Interview with Jeff Rich (Status Quo)

Interview with Jeff Rich Interview by Ben Pierson.

I have to admit, going to interview the drummer from one of the best known bands in history with a hangover and only 4 hours sleep under my belt, may not have been the best move on my part but none the less, as I made my way to meet with former drummer of Status Quo, Jeff Rich, I was looking forward to it.

Everyone loves an English rock band right? And surely everyone’s heard of at least one Quo song? If you know nothing of the Quo, they formed in 1962 with Jeff Rich joining in 1985 after working with Stretch, Judie Tzuke and the Climax Blues Band. After 15 years of touring Jeff left the band to spend more time with his family, he currently visits schools to get children more interested in the music business and runs a drum masterclass as well as offering one to one tuition.

Interview with Jeff Rich

Jeff Rich - I suppose I’ve been to around 6,500 schools by now all over the UK, I’ve been doing this for many years now and the whole point of the workshop is to inspire the students. So I do a combination of  around 65% Primary and 35% Secondary schools.

Stabbed Panda - And what sort of things are covered in the workshops that you do?

JR - It covers initially how I got into the music business and I go through my career and then tell them a bit out TV and stuff like that, then I go on to how drumming has developed. I’ve got African drums, Military drums…

SP - So you go through the whole history of drumming?

JR - Yeah, and it’s all interactive I get them up playing with all the different drums, then I’ve got a large kit set up and I go onto that, play a solo for them on the kit to show them what can be achieved, then they all get up and play percussion. Now, in a Primary School I’ll have about 150 up at a time playing percussion.

SP - Wow, I bet that get’s a bit noisy!

JR - Yeah, but they love it! Just here we had at least 100 up playing percussion.

SP - So as you clearly care for music as part of your life and you use these workshops to inspire a younger generation, how do you feel about where music currently stands in education?

JR - Well, unfortunately, music’s been pushed down the curriculum a huge amount because of funding problems and the government still haven’t realised that, if you play an instrument your academic work comes along because it’s a discipline but they still haven’t grasped that fact. So unfortunately it’s become more difficult to learn to play instruments in schools because it costs so much money and parents have to pay for instrumental lessons whereas before it was subsidised so there's a huge problem at the moment getting music into schools and getting awareness in music and that’s where I come in, trying to inspire them. I come from nothing, my parents couldn’t afford to buy me a drum kit, I did it myself and I tell them that if you want something you can do it yourself but you’ve got to be determined.

SP - Do you have any other projects in the works at the moment?

JR - I’ve got a 3 piece band called Triple J that’s mainly original material and we’re about to do a festival in the Isle of Man and one in North Wales. I also play with a blue band based in London, I’m doing a gig with them week after next, so I still play live but I pick and choose when I want to do it so that’s great.

SP - Sounds good! Now, how many albums do you think that you’ve recorded on over your career?

JR - Countless. Countless albums. I think with Status Quo I did about 12 or 14. Loads, loads.

SP - And what advice would you give to any musicians wanting any session or live work?

JR - First advice would be to make sure you have an academic base behind you because you won’t make a lot of money out of music to start with. So if you want it to work, make sure you have some qualifications so that you can still be earning money in the meantime. My son from my first marriage, he’s now 33 and works for Fender Guitars, he got a degree in guitars in London, played in some bands and all that but of course it’s so difficult to make money out of music but luckily because he had his degree, he got this job with Fender. But he still plays live, he’s in a band, recording at the moment but it’s so difficult to get out there they do gigs and all that but it’s almost like winning the lottery how difficult it is to make it big in the music business.

SP - How about drummers in particular? Any advice for recording, any do’s or don'ts?

JR - Yeah, make sure your bass drum pedal doesn’t squeak. Seriously! That is one of the worst things ever, You got a squeaky pedal, the microphones pick it up really badly, oh, it’s awful! Don’t take a huge kit into the studio, try and have a basic kit. Kick drum, small sizes, small toms, small floor tom and a few symbols but keep it really basic because it's so much easier to mic up and there's not as much to spill into the mics as well.

SP - And what would be your personally preferred gear for studio or live show?

JR - Well as I said before, small kit in the studio, small sizes. I use this big kit for doing big gigs and the schools because the kids love to see a big kit and it looks great, it’s a lovely sounding kit. But it wouldn’t be practical to do small gigs in pubs and club with this because, you know, it’s too much to lug around. It’s alright for me at the moment because I’ve got my technician doing it!

SP - And a fine job he’s doing! Lastly, where can people go to find out more about your master classes?

JR - My website is www.JeffRich.co.uk and it’s got all the information you need and people can email me through the website as well. I do get round to answering my emails.

