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Sometimes You Choose The Drums, Sometimes They Choose You…Robin Guy

When, where and why did your dream as a musician begin?

Oh man….*leans back in armchair*…my journey began “A long long time ago in a galaxy far away….” ;o)

When: Immediately after conception, I think!

Where: In the womb.

Why: Well, I was such a fidgety baby – always swinging my arms about & kicking etc my Mum once stated:

When he’s born, he’ll either be a Boxer, or a Drummer – and I refuse to let him become a Boxer…”

When and why did you choose the instrument you did? 

Sometimes you choose the drums, sometimes they choose you…So

Did this ever change, if so why? 

Nope – I can’t remember ever really wanting to be anything other than a Drummer, apart from when I dreamed of being a Motocross Champion – but I only ever jumped over oil barrels in our back field on my DT175…

Also do you play multiple instruments, if so which is your favourite to play and why?

Not really – it’s pretty much Drums Drums Drums! I guess I was just ‘Born to drum’ – at any given point there’s a part of me drumming – when I sit on the toilet chances are my teeth are working out a beat…

I do strum a few basic chords on guitar, but that’s really for drunken campfires, & all I can play is Poison’s “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn”, and Suzanne Vega’s “My Name Is Luka”, oh and the chorus of Dropkick Murphys “Boys Are Back”… I sing too, but not necessarily ‘properly’, whatever that means!

Major influences?  A specific song? Etc.…

Damn – where to begin! I was born in ’70 so the 80’s were my main stomping ground of influences – and since Top Of The Pops was the only ‘musical guidance’ in our house, it was pretty much a stew of early Madonna, Madness, Duran Duran, Adam & The Ants, and The Police, which kinda-sorta covered Pop, Reggae, Ska, Punk, Rock, plus some mental tribal drums to boot!

Looking back, I realised I probably owe bits of my thru-the-ages image from this lot too – I got pink hair & bangles from Madonna, attitude & grit from Madness, a bit of glam from Duran & Adam Ant, plus stole loadsa beats from Mr Stewart Copeland.

I remember loving a Boney M album that basically started with a drum solo (Night Flight To Venus), and playing the sh*t out of Kim Wilde’s “Kids In America” 7” single too, and then I discovered ‘the 3 M’s’: Maiden, Mötley, & Motörhead…

Successes and failures along the way

Haha – well, I always think that ‘success’ is basically continuing to pick yourself up after a failure (which we all know are simply ‘Life Lessons To Learn From’!), which is why any ‘successful’ person has made TONS of mistakes, but each time they gain strength and knowledge from each twist in the road – it’s easy to give up & blame something else, but I’ve never given up – maybe a more wiser person would have jacked it in by now, maybe I’m the stupid one – I don’t know, all I know is I’m having an amazing time on this crazy journey thus far, and I have some mind-blowing stories… ;o)

Any funny stories – lessons learned?

Haha – I swear I didn’t read this question before writing the end of the last!!

Hmmmn – how long you got…?! I’ve been on many tours with The Business so it’s a given I have a few stories under my belt…!!! ;o)

I wouldn’t call it funny (it was far from funny at the time), but I accidentally stabbed a drumstick through my eyelid (about 4mm down & I would have lost my eye…) at The Masquerade in Atlanta, Georgia, a third of the way in to our set, onstage with The Business. They immediately saw me doing my best Rocky Balboa “Adriiieeenne” moment, with blood pouring down my face, & went into a ballad (which was strange as I never knew The Business had a ballad…!). As this was happening, our security guy/ tech, Gonzo (the name says it all..) saw what was

happening & he dashed to get me some ice. He ran up the stairs to the stage with a big bucket of it, misjudged the steps & tripped – spilling ices all over the stage, & he dislocated his (already bust up & in a sling) shoulder…so there was two of us writhing around in various stages of agony, while Micky & Co were trying to sing a folk song to a packed crown of hardcore punk nutters…

I, like the absolute trooper I am, finished the full show, then they bundled me off to hospital, but not knowing the good from bad, I ended up at Grady Hospital, which I later found out was the ‘ghetto hospital’ – where they patch up the local prison inmates. I saw 13 nurses before getting my eyelid stitched up; at one point I was lying on the floor in a random corridor, when I saw three security guards running past me pulling pistols – at that point I really wanted my Mummy.

I basically left the hospital at 7am still in my stagegear, picked up by our van driver & we then drove off to the next show, clutching a box of Vicodin, with the instructions from the surgeon to “Not get the stitches wet” – this was the eighth day on a 55-shows-in-60-days tour…

Recommendations for those wanting to play your instrument or get into the business

Well, playing your instrument, and getting into the business are two completely separate entities!

If you wanna just play your instrument, have a jam around with some mates etc that’s seriously cool & you should just have as much fun as possible – making music with your buddies is one of the best things ever!

If however you are playing your instrument with a view to getting into the music business, then I can sum this up in four easy words:

Never. Give. Up. Ever.”

Oh, and four more: Remember. To. Enjoy. It! <— This is very important as too many people get caught up in it all, plus all the stresses and bullshit that you have to go through, deal with & put up with – it’s important to remember why we initially started off on this road…!!

