Steve White – Exclusive OnlineDrummer.com InterviewMartin Osborne
Be sure to visit Steve’s website www.whiteydrums.com
Steve, you started off drumming at an early age, you drove your parents nuts and you went to the same school as one Ginger Baker. It was inevitable, really, that you would succeed, or was it a struggle focusing on learning and having a drumming direction? Where would you recommend an aspiring “Steve White” to start off from?
I was never a naturally talented player , just very driven to practice and improve , I was like a little sponge just taking in music and drumming as much as I could , I strongly recommend any young players to use thier time while still in education wisely , thats the time to do all your practicing , before the complexities of life take over.
Our first ever interviewee was someone very dear to your heart; How much impact did Louie Bellson have in those early years? And, is he cherished just as much today as back then?
Louie was a massive influence , I met him a number of times as a young musician , he even gave me a pair of sticks at the fair Field Halls Croydon , what a drummer and musician , I love Louie , in my drum room I have a picture taken with Louie and my brother Alan a few years ago.
Do you feel that playing with so many different bands gives you more freedom and more creativity than playing with just one band within a certain genre?
I think I find it stimulating in different situations , at the moment I am playing with the Trio Valore and working on some song writing , but also playing some Summer Shows with Jon Lord , which is technically really difficult music , variety is the spice of life the saying goes.
An interview with Steve White isn’t an interview without mentioning Paul Weller. You guys go back years. h]Has it been a rollercoaster working with Paul? I’ve heard he can be a bit of a perfectionist?
25 years in fact before this current break , paul is just one of these guys that really knows what he wants , I have been priviliged to make some great music with him , I would say he is a ” feel” musician rather than a perfectionist.
You are known throughout the UK as one of the country’s finest clinicians. Obviously, you enjoy doing the clinics. What would someone expect to see at a Steve White clinic?
My idea for clinics is to try to educate , if a young player comes away having learnt one thing I am a happy man and its a success , I dont do the Drumaoke thing with backing tapes , I find that really boring!
Chad Smith and Steve White, a very unexpected collaboration, how on earth did you two get together? Rock god meets Jazz god.
We were thrown together in 1999 for a clinic by Louise King the former editor of Rhythm , she thought we would be a good combo , we just really hit it off and have a great friendship as well as a tremendous admiration for each other , he is such a great drummer.
You were the youngest drummer to play Live Aid back in 85, and you played drums for the Who at Live 8. That has to be something special being asked to play for such a mega group.
It really was , it was an incredible honour and a truly memorable time for me.
You are part of the design team at Premier drums. How exciting is that?
Its great! I really took my design work with the Premier Series and Modern classic snare drums very seriously , I lived and breathed wood and prototypes for a year , I still think they are great drums.
Your younger brother, Alan, followed in your footsteps and used to play drums for Oasis. There is no point in asking how proud you are of him, but is there any brotherly rivalry?
None whatsoever , Alan is playing percussion in the Trio Valore , but i cant wait hear him bak on the drums again.
Now some very straight forward quick questions…..
What is the most played album on your iPod?
I dont have an ipod , I’m a vinyl man and Buddy Rich brings a smile to my face everytime.
What is your proudest achievement in music?
Well my body of work with Paul , an over a1000 concerts , the albums like Stanley Road and Our favourite shop stand out , Live 8 , my first clinic tour with Chad , I have been very blessed.
Who would you most like to have a one on one drum-off with?
Buddy but I wouldnt play I would just listen and learn.
Which other drummers do you chill out with?
I wouldnt say Chill out but drummers I class as friends are Chad and Greg Bissonette , I’m good pals with Neal Wilkinson and Harbans Srih , Craig Blundell is a top guy as is Ian Palmer and Ian Matthews from Kasabian , I have met so man good guys.
If you’re stuck in a lift for one hour with the person of your choice, alive or dead, who would that person be?
Frank Sinatra , Kenneth williams and Shakira.
You’re pretty much an artist who has the deepest respect for your fans, and they are truly dedicated to you too. Have you ever had a fan that’s freaked you out by asking you to sign something “different”, if so, where did you sign?
I have had the odd breast offered for signing but always felt stupid , I have been asked to sign toilet paper , arms , fifty pound notes , all sorts really.
What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
Wake my son and Daughter for school or get the kettle on.
What type of car do you drive?
A Land Rover freelander , I have had 8 landrovers and love them , couldnt afford the Petrol on the Discovery V8 any more , that was my fave car.
When not drumming or teaching, what else do you get up to?
Cooking , cycling , hanging with my family , cinema , travelling , good food , watching Charlton Athletic , normal stuff really.
What would you best like to be remembered for?
Being honourable and a good dad.
Steve, many thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Have you any final words of wisdom to say to the onlinedrummer community?
Instant Karmas gonna get you , John Winston Lennon.
For more information on Steve and upcoming concerts and clinics, visit Steve’s website –
“Return of the Iron Monkey ” will be released by Record Kicks records on Oct 5th. Details at www.triovalore.com