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From The Frontline - Myke Heath Blog - June 2016

Ok, well I’m going to be honest here beautiful readers of www.mikedolbear.com, and start of with a confession that I haven’t even touched a pair of drumsticks since last month’s blog. It’s not been done on purpose though, it just so happened that we’ve got to the time of year where people are committed to other things like holidays and weddings, which in my kind of situation is something I can get away with a bit more easily. If we were booked to tour for most of the year like a lot of full time working bands I wouldn’t be able to live in the best of both worlds and get to enjoy time with family and friends so easily. I am grateful I can have my cake and eat it (in some cases literally) but I love being on tour and it’s possible that in some point in the future I won’t always be able to have the luxury of choice, so for now I’m taking full advantage and I know that when the time comes to pick up the sticks again I’ll be pumped and more than ready to go again. 

It’s not been all play and no work though. The Wounded Kings had an interesting photo shoot to provide the much needed press shots for the new album that''s due out near the end of the summer. Not a natural or comfortable environment for me but I’m more than enthusiastic about getting dressed up and trying to look moody down a camera lens! It was also nice because yet again in the process we got to meet and work with some great people and shoot the breeze over the business side of it all with somebody in the know. It''s not an opportunity that comes up too often but I always find it really interesting and very useful. We managed to avoid the obvious clichés for the kind of music TWK play, of graveyards and churches, but we were of course all mostly dressed in black. The world isn’t ready for a neon clad doom metal band yet! I’m working on it though. We are still waiting for the final concrete release date but everything is in place and all the record label has to do now is flick on their big switch. All that leaves for the band now is to go out to Europe and tour it, which at the moment is a bit of a sticky issue.

I don’t have a political agenda but I’m not ignoring what’s going on at the moment with the EU Referendum. It’s a big moment in UK history but the more I read about the possible impact on music and bands touring around Europe the more I begin to understand that it is much more far reaching then the headlines and news reports that have been getting most of the coverage. I’m not going to get in to the nitty-gritty of it all here but this is the most interesting thing I have read about it so far and think it’s well worth taking the time to read Pitchfork - The UK Leaving The EU...Europe Music Industry 

Of course it’s all largely speculation but if what it says is true, and that is what happens, then things are going to change quite drastically. I have a hunch it’s scaring European promoters a little bit into not booking UK bands at the moment too, just until everyone knows what’s going on. It’s hard enough for everyone to make money at this game as it is but it certainly has the potential to get harder. 

Has anyone seen that Drummer magazine has been taken over by Future Publishing (Rhythm etc.)? So we’ll be back to just one printed UK based drum magazine again and that’ll be consolidated with Future/Rhythm taking over the London Drum Show too. I personally think it’s a very positive change and it’ll be good to see what happens in the future (no pun intended). Competition is a good thing but to have solidarity on that kind of level in the drumming community is even better. Good times ahead. 

Fellow Exeter based drummer and teacher Matt Parr has just started bringing SIA Drums in to the country from Sydney, Australia. If you like Brady drums (and let’s be honest who doesn’t) then I think SIA is picking up where they left off and throwing in some other tweaks too. 

So there you have it, another month gone. A few ideas and opinions thrown around and hopefully some food for thought too. Here’s a good quote to end with from no other than Mr Neil Peart: “If you''ve got a problem, take it out on a drum”.  

Photos are copyright of Nathan Barley-Phillips

Big thanks to Timehouse Muzeum for the location Narnia Totnes

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