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From the Holy Grail to the Timewarp - Happy New Year!
January 2016

Happy New Year! Since my last update I continued to tour with Jersey Boys until early December. I've spun around on the drum riser, head butted the odd piece of scenery and played the show 472 times! I finished Jersey Boys and joined rehearsals for the Rocky Horror tour in the second week of December. All this meant that between the end of JB and the start of Rocky I had six weeks at home with Lorraine and our kids over Christmas and New Year, which has been awesome!

With Rocky visiting Manchester in January I had the chance to see my old teacher Dave Hassell and see other drumming and music friends. Also, in Manchester I did some recording with Marco Meniconi for his Serafino's project and the music is sounding great. The Yamaha 9000 records beautifully.  The music suits dark cymbals and the Paiste traditionals are stunning.

For the Rocky Horror tour I've chosen a Yamaha Live Custom 10x7, 12x8, 16x16, 22x14 with my trusty Ian Paice snare drum. Cymbals are 14 hats, 15 and 16 crashes and 20 ride. The tour dates are here at www.rockyhorror.co.uk. If you’re interested in sitting in drop me an email at sturobertsdrums@gmail.com. I'm also available for private lessons while touring so if that’s of interest while I'm near you please do get in touch.

Talking of teaching I was delighted to have recently been included in Modern Drummer’s recommended teachers list and to have been mentioned by former student Alex Torjussen in Drummer Magazine. He said of me: "I met Stu Roberts who was teaching there (ACM) at that time. He's one of the best musicians I've ever met. I started getting lessons outside of ACM. I was quite young but he was showing me all this Steve Gadd stuff. I didn't know what is was, I just knew it was really cool so he was a massive influence on the musical side of drums for me." Very kind words indeed!

As a teacher all you can do is to try to provide the right information at the right time and it was always clear to me that Alex was a special drummer! Alongside Alex it's been great seeing former students on the odd TV programme including Tomo Carter (Ben Haenow), Debbie Knox Hewson (Charlie XCX), Mo Slicks (X Factor) and Affy Green (Fleur East).

I've been asked by Rockschool to write a regular column in Drummer magazine. The focus of the column is in doing simple things well. I think the first issue will come out in February - WATCH THIS SPACE! Until next time a phrase from the motorcycle trainer Keith Code......"Practice is like toilet paper, the less you have available the more focused you become"... Cheers!

The Holy Grail!
May 2015

April was a fantastic month ending with a week away from the JB tour for a brief holiday. I spent the first few days motorbiking around the East Coast (UK not US!) with my Dad, ending with a ride into London to the Ace Cafe which was terrific. On the 22nd Lorraine and I celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary with a night away at a Champneys Resort. I do find it hard to relax generally but it's nice to have some thinking time!! It was great to have my wife to myself without the threat of interruptions from little people for an evening. Well done Mrs Roberts; a well needed break!

At the end of my week off the JB tour, I depped on the Spamalot tour for Al Cox at the Bromley Theatre and Southend Cliffs Pavilion. I was able to catch up with old friends in the band, especially bassist Rob Levy who I hadn't seen since Spamalot closed in the west end last year. Spamalot is hilarious and well worth going to see if you get the chance. After my week off, I'm now in Bradford at the Alhambra with Jersey Boys. Bradford, in the ancient language of touring musos means one thing… Curry!

Oh What a Night!
April 2015

Well, what a couple of years since my last post! After finishing on Spamalot in April last year, I then moved onto the sell-out Jersey Boys tour. We've been all over the UK, from Aberdeen to Woking and we've just finished another sell-out stint in Dublin.

Taking time off from the tour last October, I played at Wembley Arena for the musical Love Beyond. Some epic drums with an epic band, all mightily MD'd by my good friend, Rob Webb. Check out the website www.lovebeyondmusical.com for more information.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to a lovely summer and lots of drumming! Do get in touch any time at sturobertsdrums@gmail.com.

