Welcome to another Drumming Greats study.
This month we will be looking into one of the most influential drummers to come from the UK Steve White.
For me Steve was an inspiration from a very young age and following his career I have learned a great deal. Attending some of Steve's clinics have allowed me to look at the way I play and adjust to get the best techniques I can.
Your Mission is to read Steve's Bio below and get yourself onto YouTube, look at Steve's career and influences and write a paper, answering these questions.
"What kind of stick grip does Steve use and Why" ?
"Which artist is Steve White famous for playing with. How has this genre of music changed drumming in the UK today"?
Ensure that all papers are done in electronic copy so they can be published online.
I was very lucky indeed to ask Steve White a couple of questions which he was able to take time out of his schedule to answer.
Steve Growing up and learning to play the drums in drum corps and having the influences of Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa, how did your influences change the way you played and your attitude to music, and are your early influences still a major part of your playing.
Every day when i pick up the sticks those early influences are still there , the way i still hold y sticks the majority of the time , traditional grip , very rarely does a day go by that i do not listen to at least one Buddy Rich track or album , i actually listen to very little rock music these days and find that all of the music that was around me at my developmental stage is where my default button goes back to . I am still as bigger fan of the krupa and Rich generation as when i was a kid . The rudimental approach i was taught , i was teaching a lesson at Trinity college just yesterday based on work i was doing age 15 , so you could say it worked .
What advice could you give my students on the importan ce of dy namics within your playing and what dynamic allow you to achieve with a song.
Steve White was born in Bermondsey, South London and has lived in the south part of London all his life. He began to show an interest in drumming through a snare drum that was given to him by an uncle at the aged of eight.
At the age of ten Steve began to learn simple side drums parts as a member of the Drum Corp of his local Boys Brigade Company. Aged 11, Steve attended Eaglesfield School, in Shooters Hill, Woolwich - a school that in it's previous incarnation as Shooters Hill Grammar had boasted one Peter "Ginger" Baker as a former pupil.
Under the tutorage of Mr George Scott an experienced veteran of drum and percussion teaching at the school, Steve worked hard and progressed quickly and through the influence of Mr Scott. Steve was exposed to the skill and playing of drummers such as Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa and at age 11, Steve was taken to see a drummer play who profoundly influenced him and still does so to this very day; on a Friday night at Ronnie Scott’s club in Soho London accompanied by his long suffering and supportive dad, Steve first saw a truly great drummer play live - the drummer in question was one Louis Bellson and from that point Steve was totally hooked - practising and playing at every opportunity.
Steve was privileged to spend his time in the education system when Music was a valued part of the curriculum and he enjoyed the fantastic support and encouragement of a number of teachers throughout his time at Eaglesfield. Through school recommendation, Steve auditioned for the ILEA's Centre for Young Musicians in Pimlico and was accepted. Steve found the regimentation a little hard to take although he fondly remembers the tuition of an excellent drummer called Michael Skinner (one of the UK's truly great percussionists). Attending the school at the same time was a certain Gary Wallis (of Nik Kershaw & Pink Floyd fame) the two became close friends and for the rest of their school years practised manically together debating till dawn the merits of Buddy Rich versus Billy Cobham.
Steve, now aged 16, was lucky enough to spend some time with the incredible Bill Bruford of King Crimson, Genesis and drummer of the renowned Earthworks. Through Bill's support Steve was recommended and accepted on a scholarship to the drum school PIT in Los Angeles and through a separate endeavour won a place at the Berkley School of music in Boston. However, the harsh realities of the Philistine policies of the Thatcher years shot this dream down and Steve quit school in disgust. At the time, Steve was a hard worker and worked in many areas to buy new drums and gigging almost every weekend in the clubs and pubs of South East London, his Dad now promoted to reluctant roadie. Steve had his first experience in the pop world as drummer with a Neo Mod outfit called "Flat 19" supporting Jam Wannabes the "Truth" with his old mate Gary Wallis now a pro and gigging drummer. Through Gary's commitment to the "Truth", Steve was offered the chance to join the band of the musical "Labelled with Love" based on the work of South London band Squeeze. Steve performed the show for three months at the Albany Empire in Deptford and was a professional drummer 2 weeks after leaving school. He was constantly aware that his time on the musical was limited and was frantically grabbing any audition for any band seeking a drummer. It was through an audition at a Rat Pit studio in Lewisham that Steve, although completely wrong for the band in question, was recommended to the bands A & R man as a possible candidate for another band on the label (Polydor records)........ the band was the "Style Council".
