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Interview with Gary Husband | Bill Bruford | Nicko McBrain | Bob Henrit | Brian Bennett | Ric Lee | Kevin Godley | Mark Brzezicki | Gilson Lavis | Brian Downey | Bobby Elliot | Tony Meehan | Rob Townsend | Bobby Graham | Ian Paice | Interview with Geoff Dunn | Geoff Dugmore | Nigel Glockler | Dolphin Taylor | Ginger Baker | Paul Robinson | Keith Moon | Pete Best | Simon Kirke | Ginger Baker | Warren Cann | Eric Delaney | Dave Mattacks | Steve Ferrone | Gary Husband | Clive Bunker | Topper Headon | Rat Scabies | Steve White | Don Powell | Woody Woodmansey | Pete York | Henry Spinetti | Jon Hiseman | Nick Mason | Kenney Jones | Interview with Jimmy Copley - Manfred Mann’s Earthband/The Straits | Clem Cattini | John Coghlan | Stewart Copeland | Interview with Phil Gould |

British Drum Icons

Welcome to British Drum Icons, the latest feature to be added to our ever expanding website.  This new sub-section of the site is dedicated to the celebration of British drummers who have been admired by many and been an influence to some of the biggest names in the industry. 

In our constant search for new drumming heroes we often tend to forget those who blazed a path for others to follow.  People like Clem Cattini, Brian Bennett and Bob Henrit were among a phalanx of drummers who came out of the melting pot of skiffle, when British rock music was at its infancy.  They are the "without whom brigade" who laid the trail for Ringo, Moonie and Bonzo to follow.  If you think you haven’t heard these guys play, think again. Put together, their work is a fantastic and rich slice of music from the early days of rock ‘n’ roll and they are all still going strong today. They were and remain true innovators who have played with rock and pop’s royalty.

We will start of with six great drummers and will be adding more in time to make this a complete record of some of the greatest British drumming heroes.  This first set of interviews were done by Mark Forster, who is regular contributor of feature interviews to, a news journalist of some 20 years and the inspiration behind the piece.  So here they are, in no particular order......

Click to read the full interview
Bob Henrit

BOB HENRIT – cemented himself into music history with Argent and later took the drumming duties with The Kinks following Mick Avory’s departure. But even before he helped form Argent he was a veteran of the fast-moving British pop and rock scene, having left school to play drums for Adam Faith as one of the Roulettes, moving on to Unit 4+2 and other bands.

He passed up the chance to play with John Mayall and also the role of second drummer with Genesis and for many years ran his own drum shop in London.  Read the full interview.

Kevin Godley

KEVIN Godley – was a true innovator with 10cc, enjoying tinkering with sounds in the studio as much as playing drums. As much a lead vocalist, composer and avante garde technological whizzkid, Godley’s self-confessed simplistic approach to drums and drumming belies his technique and feel.

He moved towards drum programming with Godley and Crème and then quit drumming until a reunion with former 10cc colleague, Graham Gouldman. With Lol Crème, Godley was also a successful and sought after videographer. Read full interview

Mark Brzezicki

MARK BRZEZICKI – has played with some of the leading bass players in British rock and pop history, from John Entwhistle to Pino Palladino, Mark King to Bruce Foxton and his unique and energetic drumming style has won him lots of session work.

He is best known for his drumming duties with Big Country and the band, minus frontman Stuart Adamson, who committed suicide in 2002, are back on the road and recording a new album to mark their 25th anniversary.   Read full interview

Ric Lee

RIC LEE – an exciting and explosive drummer, Lee found fame with Ten Years After and played at the legendary Woodstock Festival in 1969. One of the inspirations for Spinal Tap, Lee helped show a certain John Henry Bonham how he was playing triplets after a gig at Middle Earth in Covent Garden.

Still playing and retaining a refreshing enthusiasm about drumming and music, Lee and Ten Years After Now, are enjoying cult status and regularly tour Europe.  Read full interview

Clem Catinni

CLEM CATTINI – one of the drumming world’s elder statesman, best known for his session work and his remarkable time-keeping, Cattini has played on more UK number one hits than any other drummer. His impressive CV also includes membership of The Tornados, whose groundbreaking Telstar was the first British single to top the US charts.

Clem has worked with rock and pop royalty, from Tom Jones to Roy Orbison, the Walker Brothers to Dusty Springfield, was also a Womble and was the man who turned down Led Zeppelin.  Read the full interview here.