Thanks again to Jeff for giving us his time.

 

Stabbed Panda Stabbed Panda Presents 2nd Series Finale

Stabbed Panda Stabbed Panda Presents 2nd Series Finale So there we have it, a fine end to our 2nd series!

Stabbed Panda Presents: Season 2 Finale by Stabbed Panda Presents... on Mixcloud

We'd like to thank all the bands who took part. In no particular order, the following bands are amazing and deserve your undying attention: Biscuits For Bears, Alone With Wolves, Michael Robshaw, The Projectionist, Too Cool Kid, Felix Martin, The British IBM, The Librarians, Tape Runs Out, The Infernal Sea, PSOTY, Trampled, Disinterred, The Prisoner Of Mars, The Centimes, and Razoreater.

Additionally, thanks to Fratricidal Promotions, Camblast Promotions, and UK Tech-Fest for making some of the bigger projects happen.


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Stabbed Panda Presents: Biscuits For Bears

Stabbed Panda Presents: Biscuits For Bears InterviewStabbed Panda Presents, Season 2 Episode 11

Check out this union of bears, (pandas are bears.) Liam and Si chat with Rich, the brains behind psychedelic, brit-pop, alt-rockers Biscuits For Bears.

 Stabbed Panda Presents: Biscuits For Bears by Stabbed Panda Presents... on Mixcloud

Links and that: Biscuits For Bears on Band Camp Biscuits For Bears on Facebook

 


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Stabbed Panda Presents: Alone With Wolves

Stabbed Panda Presents: Alone With Wolves Interview Stabbed Panda Presents, Season 2 Episode 10, Alone With Wolves

In this episode, Liam and Si chat with Hertfordshire modern rock & metal band Alone With Wolves. We get an insight in to their new album, with exclusive release and title info.

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Links. AWW on Facebook AWW on BandCamp

 


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Stabbed Panda Presents: Felix Martin

Stabbed Panda Presents: Felix Martin Gear and Technique Interview So this edition of SPP is a slight deviation from the regular format. We managed to catch the amazing 14-string guitarist, Felix Martin, whilst on his 2014 UK tour with Tech-Fest. We had a tight schedule and a non-usual location, so felt it wouldn't be right to try and make this like the previous editions of Stabbed Panda Presents. So there you have it. Lastly, thanks to Camblast Promotions for hosting Felix Martin that evening - without them this interview wouldn't have happened.

General QnA with Felix & Kilian

Felix and Kilian talk about their 2014 tour, Tech-Fest, and what exactly it is that they do. Featuring Chris from Camblast.

Gear & Technique Interview with Felix

Felix goes into detail about the construction of his guitars, his technique, and what gear he's using.

Felix's Website: http://www.felixmartin.net

 


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Stabbed Panda Presents: The Librarians

The LibrariansSe2Ep8 Si and Liam chat with indie-prog-punk-something-rockers The Librarians. Share and enjoy. If you've been affected by any of the issues raised in this interview then please take a moment to re-prioritise.

Stabbed Panda Presents: The Librarians by Stabbed Panda Presents... on Mixcloud

 

The Librarians on BandCamp The Librarians on Facebook

 


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Stabbed Panda Presents: Too Cool Kid

Stabbed Panda Presents: Too Cool Kid Interview (Audio) Se2 Ep7

This month Liam & Si chat with Jay of Too Cool Kid. TCK combine modern melodic rock with clever lyrics and quirky but catchy arrangements.

Stabbed Panda Presents: Too Cool Kid by Stabbed Panda Presents... on Mixcloud

 

Links: Too Cool Kid on BandCamp Too Cool Kid on SoundCloud Too Cool Kid on Twitter Too Cool Kid on Facebook

 


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Stabbed Panda Presents: Michael Robshaw

Stabbed Panda Presents: Michael Robshaw Interview

Liam and Si chat with solo artist Michael Robshaw who's just released his Straight Eyes Pessimist album.

Stabbed Panda Presents: Michael Robshaw by Stabbed Panda Presents... on Mixcloud

Links: Michael's Website: http://michaelrobshaw.com

 

Michael was also kind enough to play a couple tracks during his visit.


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Stabbed Panda Presents: The British IBM

Stabbed Panda Presents: The British IBM Interview Liam & Si chat with Aidy, frontman for Cambridge indie band and retro game enthusiasts The British IBM.

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Stabbed Panda Presents: Tape Runs Out

Stabbed Panda Presents: Tape Runs Out Interview Se2, Ep4

Liam and Si talk with Liam and Ellie of Tape Runs Out, Cambridge indie-shoegaze-electro-folk outfit.

