I began working in Pubs and Clubs when I was 16 in the East & West End of London. There I learned all the basic drumming skills for a professional career eg. pop music covers, evergreen standards and jazz. The band also backed any guest singers that brought their own music with them (some were good some not so good).
By the time I was 21 I had been in the studio doing advertising Jingles and had recorded a single with the band "The Adam Combo" the group I was with at the time.
Shortly after that I joined a band called "Zac" and an album was recorded at IBC Studios in London.
Some of the musicians in that band , Chris Parren (keys) and Brent Forbes (Bass) with myself went on to back "Doris Troy"(Pictures) the American soul singer who wrote "Just One Look" a hit in the USA also a hit for the Hollies in the UK.
The guitar player in Doris's band was Micky Keen (Hair) and the band name was "The Gospel Truth"(Pictures) Later on Ray Russell came in on guitar. He is a talented musician, composer and producer who went on to form a band with Mo Foster and Simon Philips.
Ray introduced me to "Labi Siffre"(Pictures) Singer Songwriter and we both toured the UK with him for approx 8 Months. While I was with Labi I wrote a tune, he added the lyrics and later released it as a single titled "Dreamer".
Then came a call from Phil Kenzie Sax player with Doris's Band "The Gospel Truth" (he eventually went on to play with Rod Stewart & The Eagles).
Phil was doing the "Rocky Horror Show"(Pictures) at the Kings Road Theatre Chelsea and asked would I like to do the show. I said yes and there began a long run for me until the show transferred to the West End five years later.
During the run various musicians and musical directors came in to do the show. The first MD was Paul Hart he left shortly after I joined and the line up became Nick Rowley Piano, Dennis Cowan on Bass (Bonzo Dog Do Da Band),Will Hill Drums, The Count (Ian Blair) on Guitar.
We decided to have some fun and release a single called Funky Sailor. The band was called, yea you guessed it, "Rollox"(Pictures)
Soon after that the ball started rolling Nick Rowley started doing Jingle and TV work including me in the sessions. A record Producer/Musician named Peter Moss who deputised for Dennis Cowan also asked me to do sessions for him.
Peter Moss was working with Ben Findon a successful song Writer, giving me the opportunity to play on Hit records in the UK and Japan.
Titles - "Love Really Hurts Without You" (Remix) Billy Ocean, " I'm in the Mood for Dancing" The Nolans and "Wanted" The Dooleys
Peter Moss was also Musical Director for "Dana" (Pictures) a Eurovision song contest winner. He and I were part of the rhythm section when on tour as well as singing backing vocals.
I became involved with the BBC radio show "The News Huddlines"(Pictures) staring Roy Hudd, June Whitfield and Chris Emmett. Eventually it became one of the BBC's longest running comedy award winning shows with over 500 performances. Doug Henning the bass player became the Musical Director for the "Three Degrees". He booked me for a Live concert/album/tv at the Albert Hall with the London Symphony Orchestra on Congas and that was a great Buzz.
Five years into the run of "Rocky" I began deputising at the London west end show "Jesus Christ Super Star"(Pictures) for the drummer John Lingwood. He left and I was offered the show playing it for the last two years of the 7 year run. Not long after that I went on to play the last 3 years of "Evita"(Pictures) at the Prince Edward Theatre.
Another Rocky Horror Musical Director was Peter Brewis Composer. I played on many of his sessions which included "The Lenny Henry Show" "Alas Smith & Jones" "Reeves & Mortimer" and the cult TV Series "The Young Ones" which was sold worldwide.
A call from the BBC programme "Play Away" introduced me to the musical director Jonathan Cohen. He presented and wrote the music for Educational programmes, Childrens Drama & Documentary programmes . This also gave me the opportunity to do some presenting and drum solo work. These programmes include "Music Time" "Into Music", "Rent A Ghost" & "Incidental Music" for "Playdays". Jonathan also had his own recording studio and I played percussion on many of his incidental music tracks using a Drum kat Midi Controller and Akie S950 sampler.
In between Superstar and Evita David Firman Musical Director asked me to do "The Wiz"(Pictures) at the Crucible Theatre Sheffield for eight weeks. His arrangements were interesting and challenging to play with lots of percussion toys in with the kit work. The geography of where to place each instrument had to be carefully thought out so that they could be picked up and played on cue. The show had great vocals and was very enjoyable to play.
In 1985 as Evita came to an end I had the pleasure of working with "Dusty Springfield"(Pictures) I remember seeing Dusty on the 60's TV show "Ready Steady Go" when I was young and had always admired her as a great singer. She liked to hear the drums loud and believe me I have never hit them so hard.
I carried on doing recording sessions at the BBC, gigs and deputising in shows such as "Me And My Girl" until I was offered the show "Blood Brothers"(Pictures) written by Willy Russell Starring Kiki Dee at the Albery Theatre St Martins Lane. After doing the initial band rehearsals and watching the dress rehearsal (the band was situated on the top level of the on stage scenery) I realised this was going to be a hit show and it is still running today although I left two years into the run.
Whilst working for the independent television company Felgate productions I met Andrew Dodge - Composer. We worked together on a number of projects some of which included the educational programmes " Why Bird" & "Number Time" For the BBC.
In the year 2000 I began working for Chris Smith's Big Band "The String Of Pearls"(Pictures) doing concerts and corporate functions throughout the UK. Chris Smith plays trombone and toured with Frank Sinatra on his world tour "The Ultimate Event". The music is varied from big band charts like Frank Sinatra's version of "Mack the knife" & "Bad Bad Leroy Brown" to the "Blues Brothers" and special arrangements of "Raining Men" & "Never can say goodbye"
The latest project I have worked on is "The Gruffelo"(Pictures) Book & CD written by Julia Donalson for young children soon to be released, arrangements by Andrew Dodge. The book itself is already very successful worldwide and the author has written songs to accompany the characters, she also sings all the vocals.
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