Interview via e-mail with Robin Guy,
Extraordinair who mans the stool for GMT - a trio that conisits of Robin
Guy, John McCoy & Bernie Torme.
18th September, 2008. Q's by Glenn Milligan
drums as your chosen instrument?
Drums chose me! Since as long as I remember, there's always been a part
of me tapping out rhythms
(no matter what I'm doing) with my teeth, toes, fingers etc
Who in fact made you initially wanna start playing
Me - haha! I don't know how, or why, but I've always been drawn towards
- right back when I'd accompany my folks to watch my Sister in the school
I'd always sit where I could glue my eyes to the drummer, for the entirety
of the concert!
What was your first kit and what made you decide to have it?
Well my first kit was Mum's ironing board with pots, pans & bells
+ mini cymbals tied to it & hanging off ropes!
(my Mum was a Music & Movement teacher so we had weird percussion
But my first 'proper' kit was thirdhand (ie: 1 more than secondhand!)
from the drummer
(from the school orchestra I mentioned earlier) who lived at the other
end of the village.
It had "The Midway Brass" logo'd on the front head, which
I changed to "The ass", which suited me better I think. (see
below - note kitchen stool!)
Who are your fave drummers and why?
My fave drummers are not only ones who have a terriffic groove (natch!)
but also have a personality & character too!
Insanely-amazing-yet-faceless-drumming does nothing for me - I want
to believe that the person behind the beat is equally amazing/ exciting
Roy Mayorga, Chad Smith, Morgan Rose, Travis Barker, Abe Laboriel Jnr,
Bud Fontsere, Tommy Lee, Jimmy De Grasso, Randy Castillo, Nicko McBrain,
Buddy Rich, Stewart Copeland, Joey Jordison, Shannon Larkin, Kodo drummers,
the list goes on...all these people have inspired me, & in return
I have stolen from them!
But the best drummer I've ever seen in my life was Ron Bruner Jr. -
when he was playing for Suicidal Tendencies - the road crew were pouring
water on his drum skins,
he was hitting drums behind his back, & cymbals would appear to
move by themselves... A mindblowing performance.
What albums or songs stand out to you from purely a listening point
of view and why?
Well the first music I really got into as a kid was Adam & The Ants,
& The Police. If you listen carefully to both bands, you'll hear
incredible (& original) rhythms being played.
Then at 13, my life changed when I discovered Iron Maiden. Both Clive
Burr & Nicko McBrain are amazing drummers - Clive in a punky, fast
singles kinda way,
& any Maiden track with Nicko on is a drum solo anyway - arf arf!
Did you take aspects on them and incorporate them
into your own style?
Totally - I guess Adam & The Ants gave me the percussive tribal
groove thing, & The Police/ Copeland showed me how the drums can
drive & change a song,
bringing it up & down just by changing from the hi-hat to the ride,
switching from 1/4 notes up to 8th notes, then back again!
How would you describe the Robin Guy style of
drumming and how does it set you aside from other drummers?
Well hopefully I've been inspiring to some in my approach to the kit
- live or otherwise!
I look at drumming as a kinda rhythmic dance - I mean with drumming,
your whole body's gotta feel the groove, & your arms just follow
When I'm working out drum tracks for a particular song, I take onboard
everything - ie: vocals, guitar breaks, links etc
& try to come up with drums that not only complement the song, but
bring it to a new level musically too.
I've done sessions where I've laid down the drums, & the singer's
said OK - I want to re-do the vocals now, as you've given the song a
As for style...well, I remember when Sack Trick were supporting Bruce
Dickinson way back, we came offstage & Bruce's then drummer (Dave
----?) was like:
"Wow Dude - you're just like Keith Moon on drugs!"
I replied: "I tend to think of it as Keith Moon, deprived of drugs...!!!"
What have been your fave drums kits that you have
owned and why?
ALL OF 'EM!!!
My 1st kit cost £48, I think I paid it off on £1 a week
pocket money (+ help from Aunties, Uncles, Grandparents etc!), &
I loved it!
(It also had Buddy Rich's autograph on one of the toms - I still have
the skin today!)
