My earliest influence was my cousin Ian, who played drums with a band during the Merseybeat boom of the 60's alongside The Beatles, Gerry & the Pacemakers and the rest. He showed me my first rhythms when i was very small and i still remember the feeling of hearing his drumming on a vinyl single as it went round on the turntable. I thought it was the coolest thing!

Ian Paice photo ©  Vincent Lagana - When i was 10 years old i went with my elder sister to see Deep Purple at Liverpool Stadium and was floored by Ian Paice, my first drumming hero "In Rock", "Fireball" and "Machine Head" were then my drumming bibles. He is and will always be, for me, the greatest ever rock drummer. Groove, power, precision, invention and taste. It still always makes me smile when i listen to his playing.

When i was further into my teens though i started to discover the American groove masters and three drummers in particular really affected me and inspired me to emulate their approach. Andy Newmark, Jeff Porcaro and Steve Gadd.

I met Andy Newmark in 1985 and we became friends and it was a great priviledge and pleasure to sit and talk drums to him as a 23 year old wide-eyed novice, as it is to this day. He remains, in my book, the ultimate pop/groove player with a totally unique feel.

The late great Jeff Porcaro seemed to be on so many records that i liked as i was growing up. Strangely it wasnt really the Toto records that drew me to him, but the breadth of different artists and styles he was called to play, always sounding so sympathetic to the music and forever with that astounding groove.

Steve Gadd photo © Alex Solca - spedial edition drummerworld Steve Gadd, as everyone knows, is just about perfection. Immaculate on every note. He plays quarter notes with an intensity I have never heard from anyone else. Each and every note has his heart and soul in it. It wasn't the early jazz/fusion records that inspired me but the later, simpler grooves that i could relate to more easily. He is a true genius i believe.

The more I listened and read about these players i then discoverd other players who inspired and were admired by them. People like Jim keltner, who was Newmarks hero, John Robinsonand Steve Ferrone and of course Bernard Purdie, who I once had the opportunity to have a lesson with ,but was too intimidated to go !! Idiot!!

Roy's Recommended Listening

Andy Newmark

  • "In Time" from album "Fresh" by Sly and the Family Stone
  • Double Fantasy - John Lennon
  • Avalon - Roxy Music
  • Young Americans - David Bowie
  • The Beauty Stab - ABC
  • Jungle Fever - Neil Larsen

Jeff Porcaro

  • Secret Combination - Randy Crawford
  • Middle Man - Boz Scaggs
  • If Thats what It Takes - Michael McDonald
  • Best of - Larry Carlton
  • "Lady Love Me" from album "In your Eyes" by George Benson
  • The Nightfly - Donald Fagen

Steve Gadd

  • If Thats What it Takes- Michael McDonald
  • Rickie Lee Jones - Pirates
  • Aja - Steely Dan
  • Simon & Garfunkel - Live in Central Park

Roys Top Ten Groove Merchants:

  1. Steve Gadd
  2. Andy Newmark
  3. Jeff Porcaro
  4. Jim Keltner
  5. John Robinson
  6. Steve Ferrone
  7. Bernard Purdie
  8. Al Jackson
  9. Steve Jordan
  10. Rick Marotta