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Status Quo drummer leaves students feeling upbeat


May 23, 2017

MUSIC students got ‘down, down, deeper and down’ with a master class in percussion with a legend from the Quo.

Pupils from Haughton Academy, Darlington, rocked to a new beat after a drumming session with rock musician Jeff Rich.

More than 100 Year 8, 9 and 10 students took part in the workshop, which saw them accompany the world famous drummer in a rhythm-based jamming session.

Jeff, 63, of Hackney, London, who played drums with Status Quo from 1986 to 2000 and recorded 14 albums with the band, said: “When my own children were younger I was invited to go to their school to talk about what dad did for a job and it all really spiralled from there.

“I’ve now been to over 7,000 schools throughout the UK, delivering my own unique drum workshop, and hopefully inspiring the kids along the way to live their dream just like I did.”

Jeff started playing when he was nine, on pots and pans to begin with, as his parents couldn’t afford a drum kit.

“But it was all I wanted to do so I practised every day, saved up for a kit and went out and got myself into the music business,” he told students. “It’s all about determination; if you want to do it, just go for it.”

Jeff, who has played with rock band Queen, backed singer Elton John and drummed live with bands Stretch, Climax Blues Band, Judi Tzuke and Def Leppard, also gave pupils a master class in the history of the drum, from its origins as hollowed out tree trunks to modern day synthetic materials.

Haughton Academy music teacher Lisa Armstrong said: “It has been great to have Jeff here today.

“We are always looking for ways to engage our students in different aspects of music, especially percussion, so to have a live musician playing in school and for them to see the different spectrum of instruments within the genre, really helps to inspire both those pupils who are musically-minded and those who may not be natural percussion players.”

Following a quick question and answer session with Jeff, young musicians Kieran Raine and Alex Robinson were given the opportunity to play on his own personal drum kit.

Kieran, 14, of Darlington, who has been drumming for 12 months, reaching Grade 2, said: “I love playing the drums; it’s a great release from everything and a good way to let off steam. Jeff is a brilliant drummer; I’d love to be as good as him one day.”

Grade 4 drummer Alex, 14, of Darlington, who also plays the electric guitar, added: “It’s was amazing to play on Jeff’s kit. I’d love to be like him and play with a great band when I’m older.”

By Emily