Click to read the full interview
Brian Bennett

BRIAN BENNETT – perhaps best known as The Shadows’ sticksman, Brian was a teenage prodigy who took his love for jazz and big band and helped shape it into the new world of rock ‘n’ roll. A true innovator, Bennett played for some of the top names in music before settling into The Shadows’ chair. Bennett is also a talented and award-winning composer, behind many TV and movie themes and incidental music.

Ever-smiling with a passion for music, Bennett has never stopped learning about drumming and music. At the height of The Shadows’ fame in the early 1960s, he was never without a drumming book on set or on tour.  Read the full interview.

Read the full Interview
Gilson Lavis

Gilson Lavis boasts an exquisite musical pedigree. He was Chuck Berry''s drummer of choice in the early 1970s and toured with artists as diverse as Edwin Starr, Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette.  A modest guy, he’s managed to stay at the top of his game for the past 30 years, despite a near fatal addiction to alcohol.  He is the epitome of the drummer''s drummer - happy to keep it in the pocket making someone else the star.

Since his pairing with erstwhile Squeeze alumni, Jools Holland, he has gone on to play with rock''s royalty, from the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Barry White and a stellar list of other musical acts.  Read the full Interview

Dave Mattacks

Prolific sessioneer Dave Mattacks first came to prominence when he joined folk rockers Fairport Convention in the late 1960s. Since then he''s been a regular with Sir Paul McCartney, Elton John and a host of other top acts in the world of popular music.

Mattacks relocated to America in 2000 and remains busy as an in-demand session musician, as well as finding time to renew old friendships with his erstwhile bandmates in Fairport Convention. One of major plusses for Mattacks, and with it the demand for his services, is the ability to play pretty much any style of music, from jazz to rock, pop to blues, but stresses there is no secret to his success apart from hard work and understanding what the performer wants. Read the full interview.

Bobby Elliott was one of the true drumming innovators to come out of the Britpop revolution in the 1960s. His jazz-influenced style set new standards for others to follow. The popular Hollies'' drummer is still going strong today, still a member of the group that outscored even The Beatles for the amount of hits they had during the 1960s, still recording and touring and still setting those high standards. Read the full interview.

Tony Meehan set the ball rolling as far as British Rock ‘n’ Roll drummers were concerned. It wasn’t so much that he was the first, although arguably he was, he simply was the one with the highest profile. He was on television with the guys everyone wanted to see: Cliff Richard and the Drifters.

Tony Meehan had the highest profile any young British drummer had ever had three or four years before Ringo and showed us how to play drums in black and white on TV most Saturday evenings. Cliff and the guys were frequently on the couple of pop music shows of the time as well as the big variety shows like Sunday Night at the London Palladium and the Billy Cotton Band Show. Read the full interview here

Rob Townsend is one of those drummers who have garnered less recognition than they should have done. His dexterous, hard-hitting style propelled prog rockers Family to top ten successes in both the singles chart and long players. Nowadays he’s either bashing out the hits with The Manfreds or The Blues Band. In between times he’s played a diverse mix of music, as a session man on punk tracks through to Peter Skellern, George Melly and on to Bill Wyman. Read the full story here

Bobby Graham provided the drumbeat behind two of the most famous rock riffs of all time. He was there at the dawn of Britpop, playing drums on The Kinks'''' breakthrough singles, ‘You Really Got Me’ and ‘All Day And All Of The Night’. And it speaks volumes that Ray Davies, lyrical and musical powerhouse of The Kinks, called on Graham 40 years later for a "fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants" session, which included a reworking of ‘You Really Got Me’. Magical moments in musical history. Read the full story here.

