What the drummer sees: behind the kit with Rush, Queen, Priest & more...
New photography book shows you the world from “A Drummer’s Perspective”.
Drummers. They’re the butt of too many jokes to mention, often seen as the most dispensable/replaceable members of the band – in fact, sometimes the rest of the band don’t even speak to them – and they’re rarely the focus of rock photography. But now a new book, A Drummer’s Perspective, aims to change some of that.
The work of David Phillips, a former head of European Artist Relations for Pearl Drums and currently handling European Artist Relations for Drum Workshop (DW), Phillips combined his day job and his love of photography by shooting some of the world’s best drummers. “It’s often said that the drummer has the best seat in the house and I wanted to present that feeling of sitting centre stage and being the driving force of the band,” he says.
Rush's Neil Peart...
David Phillips: “This was on the Snakes and Arrow tour, at the Birmingham NEC, October 2007. It was the first time I had met and photographed Neil. Lorne his drum tech gave me the tour of the kit prior to the show as I am the DW artist relations rep in the UK and provide tour support for Neil and Lorne whilst they are over in the UK.”
Journey’s drummer Deen Castronovo...
DP: “Nottingham Royal Concert Hall, March 2007. I had a AAA pass so during the show I explored the backstage area and found there was a small balcony behind the stage where I could take photos to really show the view the band gets during the concert. I always wear black or dark colours when I go to photo bands for this reason so I don’t stand out on stage or if I do something like at this concert where I shoot from behind the band.”
Slash's Brent Fitz...
DP: “This photo was taken at the Manchester Academy 2, July 2010 when Slash played two solo shows before the High Voltage festival. Brent Fitz the drummer had just received his custom hand painted DW drum kit and the artist was his drum tech, John Douglas who usually tech’s for Alex Van Halen. Brent is one of the hardest hitting drummers I know and during sound check I took some close photos of him on stage while he was playing and it was so loud my ears were ringing for days.”
Roger Waters’ drummer Graham Broad...
DP: “Taken at sound check on the Roger Waters Dark Side of the Moon tour, Birmingham NEC May 2007. This is one of my favourite photos with the screen behind him featuring a cool space image. Graham arranged for the lighting guys to stay behind after the sound check to light up his kit so I could take these photos. It was just him and I on stage and I walked around him taking photos while he carried on playing.”
Slipknot’s Joey Jordison...
DP: “Slipknot, Download 2006. Photo taken in main stage pit. Joey is using Tommy’s Lee’s old riser and is strapped in using a five point harness. The kit is secured down with heavy duty bolts and lifts Joey 15 feet in the air during his drum solo. He keeps playing throughout! Joey pours water over himself while playing to keep himself cool so the whole kit gets covered in water also during the show.”
Queen’s Roger Taylor...
DP: “Queen and Paul Rodgers, The Cosmos Rocks tour, Birmingham NEC, October 2008. This was taken during Roger’s drum solo. He starts off playing just a bass drum and his tech Nigel builds the kit around him while he plays his solos adding the drums and cymbals one at the time. If you look closely at the photo you can see Nigel behind Roger as he’s adding a stand.”
Judas Priest’s Scott Travis...
DP: “Judas Priest, Birmingham NEC, February 2009. My favourite photo and also the book cover. To take this photo I had to stand on a riser behind Scott with a 30 foot drop behind me which was scary! On stage it’s pretty dangerous with Judas Priest with lots of flame throwers, fireworks and concussion explosions so I can to play very close attention to the stage manager as to when I could move around.”
Heaven & Hell's Vinny Appice...
DP: “Heaven & Hell, Birmingham NEC, November 2007. Photos taken during Vinny’s drum solo. Vinny invited me to eat with the band prior to the show and he was so down to earth and funny to talk to. It was a pleasure to work with the band and I was very pleased to go back out with them on the following tour a couple of years later.”
Van Halen schedule was always wrong...
Axeman Eddie admits they hit toured earlier than they wanted to – and reveals relief when young son Wolfgang showed interest in music.
Eddie Van Halen says the band went out on tour long before they wanted to – and that’s one of the reasons they postponed a series of dates during the summer.
And he’s revealed his relief when son Wolfgang, bassist in Van Halen, first showed an interest in and talent for music at an early age.
