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Premier artist interview: Al Murray (Geyser)

Premier artist interview: Al Murray (Geyser)

Ahead of Geyser's debut at this weekend's Download Festival, we caught up with the band's sticksman, comedian and broadcaster Al Murray, to talk about his love of drumming.

What inspired you to pick up the sticks?

I can’t really remember not wanting to play the drums. The noise and racket is so exciting: in other words – Animal!

Who are your drumming heroes?

Where to start? I guess my go to people Keith Moon, Phil Collins, Bill Bruford, Billy Cobham, Ringo, Stewart Copeland, Mitch Mitchell are a good enough place to start (not that I can play anything like any of them). I really, really love Phil Collins’ playing – he could make anything swing. I was lucky enough to duet with him on an old TV show of mine. That was a bonkers moment. And the thing is drumming is always pushing further and further into new brilliant things.

How often do you practise?

Good question. Not as often or constructively as I should. I often have some sticks with me on tour and do some practice pad stuff backstage when I’m waiting to go on, but it’s all about the crash bang wallop to be honest.  

This isn’t your first appearance at Download, what are your memories of the festival?

Mainly how lucky we were it rained the first time played there or no one would have been in the tent. I am used to performing normally but playing music scares the life out of me! So it was all pretty nerve racking.

Your kit set-up is quite special to you, tell us more about its design.

Well, it’s a One Series, built by Keith and his team, and it’s a truly lovely, lovely instrument. The shells are birch through to a maple/birch combination, from an 8 inch tom to a 16 inch floor. Keith likes big drums so he was pulling all sorts of faces at me when I came up with it, but it sounds lovely. The veneer are an old bog oak Keith had got hold of, with a deep grain, then a shield of Willow wood and Scarlet maple, which is my daughters’ names.  Something personal and it’s so beautiful. The man’s a genius

What can we expect from Geyser this weekend?

Haha well we are doing double drumming with it which is interesting. Geyser was a band I played in the 90s before my stand up took off, and we have been reactivating in a middle aged style. I can’t play as frenetically as I used to and this  a good thing. Andy Prestidge who plays with Lucifer and Osiris Club play very differently to me so each rehearsal is a lesson. Double drumming is really, really tricky: we are trying to play some tunes in unison, like a kind of James Brown thing though applied to rock music, or play interlocking parts, like I’m in three and Andy is in four and we send back beats past each other. The rest of the band says it’s like standing in an air raid. 

Finally what’s your favourite tip for drummers?

Practise you fools!!

Geyser will be appearing at Download on the Zippo Encore Stage, 13th June 2015.

For more images of Al's kit check out Premier's Facebook page - PremierDrumCo

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