> > > Gavin Harrison & Pat Mastelotto Interview for BeatIt

June of this year was a special time for all King Crimson fans in Poland. The band did a total of six shows in our country – two at the Earth Hall in Poznań (June 13 and 14), three at the ICE Congress Center in Krakow (June 16, 17, 18), adding to that a warm-up gig and the Aula Artis on June 12. The band also set up camp in the city of Poznań for a few days to rehearse before the tour kicked off, so they were also to be seen sightseeing and relaxing there.

Gavin Harrison & Pat Mastelotto beatit.tv

photo: beatit.tv

BeatIt simply could not miss out on such an opportunity to interview some of the best drummers in the business. Apart from the tour kits (see HERE and HERE), the artists were kind enough to allow us to have a nice chat with them. Here are fragments of it.

For you viewing and listening pleasure, we give you Gavin Harrison and Pat Mastelotto!

G. H.: “What normally happens is we rehearse in April in England. We do about four or five days, just the drummers in a small rehearsal room. Because rehearsing drums on stage with the band, it’s impossible for me to speak with Pat. He’s so far away physically. Me and him and Jeremy go in a small rehearsal room, set up in a circle. We can all see and hear each other. I have some backing tracks that we can play to on a computer. We go through the arrangements and then we get together with the band in a big place. I think we did ten days this time. And then, we take six weeks off. Then, just before the tour starts, like here in Poznań, we get a three days’ rehearsal and tonight we’re doing a warm-up show, and tomorrow night will be the first proper show.

P. M.: We’ve done the same kind of routine in Austin. The time before that was in Seattle, the time before that was…I can’t remember, but wherever the first gig is we put in a few extra days.

G. H.: Jeremy came on in 2016. It hasn’t really affected that much what Pat and I do. A lot of the arrangements were written before Jeremy came on board so he took over from Bill Rieflin. Obviously, we’re playing some new songs since Jeremy joined. Jeremy plays keyboards as well so there’s quite a few songs where there’s more piano-orientated pieces. I mean, it’s still three drummers playing.

P. H.: We’re staying out of each other’s way but Jeremy is a good piano player. Bill is more of a mellotron guy, beautiful sounds and things. It really changed the character of the band once Robert realized how well Jeremy plays the piano, so we’re having a lot more tunes that incorporate that. Another big change with Jeremy is he’s a bit feistier, louder, more visceral than Bill Was. Bill is a little bit of a lighter player so Gavin and I were dynamically a little less balanced. We had to arrange parts to accommodate that. Now, Jeremy can sometimes get the rock part ’cause he’s a great player. He can play bebopy, quiet, club house, cafe style to arena. He can play roots music.

G. H.: I’m still using the basic kit that I would use anyway. The only additional thing is I’ve got two Nord pad things going on and a little bit of extra tom action, but not too much of a change from what I would normally do. I can’t speak for Jeremy but, as you saw, Pat’s got an incredible amount of percussion, metallic percussion and lots of things you probably don’t take out on every tour, right?

P. H.: No. I would never. You just couldn’t afford to. It’s not always the luxury of having a crew. We’re a huge band now – eight in the band and ten in the crew. As Gavin says, it’s organic. I wanna try things and make accidents. Sometimes I hear an accident and go: ‘Wow! That’s a good idea!‘ But it’s also very thought out because we seldom rehearse in the States so there’s only so much shit I can bring. I have to think ahead: ‘What are we gonna try next year or this year?‘ I did think for a while in the beginning: ‘Oh, three drummers. Maybe I should just play V-Drums and be completely different?‘. Anyway, I didn’t wanna go there. I wanna hit real drums.

G. H.: Having three drummers is a challenge. With something challenging comes opportunity. If you’re willing to use your imagination to find parts that work where three drummers can play together rather than we all play the same or we play on our own. You’ve got to be creative and find creative musical solutions to the problem and you can surprise yourself what works, what doesn’t work and how it can match together. What we try to be careful of is that we’re not all playing the bass drum and the snare drum at the same time. Sometimes, when we’re all playing a rhythm it’s been carefully mapped out so no two notes are landing at the same time. It’s like one drummer with six legs and six arms.

P. M.: It’s definitely a challenge. Definitely a surprise when Robert called in 2013 and said he wanted to put the band back together. He said: ‘There’s seven musicians and three drummers. Would you do it?‘ I said: ‘Yes‘ and then I hung up the phone and I didn’t know who was in the band. I never asked. It never occurred to me. I guess it’s sort of what it must have been for Bruford when all of a sudden I showed up. It wasn’t Bill’s idea and having more drummers in the band wasn’t my idea, but it’s awesome, dude! Where else do you get a chance to do this? You can learn so much! I sometimes think of other bands where there’s two or three guitar players and I’m always by myself in the corner. Here, I got a drum teacher every day. Not just Gavin – it’s Jeremy and Bill.”