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The number of talented drummers desperate to break into the session world is astonishing, but sadly the number of consistent, well-paid gigs is limited and drummers are having to offer a lot more to get noticed.
Being a great drummer isn’t necessarily enough these days but there are plenty of opportunities, on top of playing, for a drummer with wider horizons.
John Jenkins is a prime case of a musician who has grafted hard and branched out from the traditional ‘session drummer’ role to maximise his many talents.
A gifted and schooled drummer, his first major break was with The Streets’ Mike Skinner where he experienced his first taste of not only performing to an extremely high level but also wearing the Musical Director’s hat. He was responsible for Mike’s pounding garage beats but his role also involved him in hiring and rehearsing the band, formulating and programming the set amongst many other non drum-related responsibilities.
Johnny’s skills caught the attention of Lily Allen and he spent some time as MD of her live show too.
Most recently Johnny has been manning the helm of Elliot ‘Example’ Gleave’s dubstep/grime/hip-hop crossover that has been destroying the charts, and working on an exceptionally involved live show that includes a blinding light display, mind-bogglingly intricate electronics and a killer live band.
Johnny has also taken up the role as Director of Chequerplate Drums & Percussion (formerly Chequerplate Stuff). The newest fruits from this innovative British company is the glowing LED kit and rack set-up you see in these photos.
Here we bring you pictures of that visual spectacle of a kit, along with snippets of the interview, which you can read in full in Rhythm 205.