TEN QUESTIONS WITH Alan Childs
Rob – Alan Childs, what a thrill to get to do this interview. We labeled this Ten Questions with you “A Drummer’s Drummer.” Given your lifelong devotion to being behind the kit. Can you tell us the drumming style you follow?
Alan – Thanks for having me Rob. I follow the style as in playing for the song. I grew up playing most styles of music (Rock , Jazz , Latin, Standards etc..) but my forte is rock, prog.
Rob – We could put labels on the different positions in a band and the types of people that we usually interview. It could ruffle some feathers and we won’t. Yet, we find a lot of our interviews focus on drummers, bass players, guitarists, and keyboards. Not so many lead singers are available. Why are drummers so friendly?
Alan – Well, I am very friendly, not sure all drummers are. I’m gonna guess that since I started making a living playing drums at a very early age, I was thankful I was able to do that. Nothing to be angry about and no stress makes for a nice human being. Ha!
Rob – Part of Masters Radio is to highlight those musicians who don’t get enough recognition. Drummers and keyboardists seem hidden somehow behind kits and keys. Does the kit give you comfort as a separation from the audience?
Alan – Yes & No. These days when doing shows, they have camera people and screens behind us. They often include the drummer. I’m good with that.
Rob – You have played with a ton of groups and artists. What are you doing currently that you can share with our audience?
Alan – The past few years I’ve been playing again with John Waite. We originally played together in 1984-5 when “Missing You “ was a big hit. After John I went on to Julian Lennon and David Bowie plus many others. It took John over 30 years to call me back to play. HA!
Rob – Every tour can be put in a category of “different city, same show.” How do you try and keep it fresh?
Alan – the venues and locations never matter. It’s the love of playing in a band that comes first. The only thing that matters traveling to different cities is if they have a good Indian restaurant.
Rob – Today’s music scene seems to focus on one person or lead artist. Do you think we have gotten away from the band entity and more of an individual in the spotlight?
Alan – I think there are still plenty of bands trying to get by. Possibly it’s cheaper for a singer songwriter with a guitar to get by on the road. Much cheaper.
Rob – Over the past few years, remote workers have become a large portion of the global economy. With ever faster network speeds, have the delays in playing as a band gone away when you all are in different cities? Or has your experience as a session player not improved?
Alan – For a musician that’s been around as long as I have, I cannot complain. I do drum tracks for artists in my place often. Live gigs with Waite and I’m a happy camper.
Rob – You have toured with two musicians, the late David Bowie and John Waite. These gents could be said to have…strong personalities. Can you give us some insight as to what those tours were like?
Alan – John Waites first tour was in the middle of (80’s) drug ridden times. Specially cocaine. The whole industry was wired. A bit reckless but come showtime we were very serious to come up with the goods as in playing your best. Julian Lennon was the next tour and almost in the same vein.
The ‘87 Bowie tour was much more tamed. We were playing stadiums and you didn’t want to be the musician to cause a cancellation. That tour was a very healthy tour.
Rob – Unless you are a musician, some folks wouldn’t know that a drum kit actually is “tuned.” Also, while a snare is a snare, is there a certain set-up that you favor?
Alan – I usually use the ol’ Ringo set up as far as how many drums. I do use a double bass drum pedal. Simple and effective .
Rob – My last question is just for fun and maybe has never happened. Have you ever counted a band in with the wrong song?
Alan – YES !!!!! Fortunately it happened in rehearsals. LOL!