I have been playing on the Irish scene for 20 years and the UK/International for 11 years. In that time I have played with practically every Irish artist (excluding bands of course) with an international profile either in recordings or live work. These include Henry Mc Cullough (THE GREASE BAND, WINGS), Donal Lunny(PLANXTY), Paul Brady, Mary Black, Dolores Keane,The Cheiftains, Brian Kennedy, Christy Hennessy, Liam O Flynn (PLANXTY), Maura O Connell(DeDannan), Phil Coulter(producer), Arty Mc Glynn, Van Morrison, Ronan Keating and so on and so on ......
My drum world spans the purist and best of Irish traditional music (Liam O Flynn and Donal Lunny are literally living legends in the field), to the more crossover acoustic music of Brian Kennedy, Mary Black, Paul Brady, to TV series on RTE and UTV with Phil Coulter where I have played with every one from John Prine to Justin Heyward (Moody Blues) then on to the truly unique artistry of Van Morrison and at the other end of the spectrum to the pure pop of Ronan Keating.
I am the most fortunate drummer I know, I have never been a purist in any sense, either in what I listen to or in how I play. I have always tried to play in the moment and as a result I get to play in practically every musical style that moves me, who could honestly ask for more.
My career, like my style, is more ad hoc and eclectic than studied and ambitious. I have always worked and been happy to work with no pre conceived ideas about what I should or should not be doing or for that matter who I should or should not be playing with. I am a professional side man I work for a living and I love my work.
I started late to the kit, I was 19 when I first joined a band and even then within months I was playing with 3 different outfits (2 of them paid pro gigs).
At 21 I was fully professional in an Irish showband and finished a degree in Sociology and Politics in the back of the band wagon. I paid my dues over 6 years . By 1988 I had had enough of all that and was persuaded by Dave Earley( SADE, VM) to go freelance I paid even more dues and made no money for 3 years (1991 a grand total of Ã??Ã3385 for the year). Anyway, enough of this woe is me stuff ...... I loved every minute of it and that is the whole point.
My big break happened January 1994, I was booked by Van to do a movie soundtrack for a film called Moondance, between a Friday and the following Tuesday we recorded the entire soundtrack, two tunes with The Chieftains for their grammy award winning LONG BLACK VEIL album, the VM tribute album NO PRIMADONNAS, and 2 tracks for Van Morrisons DAYS LIKE THIS ALBUM. Oh, I nearly forgot, on the Sunday I flew to Glasgow to do a live gig with Dolores Keane and rejoined the session on the Monday!!.
This was to be my calling card to Zildjian and the deal every drummer dreams about. The reason for this anecdote is that this has been the nature of my drum world ever since.
This week sees me in jamming with Van Morrisons band, whilst his great new drummer Robbie Rogerio was back home in the USA; playing the main concert hall in Amsterdam as part of Liam O Flynns Pipers Call Band; then recording 2 country albums in Belfast; 2 festivals with Ronan Keating - Newmarket and Cork (next week its Monaco, France), oh ..... and a Paris fete in Putney, London on Sunday.