Posts Tagged ‘pop’

West End Drummers Part 8 – Tim Weller (Billy Elliot)

Tim Weller

West End Drummers Part 8 – Tim Weller (Billy Elliot)

Tim Weller took over the drum chair on Billy Elliot in 2005 at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London, where the show won an Olivier Award for ‘Best New Musical’. The music is by Elton John and it features some staggeringly talented youngsters. With a show so heavily based on dance the relationship with rhythm is especially important.

Outside the show Tim keeps busy with sessions and pop gigs, including The Divine Comedy, Beverley Craven, and Will Young’s latest album ‘Echoes’, which entered the UK charts at number one at the end of 2011.

In the following interview Tim talks about the use of vintage drums in recording, the importance of a good relationship with your deps and playing drum kit on computer game music with the London Philharmonic…

What first got you into playing drums?

My junior school had a very forward thinking music teacher, so as well as there being a school orchestra, they had a pop band that played covers… quite an eclectic mix – a lot of heavy metal, a bit of Creedence Clearwater Revival, and some John Denver. This band used to do concerts at local schools and play in assembly. On Saturday mornings, while all the staff had meetings, there was an extended hymn practice and they would play a few tunes. When I was seven the guy that was in the band was called Steven Bachelor and everyone thought he was really good. He had a big yellow Tama kit which was always up on the stage and he was very, very cool. Everyone used to sit in assembly and look up at him so I guess I got interested in it then. He was the first person who made me think, ‘I want to do that’.

I was about 11 when I took over the gig, sharing it with one or two other people. One Summer we went on a tour, which was essentially a school trip, to France in these two minibuses stuffed with gear. They drove us all the way to the South of France playing in youth hostels on the way and then a couple of years later we made an album (which I will never play to anyone). We also did a tour to America and Canada, which was great. It was this music teacher who promoted it all and it was quite unusual for the time.

Back then there were no grades for drum kit, you couldn’t even study drums in school except classical percussion. I did a little bit of that but drum kit didn’t really exist as an instrument in the education system at all.  It was only later when I’d left school that I really started studying anything. I went to Drummer’s Collective for a bit and then to Bob Armstrong who I’ve been with on and off ever since; he is fabulous.

I was really into heavy metal as an 11 year old; Rainbow, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Whitesnake and Deep Purple. From obsessively reading the backs of record sleeves I saw drummers like Ian Paice and Cozy Powell shift through different bands. Like any teenager, I liked the idea of what you imagine that lifestyle would be like. Then I noticed Simon Phillips who started cropping up in credits and I followed his career. He was the first person who I became aware of as a session rather than a band player and I thought that that would be even better.

A local drummer from Tunbridge Wells, where I’m from, took me under his wing and he used to make me compilation tapes of Billy Cobham, Steve Gadd, Lenny White, Simon Phillips, all those sorts of people. I used to hang around in the local music shop and joined as many local bands as I could. I also hooked up with Pete Thomas from Elvis Costello’s band and he used to let me watch him rehearse. He was always really helpful.

How did you join the show ‘Billy Elliot’?

I knew the trumpet player who was on it and he introduced me to Dave Adams who had the drum chair and let me sit in. He’s a fantastic drummer. They had had quite a long exclusive, and he was probably desperate to have a night off, so one night he said, ‘Here’s a pad, you can learn it if you like’. I learnt it and depped on it and then, when he left to do The Lion King, I got lucky and got the gig.

To read the interview in full click HERE to visit


Cher Lloyd and X Factor Live Show 5

Last weekend was full of pop! On saturday I was asked back to X Factor where I played congas for Janet Devlin on her version of ‘I want you back’.

The days are long with hours of waiting around for only a couple of minutes of performing but they’re a lot of fun. There was a large group of musicians on the show on saturday so there were many laughs in the canteen and dressing room! Here are a few of them, who also played for Janet…

And I couldn’t leave without the obligatory X Factor sign pose…

Sunday was another pop-tastic day with a performance I did on drums for Cher Lloyd with her new single ‘With ur love’ being aired on T4, which you can watch HERE or in my media section on this site.

Next up is a trip to Shanghai and a lot of interviews that need writing up from over the last couple of months!


Laura Conway (NightBus)

At we like to be one step ahead, which is why this month”s Female Drummers feature is on Laura Conway from Island Records” Hackney/LA signing, ”NightBus”. The band have already been tipped for success by being chosen as a ”New Band Of The Day” by The Guardian in April this year and their debut single, ”I Wanna Be You” is out next month.

Tell us your drumming story so far.

Using pots, pans, tabletops and cutlery grew very old, very quickly when I was growing up, so I was lucky to get my first kit when I was 11 years old. I remember seeing Phil Collins drumming on TV and then spent the next year begging for my own drum kit. I have very clear memories of our family day out to Southend-on-Sea to get my 5-piece white “Thunder” kit.

Bands – I guess it’s always pretty much been either dirty rock’n”roll or wicked pop ridden stuff. I’m a sucker for a driving drum beat (e.g. I joined a 3 piece rock ’n’ roll band whilst on holiday in Los Angeles because I fell in love with the two members and their music!)

And so its been quite a journey from Westlife at The Brits, weddings, Bar Mitzvah’s, USA technology TV shows, UK and US festivals, live and studio work with “development deal” pop bands, two near misses with record deals as a member back in LA, rhythm workshops in London and now I”m over the moon to have my first record deal with NightBus.

Who have been the biggest influences on your playing?

I’ve never been set on any particular drummer as an influence. I’d say it’s more the sound of bands/artists like Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin, The Kinks, Calexico, Wham, Genesis and Burt Bacharach that has influenced my playing. It’s the overall feel and sound that makes my heart jump with excitement.