I'd always been into music growing up in the 90's. American bands like like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam, and the British electronic stuff too like Massive Attack and Underworld. Plus Oasis vs Blur, Radiohead. The list goes on. It was a great time for music.
I'd always wanted to play. I tried piano lessons but I didn't get far. One week I went for my lesson and saw a drum kit set up in the corner. I remember thinking "that's the coolest thing ever". And then I remember thinking "sod piano".
It wasn't until September 1998 that I took my first drum lesson. I didn't know what to expect. I was a shy kid. Maybe this huge, loud instrument was a step too far.
All doubt had vanished by the end of the lesson. Within half an hour I decided this was what I was going to be doing for the rest of my life.
I took lessons with an excellent teacher, taught myself songs off cds and tapes, watched endless drum videos on VHS, got a weekend job at a drum shop and played 2 hours every day without fail. The neighbours must have loved me.
Before long I was gigging with bands. I was still way too young to be in bars, so the band would go in through the front door and open the fire escape to sneak me in. It's a mystery how I never got kicked out.
A few years later came YouTube. I bought a handheld camcorder and uploaded couple of videos to show friends.
The artists of both the songs (two of my biggest heroes ) got in touch to say they loved my playing. It was mad. Then emails for session work started coming in from all over the place.
By christmas I was on a bunch or TV ads with an audience of 15 million people. Then there was a side project with Stef from the Deftones. Then work with Chase & Status and demos for Universal Records. It was all totally unexpected.
There (accidentally) began my session playing career.
A few years later I had some time off for Christmas. I thought I'd try learning an insane computer-programmed Venetian Snares song for a bit of practice.
A few weeks later I ended up in the studio with Aaron (mr Venetian Snares) himself.
I recorded drum breaks that would end up on his song Dear Poet.
John Frusciate of the Red Hot Chili Peppers guested on the same song. I grew up listening to the album Blood Sugar - it was the first album I taught myself to play as a kid.
I spend countless Learning those songs inside out. Somehow I'd ended up on on a track with the guy who played them. It felt like winning the musical lottery. It still does.
I'd done some weird gigs over the years. In a boxing ring, on top of a moving bus, in a club where a lot of very manly men were dressed as women. But that's another story.
Anyway - I learnt not to worry too much about the details. I just put the date in the calendar and hope for the best. This gig was no different.
The day came, a car picked me up and took me to the airport.
Right from the start I should have realised something was up. A car picking me up? I'm usually lucky to get a packet of crisps - let alone a driver.
I arrive at Heathrow, jump on the flight, and a car picks me up the other side to drive me to the gig.
I say hello to the band. I'm still learning songs off Spotify on my phone at this point.
A couple of minutes later I'm walking out in front of 15,000 people.
12 songs and a drum solo later the set is done. I throw my sticks into the crowd and watch as a fight breaks out over them. It was surreal.