2017 has just ended and has been quite a mixed year with teaching and performances. Once again my students achieved outstanding results in their Trinity Drumset Exams with several students scoring distinction results and scores in the 90's.
In 2018 I will be teaching drums at a new school - Lane Cove West Public and although I have taught many students privately from that school and teach at all their workshops they have now asked me to come and teach on site so I am looking forward to that.
This month January will start off in a big way with a 10 date National Tour with Ben Portsmouth. Ben is probably one of the most authentic Elvis Tribute Artists in the world and must be seen to be believed. Here he is on the David Letterman Show
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLPpFv8aS6E. We are performing in theatres around the country and the band lined up for this tour to back Ben is top notch. Look forward to performing on stage with my old friend Evelyn Duprai who is number one in my book when it comes to female vocalists. Evelyn is in the band for this tour.
The Beatles Orchestrated Tour will commence in February and I am also looking forward to sharing the stage with one of the greatest voices in Australian Rock - Doug Parkinson. Doug is special guest on this tour and will be performing several songs as a guest spot. Between Ben Portsmouth and The Beatles set list I have spent a lot of the Christmas break learning tunes but it is better to be prepared and smash it out of the park once you hit the stage.
Half of 2017 gone and the highlight has once again been our Beatles Orchestrated Series of concerts with the Australian Symphony Orchestra. We played sold out shows in Hamer Hall Melbourne, State Theatre Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Highlight show for me was the State Theatre show and having about 50 family and friends present in the audience of over 1800. Personally I felt I played really well that night and we were fortunate in having the show recorded to sell at future shows.
There are plans for the series of shows to continue in 2018.
Have also been preparing for a Paul McCartney tribute show and we have the first ones of those coming up at the end of July in Perth and Bunbury. It will be a delight to play on songs such as Band On The Run, Live and Let Die, Jet,Let Em In, Coming Up, Juniors Farm and many more. Once again I really feel these shows are tailor made for me as many close friends would know the affinity I have for these tunes.
Having also been helping a few outstanding students in their drumming at that has been keeping me busy as well.
Looking forward in anticipation to a new series of shows this year. We have just done the first of The Beatle Orchestrated II shows which was in Hamer Hall, Melbourne last weekend to an audience of over 1800. The next two weeks will see shows in Perth at Crown Casino and our home base The State Theatre after that. It really has been a dream come true playing songs that had a profound effect in my life and I feel a very close attachment to some of the solo hits of The Beatles that we are playing - songs like Band On The Run, Jealous Guy, What Is Life, Live and Let Die and Imagine. These along with some Beatle classics - without doubt the greatest pop songs of all time.
Playing these tunes with a 35 piece orchestra and locking in alongside my friend George Ellis conducting has been superb. I come off stage every night feeling 10 feet tall and the audience reaction has been nothing short of amazing!
We also had a childhood friend of John Lennon in the audience at our Melbourne Show who sent as this priceless quote after watching our show
"The Beatle Boys, with the backing of The Australian Symphony Orchestra, create live on stage the music The Beatles could only create in the studio, and they do it superbly. Great entertainment for Beatle fans and anyone wanting to discover why The Beatles' music is as dynamic now as it was some 50 years ago.'
Quote from Michael Hill, a close friend of the young John Lennon and author of the highly acclaimed book 'John Lennon; The Boy Who Became A Legend'.
2016 finished off with some sensational shows in parts of Australia that I had never visited - Hobart, Launceston, Albany, Mandurah,Perth, Bundaberg,Sale, Warnambool, Bendigo, Renmark. We performed at some lovely theatres and by the end of the 30 dates The Beatle Boys were absolutely on fire.
In March 2017 we will commence a run of dates on our Rock and Roll Years show which will also be a lot of fun. We have just started to record a new cd to promote those shows and that will be available along with previous releases. I recorded backing tracks to rockers like Long Tall Sally, Roll Over Beethoven, Rock and Roll Music and others.
Teaching wise the end of 2016 saw some outstanding results from some of my students sitting for their Trinity Exams with the highest score being 96!! for a Grade 6 drumset exam. There were also several distinctions attained and overall 80% of my students scored a distinction. I am very proud. I also scored yet another Musician Of The Year award by one of my students at Lane Cove West Public School and I am starting to lose count how many times a drummer has won that award.
What a busy and fulfilling year it has been so far. The Beatles Orchestrated Tour has taken in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
All the shows have been great with Melbourne being a highlight with the performance at Hamer Hall having over 2,300 in the audience.
We have one more show in Adelaide(which is almost sold out) and then we will commence the No 1 tour which will feature the band only. The set list will be quite different to the orchestra shows but they will all be classics.
Playing alongside our conductor George Ellis and a 35 piece orchestra has been a career highlight for me and it has been most enjoyable. Orchestra shows are also being planned for early next year and we are all looking forward to them. It will be nice catching up with friends and fellow musicians around the country as the No 1 tour takes in regional Victoria, SA, WA,North Queensland and Tasmania.
I have already been contacted by friends that I haven't seen for ages who are coming to the shows. The No 1 Tour at this stage has 26 shows booked so I will be very busy until mid November. We kick off in Cairns in early August.
Teaching wise I am heavily booked and have several students preparing for Trinity Exams and I am focused on equalling or bettering the results from last year where a high percentage of students attained distinctions.
The Beatle Boys have already been booked for the yearly Port Macquarie Beatles Festival - February 2017 which was my first show with them earlier this year. We had a great time there and am sure there will be large crowds again. My gallery features many new photos from shows in 2016.
Fast approaching the end of another year with the news that many students are to sit their Trinity drumset exams at Kings School in Parramatta this October/November. Last year I am proud to say that I had several students score distinctions with one student scoring a high distinction. My new Leichhardt studio is also going well with bookings and the Roland Kit is getting a nice work out.
I have uploaded some clips of my playing on my Facebook page but I have been a little busy lately and have not had a chance to add to it. There is a good one of me playing along to Shake It Off by Talor Swift and I am more and more playing left hand on hi hat like one of my major influences Simon Phillips. I recently watched an old concert of Simon in fine form for Pete Townshend (Deep End). Brought back many memories as I had that concert on video back in the early 90's.
Very excited to have a front row seat to see my dear friend and MAJOR drumming influence Gary Husband who will be performing with John McLaughlin here in Sydney in early October. Gary will be playing keyboards (and a little drums) though I am equally excited to see the brilliant Ranjit Barot on drums who in my opinion is "one helluva player".Ranjit's style really resonates with me and considering he did not play drums for fifteen years, he is amazing. The live cd "The Boston Record" has been getting a good workout in the car cd player and Ranjit is in fine form on it. Looking forward to no doubt catching up and speaking with Gary who I first met in 1990 ( there is a photo in my gallery) and we have made plans to spend some time together this time as well. The last time we spoke in person was at the Royal Albert Hall, London in 2002.
Hope to meet and say hi to Ranjit as well.