Simon Phillips - Modern Drummer Magazine

Simon Phillips

“Not from Here” is one of the songs on a DVD/download titled The Gannin Arnold Project that Drum Channel produced featuring Gannin Arnold, Tim Landers, and Billy Mohler, along with five guest drummers: Taylor Hawkins, Jimmy Chamberlin, Terry Bozzio, Gary Novak, and Simon Phillips. All of the drummers played this track, which demonstrated how each player’s style and time feel had a unique influence on the music. This is the transcription from Simon Phillips’ performance. We also had a great conversation with Simon about the importance of reading and improvising.

“Learning to read is a great tool to have in your toolbox, and there’s something to be said about playing by ear,” says Simon. “I think these two tools are very important, especially when you do sessions. It’s really good in certain scenarios not to get a chart out and start writing because the artist might be put off by that—it’s too studious and straight. I was brought up in England in the ’70s, so that would have been considered very square. But reading is an incredibly important tool, so if you can mix them both it’s great.

“When I played with my father, I had to play four on the kick all the time. He hated dropping bombs and bebop. I got into a conversation with Art Blakey about it at the Montreux Jazz Festival. I didn’t really follow Art much back then, but I knew what he did. He was incredible. He could hear from across the stage that I wasn’t feathering the bass drum.


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In this Article

December 2020 Issue