MUSiC: Recycled Archives

Some years ago I really had a lucky break, when, thanks to bumping into an old school friend in a bookshop, I wound up meeting another long lost secondary school buddy, and through him… and so on.

Anyway, the upshot was that one of these ol’ pals now worked in a local publishing company, who were about to launch a drumming mag, imaginatively titled Drummer. They had an editor, and he was looking for writers. Was I interested?

You betcha!

My first assignment was perfect, a dream come true: could I write x-hundred words on Led Zep I and John ‘Bonzo’ Bonham. Could I ever!?

Well, I was (and still am) a drummer, and I’d always been good at writing at school. But could I, as an adult not writing professionally, pull this off, on my first attempt?

I went for a curry with Ian ‘Croftie’ Croft, and we also went to see a local singer do a gig. I guess he was getting a feel for me; was I articulate enough, did we get on ok?

I submitted my piece. And the rest, as they say, is history. So things went about as peachily as they could’ve done, as far as I was concerned.

Having passed my test assignment, which was published in issue #1 of Drummer, I continued writing a monthly column, called Recycled, in which I discussed a classic album from a drumming perspective, every month for about a decade.

In that time the mag went under three times. Owing me money on the first two occasions. It was always a borderline affair, as Drummer never became as established as Rhythm, our main U.K. equivalent/competitor.

Rhythm has been around for donkey’s ears, and has outlived Drummer, which did eventually fold for good. Every time things got parlous, and often that would mean a change of editor as well as bankruptcy/non-payment of contributors, etc, I’d worry I’d be given the heave-ho.

Miraculously I survived two bankruptcies and numerous changes of editor. But there did finally come a day when I was told they were no longer going to run my Recycled feature.

In the intervening years I’d also got to interview a number of drummers, review quite a lot of drum kits, percussion, CDs and DVDs, and attend some interesting events, like product launches and gigs.

All told it was great. Of course it’s annoying that some of my work – a few hundred quids worth – was never paid for. But the positives outweigh the negatives as Jupiter is to a grain of sand.

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