A Different Kind of Truth, their first album with David Lee Roth since 1984, pushed the band back into the limelight earlier this year – then gave rise to speculation that their old feuds had risen when they suddenly pulled 30 shows of their tour.
But Van Halen says they knew it was too soon to hit the road, and they only reason they did it was to play New York’s Madison Square Garden before the venue closed for refurbishment.
He tells USA Today: “The record took a lot out of us, then we went on tour earlier than we wanted to so we could play Madison Square Garden, and that threw the schedule out of whack.”
But he’s hinted the band will make it up to their fans, saying: “In November we’ll hit Japan and in the new year we’ll possibly do something special – but I can’t talk about it.”
Meanwhile, the guitarist says he didn’t try to force Wolfgang into a musical career, and he didn’t even tell him much about Van Halen’s musical heritage – but he was overjoyed when his son found his own way into the art.
“A lot of people are born with a gift but they just kind of half-ass it,” says the proud dad. “They never reach the level they could be at. At the opposite end you have people who are not born with the natural ability, who work so damn hard but never get anywhere because they don’t have that edge.
“To be born with rhythm is a helluva bonus.” Turning to Wolfgang he says: “I was so happy when I saw you foot-tapping to a commercial. ‘Yes – he’s got rhythm!’”
Wolfgang reveals the best advice his father has given him is: “You only have twelve notes. It’s a matter of how you use them.” In turn, Eddie says his dad told him: “If you make a mistake, do it twice and smile. People will think you meant it.”
Johnson burned by AC/DC cannon...
Singer admits standing under big guns for 30 years is “horrible” and recounts near-misses with giant bell on stage – and says band would consider festival appearances in future.
AC/DC singer Brian Johnson says he’s spent 30 years being burned by the cannon fired during their track For Those About to Rock We Salute You.
He’s also experienced a number of near-miss accidents when swinging from the Hell’s Bells stage prop.
And the veteran singer says the band would consider making more festival appearances in future after breaking their own rule to play the Download event at Donington, UK in 2010.
Johnson recently revealed the Australian giants were preparing to discuss work on a new album after taking time off following their two-year Black Ice world tour.
He’s already ruled out another global trek of that magnitude, describing it as “body-breaking” – and suggests their no-festival policy is a thing of the past as a result.
Johnson tells Fox News: “I wouldn't like to do another one like the last one. We never want to go on stage and have people saying, ‘Oh, you should have seen them ten years ago.’ So I doubt we’ll be doing a big one. If we could do some festivals I wouldn't mind that at all – that would be lovely.”
It’s 32 years since the Geordie front-man took over from Bon Scott following his tragic death. Since that time AC/DC have gone on to become one of the biggest bands in the world – during 2010 one in every 15 major concert tickets sold across the planet was theirs.
But Johnson admits it’s not all cheers and applause: “I could write a book about about standing under the cannon for 30 years. These horrible sparks come out of them – at the end of the show I have burn markets all over my shoulders.”
Discussing the giant bell he says: “A couple of times it’s been raining and I've had to run to get up to the rope. There’s been a couple of dodgy times when I've slipped just before I launched myself.”
Surprisingly the singer says he has no warm-up routine to speak of, explaining: “I just go into the bathroom, make a big loud noise and then come back to the boys and say. ‘Well, that’s me ready’.”
Asked how highly he’d rate AC/DC in a list of all-time great rock bands, Johnson replies: “It’s not my place .We definitely have a shot at being up there somewhere but I wouldn't like to put myself in that position.
“I try to give as much passion up there, and as long as I can keep in tune for the band I’m happy. It’s just a very singular band with very singular members.”
Scorpions set for World Cup show...
Guitarist Jabs confirms band have given up on split plan, they’ve reworked unfinished 80s and 90s material – and reveals they’ve been asked to open 2014 football extravaganza.
Scorpions guitarist Matthias Jabs has confirmed the band have given up on their plan to split – although they probably won’t keep going the way they have in the past.
He says they’ve been invited to play at the opening ceremony of football’s 2014 World Cup competition in Brazil.
And he adds their next studio project is likely to include completed versions of songs they didn’t finish in the 1980s and 1990s.
