The Drumming Wisdom of Nick Mason
A prog pioneer, musical colossus and one of the most revered players to have ever picked up the sticks, yup, Nick Mason is a man that knows a thing or two about drumming.
Not only that, but as an ever-present with Pink Floyd (check the band's album credits, Mason is the only member to appear on every single record), he has appeared on a wealth of rock classics and has played to millions of fans worldwide.
So you could say that he has plenty of wisdom to share, which is why we looked back through the archives and pulled out some sage words from the man himself.
“The technique and, almost, the gymnastics is really something that tends to only be appreciated by other drummers because, actually, the job at the end of the day tends to be to integrate with the band and make that sound. One gets into some very interesting stuff about how people play and what they put into it. The comparisons between Ginger Baker and Ringo Starr.
“Actually Ginger wouldn't have been the best person for The Beatles. There is this thing about sensitivity to the music that is so important. This gets forgotten with the drum clinics. The answer is that I've always enjoyed the thing of playing in a band, not playing on my own. For me the real excitement is that moment when the bass player plays, you set something out and the other musicians join in."
“When you look at an old drum kit the flimsiness of the whole thing is appalling. Most of us would feel uneasy even tapping the thing. What's interesting is the way the fittings have become so much stronger and more robust.
“I don't think people are playing harder than they did 25 years ago, but they are much more practical now. They last longer. There isn't that thing of every kit seems to have some bit of extra metalwork to hold something on or tape around the wingnut. I love the thing of custom drums, and the DW concepts.
“I started with Premier, then was immediately seduced by Ludwig after seeing Ginger Baker, had a brief flirtation with Fibes, then went back to Ludwig. Bill Ludwig's still a good friend of mine, I loved that whole drummer club thing that came with it. When Ludwig changed hands in the '80s I went to DW. They are the next development with the tuning of the shells and the sort of detail and experimentation that I like.”
“From the days of the Simmons, I had one of the original things, it was just as mind-boggling. The modern kits are fantastic. I'm surprised we haven't seen more of them out and about."
“I've never had a lesson and I regret it. I think it's too late, it would be so difficult to reveal to anyone just how poor my technique is! There is absolutely no doubt that my recommendation to anyone is to get lessons.
“There's an interesting thing with formal training. In classical music it will drive out the ability to improvise. I think Gary Wallace once said, it's like learning to read. If you can't read you can't read the books. It's really good to get that grounding. My personal feeling is to listen to what everyone else is doing also."