Copyright by Andy Gareth
Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England in 1966, John began playing drums at age 11. He studied with Barry Black at Ronnie Pearson’s Drum Shop and made his first recordings in the shop’s basement studio at 14. He became a full-time professional upon leaving school aged 16 with The Don Smith Band at Newcastle’s Mayfair Ballroom. After playing many cabaret clubs, cruise ships and summer seasons, he moved to London in the mid-80s.
Initially playing with The Andy Ross Orchestra, John became a respected member of the session community covering all aspects of the music industry, accompanying artists such as: Robbie Williams, Hot Chocolate, Cliff Richard, Georgie Fame, The Corrs, Ruby Turner, Colin Blunstone, Chris Thompson, Barbara Dickson, The Drifters, Robert Hart, James Belushi and 1970s multi-hit maker Tony Burrows. John also toured with rock legends
Greenslade, Peter Green’s Splinter Group, Whitesnake’s Moody Marsden and was a member of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band from 1996–2000.
Over the years John has worked for a range of producers and musical directors including: Laurie Latham, Richard Niles, Matthew Fisher, Don Airey, Jeff Bova, Trevor Brown, Simon Webb, Julian Littman, Tony Ashton, Andy Fairweather Low, Raph Ravenscroft, Spike Edney and legendary Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller. But his main employer for 12 years was Philip Pope; the UK’s most prolific composer of countless film soundtracks and
TV themes including: Spitting Image, Not the 9 O’Clock News, Jane Horrocks, Gimme Gimme Gimme, Harry Enfield, My Hero, The Lenny Henry Show, Hale & Pace, TFI Friday, Kevin & Perry Go Large and the multi-awardwinning Fast Show.
John has also recorded jingles for: Pepsi, KFC, McDonald’s, Esso, British Telecom, Martini, Heineken, Nescafe, Cadbury, Gillette, Andersen Consulting, Mars, Twix, Vauxhall Cars, Boots, Sharp, Oxford University Press, The Liberal Democrats (UK) and Fuji (Mr Bean series).
Other ventures include a range of educational projects such as demonstrations at the British Music Fair, workshops at the Musicians Institute London, drum teacher at Don Airey’s Rock School and accompanying Paul Westwood on his highly acclaimed Bass Bible.
John relocated to Australia in 2002 and is loving life ‘down under’, playing live with: Michelle Shocked, Joe Camilleri, Rachael Beck and Todd McKenney, Lucky Oceans, Claire Clarke, Alfredo Malabello, Blanche Dubois, Ryan Webb and Luke Steele (Empire of the Sun). He’s also contributed to more than 100 albums and EPs.
After becoming an Australian citizen in 2007 he continues to develop his drum school and teach at Wesley and Murdoch colleges.