Dennis Munday of Polydor Records called to ask Steve if he was interested in going for a play with a band on the label he would not name. Dennis, a fellow South London Jazz fan pushed Steve into the audition at Nomis Studio's, aware that the band had settled on a drummer for a gig at Brockwell Park that weekend. Steve gave it a go and seemed to strike a chord with Paul Weller with a dreadful Elvin Jones impression and was invited to come and play with the Style Council on a David "Kid" Jensen show on Radio1. A week later Steve was asked to play another Radio session with various artists on Paul's label "Respond Records" at the Paris Theatre in Regents Street. It was Paul's 25th birthday and the first time Steve ever played Live with the Style Council. A few weeks later he found himself driving to Paris in a transit van to record with the Style Council their new record the "A Paris" EP which contained the classics Long Hot Summer and Paris Match and went to No 2 in the UK charts. The recorded output of the Style Council is well documented in the discography part of this site, and the work of the Style Council is known to millions world wide.
An almost constant stream of hits and world wide touring followed, pretty much uninterrupted until 1989. During the years Steve played with Paul, Mick and Dee as the Style Council he was never officially told he had the gig !!! In 1985 Steve was the youngest performer to appear on stage at the legendary Live Aid Concert at Wembley. Now 20, Steve went back to school enrolling in drum lessons with the teacher he credits as the "Man who taught me how to play drums" Bob Armstrong. As well as working with The Style Council, Steve was drumming and playing percussion with various groups on the Respond label and pursuing a relentless path of practice and dedication devouring the knowledge that Bob presented him like a religion. This period in Steve's life was one of work - practice and physical training, dedication and discipline ruled for a number of years. In 1988 things started to change - the beliefs and causes that the Style Council championed had affected the bands perception by the public and the support of political awareness raiser's "Red Wedge" had exposed the group, especially Paul - to an unfair and uncomfortable degree of criticism that inevitably had an effect. Steve began to feel less and less part of the picture as "The cost of Loving" was released and the band stuck one more defiant finger up with the classic film Jerusalem - an odyssey of music and black humour, more a Modyssy really. After accomplishing all the success of an acclaimed actor, Steve knew that for him the best of the group was in the past and despite appearing on a concert tour of Japan and playing on a few tracks on the Groups "Confessions of a Pop Group" album, Steve moved on . Eager to put his Jazz chops to the test Steve went on to play and tour with the Jazz Renegades - his own band co founded with the amazing saxophonist Alan Barnes. The band toured the UK and Japan as part of the burgeoning Acid Jazz movement and Steve went on to play with such groups as Working Week, Galliano, The Young Disciples, The James Taylor Quartet, and Ian Dury. At the same time Steve began to gain a reputation as a drum set performer appearing in clinics with Simon Phillips, Peter Erskine and many other great performers. After a couple of years of relentless touring Steve found himself taking a break in London and appearing on the final TV show that The Style Council were doing having announced the bands split and it was during this TV show that Paul suggested he would like Steve to play on some demos for some new songs he was working on.
Over an Easter weekend in 1991 Paul recorded as the Paul Weller Movement a song called "Into Tomorrow" - a classic piece of band playing with Paul claiming back his mojo and setting the bar for a solo career . The first year or so was not easy - the gigs were sparsely attended the band's not great sometimes but still Paul played on defying all in the Music industry who had written him off by storming back to the top with a doctrine of raw talent, hard work and relentless touring. Steve has also released two albums with Style Council friend Mick Talbot under the name Talbot / White (see Discography). With Steve at the back, Paul has played and wowed audiences globally
In 2001 Paul took a journey acoustically and Steve had resigned himself to a year of change, devoting more time to his new career of teaching under the guidance of long time friend George Frederick, Steve has now launched a successful career as an educator, be it as an in demand personal teacher and motivator, to course instructor at the "Freddie Gee Drum Academy" now in it's 14th Year, or as a drum set clinician, breaking all clinic attendance records in 2000 with Red Hot Chilli Peppers drummer Chad Smith during their legendary "With Attitude" tour promoted by Freddie Gee Promotions.