Summer in a booth of Spam!
May 2013

It's great that the summer weather has appeared! I'm getting a little bit warm in the Spamalot booth, not an ideal place to be dressed in black! I'm still enjoying playing the show and MD Gareth keeps me accountable so no snoozing on the gig musically or otherwise! Bonnie Langford has just returned as Lady of the Lake taking over from Sarah Earnshaw and Stephen Pacey is currently playing King Arthur having taken over from Stephen Thompkinson. It's a fun gig for drums and if you come to see the show pop over to stage right and say hello when I clamber out of the pit! Have a look at this quick video from ITV's "This Morning".

Gearwise I've changed the heads on the kit to EC2 tom heads which sound amazing, very full bodied and "microphone friendly" as Al Cox put it! I've swapped some cymbals using Paiste dry crisp signature hats and a 8" signature splash. I'm proud to endorse Paiste cymbals and I just love 'em! Have a listen and a look on the Paiste site if you get a chance, I'm a big fan of Paiste 602's and signatures. I'm looking forward to hearing the Modern Essentials range too.

In March, I was back working with MD Mark Collins on a workshop for Miss Atomic Bomb which is an hilarious Americana comedy. I never thought I would be playing kit, congas and washboard on the same gig! It was fairly low volume so I took out a Gretsch Catalina which amazed me with how versatile it is.

In April, I recorded two tracks for Jack Terroni over at Terl Bryant's studio. This was really good fun and I look forward to hearing the end result. I was also in recording two new tracks for the Love Beyond musical at Limehouse Studios. The first performance is at the Brighton Centre on the 13th of October. If the rest of the music ends up as good as the tracks we've just recorded then it should be an awesome show. Have a look at the vision behind the musical and book your tickets at
www.lovebeyondmusical.com.

Anyway here's hoping for continued joy and fruitful musical endeavours. Catch you soon and feel free to get in touch at sturobertsdrums@gmail.com

Winter is Here!
December 2012

I can't believe we are in December already! Christmas shopping is at a low ebb but I'd better up my pace! All the family are well despite a constant stream of runny noses and winter bugs. I've managed to avoid most of the colds so far despite cycling around Brighton in all weathers. Drumming wise I've mainly been doing theatre gigs, Spamalot and Dirty Dancing. Spamalot at the Harold Pinter was well received in the summer and as a result we have just opened at the Playhouse on Northumberland Avenue with a new musical director Gareth Weeden and a few cast changes, most notably King Arthur played by Stephen Tompkinson and the Lady of the Lake played by AJ Casey. The show just goes from strength to strength and I'm really happy to be involved. Long may it continue……. Have a look at the web site at www.spamalotwestend.co.uk.

Gear wise I am using a Pearl Masters Custom which has thicker maple shells than the standard masters. The maple shells work well with Evans EC1 heads and it suits the gig well. My snare is a Pearl Ian Pace signature which is a sturdy versatile drum, very similar to a Ludwig 402 in feel and sound. I've got it tuned in the mid range and it copes well with the mix of styles in the show. The kit sizes are 10x7,12x8,14x14 toms over a 20x18 bass drum. Cymbals are Paiste: 15" and 17" signature fast crashes with 14" traditional medium light hats, 20" traditional medium light ride and a 2002 11" splash. On top of that we've got a glockenspiel, Roland SPD 20, triangle, wood blocks, tambourine and cowbell…..there's fair amount of gear being squeezed into the drum booth!

A few weeks back I played at a charity night for
www.stammeringcentre.org with Eric Idle. It was very cool playing "Always look on the Brightside" with the original voice and even more fun rehearsing with Eric on my snare drum with brushes while he sang and played guitar. What a treat and thanks to Spamalot MD Gareth Weeden for inviting me to play.

I'm teaching at Bimm in Brighton and it's nice to see all kinds of drummers developing. It sometimes feels a bit early to be in the class room at 9am after a late show but I'm delighted to be doing it and wish all the drummers good fortune in their end of year theory test! I would love to see my students getting the best results in the school and beating the guitarists and bassists…..no more of the "3 musicians and a drummer" jokes !! Although that reminds me…… how do you know when a singers at the door? They can't find the key and don't know when to come in! Boom Boom……Anyway until next time thanks for reading and have a great Christmas and New Year!