Stabbed Panda Presents: Tape Runs Out by Stabbed Panda Presents... on Mixcloud

LINKS!

Tape Runs Out on Facebook


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Stabbed Panda Presents: A Very Fratricidal Halloween

Stabbed Panda Presents: A Very Fratricidal Halloween Only the third episode of the series and we’re already screwing with the format… This month’s feature is special in which we travel to the distant lands of Peterborough for Fratricidal Promotion’s Halloween musical spectacular. We interview the attendees, the promoters, and all 6 bands - including catch-ups with 2 previous interviewees. Enjoy.

Links!

The Projectionist on Facebook PSOTY on Facebook Trampled on Facebook Disinterred on Facebook Razoreater on Facebook The Infernal Sea on Facebook

Fratricidal Promotions

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Stabbed Panda Presents: The Prisoner Of Mars

Stabbed Panda Presents: The Prisoner Of Mars Interview Liam & Si chat with Cambridge’s own psychedelic rocker The Prisoner Of Mars.

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Stabbed Panda Presents: The Centimes

Stabbed Panda Presents: The Centimes Review and Interview Kicking off Season 2, Liam chats with The Centimes.

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Review by Jack Gunner.

Like the European currency unit they share a moniker with, Cambridge indie-pop trio The Centimes are both a relic from the past and timelessly current in their sound.  The trifecta, formed of drummer and lead vocalist Amy Devine, guitarist Adam Woodsford and bassist and backing vocalist Jasmine Robinson, draw from a variety of influences from shoegaze to indie to Blondie-esque punk, describing themselves as a “far out three-piece-multi-harmonic-sepia-toned-rainbow-boned group”. October 2013 saw the trio release their first single, and the subsequent year has seen them glide into the circle of Cambridge’s most talked about up and coming indie bands.

Centimes2
Little Table opens with a gloomy guitar into strongly reminiscent of PJ Harvey’s Stories from the City tracks, before launching into a simple, catchy alt-rock track with heavy Fleetwood Mac vibes.
I’m Fine kicks off gently with a slower beat reminiscent of the Corrigan-era, early Beautiful South numbers. A flurry of gentle notes floats dreamlike from the twelve string coupled with some great harmonisation and slow, hypnotic lead vocals.
Local Pool, (hopefully not Parkside), is a heady jangle-pop number, with some more outstanding vocal harmonisation, and a soft, steady drumbeat. "The party’s over, so find another party", the refrain repeats, and though the listener admires their resolve, one might think they could be out of look in Cambridge on a Wednesday night.
Stormy Tuesday jolts us with it’s punchy bass, over a playful shoegazy guitar -  the influence from My Bloody Valentine is most apparent here, as if the Irish alt-rock titans had got lost in Cambridge, got stoned and gone punting.  In perfect keeping with the hazy blues of the title, Devine’s vocals here are jaded but still determined.
Centimes1
The Centimes achieve something not too many bands do with this release – they sound like they’ve been playing together forever, with superbly neat harmonies and, through the use of the twelve string and acoustic bass, subtle yet powerful instrumental ability – eminently listenable and showing of great potential.

Centimes3

Panda Hut group selfie FTW.

Stabbed Panda Presents 1st Series Retrospective

Se1 Ret Header After 14 months we’ve decided to bring our first series to an end. Here we have a round-up of the best advice to young bands, thoughts on the Cambridge music scene, funniest lightning round answers and, of course, out-takes and bloopers.

Stabbed Panda Presents: Season 1 Retrospective by Stabbed Panda Presents... on Mixcloud

We’d like to thank all the bands featured in our first season, without you there wouldn’t be a show. In no particular order, big love to: The ProjectionistNaomi & TomBuzzard KingGoldstar, The 3rd EyebrowThe VarsityDAFM,The Infernal SeaBand Of BrothersJake MartinFred’s HouseMotor TapesFlux32, and 28 Boulevard. Special mention goes to Blunderbuster who were our first ever SPPresents feature before they took the now familiar form of an audio / visual experience.

We’d also like to thank the writers who brought us the accompanying reviews: Jack Gunner, Jack Hill, Wesley Freeman-Smith

And the following collection of miscellaneous people that made these episodes special in a variety of ways, or demonstrated a large amount of support or usefulness: Aaahh!!! Real Records, Matt Widgery, Tug Phipps, Bradley Stearn, & Paul Green.

We should also take a moment to remember our intern, Giles, who was tragically killed when a sentient robot promoter fell out of the sky and landed on him.