My second kit was based on Nicko's 'Powerslave' kit...(ie: too many
drums!!!) It was a 9-piece Tama Imperialstar in silvery-gold..&
I loved this too!
My 3rd kit was a Tama Granstar...in PINK! It was fkn amazing & had
3 racks, 2 floors, 2 kicks, a Power-Tower rack system, & a billion
cymbals! (I completely loved this one..)
I then (stupidly) found a shop selling a 24" kick, 10" tom
& 18" floor, also in pink, so I bought them to add to my monster,
leaving me with:
4 tom-toms, 3 floor toms, 3 bass drums, the rack system, & a billion
cymbals (inc. 2 chinas with those weighted boom stands!)
It was 80's, OTT, & awesome! (just like my hair at the time...)
Then I saw sense, bought a double pedal, & retired most of the kit
to my folks loft.
Then I saw more sense, split the huge kit into THREE kits(!!), sold
off 2, & kept the one.
My 4th kit was an endorsement kit from Pearl - a black Masters Custom
- fuck yessss. (you guessed it - pure love.)
Another Day In The Office
My latest kit was one I designed & played for 'Pearl Day 08' &
they let me keep it (Vision series), it's totally versatile, compact,
but can destroy buildings with it's power...
Naturally, I love this one the most.
Another Day In The Office
I noticed that you have played with numerous bands and musicians - out
of all of them who have been the most memorable to record, gig and socialise
with and why?
Damn - what an impossible question to try to answer!!
Without sounding like I'm taking the easy way out, I'd say pretty much
most times I've recorded, gigged, socialised etc, there has been something
memorable to take away!
- Even if it's been the worst experience ever, you learn the most from
Socialising with Faith No More was pretty interesting when I did Top
Of The Pops with them - I had to try & fit into their vibe &
humour (& dressing room!)
in the short time I had to get to know them - like do I laugh at their
in-jokes, or just sit there bemused...
Mike Patton 'flipped me the bird' on national television, & Billy
Gould was shouting: "I'm gonna freakin tape this freakin mask to
your freakin face",
& I later found & returned his (80's Bon Jovi-tastic style haircut)
passport (I was thinking: "your nuts, my hand..."), so he
was rather humble & bought me drinks next time we met!
I have great stories from recording with:
Casey Chaos - "Man - you're like the ghost of (Shannon) Larkin!!"
He then asked me to join Amen...
AntiProduct - I think in 3 days rehearsal + 2 days recording, we'd finished
the debut album, clocking up something like 60 hours of drumming...w.o.r.k.a.h.o.l.i.c...
Sack Trick - recording album tracks I'd never heard b4, in the lounge,
with a broken walkman earpiece as headphone,
Rachel Stamp - "What's that intermittent buzzing Robin?" "Oh
- it must be this office fan in my drum booth...!",
Vatican Roulette - "What's that intermittent buzzing Robin?"
"Oh - it must be these bangles on my arms...!" (then they
were gaffa-taped up.),
Rag Dolls - re-recording 'live sound' over some live footage for MTV,
using the video as visual click-track...
Fatman & Robin - recording a footbal song entitled: "Win The
F*cking Cup"...strange it never made the charts...
Eating my breakfast off my snare drum, whilst embarking on a 2-song
session with The King Blues, that went so well, I ended up recording
the rest of the album!
(Then opening Reading Festival with them...see below!)
Recording the entire Doom Day album, + playing 2 shows with Chemical
Kaos & 1 show with The Business...in FOUR DAYS!!!
Recording with Conspirators - on a farm - like actually where the cows
would be milked - doing drum tracks in the open air, with one mic...
Martin Grech - recording at Island Records, re-working a 4min track
into a 12min overture, including a mental tribal drum battle involving
Martin, myself & the guitarist!
Walking in to jam & record with Rancid's guitarist Lars Frederiksen
was pretty special, & then in walks Dave Courtney...to do some vocals!
Robin in the
studio with Lars Frederiksen........................& Dave Courtney!!
Sh*t - the list is endless, & that's just recording stories - offa
the top of my head!
To answer gig & social stories would take a book... ;o)
How did you come to get the gig in Sack Trick?
