What’s Up, MD!
Just returned from a clinic tour of the UK, my second in four months, and it went real well. I like to fly Virgin Atlantic when going to the UK, because they have great service, especially in premium economy class, which is like a normal business class, with large leather seats and great meal. Especially good when flying overnight.
So, I arrived at 9:00 A.M. Monday morning at Heathrow, got my gear together, hit the “tubes,” and made my way to Croydon to visit my friend Colin Woolway’s Drumsense studio. I had a of couple classes and some private lessons with some excellent students. Colin is a fixture in the UK educational scene. After a LONG day of travel and teaching, I checked into my hotel only to find that this Premier Inn had no air conditioning—and it was warm and sunny in London–yes, I know, very un-London-like. I had to make due with a fan.
Next it was on to a great school in North London called the Institute Of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP). What a great facility! It has nice, large classrooms with REAL drumkits (no electronic sets), practice rooms, and an excellent faculty, including Justin Scott. They have many visiting faculty, like Thomas Lang and others, and it looks like I will be one as well each time I visit. Cool place! Here’s a video clip of the clinic I did for them: www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrcZ-1RU3dI.
Then it was off to the studios of LickLibrary.com to shoot some video lessons for their site. It was great, because it was all self-contained and camera ready. I did eight twenty-minute video lessons, including some excerpts from my DVD/book Hands, Grooves, & Fills (which I am honored to have placed second in the latest MD Poll). The clips should be up and running in a few months. I then hopped a train across the country to visit another excellent school, Percussion Works, in Bournemouth on the west coast. Simon Mellish is a great teacher who has a very large studio. It seems that, the younger the student, the better they play! They were all very ready and have been practicing since the last time I visited.
Got on the train back to London for a couple quick visits to the London Centre Of Contemporary Music and an in-store appearance at the famed Wembley Drum Centre. This massive store has a great vibe and practice rooms for customers to try out all the gear.
I made my way via the tubes back to the Premier Inn at the Heathrow airport, ready to get back to Newark. I checked in online and changed my seat from a middle row to a two-seater, which was empty at the time. Perhaps no one would check in and sit next to me, I thought, leaving me with some nice space to spread out on the way home.
I board the plane the next day, and settle into my seat. Then, someone walks up and says, “I think I’m sitting next to you.” I look up and see that it’s none other than the great Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez! When we saw each other, we broke into hysterical laughter. We couldn’t believe the coincidence! Horacio and I shared video clips from our laptops and iPods. He played me a video of his latest music performance, and I played him audio cuts from my CD with Groovallegiance, which should be out in the fall. Needless to say, we where both a little fried, so after dozing off, we landed back at Newark, and went off, promising to meet up at his studio, which is not far from where I live, to do some playing. Looking forward to that.
So, back home now, teaching at Drummers Collective, mixing the Groovallegiance CD, and working on a new DVD. Details to follow in the next blog!
See you out there!