I am now trying my best to update this section of my website once a month – but of course, summer for musicians is usually crazy busy, hence my failure last month to write something! However, let me condense my June and July into one post instead...
Wedding Season has arrived again! I returned to my regular dep slot (dep means to fill in for the regular/resident musician) with The Gentlemen Of The Road Band – a 4 piece, powerhouse, function rock outfit playing wedding and parties across the country. As the name suggests, I get to see a lot of different places – well, usually a field or the inside of a barn, but still nice. . . it’s always a fun gig with these guys, go check them out!
My own function band, The Wilderminds, fresh from Stag Promotions, have taken on bookings this year with a new guitarist and a new bassist, and it has been great fun getting to know and work with those guys.
After being asked to play for The Carpenters Experience upon returning from tour earlier this year, I was invited to play for the company’s Queen tribute, Real Magic. It had been a while since I set up more than 3 cymbals and a double kick pedal! Queen is one of my favourite bands, so it was a pleasure to play this amazing material.
And on that note, a very enjoyable (if not slightly rainy) weekend was spent with The Carpenters Experience in South Wales. The first gig held in Cwmbran, followed by Barry Island (which reminded me of a very small Blackpool) and brought back found memories from my childhood. Izzy (saxophone/flute) and I made it our mission to find a House Of The Dead arcade game. . . but none could be found, so we had to settle for another shooter! The search continues. . .
Rounding off this post, it’s worth giving a shout out to the Newham Music team (and Chris Buglass) – a company which provide music tuition to schools in the Newham area – for the trust and hiring me for their youth concert performances at Stratford Circus earlier this month. It was awesome to perform with their orchestra for audiences of young people, many of whom would never have seen a live orchestra perform before. The evening performance starred young students taught by the music hub, including a short opera based around people in Newham, entitled ‘Full Circle’. With no drum charts handy, I worked off scores, lyrics and a bass chart – great band though, and a lot of fun! Thanks again for having me.
Since coming back from tour at the end of February, things have been pretty busy! I’ve returned to teaching and taken on some new students, and been kept busy gigging too.
The Carpenters Experience got me in to dep a gig in South Wales upon returning from Germany, and I’ve since been booked for further gigs with them. Those guys are great to work with, and I will TRY my very best to keep my gig page up to date with those concerts!
Another very enjoyable gig with Markus Michelucci & Sound Refuge took place at one of our favourite spots, The Feathers in Rickmansworth. You can watch a brand new live session with the band here. The song performed is ‘Blue Jean Bride’ (music & lyrics by Markus Michelucci), which was specially written for Markus’ grandmother. The song features lush guitar playing from Chris Buglass and soothing cello from Marianne Hardisty.
And last week, I found myself with a great band for Burgess Hill Musical Theatre Society’s Sister Act, a musical based on the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg, with music by Alan Menken (Beauty & The Beast, Little Shop Of Horrors, Tangled) and lyrics by Glenn Slater (Love Never Dies, The Little Mermaid). Go check out this amazing musical if you haven’t already!
Now that I’ve wrapped up things on The 12 Tenors Best Of Tour, I thought I’d go back in time to November and share some pictures from where rehearsals began at the Schloss Schweinsburg Hotel in Neukirchen.
The cast had 2 weeks of rehearsals, and we (the musicians) had 1 week with the cast prior to the show opening in South Korea. The set, lights and instruments were built up in the big sports hall at the hotel and at the end of rehearsal week, we performed our dress rehearsal for a small audience of hotel guests.
Special shout outs here to Christian Hesse (amazing lighting design and operation), Attila Götz (instrument set up) , Philipp Fritz and Florian Burger (sound).
I am pleased to offer drum lesson vouchers exclusive for this festive period!
There will be several highly reduced lesson packages to take advantage of this festive season, so head over to my Facebook page here for the latest updates. Or, for more information on these special discounts and my lessons, please drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Returning from the international tour of The 12 Tenors in March 2019, I will be recommencing my tuition service. Here's just a few things some of my students and students' parents have said about me:
"Stephen is hugely encouraging and motivating - within the space of three months, our six year old is playing drums along to a CD - the progress made is fast!" - Martin and Eva
"Thanks to Stephen, learning the drums has never felt like a chore. It’s always really fun, and he has given me the guidance to progress" - Oran
I am delighted to announce that I’ll be joining The 12 Tenors as Drummer on their Winter ‘Best Of’ tour from 1 December until 1 March 2019.
This will be my first big international tour, playing shows in South Korea, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg and I am delighted to be offered this incredible opportunity!
“With their new tour, THE 12 TENORS pay homage to the world hits of the last millennium!
In their 2-hour stage show, the 12 exceptional singers pick up on music history. Powerful and unique, they bring to life songs of all sorts of genres: songs that have shaped pop and rock culture, ballads that have touched millions of people, and classic arias that will probably last for ever.
Be there! Enjoy a concert of emotions with songs that everyone knows, everyone loves, uniquely interpreted and specially arranged for the 12 tenors and their band”.
