Biog Highlights And LifeStory
Biography – HighLights
1977 first local band gigs aged 13
1980 first proper studio recording sessions.
1981 full album recording for UK child metal bender celeb!
1983 – 1985 original band gigs & ‘professional’ gigs at 20
1987 signed a record deal with Sire records, record 3 singles (vinyl) TV, UK & international gigs, Royal Albert Hall support & MTV.
1988 Tour Australia with No1 band UNDERWORLD. Zildjian cymbal deal.
1989 Tour Europe also USA & Canada with UNDERWORLD supporting Eurythmics.
1991 MICHAEL JACKSON UK tour support with D-INFLUENCE.
1991 – 1999 D-I touring USA, Sth America, UK, Europe. Also support to PRINCE, JAMES BROWN, En-Vogue, Mary J-Blige, Montreux Jazz festival, Glastonbury and more. TV shows, live with BJORK, RECORDING WITH TOM JONES, Reload album, SHOLA AMA & more.
2000 UK tour with SISTER SLEDGE.
2001 song writing, gigging UK freelancing. Drum endorsement with Tamburo drums.
2002 songwriting, album & single releases with top 10 artists.
2003 – 2007 songwriting, production company, production GOLD RECORD, writer, drummer, producer for primetime TV series theme, film tracks, album & singles for European No1 artists. Signed Publishing deal with Nettwerk publishing.
2004 – 2012 gigging the UK & internationally with top 40 band. Plus backing band for No1 artists.
2006 -2016 UK gigging & international gigging, recording sessions, re-union concerts with D-Influence
2017 – 2020 Bosphorus cymbals deal, South African concerts.
2021 – remote recording studio set up and sessions
“The world – an awesome, priceless place where we experience this miraculously stupendous journey called life. I am glad I am not a plant (no offence to plants) Pascal Consoli – 2012
The School Years
SHORT VERSION iN GREEN!
Age 9 I got my first gig, playing snare in the school show! The drummer was ill the day before the show (Phillip Davis) . I was madly hooked, it was not long before I got my first “kit” – a set of various sized cardboard boxes from the local greengrocer! I can remember it clearly, going there on 3 occasions and asking the chap if I could help myself. The kit got set up in the yard at home, I got the transistor radio and wholloped the living daylights out of the 6 cartons in front of me! I was 10.
Aged 11 I had lessons at school, 5 minutes a week with a 6th form student, it was magic, 1975, the beat went: “national front, national front, national front, what a load of bloody rubbish”. A year went by like that until one day my mum told me she’d found a local professional percussionist/drummer who would show me some stuff – wow! – I went every week and played his beautiful white 6 piece Gretsch kit in a hippy music room with red velvet curtains, percussion everywhere: vibraphone, congas and marimba .. heaven!!.. and just one road down from where I lived in North London. I leaned some rudiments, a bossa nova and simply soaked up magic. Before long I got my first real kit, a single headed 20″ brown swirly Premier bass drum, a Beverley snare, hi-hat and a ride, I could not believe it! I played every afternoon I could after school to blues, rock, soul – Thin Lizzy, AC-DC, Led Zep, Pink Floyd, Van Halen, Grover Washington, David Sanborn, Chaka Khan Rufus, anything and everything!
Youth & Music
Age 13, in the boys toilets at school, Steve North comes in, does his thing and says looking over “I hear you play drums, do you want to do a gig”? I didn’t know what that was, I had never played with other musicians let alone play live .. “er, ye ok” I said. I met Steve at his house that weekend, we jammed” ahahhah.. he had an electric guitar and a combo, it was mind blowing! It was 1977. We played weekly in the local church hall, playing tunes like Jumping Jack Flash and the odd original, we played them over and over mainly because we didn’t know anything else. I learned so much – it was to play bass drum patterns to compliment the bass line and make the song ‘move’, wow! My first gigs were at age 13 in local youth clubs and community centres. Playing drums in a band also meant I got a bit more attention from friends and girls! I became more confident and wanted to be as good as possible. We were 14 – the band took it seriously and from then on I knew it was all I wanted to ever do.
We rehearsed weekly gigged occasionally and made a proper demo age 14 and a proper gig at Dingwalls in Camden a year later. We were under age and school friends who came down had to lie to get in (this was before iD) We thought we were brilliant, an awesome band with original tunes (never occurred to us to play covers) We had a PA man who took us under his wing and promoted us. It lasted 5 years and we remain good friends to this day -years later.