I've known (Sack Trick main man & founder) Chris Dale for a long
time - he's one of me best buds & always has a story to tell!
& Chris in Greece, with their new car *ahem*
Here's a brief history:
Chris, Alex (Dickson) & Sponder (Alex Elena) were Bruce Dickinson's
band when he quit Maiden, it was called Skunkworks.
When Skunkworks finished, Chris, Al & Sponder had a band called
They also had Sack trick.
Chris left Fling, but stayed to help roadie for them, with me driving
(drummers gotta have a car - right?!),
They then recorded the 1st Sack Trick album (I'm unwittingly on a track
called "Robin's Good News", involving our friends Faith No
More, but that's another story)
Sponder left to find fame & fortune in New York, Chris moved into
the house I lived in, I joined Sack Trick, resulting in many gigs dressed
A Furry Chicken, A Bald Angel, A Transvestite Rapper, A Pimpin' Stripper,
& A Stripe-y Gimp. I also do a neat strip whilst singing Kiss's
I'd also like to add that Bruce Dickinson loves Sack Trick, & he
not only booked us to play his Sons Birthday party,
but then took us on tour as first support on the Chemical Wedding tour,
which in turn led to him pretty much hiring Sack Trick as his backing
when he was booked to headline some of Europe's biggest metal festivals....most
excellent. More madness at www.sacktrick.com
Love to know all about working and hanging out
with Doogie White as I am an Yngwie J. Malmsteen and Rainbow fan!
Doogie is a lovely chap - the few times I've met/ hung out/ played with
him have been nothing but a pleasure - & he has lungs of steel.
When he sings the middle-8 part in Sack Trick's 'Blue Ice Cream', it's
'hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck-time', it's even better if he's dressed
Are you still in contact with him much at all
or any other artists you have worked with in the past?
I bumped into Doogie the other day/ month - at a Deep purple convention!
- I was there with Bernie Torme (GMT)
Me, Rob Grain (GMT Tour Mgr),
Doogie White & Bernie
How did you get to know John & Bernie and become part of GMT?
I was doing some recording with The Scapegoats (myself, AntiProduct
frontman/ guitarist Alex Kane, & The Wildhearts bassist Danny McCormack)
at Bernie Torme's studio ( www.barnroom.co.uk ), & Bernie dug my
playing & vibe, & he told me he needed a suitable drummer for
him & legendary bassist John McCoy.
The rest is tinnitus-inducing history...
GMT on TV! GMT with Twisted Sister's Dee Snider on vocals!!
For you personally
what are your fave times working with John & Bernie ?
Everytime we get together, something out-of-this-world happens!
Recording the 1st album 'Bitter & Twisted', I'd be flying blind
alot of the time (Bern & John wouldn't bother telling me how the
song we were about to record went...),
& this one time, it came to the middle-8, & Bernie looked at
me & screamed "GO MAD!" - I collapsed in a heap laughing
as I realised this was his 'musical direction' for how the song went
at that particular bit!
Literally every show we do, something ridiculous happens that has one
of us pissing ourselves laughing, & that usually starts a chain
Fave GMT songs and why?
Well, playing-wise live, some of my mega-faves are "You Can't Beat
Rock N' Roll" - simple to play, but really fun to rock out to!
Same with "Rocky Road (From Dublin)". (The vids to these two
songs are at: www.myspace.com/gmtrocks & www.gmtrocks.com )
"Vincenzo" is one we've only started playing so it's cool
seeing the audience's reaction as they hear it live for the 1st time,
despite it being out 2 years!
We are just finishing mixing the 2nd album, so once that's out, we'll
be touring more songs off that - in the meantime, we've added a few
newies in the show,
& "Perfumed Garden" is a journey in itself (all 10 mins
of it!) which builds & builds, then drops to a whisper...
"You Can't Hold Me" is me doing my best Keith Moon,
"Punko Rocco" has Dee Snider singing on the album, so you
know that's gotta ROCK!
