Q&A: Steve Barney
20 June 2012
Born in Norfolk, Steve Barney has been influenced by drums since the age of nine, having witnessed a Phil Collins and Chester Thompson drum solo at a Genesis concert with his father and uncle. Steve has gone on to perform with some of the world's most illustrious acts including Annie Lennox, Jeff Beck and Anastacia and is presently on the road with British boy-band The Wanted.
What is your earliest memory of drumming?
When I was about 5, I remember playing on biscuit tins set up like a drum kit while my mum and dad slow danced to my tinny racket. It was Valentine's night and we were singing "All You Need Is Love" (The Beatles)...a lovely memory.
What was your most embarrassing moment behind a drum kit?
It was while on tour in South East Asia with UK pop idol runner-up, Gareth Gates. There was a part of the show where Gareth and I played drums together; trading back and forth. In the spirit of pop music and for the younger members of the audience, Gareth would start going crazy on the kit and I would stand up, get off my kit and act upset as if I'd been upstaged by the fans "Pop Idol". On the last night of the tour (in Taiwan) I did this as normal, but actually left the stage as a joke. I ran around the back of the stage and wanted to come back on the other side (as a prank on Gareth). Sadly, whilst running around the back I fell off the back of the stage (out of sight of the audience) and fell about 5ft. I was so lucky not to hurt myself seriously. I came back on like a true professional - adrenaline got me through the rest of the show, but I was in pain with my back. The flight home was a killer and I have never messed about on stage since!
Who would you consider your favourite or most influential drummer, teacher or otherwise and why?
My Dad took me to see Genesis play live in 1980 (I was 9 years old) and seeing Phil Collins and Chester Thompson blew my mind. The live concert experience was so inspiring. After that night I knew I wanted to become a drummer
What would you consider the most defining moment in your career?
I've been very lucky to share some special moments with artists. I guess playing "Live 8" with Annie Lennox is going to take some beating, such an amazing sight of the crowd in London's Hyde Park that day (150,000 plus apparently). As always, Annie's performance connected to the 'heart' of why the concert was taking place and (for many) stole the show
What’s your current equipment set-up and why do you choose it?
I use a Premier Series Elite in gold fade sparkle lacquer - 12" x 10" birch power tom, 14" x 14" birch floor tom, 16" x 16" birch floor tom, 22" x 18" gen-x bass drum and a 14" x 8" maple snare drum along with 6000 Series hardware. For me, this set up covers many styles and musical situations. Being more of a song/pop/rock orientated player I like a strong back-beat, both kick and snare sound fantastic on this kit. The toms are punchy and direct too.
Which drummers would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Well of course Phil and Chester plus Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Stewart Copeland, Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste, Karen Carpenter and Buddy Rich as the after dinner entertainment.
What are your plans over the coming months?
Summer shows and festivals in the UK and Europe with The Wanted and Anastacia.
What are your feelings about the musical industry in general?
Things are definitely tougher out there in the muso trenches! As a freelance artist you never know where your next job is coming from (come to think of it, I never have). With the current economical climate artists, record labels and management are always after 'a deal'. You have to follow your gut with business as budgets are getting squeezed. However, a true love for what you do will always win and keep you strong, searching for bigger and better things. It's not been a smooth ride, but I've been extremely lucky in my career, I'm very grateful.
What is the most important advice you would give to an aspiring drummer?
Don't do it for the fame and money. Fame is shallow and money is tight. Love what you do, and i mean really love it. Have a true un-wavered passion and love for music and drumming; it will be your friend for life.