Who have you played for and who do you play for now?

OK, go put the kettle on…

Well for a start, I have played REBELLION punk festival with a ton of bands – including The Business, Bay City Rollers, Control, The Grit, Splodgenessabounds, Rock n’ Roll Gypsies, Mongey Crue, & been lucky enough to headline it 3 times with Sham 69, but I’ve also played with Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), Faith No More, Old Firm Casuals, The Last Resort, The King Blues, Guitar Gangsters, Deadline, Pama International, King Django, Warrior Soul, Ginger (Wildhearts), Rachel Stamp, The Fiascos, Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), T.M. Stevens (James Brown), Lars Frederiksen (Rancid), The Masons, Martin Barre (Jethro Tull), Casey Chaos (Amen), Billy Liar, Acey Slade, Neck, Nemhain, The Tidy Boys, Doom Day, All About Eve, The Idol Dead, Adam Bomb, Alexa De Strange, Anti-Product, G.M.T, Tigertailz, Martin Grech, TAT, Joss Stone, Sister Witch, Maleficent, Livan, Sack Trick, Chemical Kaos, Swans In Flight, Brijitte West & The Desperate Hopefuls, Bogdana Chivas, Ragdolls, Farhad Darya, The Jokers, DRP & The Witches, Conspirators, Eat This, Violent New Breed, Vatican Roulette, Space Odic Samurai, Bittersweet, One Black Orchid, Evil Puppies, Fatman & Robin, Pearly Cubes, State Of Fury, Pump, C33X, The Scapegoats, Kitty Hudson, Firemouth, Schoolgirl KISS, Classix, Freewheeler, Master Blaster, Tricknology, Jailbird, Hang ‘Em High, Centrefold, & Robin Guy’s Trophy Wife, to name but a few…

Bands I am currently playing with are The Fiascos, and Sham 69, plus the odd show with Rachel Stamp, Rn’R Gypsies, Conspirators, Control etc – as I said earlier, it only takes one phone call, an email or a text etc & suddenly you’re off doing something like recording The King Blues’ 5th studio album (proud to say it went Top 30!), or filling in for the Old Firm Casuals when the drummer broke his arm…

Your future plans?

I shall tell you after the next phone call..;o)

Which did your start kit look like and recommendations for a starting set for aspiring drummers?

Well my first ever drum kit was actually an ironing board with some tambourines & bells & whistles etc tied on to it (my Mum was a Music & Movement teacher so there were always shakers, bells & little hand drums in her bag!), but my first ever ‘proper’ drum kit was a ‘not second-hand but third-hand’ set owned by a guy a few years up from me at school – I’d go round his house straight from the school bus & he’d let me have a bash, until he gave up (or grew up – haha!) & I bought it off him for £48. My pocket money was £1 a week back then & my Parents gave me a little notebook in which I’d pay them back, with Saturday jobs etc week by week – this actually taught me ‘the value of worth’ & saving up for something you’ll treasure…& because of this I’ve never had a credit card & never been in debt.

The kit had “The Midway Brass” written on the front skin so I took away the “Midway Br” & was proudly left with “The Ass”…

As for starter drum kits, obviously with drums volume’s an issue as much as budget! If you live in a 4th floor London apartment & don’t wish to be evicted, I’d recommend an electric kit with mesh heads (especially on the kick drum pad) – budget around £400 – £800 for new (any less than this & it’s probably gonna break) – ALESIS do good quality & robust gear for a fraction of the price of some of their more expensive competitors, & for an acoustic kit, you’re looking at around £500 – £700, however it’s also good to see what the secondhand market has too! For a good-quality starter kit at an unbeatable price, you can’t really do much better than the PEARL Export – it’s the world’s best-selling drum kit, I rest my case!

What you play now? Budget range?

I play PEARL drums, SABIAN cymbals, AQUARIAN drumheads, VIC FIRTH sticks and PROTECTION RACKET cases. I am not sure of the exact prices of this gear as I am lucky enough to be endorsed by these companies. As with most equipment, you get what you pay for, & if mine can survive concerts with The Business, Sham, & Splodge, I’d say it’s built to last…!!

What is your dream instrument/ setup? 

My dream instrument/ set up is exactly what I play – Pearl Drums & Sabian Cymbals etc – I literally adore all my gear – it’s all been finely tuned over the years to my battlefield requirements, it’s indestructible, never let’s me down onstage, sounds fab in the studio, & looks sexy as hell (drums are supposed to be sexy – right..?!!), it’s also water, puke & blood-proof…

Thank you for the amazin chat is there anything else you would like to let us all know?

This journey may not be for all, but if you cling on hard enough and stick around for the course, you’ll experience quite a ride – it may not result in a million buck$, but you’ll definitely be the most interesting person at the party… ;o)

Lastly, if you’ve read this far, I thankyou for your patience & hope some of my words (& wisdom?!) made sense..!

Oh & I once turned down supporting AEROSMITH in an arena in France, to play a club show with THE LAST RESORT, now if that isn’t punk rock, I don’t know what is…

Mega-thanks to Jennie & Nikki for the fab questions – I loved answering them & also bringing back some cool (& some not so cool!) memories!

See you out there!!!

Robin Guy X

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