When I listen back to the album(s), I'm amazed at what we've achieved
- I mean, alot of these songs (on debut album) are 1st takes, of songs
I hadn't really heard/ learnt before,
so there's alot of magic captured within that record - most of which
is good magic...!! ;o)
The 2nd album will suprise alot of people I think - as we've pushed
it 'out there' a bit more - we've got some bhangra/ ragga beats goin
on, a blues extravaganza,
+ a good dose of rockin juggernauts...
Fave gigs so far and for what reasons?
Well, without doubt, the best day of my life so far was headlining Wacken
Open Air with Bruce Dickinson.
Close to 40,000 metalheads, we went on during daylight, & throughout
our performance it became dusk, the lights kicked in, then nearing the
end it was night
& darkness enveloped the audience, save for thousands of lighters
& various fires etc - we played a blinder of a set & the whole
show was pure magic.
Not to say that I haven't had truly remarkable experiences since, but
it'll take alot to top that!
I even got to do a drum solo to the masses - & when I finished,
Bruce ran back on & asked the crowd if they "wanted some more?"
to which (in my mind) every one of the 40,000 strong crowd screamed:
"Yes please - we'd love it if Robin played some more drums...!"
The 1st gig GMT did was for Clive Aid (Charity set up for ex Maiden
drummer Clive Burr who has MS) at Maiden's birthplace The Ruskin Arms,
Clive used to be in a band with Dee Snider & Bernie, called Desperado,
so there's another crazy connection there!
Me, Bernie & Clive - at our 1st show
Headlining the House Of Blues
in Chicago with The Business was pretty special - it's a wicked place
to play (as anyone who's played there will testify!)
- they totally took care of us & it felt only slightly out of place
that this punk rock machine of madness was playing this top notch glossy
Same with El Rey Theatre in L.A. - red carpets & chandeliers, mixed
with psychobillys, skins & mowhawk freaks + The Business!!
We also headlined the legendary-but-now-sadly-no-more New York club
CBGB's - TWICE on the same tour!! (the 2nd show & last show on the
Typical show with The Business
- audience end up onstage, band end up on drum riser!!
When Conspirators opened for Fightstar, the tour ended at The Scala
in London - we wanted that little bit extra, so we brought on cheerleaders
& together with my brother hobbling around on stripey crutches (he'd
fractured his ankle whilst jumping off a stage in Glasgow..) it looked
like a Rob Zombie concert!!
Headlining the Astoria with Rachel Stamp was probably one of the best
feelings/ times ever - here we were, still unsigned(??!!!), pulling
all dressed up to the nines, willing to pay a tenner to see us, losing
their minds whilst stagediving - we had the best-looking moshpit you'd
(& just for the record, The Last Of The Teenage Idols were the 1st
band able to do this, we were the 2nd, & The Darkness were the 3rd...not
the 1st!! meow.)
Supporting Stevie Salas at the Underworld with Kitty Hudson back in
'03 which lead to me recording the Swans In Flight album - 4 years later!
& Ultimately lead to me playing with T.M. Stevens (James Brown/
Steve Vai) 5 years later...
Anytime I've ever played The Six Bells in Chiddingly, with any band...
Crash-learning some of the hardest stuff I've ever heard, in 2 rehearsals
(with Martin Grech), then that night playing a show down South (with
then after the gig, being dropped at Gatwick Airport, flying to Scotland
(4am), to arrive just in time to open Main Stage at T-In-The-Park (with
which lead to me playing some amazing shows, tours & recording for
Martin for the next couple of years!! Which also included:
Opening for Muse at Wembley
Arena, with Martin Grech
(Excited Robin: "Mum, Dad - I'm playing Wembley!!")
Opening for The Offspring in some huge French arena (with TAT), then
being invited out for drinks with Dexter Holland (he got fairly whacked
Opening Reading Festival with TAT - there's something really special
about being the 1st band making noise - as the excited crowd rush in!!
Rocking Reading fest with
One of the best tours I've done was back in '03 - with All About Eve.
Everybody thinks they're this wussy Goth Hippy-lite band,
but they were one of the most Rock n' Roll & fun bands I've had
the pleasure to tour with.
I'll never forget a drunken freestyle rap-battle between myself &
Julianne Regan, in some hotel room - JR is quite the Hip-Hopper y'know?!!
(My nickname on that tour was MC Bobbinz....nuff said!)
