Stereophonics drummer Jamie Morrison told aspiring musicians to “make this instrument sing” at an event by the East London Drum School earlier this month.
The clinic in De Beauvoir Town, Hackney, was host to a group of around 30 in the back room of The Barge House, a café facing the canal in the local area, after a last-minute change.
Morrison, 33, arrived equipped with a tote bag on his shoulder and cymbals under arm at around 3.20pm, ready to proceed to open ears ten minutes later.
After a warm welcome from the audience, Morrison wasted no time in jumping on the kit. He treated all listening to an array of drum solos throughout the session, pausing frequently to answer any questions that the initially shy crowd had to present him with.
Morrison also entertained the crowd with personal stories about picking up sticks, playing in a Stereophonics covers band, jamming with Kelly Jones (frontman) and the lads that got him where he is today.
Mentioning that he started drumming at 11, he joked with younger listeners around the same age, saying: “I was a typical drummer, eleven hours a day…skipping school-wouldn’t recommend.”
Most importantly however, Morrison offered the room advice on how to become a successful drummer.
“We make this instrument sing,” said Morrison regarding the drums, adding “this doesn’t dictate how we make music, we dictate how this makes music.”
Morrison also stressed that simply playing isn’t enough, and that presentation is a key to success. Morrison said that he would experiment by filling drum kits with ping pong balls and mounting his bass drum to a train track so it moved.
“We can play any beat that we want, it’s the way that we present it…it’s our angle,” said Morrison to motivate musicians to also try new things, adding “if we have a sound, we’ll work forever”.
After playing and chatting for around an hour and a half, the tables turned and Morrison observed as drummers in the audience courageously performed songs to him, then offering his critique and advice. Some drummers were even brave enough to play ‘Phonics tracks and there were others he could not fault, so genuinely impressed he was with their standard of playing.
The afternoon ended with a united photo with everyone present, before a quick chance to get pictures and autographs from the main man, who also handed out his weathered sticks through sheer kindness and generosity.
Arguably the strongest advice Morrison presented to rock star hopefuls?
“It’s about the magic in the moment, that magic.
“We’ve gotta make that greatness come, we’ve gotta insight that…we can’t just hope.
“It’s our responsibility to make things exciting.”