Ian Paice needs no introduction. He is the powerhouse that has for 40 years propelled Deep Purple with a deep sense of groove, power, swing and swagger. He remains the only man to have played in all the line ups since the bands inception. He spawned a whole generation of rock drummers with his speed, control and knowing when to leave space. His career has also taken in the multi platinum Whitesnake outfit and funky offshoots such as Paice Ashton Lord. He continues to mesmerise audiences - but it is his lengthy recording legacy that is astonishing. Read the full story here.
Geoff Dugmore is the most amiable drummer I know, but through no fault of his own, he’s not easy to tie down. The problem is he’s always working with the likes of Robbie Williams, Mark King, Killing Joke, Gabrielle, David Knopfler, Jimmy Nail, Debbie Harry, Brian May, Bob Geldoff, Nick Hayward, Tina Turner, Stevie Nicks, Tony Banks, Tim Finn, Paul Young, Louise, the Thompson Twins, Joan Armatrading, Rod Stewart, Dido, Natalie Imbruglia, Stevie Winwood, the Gypsy Kings, Paul Carrack, Lulu, Busted, Will Young, Johnny Hallyday, Jeff Beck, Ronan Keating... Read the full story here 
Geoff  Dunn has been a name on the scene for at least 25 years now. The first drum clinic I ever went to in London was 25 years ago to see Gerry Brown (the USA drummer not the UK one) and there was this young lad supporting him called Geoff Dunn. I sat next to Geoff’s parents at the show and they told me all about him. When I finally moved to London everybody that I worked with all talked about Geoff so when I finally got to meet him there was much I wanted to talk about, such as his time with artists like Incognito, Jimmy Page, The Blessing, Van Morrison and Tom Jones. Read the full story here

Keith Moon would have been 57, and fast approaching his first bus pass, on August 23rd 2008. I first met him sometime in the summer of 1965. He was coming out of an independent studio in London called IBC as I was going in. We said hello and that was it... Read the full story here.

Ginger Baker was honoured with the ‘Zildjian Drummers Achievement Award’ at a special gig at Shepherds Bush Empire on December the 7th 2008 and I went along to talk to him at a press launch a few weeks before the event. I figured all the other magazines would be asking him about Cream, Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce so wanted to come up with a different angle. Read the full story here

Nigel Glockler earnt his first taste of success with singer Toyah Willcox in the early 80’s. However, he was soon to reach new heights standing in for one Pete Gill who had suffered an injury to his hand. This gave Nigel the drum stool in one of the biggest and most pioneering British metal bands to date, Saxon. Having left sometime later, he now resides back where he belongs with the rest of the guys from Saxon touring heavily and playing to packed out audiences around the world. To read more, click here...
Simon Kirke and I have often bumped into each other by accident at various watering-holes but this time we were meeting by design. Simon was here doing a few gigs before Christmas and I drove up the M1 to talk to him before a gig at Wavendon. To read more, click here...
Pete Best is the original Beatles'''' drummer who was sacked in 1962 for (depending on whose version you listen to) being the most popular member of the band, or not being a good enough player. Since his enforced and lengthy retirement from the music business Pete has bought himself a new drum kit, started out on the road with his own ''''name'''' band and, thanks to those early recordings and an early redundancy pay-out, is now doing very nicely thank you. To read more click here...
Dolphin Taylor first came to prominence in 1977 as drummer with the Tom Robinson Band (TRB). They were bundled in with the nihilist punk rock crowd but were musically more refined than many of their contemporaries. They stood apart from the plethora of ‘Anarchy’ bands largely because Tom, the articulate singer and bass player wrote songs with a deep social conscience that were anti-racist and pro individual freedom. To read more, click here...
Paul Robinson and I were supposed to get together at Drummer Live but in the event, the racket there wasn’t conducive to recording an interview and he came around to my place for a couple of gallons of coffee and a good chat. By the time the coffee kicked in we were both losing our inhibitions and the article doesn’t contain some of the racier stuff we talked about that morning - stuff that happened when we were young and impressionable before marriage, children and mortgages. But what it does show is that in the 21st century there are new ways to earn a living as a drummer – in Paul’s case without leaving home. To read more, click here...
Eric Delaney turned me and arguably every other drummer of my generation on to the possibilities of playing the drums. He was the premier showman drummer of the time (pun intended) and if anyone was playing a flamboyant drum solo on black and white TV in the late Fifties it was always Eric. To read more, click here...
Steve Ferrone's tasteful musicality and powerful groove has made him one of the most popular drummers in music today. Steve first came to international prominence while playing with the Average White Band during the 1970s. To read more, click here...

Warren Cann is the drummer behind one of the most recognisable beats in music history. He’s also one of the pioneers of electronic drums, a visionary who saw the potential behind the odd-looking boxes of tricks and explored further, always pushing the boundaries. Yet Warren Cann appears to have been overlooked for his contribution to music. With some B-sides, he was coming up with what would become the norm in techno, drum ‘n’ bass (or in this case drum ‘n’ synth) and rave music years later. To read more click here

Steve White is one of the most respected drummers in the U.K. and is renowned worldwide for having held the position of drummer for Paul Weller for over 25 years until; they parted ways in 2007. Repeatedly featured in drum polls, festivals and magazines, Steve White has an unmoveable passion, dedication and love for the art which drives him to explore the possibilities both of different genres of music and different areas of the music business. To read more click here...