In 2001 Steve was asked to consider taking on a role at the revitalised Premier Drums as a product consultant working as part of the team in Leicester consisting of Nigel Sims, George Frederick and design partner Nick Hudson. Steve has took
up this new challenge and co designed the acclaimed "Modern Classic" snare drums for the company. 2002 found the team working towards the goal of a complete re-launch of Premier's professional range co-designed by Steve and Nick Hudson and better known as the Premier series. In 2005 the modern classic range was given its crowning glory with the ltd edition version in collaboration with the legendary Jonhny Craviotto, Steve also found himself in 2001 filling in for younger brother Alan in the hot seat for Oasis on the band's American tour with the Black Crowes. Living up to the nickname of "Supersub", Steve filled in for drummer Oscar Harrison as Ocean Colour Scene promoted their greatest hit's album.
After the release of Illumination in 2003 Steve went onto release as drummer and co producer on much of the album the acclaimed album "Studio 150" with Paul , fulfilling a dream for Paul to produce a covers album this album was received warmly by both the media and by Pauls ever faithful fans and saw the singles “Thinking of you” “The Bottle" and the radio hit "Wishing on a Star", DVDS of Steve with Paul are available in performance at the Royal Albert Hall, at Braehead Arena Glasgow and Hyde Park in London in 2004, 2005 saw the release of Modern Classics on DVD, also a compilation of the best of Paul’s solo work with all promotional videos and the Wildwood live tour of 1994 .On July the second Steve took to the stage at Hyde Park with friend and fellow player Damon Minchella to perform at the most widley watched musical event in History LIVE 8 performing drumming duties with the legendary Who , becoming a very elite member of a group of musicians who performed at Live Aid and Live 8, Steve Sydlnyk, Steves old Style Council buddy being another.
Oct 2005 saw the release of the second album by the Players Steve’s band with Damon Minchella, Mick Talbot and featuring Kelly Dixon on vocals, titled "From the Six Corners" the album also features Ken and Carl Papenfus of the Irish band Relish. Steve spent the rest of 2005 working to promote Pauls news studio album "As is now" which was released in Sept to widespread critical acclaim, Steve spent the rest of 2005 promoting "As is now" with gigs in the US and then Holland, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the Irish republic. A DVD of the recording of "As is now" WAS released early 2006 and Steve’s "LIVE 8" appearance was released in Dec 2005.
Steve took time from road duties to pursue more work as a clinician and educator, he appeared at the third year of the Picking Up Sticks festival in Oldham, he got to play double drums at a charity concert with the legendary Ian Paice and in 2007 took part in the inaugural “Worlds Greatest Drummer” concert paying tribute to Buddy Rich. In September 2008 Steve appeared at the world famous Drummer live concert and then reunited with the Red Hot Chilli’s Chad Smith for eight sold out UK dates.
In April 2008 Steve alongside former Paul Weller band mate Damon Minchella released "The return of the Iron Monkey" and spent part of that year touring with the group including appearances at the Paris and Milan Jazz Festival. In Dec 2008 Steve appeared in London to pay tribute to the great Ginger Baker alongside Kieth Carlock, Simon Phillips and the great man himself.
In 2009 Steve has found time to make appearances with the legendary Jon Lord in the UK and Brazil and to stretch his talents in producing hotly tipped UK artist Sam Gray.
Steve plays: Premier drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Roland and uses Remo heads exclusively and Steve wishes to extend a very big "thank you" to all who have supported him.
In 2014 steve has assumed the role of head of education for Premier drums , is on the much awaited second album from La Roux, released his new EP with Trio Valore Liars and Cheaters and features heavily on volume 2 of Paul Weller's second Modern Classics album. . In September of 2014 Steve will be taking up a role at Trinity Laban in Greenwich teaching drumset .