The German outfit announced their intention to break up after one last work tour in 2009. But as more and more dates were added they admitted they were reconsidering the decision.
Now Jabs says that, like Judas Priest, they’re planning to keep going as a band, but won’t be touring the world any more.
He tells AZCentral.com: “The Scorpions will not break up. We’re giving up the constant touring – into the studio, out of the studio, back on the road.
“There’s a routine of making an album and touring the world for two and a half years. We said, ‘Can we go in the studio in 2013, Klaus will be 65, and then do another world tour?’ It might get shaky.
“We have a project which we will probably release next year. We have so much film material. We will work on something like an anthology, some kind of box set.”
Earlier this year the Scorpions recorded some new tracks for the project. Jabs says the work consisted of “resurrecting unfinished songs from what some people say was our best time – leftovers from Blackout, Love at First Sting, Crazy World and Savage Amusement.
“There’s so much strong material. The vibe is great because it’s from the time when we were starting out.
“Back then, when I found a new riff I would get excited. It’s slightly different today because I know it all, I’ve heard it all. It’s much harder to get excited about the simplest or sometimes half-genius riff. But there was a definite spark in those old recordings. The idea is to redo them with today’s technology and take it further.”
While the band have nothing scheduled beyond tour’s end on December 15 in Germany, Jabs says: “Nobody has said we’ll never hit the stage again. We were approached to play for the opening of the World Cup in 2014. That is not confirmed – but those opportunities, we would not let slip away.”
Tate plays Queensryche show solo as daughter denies ‘tyrant’ claims...
Singer performs alone when members of splinter group Rising West fail to appear – as daughter and drummer’s wife clash online.
Queensryche singer Geoff Tate played the band’s Scorpions support slot last night as a solo artist.
He said the show must go on after explaining some band members, who last week launched splinter group Rising West, had failed to turn up.
The move came after Tate’s stepdaughter released a furious statement defending her father against accusations of being a “tyrant”.
It’s the latest twist in a drama that serves to increase speculation over the prog metal giants’ future – and casts doubt over whether they’ll perform the five remaining shows in their diary.
Ahead of Monday’s concert in Valley City, Utah, the front-man announced “some of the members” of Queensryche weren’t able to appear “due to personal reasons.” He went on: “Although I would have really loved for all of us to play together, it wasn't possible for them.
“I couldn't miss playing for one of the best rock audiences in the world and opening for one of my all-time favorite bands for anything. I plan to rock Salt Lake City today.”
Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson, Scott Rockenfield and Parker Lundgren played their first shows as Rising West in Seattle at the weekend with singer Todd La Torre of Crimson Glory. Earlier they said they’d been blocked from making announcements on Queensryche’s website and Facebook page. In a radio interview they added they couldn't comment on the current situation, but hinted Rising West could take them in a new direction.
Following that broadcast Tate’s stepdaughter Miranda posted a 500-word statement on her Facebook page, saying the singer was “on the defensive” and details of his band-mates’ “hostile” behavior would soon be revealed.
Miranda Tate claimed:
• Rising West could have promoted their shows on Queensryche’s Facebook page if they’d got in touch with the administrator, as Tate was required to do – but they didn’t
• No one, including the frontman, had direct access to post on the band’s website
• Commenting had been banned because of the amount of “profane” comments
• The singer had worked with outside writers on Queensryche material since the departure of guitarist Chris DeGarmo because the other members failed to contribute
• Manager Susan Tate, her mother, negotiated with those writers, “pissing them off” to divert some of their royalties to band members who hadn’t written
• The frontman wanted their last album Dedicated to Chaos to be heavier, but worked with the songs that were delivered because his bandmates had started writing
• She’d implored the entire band to provide input for their website and app, but only Tate provided anything
• An unnamed member opposed the sending of a thank-you letter to band staff, saying it wasn’t appropriate since they were being paid for their work
• Fan club members were no longer being offered meet-and-greet passes because the Tates had been prevented from running the promotion; and they’d tried to make up for it by offering passes to Tate solo gigs
• All creative decisions, including the controversial cabaret project, had been decided upon by a democratic vote.
She finished: “So before you think the man that worked the hardest by a long way for years and years is a tyrant then think again. You don’t know the facts.”