Now, down to the important stuff. Below is the first score board for our now (in)famous lightning round.

se1 lightning round results

So there we have it, congrats to The Varsity! Maybe next season we’ll come up with an easier to track method of scoring… (and maybe Liam won’t just straight up say “You Win” to a band…)

See you in series 2!

Liam & Si

Stabbed Panda Presents: Jake Martin

 

Liam and Si interview Jake Martin during preparations for his 2nd E.P. for our July 2014 feature.

More about Jake Martin: http://jakemartinmusic.co.uk

Thanks to… Aaahh!!! Real Records: http://shop.real-records.co.uk/main Tug Phipps Matt Widgery: http://www.mattwidgery.com

Stabbed Panda Presents: Jake Martin Interview (Audio)

 

Stabbed Panda Presents: The Infernal Sea

The Infernal Sea header Liam and Si chat with Dean and Geoff of The Infernal Sea, East Anglia’s rising metal stars.

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Photographs by Phil Blackandwhite Film Photography, used with permission, (thanks Phil!)

 

Stabbed Panda Presents: Goldstar

Stabbed Panda Presents: Goldstar Mixtape Review This month Liam talks with Geoff and David of Cambridge’s finest Stadium Dance act, Goldstar.

Stabbed Panda Presents: Goldstar by Stabbed Panda Presents... on Mixcloud

Review by Jack Gunner

Dance fans who have found themselves in the all-too-oft situation of perusing an event line-up and elating at the revelation of ‘GREAT ACT’ only to be brought crashing down to the depths of disappointment with the barely visible subtitle of ‘DJ SET’ will likely find themselves swiftly on board with the ethos of Cambridge’s fastest rising dance group Goldstar. Key word: group. What you hear on record with the four-piece is what you see on stage, not a skinny bloke with his top button done up poking at a laptop and avoiding the gaze of the crowd, but a full-on band, giving the audience the presence and the energy to match the fast pace of the music.

Formed as a trio in December 2012, Goldstar’s rise over the last year and a half is in itself a signal that the uninitiated should take notice. The release of their first mixtape, ‘MixTape 1’ in March swiftly grabbed the attention of critics and fans alike, with BBC Introducing and Cambridge 105fm among the many who gave them their richly deserved airtime. A second release, ‘MixTape 2’ followed in the summer, by which time they were playing headline sets at the Cambridge May Ball and festivals including Strawberry Fair, Green Gathering and Homegrown. After a 2013 which would make any up-and-comers jealous, Goldstar continue their conquest of the fenland (and beyond) dance circuit with, ‘MixTape 3’. And what they might just lack in originality of titling, they make up for with fast-paced, energetic dance that, as claimed, frankly needs to fill stadiums.

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Opener, ‘Darken Day’ is a more ‘typical’ dance track to kick off with, with shades of the Rudimental and Pendulum floor-fillers that inspired the trio. Vocalist, Lee Morris, demonstrates powerful verve here, from the laid-back opening, through the defiant, punchy chorus, to the chaotic vocal breakdowns, backed by blasting synths that make this number a definite potential mainstay for the dance festivals of Summers-yet-to-be.

‘I Need’ opens like a Rihanna-esque soul-pop ballad – for a minute or so, before the drums quicken and the track opens up beneath itself, teeming with what some of my Leeds-era flatmates would have referred to as, ‘bare grimy beats’, (something you resolutely cannot pull off saying if you have a Cambridge accent) Dual vocals, and a sharp contrast between the quiet moments and the intense, dub-heavy elements make this another rousing anthemic number.

Finally, ‘Yesterday’ brings the album to a stylish close. Xylophones and soft, breathy vocals give way to a frantic, hypnotic soaring marriage of synth and bass which manages to keep up the tempo while retaining an easy charm that can get often get lost in hectic dance numbers. It’s the perfect five-in-the-morning song.

Goldstar1

For a simple three-track, Goldstar’s third release is a searing, powerfully veracious eleven minutes of sound, which while it might not break down barriers, certainly has the cojones to catapult the foursome into the national dance circuit, and stands as a shining sample of how there is more to good Cambridgeshire music than just the acoustic folk that people know. Even those who usually disdain popular dance should give it a go – stadiums need filling, and Goldstar should be the ones to fill them.

8/10 - Jack Gunner

Links: Goldstar on Facebook Goldstar on SoundCloud Goldstar’s website

 

Stabbed Panda Presents: Naomi Randall & Tom Gaskell

Naomi R header Si chats with Naomi Randall and Tom Gaskell.

