Simon Phillips is one of the most prolific drummers of his generation, a true institution in the world of modern drums. The list of artists he has collaborated with would take the entire space we have for this article. Just a few of them, e. g.: Mike Oldfield, The Who, Judas Priest, Jeff Beck, Tears For Fears, Gary Moore, Jack Bruce, David Gilmour, Brian Eno, Joe Satriani, Jon Anderson, Stanley Clarke, is enough to want to know what a player like that has to say and play. There have been a lot more of those sessions, let alone replacing the late Jeff Porcaro as a permanent member of TOTO for 21 years.
You have already been able to enjoy the wonderful drum solo Simon Phillips played during his clinic at the Hard Rock Cafe in Warsaw, Poland, on June 11, 2017, which was organized by the Warsaw-based Pro Drum store. Now, it is time for an in-depth interview exclusively for the viewers of en.beatit.tv.
Simon Phillips talks to BeatIt, Pt. 1
“What I have for those who attend my clinics is in part, information, in part, the benefit of my experience. Hopefully, some funny stories revealing the human side of the reality of the music business, drums and drumming. I tend to be very open and loose about it. I only have a plan for the beginning and that’s it, just to open the clinic. The rest is all down to the audience. I hand it out to them and the rest of the clinic is basically conducted on the questions that I get. It depends on the questions. Most audiences are very good. They’re very forthcoming and it’s never a problem, but occasionally you get the tough one, where they’re not so forthcoming. Then, you have to work really hard. Or they may ask a question which, maybe, I feel is not relevant. Then, I do the politician trick. If you notice, most politicians, when asked a question by the journalist, answer to a totally different question, which they weren’t asked but want to be asked. It’s a good trick I learned by watching all these politicians on TV around the world. And there’s a lot of that going on right now so I’m getting a lot of experience at that and a lot of practice. The most important thing is to make it a fun event. It is still a show, it is still entertainment at the end of the day. There’s nothing worse than everybody getting really bored or too technical. I try to keep it informative with a lot of technical information but I still try to make it fun for everybody so they have a good time.
I remember when I was very young and I would go to a clinic, I’d never ask a question. I was too afraid to embarrass myself. I think people think: ‘I hope the question I’m asking isn’t a silly question’. There really aren’t any silly questions because if the clinician is open enough and aware enough, he’ll make it so that that person isn’t embarrassed. He’ll take something from the question that is positive and useful. Let’s take a very simple one, I’ve been asked this many times: ‘What shoes do you wear when you play drums?‘ Some people in the audience get irritated. It’s actually a very good question. There’s a lot of concept behind what you’re comfortable wearing. ‘Should I wear special drumming shoes?’. My answer would be: ‘Absolutely not!’. What happens if your bag gets lost by an airline? You’re gonna have to play that night wearing something you’re not used to and it’s gonna bug the hell out of you. You’re gonna be so worried. Don’t get too attached to your favourite drumming T-shirt or your favourite drumming shoes. Use the ones you prefer to wear but change it up because one day you’re gonna get there no baggage, only with your carry-on and no spare shoes. What do you do? You’ve got to be prepared for these eventualities when you travel.
If you drink too much carbonated, you’re gonna be belching the whole gig. Eating before a show. What do you eat? How much do you eat? It’s always better to play hungry than not. Of course, when you’re in a smaller town and everything closes at 10, especially in Europe, you have to eat during the day and you have to eat before the show. Then, you have to be careful what you eat. If you have a huge Indian meal like chicken tikka masala, spicy and everything, saag bhaji, you’re gonna be tasting that the whole gig. I happen to love Indian food but just be selective when in India. You need something very mild, just maybe some chicken tikka with no sauce. Just be intelligent about it, it’s common sense.
Rest is really important, especially when we don’t get the chance to have an early flight. For example, today, in my original itinerary, I was looking forward to having a long lie-in. Then, get up and maybe find a place that actually served a good cappuccino, ‘cause that’s my thing in the morning. A little bit tough in Warsaw to find really good cappuccino, but the schedule changed. It was like 10 o’clock start. I went: ‘There goes my lie-in’. You have to grab it when you can. One of the things I leaned from my father is he would catnap whenever he could. So even if I only have 30 minutes at the hotel room and I’m feeling tired, I get my airline things, close the windows, switch the phone off and just even try to snooze for 20 minutes. It’s very beneficial and you really have to take care of yourself.”
Simon Phillips is endorsed by Tama, Zildjian, Remo and Pro-Mark.
Drummers and Drummerettes! We give you Simon Phillips in the first installment of an exclusive interview, especially for the viewers of en.beatit.tv! Enjoy!Share