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Julian's Blog

About my Blog

I am a Session Drummer, Percussionist and Educator.

My Blog is about all things Drums and Music.
I do a bit of scuba diving and like Tech too, so you may find some stuff about this as well.

Who knows where this Blog will go!!

Please visit my other websites at and

Thanks for visiting and Enjoy reading.

Single Pedal Workout

Drums Posted on Mon, April 04, 2016 13:37:26

I came across this superb video from Jared Falk at Drumeo for a Single Pedal Workout.
Its a great exercise that only takes 5 minutes and really gives your foot a good workout – especially exercise #5

Click here to view the video


Vic Firth American Classic 55A Review

Drums Posted on Mon, January 18, 2016 17:12:00

I’ve spent some time (and money too) trying out different sticks over the years that I’ve been playing and, until now, I had never really found that one stick that I could say “Yeah!! That’s the one.”

I went from manufacturer to manufacturer trying different sizes, different lengths, different weights.

For years I used a 2B. Why?? Because when I was starting out on my playing career, I was at the Orchestra rehearsal and I was handed a pair of sticks to play the Snare Drum. I remember looking at the sticks and thought “..that’s what I need to buy…”. Being a young, naiive drummer, just starting out, I didn’t know what suited and what didn’t. And walking into a drum store and seeing the huge array of drumsticks on offer at the time was just mind-boggling.

For those just starting out, there’s a great video here with Mike Michalkow on how to select a drumstick.

Click Here to watch the video

As time went on I dropped down a size and used an 5B. But still I felt this was too much stick for my needs and didn’t really feel comfortable in my hands – I was looking for something that almost felt like a natural extension of my arms and, for me the 5B wasn’t it.

I was in my local drum store and talking about sticks, I was asked if I had tried the Vic Firth 55A. I hadn’t, but I grabbed a pair and tried them and thought “…these might be the sticks that I’ve been looking for…”.

At 16″ long and 0.580″ inches thick, the Vic Firth 55A really are a great, versatile stick and I have a few pairs in my stick bag. They are the combination of a 5A and 5B being smack-bang between the two in thickness. The tip is tear-drop shape which is great on cymbals and the taper is medium giving a great balance.

This model comes with Wood Tip and Nylon Tip – my personal preference is for the Wood Tip as I like the warmer sound that the wood produces on the cymbals over the much brighter nylon.

I used the 55As for years and have been absolutely delighted with them.

After using the Vic Firth American Classic 55A Wood Tip sticks, I now can say that I’ve found my perfect pair. What’s your perfect pair?

#Myperfectpair #VF55a @vicfirth

Barefoot Kick Buddies (BKB) Review

Drums Posted on Sun, November 08, 2015 22:26:29

I was very kindly sent a pair of “BareFoot Kick Buddies” to test and review by the very kind Andrew at BareFoot Kick Buddy.

BareFoot Kick Buddy (BKB) are a British company who produce “BareFoot Kick Buddies” – a padded wrap for Kick and Hi-Hat pedals.

As specified on their website, the “BareFoot Kick Buddies” (BKBs) are the result of over 2 years research and development, born out of a desire to make drumming in heat comfortable and precise. After testing a wide range of materials, the company finally chose precision neoprene that offers the ultimate balance of grip, cushioning and flexibility.

The BKBs arrived in a pair. Removing them from their pack, I could immediately see the quality and workmanship that had gone into production. The pair that I received had a black neoprene base with 2 silver panels – a small one at the heel and a larger one at the front to correspond to the foot plate of the pedal. A BKB logo badge is stitched in the area between the two panels.

Opening it out, the BKB has two wings that have two large slabs of velcro that are used to secure it to the pedal.

The BKBs are easily removed or can be left on the pedal – since there’s no sticky pads of any sort, removing the BKBs will not leave any residue on the foot or heel plates. They are also machine washable.

At the time of writing, the BKB is available in 3 colours – Black and Green; Black and Silver; Black and (er) Black.

Fitting the BKB could not be easier. Place the BKB on the pedal and wrap the wings under the footplate of the pedal then secure in place with the aforementioned velcro. A smaller velcro strap under the heel portion is used to secure the BKB under the heel plate.