Rescuing the Guitar Gangsters (drummer broke leg) with 1 rehearsal,
then festival in Germany the next day....which in turn then lead to:
Touring all over the world with The Business, having some of the most
insane hardcore experiences ever.......which in turn then lead to:
Filling in for shows with Deadline - again with 1 rehearsal (what's
with these punks?) supporting Mad Sin.......which in turn then lead
Almost joining Berlin's finest punkin' psychos Mad Sin..!!
+ the Doom Day band/ project I'm involved in (with ex The Prodigy guitarist
Gizz Butt) came out of a direct result of working with The Business.
Yes, the music business is nuts.
What's next for you and GMT?
Finishing this bloody album!! Then playin it to the world... (it's now
I understand you do drum clinics - how did you get into that, whats
been your faves and why?
I am lucky enough to have full sponsorship with Pearl drums, Sabian
cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, Aquarian skins, Audio Technica mics, &
Protection Racket cases
(& Armitage Shanks make my Kitchen Sinks!!), so one day, my man
from Sabian calls me up & says: "you gotta get down to 'Four
Four' in Fareham, as they are hosting
an open day there with some clinics going on, & it's mainly Zildjian
(other main brand of cymbals) endorsees, so get in, do your thing &
As I was driving down with my kit, I thought "what the Hell am
I gonna do or play?!!" I had no songs/ tracks to play along to,
so I just went for it, dived in, rocked a solo,
then talked for a bit then played some more.
It was a success, & then I started doing more clinics, armed with
solos, grooves, talk/ advice + some tracks to play along to.
I was then asked to represent Pearl at the first "Drummer Live
'05"...& then again at the second in '06!
Rocking at 'Drummer Live' at Wembley
Since then I've done loads more, & recently I played main stage
at "Pearl Day '08" - alongside Jimmy De Grasso (Suicidal/
Megadeth/ Ozzy etc!),
Primal Scream's Darrin Mooney, & Purple's Ian Paice!!
Robin Guy signing..............................................................................&
rocking at Pearl Day '08
Got any more planned in the future and where?
I'm doing a couple of clinics at Music Live '08 at Birmingham's NEC,
then playing with T.M. Stevens at 'Bass Day' in Manchester,
so I'd better stop this interview, & pickup some sticks...!
Any further clinics will be up on the GuySpace - www.myspace.com/robinguy
What are your most memorable tour stories over
the years - the more, the better !! for better or for worse!!
This question will take me weeks to answer, so I'll just skim through
some highlights (& lowlights!)...
Playing TWO SHOWS, in TWO DIFFERENT COUNTRIES, with TWO DIFFERENT BANDS...it
was with Bruce Dickinson, at Graspop festival in Belgium,
(wicked bill - Slayer, Biohazard, Machine Head, Rob Halford, Dream Theatre
etc), then flying back (with Bruce, who incidentally changed his First
Class seat to sit with me!)
to headline Thurrock Music Fest with Rachel Stamp.
After a 100mph chauffer-driven James-Bond-esque car race from Heathrow
Airport round the M25 to Thurrock, I got there with 2 minutes to spare!!!
Rock, & indeed, Roll.
I've survived two utterly insane tours of the USA with UK street-punk
legends The Business, both tours were 55 shows in 60 days, give or take
The 1st tour was mental as Micky, the singer was a full blown alcoholic
(he's rehab'd & clean/ still alive now - bless him!), so he'd just
The most overused tour saying was: "Where's Micky?",
The most overused reply was: "I dunno!", + we never had any
info given to us by the tour manager, so everytime we asked a tour question,
it went like this:
Robin: "How far to the next show/ hotel?" or: "What time
is the soundcheck/ food served/ showtime/ curfew etc?" or: "What
time are we leaving to go/ waking to leave etc?"
TM: "I dunno!"
So we nicknamed the tour the "I Dunno Tour 04", & I printed
some shirts up, with all the dates up on the back, but with NO venues,
& NO towns, just DATES,
& a huge "?" in the centre of the shirt's dates, &
on the front it stated "...I survived The Business 'I Don't Know
On the 2nd tour (in '06), after the 1st week, I stuck my drumstick through
my eyelid, narrowly missing my pupil, onstage, in Atlanta.