Don Powell is the drummer with Slade, who are arguably the greatest glam rock band ever! Don was a working class boy playing local clubs and pubs when he first started with the band, but he went on to achieve huge chart success and all the fame, fortune and madness that goes with it. Slade became a ‘70’s phenomenon and one of Britain’s most successful pop acts of all time. Their good-time-vibe anthems and scarves-in-the-air sense of rock balladry has lasted them throughout their entire career and they’re still going strong. To read more click here...

We recently caught up with Bill Bruford and threw a few questions his way.  What resulted was a facinating look into the mind of a British Drumming legend.

What's the job of a drummer in a band?

Well it depends on the band and what it wants to do. At the basic level its to look cute and wave your arms about, and maybe "keep time" with the basic rock beat ( if the other guys can't keep their own ..). To read the full story, click here

Nicko McBrain and Iron Maiden have probably had more people drumming on their steering wheels than any other band. ''Run to the Hills'' only has to start and all over the country, thousands of wannabe drummers start hammering away... To read the full story, click here...
There’s little doubt that Thin Lizzy had an enormous impact on the world during the 1970’s and 1980’s and few rock aficionados could have failed to have been impressed with the drumming therein courtesy of Dublin drum legend, Brian Downey. To read the full story, click here...
What have John McLaughlin, Allan Holdsworth, Jack Bruce, Robin Trower, Mike Stern and drummers Billy Cobham and Danny Gottlieb got in common? They have all collaborated live or in the studio with Gary Husband. To read the full story, click here...

I met Clive Bunker at the services at South Mimms where the A1 and the M25 converge rather than going into London. The capital, having once been the place we couldn’t wait to get to at any time day or night, now doesn’t hold quite so many thrills for either of us. Unless of course we’re dropping into the drum shops in the West End to see what’s going on, or walking around Soho trying to recognise where things used to be. To read the full story click here...

Topper Headon, legendary drummer with the enormously influential and most iconic punk rock band of all time The Clash, bounded up to me looking slim, fit, tanned, healthy and happy. Topper’s battles with drink and hard drugs have been well documented and when Orion publish his autobiography in a few years time I’m sure he’ll set the record straight... To read the full story, click here
Rat Scabies is an enigma who I first bumped into 32 years ago in Henrit’s Drumstore at a time when he and his punk mates were aggressively and enthusiastically changing the world of music. Some of this change was long overdue - like the ridiculous practices of paying to play at The Marquee, or paying a fortune you never had (which the record company kindly loaned you) as a contribution to buy onto a tour with any of the big rock stars of the day. To read the full story, click here... 
John Coghlan is best known for his work with Status Quo but apart from a self imposed drum free period, he''s been playing constantly since leaving the band. Bob Henrit went and had a chat with John about life, shuffles and getting back together with the original lineup. To read the full interview click here
Ringo, Charlie, Keith, Mitch, Ginger… and Kenney Jones. When the Small Faces charted in March 1965 with ‘What ‘cha Gonna Do About It’, little did we know the little giant soulsters from East London would deliver some of the most exciting hits and inspired performances in rock history. To read the full story click here...
Nick Mason has been in Pink Floyd since the beginning, and depending on who you believe shows no sign of stopping! (I say 'who you believe' because while other people insist that the Floyd are definitely going out again and support bands are already booked, Nick doesn’t about it and and if anyone should...!) Toread the full interview, click here...
I went over to Jon Hiseman’s place to interview him a few weeks after he’d returned from a lengthy German concert tour and a couple of months after his biography, “Playing The Band” had been published... To read the full interview, click here
Henry Spinetti has had a glittering career which shows no sign of slowing down. So far he’s played among others with Joan Armatrading, Eric Clapton, Roger Daltrey, Leo Sayer, Bob Dylan, Joe Egan, Paul McCartney, Procol Harum, Pete Townshend, Cliff Richard and Katie Melua. To read the full story, click here...
Pete York phoned from his home in a snowy Germany and I got the chance to use my new-fangled phone pick up to record his every word. I’d just returned from skiing in Italy and as typical Englishmen our talk immediately turned to the weather. To read the full interview, click here...

Woody  Woodmansey - David Bowie. To read the full interview, click here...

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