In use, the BKB is incredibly comfortable. The cushioning under the heel and footplate pads provide the right level of padding, grip and protection without compromising on the feel that is provided when playing barefoot. The Heel/Toe technique is comfortable to perform. I tried using the BKB when wearing a sock which proved equally comfortable and just as playable. Wearing a sock, I found the Slide technique easy to perform as I found that my sock would easily slide on the neoprene footplate pad.

The BareFoot Kick Buddies are pleasure to use and a product that I would happily endorse.

For more information and to purchase, please visit and find them on twitter at @BKB

Joe Satriani Shockwave Supernova Tour Review

Music Posted on Tue, November 03, 2015 21:53:35

Joe Satriani is currently on the UK leg of his “Shockwave Supernova” tour.

On Sunday November 1st, the tour arrived at the O2 Apollo in Manchester.

Support was provided by South African guitarist Dan Patlansky. Dan performed tracks from his album which was a blend of blues/rock. Listening, I thought I could hear occassional influences of (Jimmy) Hendrix and (John) Mayer. A great performance and one that I would certainly like to hear more of.

Once Dan had completed his set, the stage was reset. Then Joe Satriani and his band stepped out and gave a blistering performance for over 2 hours of musical and rhythmical genius.

With Marco Minnemann (drums), Mike Kenneally (guitar and keyboards) and Bryan Beller (bass guitar), the audience were treated to a smorgasboard of hits from across Satch’s impressive catalogue of albums.

Mike Kenneally‘s guitar and keyboards were very much impressive with Bryan Beller providing an equally impressive, solid, tight bass line while Marco Minnemann produced rhythmic delights with joy. And all complementing Joe Satriani‘s melodic brilliance superbly.

Opening with “Shockwave Supernova”, the title track from the new album, Satch then delighted listeners with “Flying in a Blue Dream” – the album currently celebrating its 16th birthday. These were quickly followed with “Ice 9”, “Crystal Planet” and “Not of this Earth”. Joe performed a beautiful version of “Butterfly and Zebra” which, for me, could have been a lot longer – nevertheless, it was lovely.

With Marco Minnemann on stage, there just had to be a drum solo – and what a drum solo it was too. I don’t want to appear biased in any way, but Marcos drum solo was incredible – a mixture of technical brilliance and musicality with a tiny pinch of humour here and there.

“Friends” (from The Extremist album), saw the video wall transformed into images of, well, friends!!! While during “Goodbye Supernova”, the visual whisked the audience away across snow capped mountains under the Northern Lights, while the audio delights were performed.

For the encore, “Big Bad Moon” was blasted out to the huge delight of the O2 Appollo crowd with “Surfing With the Alien” finally closing the show.

It would have been lovely to hear “A Door into Summer” and “Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing” – but that’s only because they are just two of my many favourites from the Satriani catalogue.

An amazing evening. Four brilliant musicians at the very top of their game. Catch them on their UK tour dates if you have chance – you’ll be in for a treat.

Set list from O2 Appollo, Manchester;

1. Shockwave Supernova; 2. Flying in a Blue Dream; 3. Ice 9; 4. Crystal Planet; 5. Not of this earth; 6. On Peregrines wings; 7. Friends; 8. Time; 9. If I Could Fly; 10. Butterfly And Zebra; 11. If There is No Heaven; 12. Cataclysmic; 13. Crazy Joey; 14. All Of My Life; 15. Luminous Flesh Giants; 16. Always with Me, Always with You; 17. God is Crying; 18. Goodbye Supernova; 19. Satch Boogie; Encore: 20. Big Bad Moon; 21. Surfing with the Alien

Shockwave Supernova – A musical journey

Music Posted on Tue, October 20, 2015 23:17:26

Shockwave Supernova is Joe Satriani’s 15th album – which he is currently touring at the time of writing this blog. The album was recorded at SkyWalker Studios with co-producer/engineer John Cuniberti at the helm and features the grooving Bryan Beller on bass, keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist Mike Keneally and the mind-bending rhythms of Marco Minnemann on drums.

Joes’ albums never disappoint and Shockwave Supernova is no exception. Satriani’s brilliance shines through right from the opening title track with incredible compositions and story-telling – each track is a musical journey.