I learned how to read drum parts and started doing cover gigs aged 19, earning money! That lasted a year. At age 20 I joined an original band who’s aim was to record fantastic pop, for success money and fame. 1985 “Boys Wonder” – had been gigging a year and got signed to Sire records, plus publishing. It was a new world of record companies, lawyers, tours, gigs, live to air TV, Royal Albert Hall support gigs, radio, recording studios, top producers, singles, videos etc etc. I got a deal with Zildjian cymbals .. it was all happening around 1985, the band ended in 1987. During that time I had been doing a band on a Saturday nights called “Santrax” with Clive Chaman on bass from Jeff Beck Group and guys from “The breakfast band” we played funk with a calypso vibe – supported Nina Simone at the Royal Albert Hall. Santrax were awesome.
A few months later I got a call from a band with a No1 throughout Australia – I got the audition and was on my way down under with Underworld! Big gigs, big vibes Kagaroo wrestling, I fed a bear too. Lots of touring followed including Europe, USA and Canada with the Eurythmics opening to 18.000 seater arenas. I got to meet and chat to George Harrison with Tom Petty and Dave Stewart whilst swinging from a bottle of Remy that Dave handed me (should have got a glass) It was all a superb experience. Underworld were dropped in 1990 and then went on to be Underworld as we know them with massive hits worldwide. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZ7pcq-qwLA
1991: I got the audition with D-Influence a few days later and after 4 rehearsals we supported Michael Jackson around the UK including 3 nights at Wembley Stadium, Woooaagh!! After a year of gigs we were back there with Prince. The cameras were on us, we had the whole of Wembley jumping (to my beat) We toured UK, Europe the USA, Japan, Brazil, Colombia, we did loads, every gig the band did was fantastic, an event, a memorable happening. The audiences showed so much love, we rocked every venue. Glastonbury gigs, Jools Holland, Jazz cafe, Hammersmith, Montreux Jazz festival supporting James Brown, we had people in the palm of our hands. The 8 years with D-Influence were some of the most fun. I got to jump in the Amazon River, swing from a vine and play Wembley – my dreams all came true!
Living The Dreams
Gigs, recordings & TV followed with Bjork, Tom Jones, Shola Ama, Rahsaan Patterson, Kathy Sledge and other D-Influence produced records and live shows. Throughout that time I had other side projects going, gigs and the odd tour. Playing with singers, world music instrumentalists and my own funk band (nearly signed to acid-jazz). I was also beginning to finish songs I had been writing that had been left wilting away on cassettes.
Picking Up The Guitar
I played piano for a year aged 10, gave it up for drums and began playing guitar ‘secretly’ age 17, making up chord sequences, melodies, kinda taught myself. I never told anyone because drummers are not supposed to be ‘musical’ .. anyways in 2001 I signed a publishing deal and also had BMG on offer too, so ner! Around the late 90’s I began to take writing seriously and actually finish off songs instead having tons of half written ideas. Some producers heard them – I got hooked up with a singer who went on that year to have a massive UK No2 and European hit which still gets played. I had 3 songs on that album. I then formed a production company “Sublime Productions” with soul brother Diego Dari, we did tracks everyday. My songs, our sounds and co-writes were making it on to albums, singles, TV & film. In 2004 we had a gold record in France, I put the studio band together played drums, co-produced and recorded it. Later that year a tune wrote in 20 minutes got to be the theme to French Big Brother TV Show .. mad! I played drums and co-produced it. We had French business partners, opened a publishing company and had big dreams..did some more film stuff made a little mark but it petered out eventually. It was hard to effectively maintain an “Anglo-Italo-Franco” music company! However it was a fantastic experience and more dreams came true! I still write and produce and am currently published through Willow songs.
I do what I like to do.. however it has not been all easy, life throws many whopping great big obstacles in ones way .. all sorts, mentally & physically. It has not been a sailing trip, I am not complaining about a lucky life, am just saying. Anyways, in the last few years I have been gigging around with great people, I love it. I teach most days too and do the odd session – also supplying drum recordings via internet and assisting Drum Art snare drums and sticks in the UK PLUS doing our Ali-Cat snare drums.
I have new projects in development, things are exciting, new opportunities being created, new challenges from all around. This sort of thing, makes one feel constantly alive in the moment. Improving oneself, working for yourself, motivating oneself and being creative never stops. The days are long and busy with the occasional forest bike ride, glass or red and good food. I have been practicing to though – trying to come up with weird stuff, original Afro-Arab world flavors .. but at the end of the day I bang out 2 & 4 “booOM SPRAAP”!!
Lastly – importantly to me, I am lucky to have a wonderful, beautiful, intelligent and hilarious woman by my side and Gaia my amazingly incredible, intelligentissima and beautiful step daughter – I love them so much and they keep me in check. Jacqueline Gross, I have known her since we were at school – we were together 5 yrs age 17-22 and reunited after 18yrs, proper nuts!! 🙂