How fitting it was that my finale with DRESSED TO KILL came at a place close to home where I’ve spent many a happy gig night on the drums – The Robin in Bilston was packed out as usual to see DTK, but I imagine that, despite our intensive promo for the night, many folk arriving had no idea about what was in store…namely 2 KISS characters playing drums on the same night.
Having initially said ‘farewell’ to the band in December, it just didn’t feel right to all parties that I’d signed off without saying a proper goodbye to my Midlands ‘massive’ – my wife suggested the Robin show, and all immediately agreed it a top idea.
By the time the gig rolled around, my replacement Matt Blakout would have already played 2 shows in Camberley & Crewe as ‘The Fox’ Eric Carr, meaning that he’d be settled in behind the kit. Nevertheless, he was extremely magnanimous in agreeing to share drumming duties for the Robin show, for which I am extremely grateful.
The idea was for me to perform the first half of the set and then hand the sticks over to Matt for Part 2, before rejoining during the encores. This meant using Matt’s kit to save hassle, but then using other players’ kits has never been a hassle for me.
It does amaze me how picky support band drummers get when they are graciously allowed to use the headliners’ kit, and promptly change angles all over the place for cymbals and toms, and then NOT readjust things to the way they were once their set is finished. It’s the height of bad manners and pig-headedness. If you’re lucky enough to have been granted the opportunity to play someone else’s pride and joy for 30 minutes (which most drummers would NEVER do given the choice, me included unfortunately), then leave well alone and keep things as they are for Christ’s sake.
Which is precisely what I did with Matt’s double-bass drum Pearl monstrosity – fabulous sound to them though. My 9 songs flew past, it seemed, in a blur of excitement, joy, and no small amount of dread as I knew I was closing in on my P45. Lovely to slam my way through ‘Deuce’ one last time; to thunder into ‘Detroit Rock City’; to rat-a-tat that signature pattern in ‘Love Gun’; to share joint soloing duties with Danny during ‘Shock Me’; to give ‘Black Diamond’ my all vocally speaking; and then to stride from behind the kit and deliver the best bloody version of ‘Beth’ that I could muster.
And then that was it – the ‘orchestra’ faded out and my time as Peter Criss was almost done. I gave a little speech (talking in my normal voice for once rather than some cod-Brooklyn drawl as I stepped out of character) and thanked as many people as I could without going on and on about it. Then came the surprisingly lovely part – introducing my replacement, and seeing him play some Kiss Klassics live with my mates Ash, Danny & Gary.
I say ‘surprisingly lovely part’ because once I’d left the stage to let Matt get on with it, I could surely have been forgiven for having feelings of sadness, regret and jealousy – you know, all of that. Well, the sadness was certainly there, as with the regret (you don’t spend 5 years in a tribute to your favourite band, only for your working schedule to prevent you making it 6, 7 or 10 years and not feel sadness or regret about it) but the jealousy did certainly not surface.
Let me explain – if there’s one place on this earth where my ego rampantly takes over and I believe that I’m actually really talented & untouchable at something, it’s when I’m sat behind my drums playing rock music. Along with that, my self-belief as a player is such that often, when I watch other rock tributes, I see myself up there doing a better job than the bloke whose gig it is – that’s NOT a character trait I am at all proud of, but there it is. It’s the way I feel and it hasn’t changed over the years, intensifying if anything as time has gone by.
So, to stand out in the audience next to my wife, step-daughter and the in-laws and feel not a tinge of jealousy but instead a HUGE swell of pride for Matt as he thumped his way gleefully through the 2nd half of the set was a new and wonderful feeling for me. That alone speaks volumes for how good Matt is, as I’m ULTRA-critical about KISS tribute drummers!! LOL. Matt & I go back as drumming buddies for some years, and truthfully once I knew he’d be my replacement I realised that someone who loves KISS just as much as me would be taking over, and that can only be a good thing.
Yes the sadness and regret were there after the show on Friday, and they will be there for some time to come no doubt, but I can vouch for the fact that DRESSED TO KILL will continue to tower over other UK tributes (both physically and figuratively) for a long time to come, and when I go see the lads later in the year somewhere (Stourbridge maybe?) I’ll be happy to sing, dance and have a beer or 2 in the crowd rather than stand like a bitter muso with my arms folded muttering ‘that fill was all wrong’ or words to that effect. Like I said, I’m not fond of myself when I’m like that, but I know that sort of nonsense won’t surface from within me when I see Matt & DTK.
And as I said in a previous blog, NEVER say never about a comeback somewhere down the line… :o))))
And in amongst all of that, Ive had more emergency cover work on talkSPORT this week, covering mid-morning duties with first Mike Graham and then Danny Kelly on Friday morning after MG slept in for the first time in his broadcasting career I believe. We all walk that particular line very precariously sometimes, though thankfully (touch Formica) I’ve yet to suffer the same horrid realisation that I’m still in bed rather than on air – but all presenters have regular dreams about EXACTLY that. Perhaps MG thought he was dreaming? ;o)
It’s great to do current affairs as well as sport in this time slot and show your versatility as a broadcaster. Loads of calls both days on all sorts of subjects, and not once did we need to go all Partridge and ask “How often should you wash your towels?” to get the callers or texters in!
Got a week of Drivetime cover on the way for Adrian during half-term (21st-25th) so hope you can tune in for those shows too. Just finished a really eventful Football First show with Martin Allen and Ray Houghton - so much happening with Di Matteo’s disgraceful sacking at WBA, no-one giving Blues any credit for winning at West Ham and just poking fun at Zigic instead – that’s grown up isn’t it? And then the resurgence of Liverpool continues at Chelsea. You may love or loathe football, but you cannot ever discount its ability to surprise & delight you at every turn, just when you think you’ve got it sussed!!