“On Peregrines Wings” is one such track. You’re moving through the sky, searching for the target, each moment of the flight being painted by in a musical story.

“Cataclysmic” has an Egyptian/Turkish atmosphere, complete with Finger-cymbals and Satch providing colourful melodies and solos. “San Francisco Blue” is a wonderful minor-key take on the blues feel, yet, even though in a minor key, remains floaty, lively, bright and fun.

A tighter-than-tight groove is delivered on “In My Pocket” – in the pocket more like, which it certainly is.

Of the fifteen tracks on this album, my favourite is the closing track “Goodbye Supernova”. A stand-out track for me, it moves through different time signatures. Even though its saying goodbye to the musical journey that we’ve just travelled, there is also a strange guitar re-birth with the track finishing out on the most beautiful solo.

Yet another fantastic album from Satch.

He’s playing live now – go catch him and be whisked away on this musical journey into your supernova

Fun with a Paradiddle

Drums Posted on Mon, October 12, 2015 21:30:30

Exciting times ahead as my new website is nearly ready to launch ?
The excitement is building.

In the meantime, let’s think about the humble Paradiddle – RLRR LRLL.

Instead of thinking about it as Right Hand/Left Hand thing, why not extend it and practice it with hands and feet too:

1. Right Hand/Left Foot combo
2. Left Hand/Right Foot combo
3. Right Foot/Left Foot combo

In number 3, try putting a groove over top. Sounds funky!!


A Cheeky Little Hand/Foot Exercise

Drums Posted on Thu, October 08, 2015 13:16:26

Here is a cheeky little hand/foot triplet exercise that you can do pretty much anywhere!!

First time through, use your right foot. Second time through use you left foot. And, let’s go wild, third time and fourth times through use both feet and one hand (ie, RF,LF,RH; RF,LF,LH) – and if there are any other combinations that you come up with, then great.

Here it is then – Have fun!!!

R = Right Hand

L = Left Hand

F = Right Foot

a. RLF

b. LRF

a. FRL

b. FLR

a. RFL

b. LFR

a. RRF

b. LLF

a. FRR

b. FLL

a. FFR

b. FFL

Unstoppable Momentum

Music Posted on Wed, October 07, 2015 23:15:35

Joe Satriani’s 2013 album “Unstoppable Momentum” is full on rock. The title of the album certainly is an apt description of the musical ride. Yes, I know I’m a bit behind and a bit late to the party, but I’ve only just got my mits on this album – and boy what an album it is!!

For this album, Satch is joined by Chris Channey (Jane’s Addiction) on bass, Mike Keneally (Frank Zappa) on keyboards and Vinnie Colaiuta (Jeff Beck, Sting, Chick Corea) on drums.

Satriani doesn’t hold back from the word go showing us the listener why he is the virtuoso that he is. As mentioned, on the drums for this album is the amazing Vinnie Colaiuta. Listening to the title track i thought, at the end of the track, something wasn’t quite right with disc. But no. Mr Colaiuta does some incredible, mind-bending things with time over Satch’s colourful melodies – just amazing.

One of my favourite tracks on the album is “Can’t Go Back”. A truly brilliant rock song with beautiful melodies and a very tight deep-in-the-pocket groove. You could certainly imagine yourself cruising along Pacific Highway 1, the sun setting and this monster blasting from the speakers of your drop-top

Another of my favourites is “A Door Into Summer”. I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something about this track that brings a smile to my face each time I listen to it – I don’t know if its the melody, the simplicity of the song, the 4-on-the-floor solid groove or something else. But all I do know is, its brilliant!!!

“Three Sheets to the Wind” is a nice rock shuffle complete with a little humour in the form of a circus-esque brass section in the breakdown before the outro. Very cool.

There are loads of other blistering brilliant tracks on this album including “Shine On American Dreamer”, “Jumpin’ In” featuring some lovely funky bass, “The Weight of the World” and “A Celebration” to name but a few.

From the solid rhythm section to the singing guitar of Satch, there’s no denying that “Unstoppable Momentum” is yet another Satriani masterpiece. It will certainly be at the top of my playlist for a long time to come.


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