Summer is Here!
July 2012

Hi! I am a drummer from Scotland now living in Brighton, husband to Lorraine and Dad to Faith and Sherlock. I've played the drums for 23 of my 32 years and have enjoyed every minute even if I do still feel very much like a beginner! Today I run a small teaching practice in Brighton and play the usual gigs associated with being a professional drummer. This week I'm subbing for the outstanding Alan Dale on the UK tour of Dirty Dancing on Monday and beginning my own show on Spamalot in London's west end on Tuesday. I'm very privileged to be on this great gig and share the drum chair with Allan Cox who is just about the "Swingingest!" drummer I've ever heard. I'm honoured to have been invited to share the drum chair with him. I've drummed for a few famous people and lots of not so famous people too! To be honest that doesn't seem very important because it's all just part of the bigger picture of enjoying being a musician. I'm grateful for all opportunities and consider them all equal. You can't put a price on music (although we do!) but being able to earn by being a musician allows me to keep being a musician and feed my clan! I'm trying to really enjoy playing simple things well and play some good music and I'm fortunate to be able to look after my family by doing that. However it is a big family effort and I have a supportive family unit too! When Dad's a drummer everyone works hard! Lorraine my wife is amazing as being a married drummer with kids takes a lot of effort from everyone to keep the family going. We have two young toddlers and any working musician knows that the tension between the late nights/early starts, irregular dough and kids being awake can be a huge stress as well as an obviously delight! I'm hugely fortunate to be able to share this journey and by the time my boy is able to help carry my drums I'll probably be too knackered to. He's only nearly two so I'm booking him in early for roadie duties!

Touring has taken me to Australia, Japan, Korea, Brazil and most European countries and I've played some of this planet's most prestigious stages and festivals. Currently, I feel I'm just starting the next phase of my drumming journey and I'm excited! I love playing for all levels of musicians and turning my hand(s) to most styles of music. If you want to know about the people and places grab my c.v here . Gear wise I am thrilled to be an endorsee of Paiste Cymbals. My first ever proper cymbal was a Paiste and I just love these cymbals; to my ears they are the most musical and they suit me down to the ground. My current favourite is my 18" 602 thin crash re issue…..perfect crash cymbal! I don't have a drum deal and as a guy who plays so many different styles there isn't really one kit that would work for everything. I currently use a variety of kits but my latest addition is a Mapex Saturn, which was supplied by graham russell drums. I've found Graham to be the best drum shop around and if you are looking for good quality gear, a good price and second to none service phone Graham! He also does rather natty mugs too! Anyway time to grab some caffeine and play some brushes…..it's 7am and I've been up for ages after being too excited and unable to sleep - Thats the Earl Palmer autobiography for you……Hope to see you soon! Stu

The End of a Challenging But Great Year
November / December 2011

November went by in a flash with the Britain's Got Bhangra Tour coming to an end at Warwick Arts Centre on the 26th. I had a great time and it was a joy to work with my good friends old and new at Rifco Arts. As the tour came to an end I was hard at work learning Legally Blonde to dep for drummer Ryan Martin in Nottingham on the UK Tour the very next day! A big thanks to all of the BGB crew who allowed me to have a second kit to practice Legally Blonde during the day in the theatre and apologies to the cleaning ladies who heard nothing but drums while they hoovered the venue! I really enjoyed learning these drum parts and I was really pleased to be back on Legally Blonde at Sunderland Empire for most of December. I'm back in for Ryan at the Pavillion Theatre at the end of the month so once again I'll be bracing myself for a bit of Bend and Snap! I am also enjoying playing the incredible Sonor Designer Kit! Probably the best drum kit I've used, it held it's tuning for 30 odd shows with no de-tune what so ever, despite my heavy Shedder sticks banging away in true Rock style. Simply stunning sounding drums and beautifully made.

In between my dep in Nottingham and the dates in Sunderland I was doing the P.H.A. production of Cinderella with Jonathan Anstell (G4) at the Watersmeet Theatre in Rickmansworth - brilliant fun and a lovely bunch of people both cast and crew. Such a funny show! Mike Brazier took over from me and did a sterling job despite the MD going into hospital and keys being covered by the talented actor playing Prince Charming's assistant Dhandini - Jonathon Elo. Well done Mike and Jonathon for doing a great job in a tough situation!

