Working with Roger Daltrey
|I've worked with Roger Daltrey on two separate occasions - the most recent was last summer with The British Rock Symphony. And the other was doing tracks on Roger's solo record, "Rocks In The Head".
Here is a series of questions presented to me by Dave Van Staveren of the Official Roger Daltrey Website! I'll do my best to answer them all!
Answer: A few years ago, I received a call from Gerard McMahon, who is a brilliant songwriter and producer who happens to be a good friend of mine... He had just gotten back from England where he finished recording the majority of the record titled "Rocks in the Head".
Tommy Price had done all the drum tracks up to that point, (and I might add, Really good sounding tracks in my opinion!) But, for what ever reason, Gerard felt he needed to redo a few of the drum tracks which had already been recorded. So, he called me and asked if I could come up-town and do some work for him.
At that point, while heading up-town, I had no idea that the session was for Roger. It was a pleasant surprise! I met Gerard up at the recording studio and got right to work. I don't want to forget to mention that Ricky Byrd (X-Joan Jett) played guitar on this record also... Ricky and his wife Carol Kaye (manager) have been friends of mine for years.)
Answer: I have to say... touring with a man who is one of the great pop icons in contemporary music was a bit overwhelming at first. I have worked with many great artist/stars... but he's truly one of the greats!
From my perspective, Roger is very clear on how he wants to connect with an audience or with the single individual in just plain conversation. But after getting settled in with the tour and playing with him night after night... It was lots of fun!
Answer: That's easy, I love both studio AND live! Both situations are completely different, yet challenging. Every situation is unique... Every artist... That's what I love about it!
Answer: I only worked on that record for one afternoon. And I always make it fun... no matter what I'm working on or who it's with!
Question: What was it like working with Roger on the BRS tour?
The British Rock Symphony
Answer: As I had said before, It was great fun! I received a call from David Fishof, manager & agent... They were already four or five concerts into the tour. My name had come up quite a few times by various people and so... I got the call! I had never played a WHO song in my entire life! I had heard them many times, but never played them...
There I was on the big stage again, but this time it was playing "Pinball Wizard" with Roger Daltrey standing not more then ten feet in front of me... with microphone in hand! I would say that if I had to explain in one word what it felt like being there... It would be "surreal".
Question: How was it that you agreed to tour with the BRS? Who approached you, And, why did you decide to participate in the tour?
Answer: Once I got the call from David Fishof and we worked out the specifics regarding the tour, I flew immediately to Cleveland, OH to see the show and pick up a tape and all of the sheet music for the show. I might add, if you couldn't read music... as they say in Brooklyn, New York "Forgetaboutit"! There was much to learn and very little time to learn it... within three days of my conversation with David, I was on stage performing in front of lots of people with Roger standing in front of me...
I knew back when, and know today, how talented Roger is. I had the opportunity to work with one of the greatest front men in rock & roll history... and I took it!
Answer: The choir was lead by Alvin Fields, and did a great job... The symphony orchestra consisted of graduate students from The London Royal Academy of Music. They were incredible and professional throughout the entire tour. I don't want to forget to mention that I was also playing with this amazing electric band, including amazing bass player Sekou Bunch (Luther Vandross) ... and a full symphony orchestra conducted by the genius of Keith Levenson!
Answer: I did! I went to Australia this winter for the months of November and December, 1998 to play with The British Rock Symphony once again. But this time it was starring Eric Burdon of The Animals, Thelma Houston and other great artists. There is some talk of doing it this summer of 1999. Let's just see what happens...
Answer: I knew I was a drummer from the time I was a baby in the crib!
On my website, there is a page dedicated to the early years with a photo of me at four years old... a drum strapped around my neck! My first love is jazz. My influences are varied... from all the great jazz players like Elvin Jones, Art Blakey and Tony Williams from the 50's & 60's to the great rock and r&b drummers of the 70's like Jon Bonham, Ian Paice, Andy Newmark, Jim Keltner and one of the greatest r&b drummers of all time... Bernard Purdie.
Let us not forget the contemporary players of today! That list could go on forever...
Answer: I do know that he has a low tolerance for players in general who can't play with the conviction that he's accustom to. After all, playing with THE WHO... what would one expect! Roger gave both Keith Levenson and I plenty of room to take the lead. In fact they expect it from the drummer most of all. The drummer's job is to drive the show... and that is my goal every time.
Answer: Yes. But I am an accomplished flutist and pianist, and have studied most of my life. I have played flute on many jingles and records... I even had the fortunate pleasure of playing the flute solo on the long playing club version of Gloria Estefan's "Turn The Beat Around".
Answer: No, after the tour we all kissed and said our good-byes. Who knows what the future brings. As long as I can suit up and show up... ready to play in good spirit... Anything is possible!