly or wrongly I find myself on the world stage now touring, I don’t know how long it’s going to be here for but I’m deeply proud of it and enjoy sharing my thoughts that anyone can do it with a bit of hard work and dedication and I stand by that, I’m nothing special, I’m not a natural, I have to work at it everyday and it comes with a lot of ups and downs

Basically what I’m saying is this. If you are kind and polite I will give you all the time I have to answer you questions and help you as much as I can with as much as I know. I know a lot of ‘ego driven’ musicians that don’t interact with their fan base, I’d hate to be considered as such, I like helping people and I love sharing my stories from around the world. There’s not many Brit drummers or any for that matter that get this privilege and I guess ‘luck’ so I’m deeply proud and everyday I will give it everything I have

So, please, if you are thinking of posting something sarcastic, negative or going out of your day to tell me how I should play the next tour or what I should be playing, please save it, it’s not needed, although I think I know what I’m doing, I’m learning everyday to be the best I can be and to look down positive routes to drive myself forward

I totally understand haters gonna hate, it’s social media, it’s not real world, I can deal with with that now after three years with SW but going out your way to say I’m shit or hope you up your game?! I’m really NOT looking for praise here and I’m sure I’m not the only one it happens to in fact I know a lot of players that get slammed online but gees it’s odd, the best way to silence the critics is to say nothing at all, but today I couldn’t resist and I heard a story last night about another kid which put something up online and got battered so his parents took it down which really made me think how shit it is to be on the end of it from time to time but as a kid, it’s just the worst

I will shut up now and finish with THE most important part……

I know the brilliant Mike Johnson (educators and monster player) spoke about this a few years back with his ‘respect’ campaign, but If we don’t speak out NOTHING will change, maybe it won’t anyway? I’m a lot more thick skinned than I used to be but the occasional thing will put my back up, I’m human. I was brought up with the mantra if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. Maybe I’m just old fashioned now.. there’s is a large amount of musos or fans disrespecting other musos, it never used to be that way or maybe it never had such a platform as it has now. Can we change it or is it part of life? Industry? Society? I must add once more, I’m not stressed, I’m not angry, I’m genuinely delighted that the diary is full of ink so I really can put up with the odd dickhead or just delete, I’m just totally baffled by the ‘motivation’ as to ‘why’ and genuinely fear for a younger generation who aren’t thick skinned that will get trolled by so called fellow drummers or musicians and completely buckle under the pressure, it’s just not acceptable anymore

I’ll close by saying, be nice, be respectful and you’ll always be welcome here, and to the trolls, try to think of others when you post, especially people that are just showing their talents on YouTube. The one ‘like’ means the world to them, kids that are just having fun or drummers pushing themselves with dignity and expression, it may not be your thing but you have zero reason to hate. Don’t waste your energy on making someone miserable, ultimately you’ll be the one miserable when your reputation is in the gutter and the phone never rings for a gig, shift your focus on the things that really matter, if you try, it’s easier than you think to keep the negativity to yourself

Have a wonderful Sunday