Rockenfield’s wife Misty replied to the missive by saying “This is all a flat-out lie.”
Zakk Wylde, Lars Ulrich and Sebastian Bach go into a bar…
BLS boss remembers drinks queue where star status meant nothing – and recalls moment Ozzy claimed his fans were shouting for Dio.
Black Label Society main-man Zakk Wylde recalls a night in the early 1990s where even rock star status didn’t excuse himself and members of Metallica and Skid Row from a bar queue.
It led to a celebrated story in which Lars Ulrich wound up handing cups of Wylde’s piss to fans, thinking it was beer. But the guitarist is more surprised the event took place at all.
He recounts the memory in his new book Bringing Metal to the Children, and tells Guitar International: “It doesn't make any sense. I didn’t want to lose my spot in line for drinks. I was putting them on the bar and I was going to throw them out when I was finished pissing – there was a garbage can a few feet away.
“The funny part was that it took place in 1990 or 1991. To have Lars Ulrich from Metallica, the guys from Skid Row and me all having to wait in a long line to get a beer in a packed club? We didn't get any special attention there. I’m just trying to picture that now – it would never happen.”
Wylde gave up drinking in 2009 after being treated for near-fatal blood clots, but he says it’s hardly impacted on his life and doesn't affect those around him. “People ask me, ‘What are you going to do when you get out on the road?’ I tell them, ‘Pretty much the same fucking thing I do now – I just won’t be drinking.”
He admits he occasionally took to the stage drunk while a member of Ozzy Osbourne’s band, saying: “I’m sure he knew a few times. When it starts getting in the way of things you have to put a lid on it.”
But his overriding memory of his years with Osbourne is the laughter. He singles out one night on tour when the singer insisted his crowd were calling for Ronnie James Dio, his replacement in Black Sabbath.
Wylde says: “His sense of humour is off the charts – he’s the coolest guy and doesn’t give a shit about his stardom.
“We were playing at a festival somewhere and we were backstage waiting for the encore. The crowd is going nuts chanting: Ozzy, Ozzy, Ozzy! He says to me, ‘Zakk, do you hear? Listen good – I swear they’re saying: Ronnie, Ronnie, Ronnie!’ We’d be crying laughing. He’d do stuff like that all the time.”
Lita escaped from ‘Ike and Tina’ marriage...
Ford says relationship with Jim Gillette left her “unable to function” – and believes new lease of life is reward from God for survival.
Lita Ford has likened her marriage to ex-bandmate Jim Gillette to the tumultuous relationship between Ike and Tina Turner – and believes her new lease of life is a gift from God because she survived.
The guitarist is set for a tour with Def Leppard and Poison to promote new album Living Like a Runaway, and says her life is massively different from when she released 2009′s Wicked Wonderland, which she now describes as “more of a Jim album”.
Now recovering after a messy divorce, Ford says working with Gillette was similar to the unbalanced and sometimes violent relationship the Turners lived through before their 1976 split.
She tells Sleaz Roxx: “It really was like Ike and Tina, completely. It was incredibly awkward for me. I believe in working with your spouse, in supporting your spouse in whatever they want to do.
“Just don’t do it for them. You have to drawn the line somewhere. I got to the point where I could no longer function – I sat back and let him do his thing.”
She reveals they regularly argued after press interviews: “When he was done I’d say something, then I’d get into trouble for whatever I’d say.
“It got to the point where I said, ‘You know what? I can write a Lita Ford album – I don’t need someone to write a Lita Ford album for me’.”
The guitarist says the split with Gillette was “terribly difficult, frighteningly difficult,” and recently revealed she was being blocked from seeing the couple’s two children. But having come through the experience she’s positive about the future and her current release.
“I feel like God has dropped this whole album in my lap,” she says. “He’s given me this tour with Def Leppard and I’m going with it.”
Ford has previously referred to her unhappiness about the fate of a late 80s album, The Bride Wore Black, that was never finished and never released. Now she’s given up hope of the work ever being heard.
“It was kind of a concept album,” she says. “I came close to finishing it. There are tapes sitting on my old record company’s shelves. But I don’t think it will ever see the light of day – the company had gone through so many changes at the time and the album got caught up in all the house-cleaning that was taking place.”