Geoff Holroyde (Feeder, Take That, Robbie Williams) - Interview

When did you start drumming? How did you first discover drumming?

​So the first time I really noticed the drums was whilst listening to my parent's very varied record collection. Things like early Beatles, Mum loved the Beatles and the Stones. And Dad was a big blues fan, so we had records of all kinds of blues artists from Memphis Slim to Buddy Guy. I remember playing on the floor with knitting needles to Louis Armstrong and loving the way the music swung.

I grew up in the 70's and 80's so the radio was amazing back then, it was always on and my ears were glued to it.

But the one drummer who blew my mind in 82/83 was Phil Gould out of Level 42! I saw them on TV playing live and that was it! I had to find some drums a have a go! He is such a unique and beautiful pocket player with a crazy back beat, and when needed hands like Billy Cobham! Incredible drummer! And songwriter, him and his brother wrote a lot of their stuff!

I had been playing the piano since age of 6, but wasn't allowed to get drums, "too loud!" Said the parents, but I was determined. So I saved up from doing two or three paper rounds £150 and bought an old Premier. And so it started.

If I remember rightly, we first met at the London Drum Show when I was working on the Gretsch Stand. You were looking for Dave Phillips because you’d just got the Feeder Job. What Gretsch set up are you using currently?

So Dave (Phillips) and I got together to talk about what would be the best thing for FEEDER and he confidentily steered me towards the USA Custom with the bell brass Snare, and he was bang on! It's a beast of a sound. Yaron Levy our sound engineer gets the thing sounding thunderous! And that Snare cuts through so well! Just as well because FEEDER are a very loud band, and I find myself having to work really hard physically to keep it all rocking and the Gretsch really delivers!

Bass Drum: 24"x14"

Snare Drum: 14"x8"

Rack Tom: 13"x9"

Floor Toms: 16"x16" & 18"x16"

Cymbals: A mixture of A and K Zildjians

The last FEEDER record 'Tallulah' is me and Karl Brazil.

Let’s talk a bit about your projects. Who are you currently touring with? Who have you worked with in the past? What has been your favourite project to work on?

​I've been recording with A.A Williams recently, I did her EP last year and her new album 'Forever Blue' which I think was released in July 2020. I've worked with loads of people over the years including Chrissie Hynde, Simply Red, Robbie Williams, Take That, Annie Lenox, S Club 7 Atomic Kitten, Holly Johnson, Jack Savoretti to name a few.

One of my favourite things was my old band, Big Linda, a four piece rock band of incredible talent..... and me. We did one album 'i loved you' but unfortunately a mixture of the 2008 crash, terrible management and a singer losing focus meant it didn't last. Slash dug us a lot and asked us to support Velvet Revolver at Brixton Academy. Three of Led Zeppelin came to see us play! Planty came twice! Oh and Steve Vai too!

We had a studio where we would jam and record stuff, and with out a singer we ended up making a far out improvised instrumental album called 'Picturized' under the name Mr Gone, it's on Spotify, it's bonkers!!

I hear you have a particularly funny Steve Gadd Anecdote?

I was on a big 3 month tour of the states with Keith Harkin and Giancarlo Gadd, Steve's youngest was our tour manager and sound guy. One of the last gigs was at the Hard Rock Cafe in Phoenix Arizona, Steve and Carol Gadd live there. So when I woke up, we were parked outside Steve's house. I got up, knocked on the door, Steve answered with a lovely smile, offers me breakfast and a shower! As I started to fully wake up in the shower it hit me that I was in the house of the legend!!

We hung out for a couple of hours by the pool with about 6 dogs running around! He's a very lovely dude, always asking questions like how the tour has been going, how are the family, how are you coping with being away for so long, never really turning the conversation to himself much. I remember asking him, 'so Steve, what's coming up for you?' he said something like 'oh you know, doing some dates with Chick (Corea) again and maybe some more (Eric) Clapton, we'll see'...!!! Not many can say that sentence.

We talked about this book I really got into on that tour by Alan Dawson which has this amazing exercise in it - the rudimental ritual. We ended up playing bits of it together in the table! That was an incredible moment.

Then it's time for me to go to soundcheck and Steve shakes my hand and says "See you at the show!"

"You're not coming!!' I said

" Sure we are man, can't wait!"

The second number that night was a kind of Purdue shuffle, I thought my arm was going to fall off such was the nervousness going on in my mind! He sat right in front about 3 rows back smiling encouragingly all the way through - a true legend!

How are you keeping yourself busy during these strange times?

I'm being kept busy my my children during these times! What with 3 meals a day, home schooling and out on bikes to the park to kick a ball etc there's not much time for practice but I manage a little.

Finally, can you share a quick tip or give us a small exercise you always use?

Ok so a great little exercise I use a lot is the flamma diddle diddle alternates and switching to flam triplets and back. But the best exercise is to learn the whole rudimental ritual, it takes patience but well worth the effort because of the way it works your hands!

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