For more information on the show, visit the Facebook page here.
I am especially happy of course to be taking my branded stick of choice, PROMARK, on this epic journey - for information on Promark and their products, visit the link here; highly recommend!
. . . and by that, I don’t just mean how lucky we’ve been in Britain with the weather, but how amazing it’s been to be so busy over the last few months!
It’s been a year now since I moved to London and took the risk of working there – and although the start was slow, the hard work has started to pay off. Here’s just a few things I’ve been up to:
Tuition – I began teaching one student back in September – and now I’m thrilled to be teaching several young budding drummers in the Redhill and Carshalton areas, and via The Surrey Sound Of Music, school tuition in Carshalton and on the outskirts of Croydon. I’ve enjoyed passing knowledge on to students (of all ages and abilities) and in turn, seeing them grow with their drumming.
Dep work – The last few months have seen me play with some incredible musicians – and not just good music makers, but genuinely good people too. That’s very true of The Gentlemen Of The Road band (thanks Craig Robinson for introducing me), who have had me in to play mostly weddings (and one hen do!) this Summer. And, a few weeks ago, I was thrilled to learn that the bassist on the Motown gig I was depping on is the ex-bass player for Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – if that doesn’t ring any bells, watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpJ0cyXbMbI
The Wilderminds – my folk-influenced function band from Stag Promotions played its debut gig at the height of the Summer Season; and what a crowd we had for it! If you’re in need of a function band and enjoy acoustic folk rock music, look no further – book us by clicking here.
Sound Refuge – I have been working on and off with Markus Michelucci and his incredible session musicians which make up Sound Refuge. It’s a nice small setup for me, consisting of small kit (snare and hats), woodblocks, finger cymbals, mark tree, shakers and tambourine – yes, that’s literally it! It’s nice to bring ideas to the table for Markus’ original material, as well as re-worked acoustic classics. Next gig for us is St Thomas’ Hospital, London on 20 August, 1pm.
In a few weeks, I will return to schools to commence new term of teaching, and I’ll have a few new private students too. A lot to look forward to!
As with all freelancers, January is a time of organisation, admin and tidying up after Christmas etc. . . which is why I haven't had time to do a post recently! So I thought I'd share some stuff with you of my five week run of panto in Rhyl, North Wales.
Overall, I had a fantastic time with the amazing team that is the cast, creatives and musicians that put on this wonderful show, produced by UK Productions. It had been a while since I'd used a Roland electronic kit - in fact, this was the longest run I'd played on one since I first started out 14 years ago!
The show, Sleeping Beauty, was full of modern pop numbers familiar to a younger audience, but a few Queen classics made it in there, which were a joy to play (Somebody To Love, Seven Seas Of Rhye) and even a little bit of musical theatre (If You Believe - The Wiz).
The Act I opening, a disco-fied version of Leslie Bricusse's Pure Imagination, from Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, was a fab number to kick off the show. Although a particular favourite of mine was the Toy Dance: a medley of 4 or 5 numbers, including latin, swing, rock and ballad - lots of different tempo changes, with track too, always fun for a drummer!
As with all pantos, the show relied on a huge amount of SFX from the drummer to add comedy - on this show, I used a vibraslap, flex-a-tone, swanee whistle, siren whistle, woodblocks and other percussive toys (pictured in gallery below).
Aside from the show, it was nice to go out for a day trip to Chester and Liverpool for some Christmas shopping. . . and a beer, or two!
Here's some pictures I took during my time in Rhyl. . . enjoy and thanks for reading!
For more, follow #fiveweeksinrhyl on Instagram.
It’s been 6 months now since I moved to London, and there’s been a lot happening behind the scenes already! Over the last few months, I’ve been working with a superb singer-songwriter, Markus Michelucci, whom I met randomly last April whilst he was busking at Borough Market. He’s a brilliant guy to be around and I’m looking forward to developing projects with him next year – check out his own band website, www.soundrefugemusic.com.
Last month, I was fortunate to be asked to play for Tally Koren, an Israeli-born international singer-songwriter and voiceover artist, at the Royal Albert Hall. I think that has to be the most amazing venue I have ever played in – the sound from the choir and orchestra was incredible. If you get the chance even to see a show there, go – it’s fantastic!
Also, I’ve been rehearsing with a brand new folk-inspired band (more on that soon). I auditioned and was lucky enough to get the gig! Looking forward to seeing what the future holds for this band next year.
And at present, it’s all go with panto preparation. I’m looking forward to spending five weeks with UK Productions at The Rhyl Pavilion next month, where The Sleeping Beauty will run until 6th January 2018. More here: www.rhylpavilion.co.uk/sleeping-beauty/
I am delighted to be working with UK Productions on panto this year. The Sleeping Beauty opens at The Rhyl Pavilion in Rhyl, North Wales on 13 December 2017.
The show's cast includes Coronation Street’s Janice Battersby (Vicky Entswistle) and
Channel 5’s Milkshake Presenter Amy Thompson.
Tickets can be booked online here: http://www.rhylpavilion.co.uk/sleeping-beauty/