Stabbed Panda Presents: Naomi Randall with Tom Gaskell by Stabbed Panda Presents... on Mixcloud

Album review by Jack Gunner, photography from Paul Green, (website link)

There’s no mistaking the earthy, folky vibe from Naomi Randall and Tom Gaskell’s collaborative debut – with a description which advises the listener that the music is “best heard through brambles in the company of small birds”, a web-page with a backdrop of golden sunflowers, and an album cover which appears to suggest the duo were borne from the grass itself – or failing that, are a representation of Rapunzel as a Siamese twin. The problem is, of course, that the word “folk” has become over-used in recent times, blithely thrown at any Joe with an acoustic guitar and a daisy in their locks, and associated more amongst younger crowds with the sounds of the Ben Howard’s and Marcus Mumford’s.

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Randall (who has toured as the vocalist of Cambridge crew Somewhen) and Gaskell (a producer and technician as well as a singer-songwriter) have collaborated in a project that is something different entirely. Recorded over a three-year period at Gaskell’s own Big G Studéos, the result is similar in concept – though not in style – to Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s excellent 2012 comeback album ‘Americana’, which collected and re-imagined some of America’s most beloved folk numbers, this effort sees the duo take on a selection of European folk songs and poems with outstanding aplomb.

Opener La Pernette (English translation, “The Lost One”) is an ethereal number – more a ‘ballad’ in the traditional sense of the word than the modern. Drawing influence from the medieval French chanson de toile, the narrative concerns a weeping young girl who begs to be hanged alongside her true love Pierre who has been sentenced to the gallows for reasons untold, rather than face betrothal to another rich lord. Somewhat disturbingly, this is apparently sometimes sung by French schoolchildren. While not a happy number to open with for sure, the musicianship keeps the tragedy in the tone without allowing it to set the album off with a mournful dirge – it’s like listening to the siren sounds of a band of renaissance bards.

The duo return to the other side of the Channel for the next track, a straightforward yet intricate rendition of Appalachian favourite Nottamum Town , another medieval number, previously covered by the likes of Jean Ritchie and Bob Dylan, with cryptic lyrics that have given rise to many an interpretation – the title is thought to be a corruption of Nottingham – which involve a naked drummer and a horse - some say its about the English Civil War, and the place where Charles I began to raise soldiers. In any case, the gently stirring acoustic backdrop and soft, lilting vocals make it so listenable that fans will be making up their own theories as to the meaning.

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Sleepy Laddie Door, a Gaelic-sounding lullaby sees the album at its most relaxed – with a gentle blend of the two vocals over an acoustic meadow, producing an effect a little like musical Valium, before Bluesy number, The Granta, brings up the pace a little, mixing quintessentially ‘folky’ lyrics with some of the albums best guitar and harp playing.

The listener is treated to another quality acoustic interlude, entitled Nick’s Song before launching into Lord Gregory, another tragic ballad This time an excerpt from the renowned Child Ballads collected towards the end of the 19th century – this one concerns an ill-fated young Scottish mother, whose futile attempts to find her babe’s father see her “drowned in the deep”. Opening, as the other tracks have by placing Randall’s atmospheric narrative over a simple acoustic backdrop, the song takes an unexpected and utterly spine-chilling turn at the two minute mark, into a darker, slightly disjointed second act as the spurned protagonist addresses her former paramour in a ghostly whispered verse teeming with subtle menace, “deep it is you’ll find me in a deep and silent grave…”, before finishing the track with another simple verse – practically flawless and the stand-out on an excellent disc.

Fox’s Sunday Best provides a fast-paced, tap-along interlude which makes for a jolt in tone when placed before the album’s penultimate track, Bonnie Bunch of Roses, an old Irish pro-Napoleonic ditty. Randall’s weightless vocals almost single-handedly carry the track throughout, with only a very subtle, ominous backing on a few occasions, rendering the finished piece like a sung monologue, high in restrained emotion yet remarkably relaxed, especially for a song with a heavy measure of vengeance and regret.

The closer, St Johns Raga, is a final instrumental number, finishing the album with a final dose of acid-folk that’s closer to pure 60’s psychedelic than the more traditional numbers, but no less proficient.

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Randall and Gaskell’s effort is a truly rare find. Combining a wide range of instruments with a fascinating selection of source material and vocals like molten silk, the slow-burn production process was worth every second. Offered as digital download and CD for only £5 and £7 respectively (though those are only a suggested bottom line, the album is worth a lot more), those looking for either an album to share with friends over a cup of strawberry wine and a herbal cigarette, a soundtrack to their forays into medieval literature or simply something to fall asleep to will find much to appreciate here.

10/10

Jack Gunner.

Links: Naomi Randall’s Bandcamp Tom Gaskell’s Website Aaahh!!! Real Records