Do your requirements of a drummer change when you're producing compared to when you're playing guitar with them?
"It's basically the same. Play what's right for the song and be yourself. I really wish I heard more personality in drummers these days. Pro Tool's has been an awesome recording tool but it's also been responsible for taking away a drummer's personality. If Keith Moon was alive now an engineer would put him on the grid and he wouldn't have that special thing that made him the loon. We need to find a balance."
How much tracking do you actually do in a room with a drummer or other musicians these days?
"This is rare these days. Most of the time it's drums first then overdubs. I wish there were more live recordings. It's what separates the men from the boys."
Do you still swear by using a 'live' drummer, or are you comfortable using programmed drums too?
"I'm ok with both as long as it's right for the song."
When recording a session, how much of what you play is inspired by what the drummer is playing, or do you always play to complement the vocals?
"I work off of both. The drum track is the most important thing to lock into time-wise. Sometimes what the drummer's playing will make me come up with a riff to compliment what he's doing. It really depends on the style. If it's a jazz trio then I'm really reacting to the drums. My playing becomes more rhythmic and we play off each other. At the end of the day it's all about listening to each other. That's the most important thing in music!"
You play guitar in the Coattail Riders with Taylor. What difference does it make to your approach having the drummer as the bandleader?
"No difference at all. In fact it's great! No lead singer disease. Plus I'm a drummer at heart so it makes it easier in some ways. We speak the same language. Taylor is one of the greats. His name should be up there with Bonham and Stewart Copeland. He's a really gifted musician and one of my best friends!"
You worked alongside Taylor, Simon, Jimmy, Terry and more on the Drum Channel DVD. How did that come about and what are your memories of recording it?
"I was speaking to Don Lombardi at DW Drums/Drum Channel about putting together a DVD with multiple drummers playing songs off of my CD, Not From Here. He liked the idea and urged me to make the calls and he would make it happen. So I did and I got everyone on my wishlist. The experience was amazing! We would play the songs down three times and record each take. There are no overdubs. What you see is what you get. The one thing all those drummers have in common is their own style. I would urge all drummers to check it out and not for my playing, but for the drummers. I think it's one of the most instructional videos out there. I sound like Muhammad Ali, but I'm serious. You get a sense on how they approach a song. They all play the song Not From Here and you can see each drummer's personality and genius shine through. It was very inspirational for me and I was honoured that they did it!"