Feature photography by Dod Morrison Photography for Rebellion
Sam Griffin Fuller, drummer from Peter & The Test Tube Babies gets his musical kit off with Nikki at The Punk Lounge!
Come on then, from the beginning, where did it all start, your musical journey?
Bloody hell, ages ago! I must’ve been about 8 or 9, we had an assembly at school and a bloke called ‘Mr Bert’ came in and played guitar for everyone and as soon as I heard that first chord, I knew I wanted to be a rockstar! But before that when I was about 5, I played a little Hawaiian drummer boy in a school play!”
Why the drums? Or did you start with another instrument?
Well I started off as a guitarist believe it or not! Like I said, as soon as I heard that first guitar chord, I was in awe of how cool it sounded! I begged my parents for lessons and they kitted me out with all the gear, unfortunately we weren’t allowed electric guitars until we had mastered the acoustic, which put a real downer on the whole thing. As soon as I realised that I wouldn’t be rocking out on an electric guitar and looking cool I gave up, especially as we were learning how to play twinkle twinkle little bloody star!
Skip a few years to my 15th birthday…I had been asking for drum lessons as I wanted to get back into music again and naturally after shelling out all that money years previous on guitar gear they were very reluctant to pay for something I’d give up again, but eventually they caved, and on my 15th birthday, my Dad showed up with a drumstick case with two pairs of drumsticks in and said “you’ve got a lesson on Saturday”. I was so excited.
In terms of playing other instruments, I can play Drums (obviously) guitar, bass, ukulele, and mandolin. I get bored every now and again and try to learn something new!
As for my favourite, well, it has to be drums, you can be so creative and let out so much passion whilst at the same time, if any of the readers have watched me play, showing off and throwing in some personality to the mix. You have Robin Guy to thank for that influence!!
Influences? Hmm, well there’s a few that spring to mind, Travis Barker (Blink 182, Transplants, Boxcar Racer), Josh Freese (Vandals and pretty much every band ever!), Derek Grant (Alkaline Trio), but mainly there’s one dude who taught me that drumming is about having fun and not just being that guy stuck at the back, but to throw yourself into every performance, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the fabulous Mr Robin Guy. I suggest you give his interview with Dod Morrison a read!”
Successes and failures along the way?
Successes and Failures? Failures just tend to happen when I’ve had too much to drink, which is never a good idea if you’ve got to play drums kids! But as we all tend to do, you have a few too many and think you can take on the world, that’s all well and good until the band look at you waiting for you to count a song in that you’ve completely forgotten!
As for successes, I would say pretty much every time I get up on stage and see fans singing along and dancing and diving around. That’s a success to me. Getting to visit places I never would’ve been and meeting some amazing people along the way, plus getting to play shows with my teenage punk heroes is also a great perk of being a musician. Success I don’t think can be measured by achievements alone, but by experiences that change your life for the better, and I would say playing drums, to 4 or 4000 people, no matter the size of the crowd is, is what makes my idea of success.
There is one cool thing I like to brag about though, I once got pulled up on stage to play drums for Green Day in front of 16,000 people in Birmingham!! That was amazing!”
Funny stories – lessons learned?
Well I’m sure a fair amount of your readers have heard about, read or seen on the news about the Test Tube’s little trip to LA last year? The one where Peter got deported? If not I suggest you have a little google of the events, as depending on what link you click on, the story becomes more and more elaborate!
But for the real insider gossip, you’ll need to ask the big man himself, but I will tell you one thing kids, don’t try to sneak into America….
Advice for those wanting to play your instrument or get into the music business
I’ve been doing this now for going on 13 years, and I only have two bits of advice for up and coming drummers or musicians in general: NEVER give up no matter how bleak it may seem, and secondly, play each show as if it’s your last, because one day, it might be!”
Your future plans
The future for me is pretty busy! We’ve got loads lined up with the Test Tubes, what with promoting the new album ‘That Shallot’ and trying to find time to work on new material, that and balancing a full time job, I’m burning the candle at both ends and the middle!”
Now lets talk drums, tell us about your starter kit and what do you recommend aspiring drummers buy to get started?
I started out with a second hand kit that I think was found in the FridayAds. It was a Dixon 4 piece with Paiste cymbals. The girl selling it had no idea how much they were worth and flogged it to me for £300. I later flogged the cymbals on for £400 and made the money back! I then went on to buy Zildjians because I wanted to have the same gear as my idols.
Recently however, after 13 years of drumming, I’ve somehow managed to blag some endorsements with the fantastic LONDON DRUMSTICK COMPANY who have made me my own range of custom sticks and recently signed with MURAT DIRIL for cymbals, who make fantastic handmade cymbals for yours truly and Mik Gaffney from The Last Resort to name but a few! As for Drums, I’ve got a few kits, I’ve still got that old first kit hidden away in a garage, I’ve got my touring kit, a Mapex QR that gets battered and bruised all over the place, a Roland TD11KV electronic kit for practising at home without pissing off the neighbours, but my absolute pride and joy is my Gretsch Catalina Custom kit. She’s my baby!”
Dream kit? God that’s a hard one, there’s so many beautiful kits, finishes, wood types, acrylics etc, it’s impossible to pick just one! But if I did have to pick, I’d say one that’s free and I don’t have to set up or put away because someone else does it for me! Hahaha!”
Thank you so much Sam! Always a blast!
Facebook – Sam Griffin Fuller
Instagram – Samgriffinfuller
Snapchat – Fullershittt
Peter and the Test Tube Babies:
Facebook – Peter and the Test Tube Babies
Instagram – petterandthetesttubebabies
Twitter – @TestTubes
Website – www.testtubebabies.co.uk