The infamy of covers band A Girl Called Sue is spreading - I had an interview for Musician magazine which I haven't read but hopefully I didn't say anything I shouldn't have! A few bookings in January 2012 for the 8 and 7 piece line up with horns! This was enjoyed by all, band and clients.

The start of the new year has been full and exciting; sitting in with some great drummers and being inspired by them too! Spamalot was in Brighton and drummer Mike Parkin kindly allowed me to sit in. What a fun gig and Mike is an excellent drummer! I've also sat in with Andy McGlasson who has an incredible feel. Every time I see him play I learn a lot! Andy is on Ghost at the moment and has been a west end first call for many years. Blood Brothers was another sit in with Rick Finlay who plays the gig so well but you should hear him with his Jazz group Just East. If you're a jazz fan check them out! Thanks drumming gentlemen for allowing me to sit in!

I've launched a new youtube channel called Brighton Drum Lessons. Check it out at
www.youtube.com/user/BrightonDrumLessons. Check out the videos on youtube for some quality info! Till next time keep drumming!

Busy, Busy, Busy!
October 2011

Hello again! The end of September and the start of October have been lots of fun so far; the Britain's Got Bhangra tour has been at Windsor Theatre Royal, the Curve in Leicester, Hackney Empire in London and the Orchard in Dartford. The show is going well and has received some great reviews. My current favourite character is DJ Lovely and his Rap Off track is still a roast with its multiple V Drum patch changes and a drum part that moves between Urban beats and Songo feels with the odd bar of double time Drum n' Bass thrown in for good measure! I've taken a few days off and I'm grateful as always to Gabor Dornyei for depping and doing an excellent job. Speaking of Gabor his DVD with the Thunder duo is out soon on Hudson DVD so watch out for more from this incredible drummer at www.gabordornyei.com. As well as the tour I've had a session at Raezor studios in Wandsworth with Chris C. This was a great day with all six tracks going down in as many hours and a warm drum sound being achieved with a minimum of fuss. The birch/bubinga kit I used sounded really good with a 14 x 6.5 steel snare suiting all of the tracks really well. I used various cymbals as the music moved between jazz and rock and my 2002 Heavy Ride did what it says on the tin! I'm looking forward to hearing how the tracks sound.

I did the first rehearsal with the Wolfmen at the Boileroom in Guildford and the band sounded match fit straight away as if we had been playing together for ages which isn't a bad place to start from! Have a listen to the music at www.thewolfmen.net. I really enjoy working with bassist Chris and the band have so many catchy rock tunes, my favourites being Better Days and Wak This Bass!

Speaking of bass Mike Nichols has uploaded various mixes of the tracks recorded back in the summer in my studio in Brighton and at Terl Bryant's place. Have a listen to the final results at
www.mike-nichols.co.uk/mike-s-tunes. It was an honour to be asked to play for Mike on these tracks and I hope you enjoy the results. With all other instrument parts being played on various bass guitars it's every drummers dream; three bass players in one band - result!

On the teaching front I decided it was time to move on from my position at the ACM and after almost a decade of teaching it was time to say goodbye to many great friends and stretch out for pastures new. What a pleasure and privilege it has been to be involved with a great institution and play a small part in passing on musical skills to so many fantastic musicians. A big thankyou to Mike Sturgis, Nik Preston and all the staff and students of the ACM.

A Girl Called Sue and Blame It On The Boogie have been a bit quieter in October but after a full on summer it's been nice to be doing a little less for a while before the Christmas madness ensues! As I've been away Rob Parsons, Gabor Dorneyi and Terl B have been covering drumming duties and as always doing a great job under Pete Roth's musical direction. The band have been working away on a new demo so watch this space for some more party band madness! The guys are at the Ritz in Piccadilly at the end of the month doing an acoustic set - should be fun!

The Blues Trio with Dave Markee and Stu Barbour also played at the Booze and Blues festival in Croydon and I am hoping this project will grow and grow as it really gets to the core of what drumming is for me. As always I learn a lot playing with such a high level of musicianship and Dave's new hair cut isn't bad either! More gig dates to follow once we can choose a name! Any suggestions? Thanks for reading and see you next month!

