Drummers have often been the butt of many musical jokes, for example 'how do you know when the stage is level?', 'because the drummer is drooling from both sides of his mouth'. But despite the light-hearted banter associated with them, the band wouldn't have quite so much 'oomph' without them. Like taxes, drains and public transport, they're a necessary evil. OK, maybe I'm harsh about taxes. Just kidding, drummers.
True technicians of the art of drumming became a rare thing during the '80s as more and more bands decided that the man with the sticks could be replaced by a machine that didn't continually ask, 'why do we never get to play my songs?'. Rock music, however, has a knack of producing the next John Bonham, Neil Peart or Buddy Rich, no matter what genre happens to be in vogue. Award-winning Gavin Harrison, who you may already know from his stint as Porcupine Tree's drummer, is a case in point. Progressive-rock has produced the likes of Bill Bruford and Mike Portnoy (who is currently masterminding the 'supergroup', Adrenaline Mob - on tour soon).
Harrison's CV displays nothing if not versatility - from Iggy Pop to Sam Brown, Incognito to Lisa Stansfield and from the ambient B.J.Cole to the heavier Porcupine Tree and its various other solo projects, the sticksman is capable of not only working with a vast array of artists, he also teaches the subject, performs seminars and the occasional demonstration for brand management purposes (most recently for the SONOR drum factory which you can watch in this article).
For the past few years he has been working with bassist O5Ric and it's this current project that Harrison will be bringing to the UK in June for a short tour. Support will be provided by another celebrated bass musician, the king of the Chapman Stick, Tony Levin with Stick Men, his collaborative project with Pat Mastelotto. Tour dates begin in Manchester on 3rd June, followed by Birmingham, Cardiff, Bristol and Islington. We will have tickets on sale from tomorrow morning (Friday 30th March), priced from £15 upwards.