Britain's Got Bhangra Tour starts, a Paiste endorsement and more!
September 2011

September has started with two weeks of rehearsals for the Britain's Got Bhangra show at Watford Palace Theatre. Watch a promo vid for the show here. The show is on V-Drums and I'm really enjoying the new TD20 module as it opens so many great doors in terms of sound. The kit is a hybrid set up with some Paiste Signature cymbals who I'm delighted to now be endorsing. My first cymbal was a Paiste 400 power ride so I'm pleased to be using such wonderful sounding cymbals which I've always loved and feel completely at home with. Many thanks to Christian Wenzel and Paiste! The Britain's Got Bhangra tour kicks off this week with previews at Watford Palace and then it's off on a UK tour until November. If you fancy some Bhangra check out the dates below and perhaps see you there!

Watford Palace Theatre: 21 - 24 September

The Orchard, Dartford: 26 September - 2 October

The Curve, Leicester: 3 - 9 October

Hackney Empire: 10 - 16 October

Windsor Theatre Royal: 17 - 23 October

West Yorkshire Playhouse: 24 - 30 October

Oldham Coliseum: 7 - 13 November

Warwick Arts Centre: 14 - 27 November

"The Rhythm Section" of myself and Dave Markee have been out working with the Love Band, Stu Barbour, Granville Harding and Coco Brown. A diverse set of artists playing some great music from honky tonk through to some swing and blues. I've been working with my good friend and guitarist Paul Fraser and bassist Chris Constantinou who also plays a mean flute! Hopefully more live dates to come. A Girl Called Sue has been busy with both Gabor Dornyei (www.gabordornyei.com) and Terl Bryant (www.terlbryant.co.uk) filling drum duties when I'm not around and both doing an amazing job.

Britain's Got Bhangra .... and Stu Roberts on V-drums!
August 2011

I'm looking forward to the start of the BGB tour in September and another term at the ACM in Guildford. There have been some amazing end of year performances form the graduating students and it has been a honour to play a small part in the musical journey of these young drummers.

The Britain's Got Bhangra rehearsals begin the first week of September and on Roland V-Drums rather than acoustic kit. Big thanks to Jamie Franklin at Roland for adding me to their artist roster. I'm also really pleased to be playing with Andy Staples (bass) on this tour.

Marc B. Chapman's album Hiding Place is soon to be released and I'm chuffed to appear alongside a drumming hero of mine, Phil Crabbe, who I have been listening to ever since I picked up the sticks. Check back later in the month for a link to iTunes for this great record.

The blues trio rehearsals are enjoyable (and loud!) with Stu Barbour and Dave Markee. We have a small live date coming up to road test the new band on September 2nd at the Sportsman in Hurtspierpoint. Get yourself down there if you can! I hope we will be doing some recording soon as the band is sounding top notch! Also, A Girl called Sue has been very busy with 18 dates in July alone and no sign of slowing down in August. It must be about time to get a bass drum head logo for that band!

New Endorsement with FLIX and Other News
June 2011

It's been a great week topped off by a new endorsement with FLIX. I used their orange flix for 4 months on the 2010 Britain's Got Bhangra tour with no breakages so I'm now looking forward to experimenting with their other types of sticks too!

I had a session with bass supremo Mike Nichols at the beginning of June which began in my studio and ended at Terl Bryant's place just up the road. Terl did a fanstastic job in capturing a great sound.

I'm looking forward to doing some Blues trio work with Stu Barbour and bassist Dave Markee over the next few months.

This week I'm working with singer Cecilia Stalin. I'm looking forward to meeting some new players and playing some Rat Pack Swing!

Heyfunkydrummer.com Gets A Redesign
April 2011

The long awaited new website has arrived. Valuable feedback played a part in its development and I am delighted to present you with the new look and content which will hopefully make navigation easier. So welcome to heyfunkydrummer.com. I'm Stu Roberts a drummer and teacher based in the UK. Feel free to get in touch and enjoy the new site.

I'm now Twittering!
January 2011

It finally happened. I could resist no longer. Follow me at twitter.com/sturobertsdrums