I was halfway through the gig(!), so decided to finish the show(!!),
then went to hospital at 1am. It was the hospital where they patch up
the local prison inmates(!!!),
so there were armed nurses running down the hallway that I was laying
in etc (complete madness, & me thinkin I've lost my sight/ eye...)
I had stitches (whilst still wearing my sweaty stagegear), then I got
out at 7am, & off to the next show(!!!!).
Do NOT try this at home folks.
if you had the chance would you like to work with in the future if you
had the chance? - not that you would leave GMT of course!
I'd love to work with Vanilla Ice, Suicidal Tendencies, Snot, Soulfly
& White Zombie. In any order...or combination. Oh & Millie Jackson.
I wouldn't say no to depping for Nicko in Iron Maiden should he ever
fall foul of the flu...
How did the teching with Fightstar come to be?
Well, my insanely-talented film-making brother Corin has shot alot of
band vids (Rachel Stamp, Martin Grech, GMT, The King Blues...) www.myspace.com/mysteriouscorin
& he was also responsible for the Fightstar vid "Waste A Moment".
I went to the shoot to hang out & help with drums etc & got
on really well with the guys.
Fightstar then took my brothers band Conspirators (that I play drums
in, natch!) out on a UK tour, which was mega fun. www.myspace.com/ukconspirators
Then a while later, Charlie (the frontman) called me up & in an
embarrassed tone asked if I'd consider drum tech for them on a Kerrang
with Coheed & Cambria headlining, + Madina Lake & Fightstar,
with Circa Survive opening.
I had no shows for that fortnight, so said yes & it was one of the
most fun times I've ever had on tour!
+ I was eating swordfish & prime steak every night in catering!!!
+ I became friends with Chris Pennie (C & C's drummer, who used
to be in The Dillinger Escape Plan!),
- we shared Maiden stories (C & C covered The Trooper every night!),
+ he asked me to soundcheck his kit one night...awesome!
Is it strange to do teching when you are used to being on the kit playing
the gig yourself?
Actually no, being on tour is a bit like err, camping(!) in that you
gotta make the best out of what you've got, when you get it.
So I'm good at finding things (gaffa tape, Jack Daniels, ice, more gaffa),
making things, fixing things & generally helping things to run smoothly
I was also the cocktail maker on our bus. Madina Lake would say: "Robin
Guy's making Cockies again...let's rock!"
How is it all going so far with them?
Very well thankyou - here is my special stagewear for teching with Fightstar,
meet The Jager-Fairy:
are you most proud of as a human being and as a drummer so far?
I'm just pleased & proud that I've managed to stick it out thus
far in life to achieve my dream of becoming a professional drummer (ie:
getting by, through playing drums)
Some months, I don't earn a penny & it can get stressful, but ultimately
this is what I do, so I'm thankful! (apart from some hearing loss along
Looking back on all these pictures & words (way too many - right?!!)
I know I have some good stories to tell, & I think this is really
what life is about
- it's not the destination that matters, but the journey, & if you
haven't got stories from life, where have you been...?!!
I'll leave you with this picture that says it all really - at the 1st
Clive Aid that GMT played, I got to hang out with Clive,
which lead to me helping to sell his 'Number Of The Beast' drum kit
to the Hard Rock Cafe for £10,000!
Slightly proud moment this!
L-R: Adrian Smith (Maiden), Sam Hill (Clive Aid Main Man - me &
Sam sold Clive's kit), Yannick Gers (Maiden), Tony Iommi (Sabbath),
Clive's drumming hero Ian Paice (Deep Purple), Yours Truly, Bruce D
(Maiden), Clive's kit (I got to set it up!!), Don Bernstein (Hard Rock
Cafe Memrobilia Guru),
In front - Clive Burr (original Maiden drummer) with a very large cheque
(in all manner of the word!)
Alright, sorry if this is the longest interview in history, (now you
know why it's taken 8months for me to find the time to reply..),
but if you've read this far, then thankyou, & come visit me at www.myspace.com/robinguy
& tell me that METALLIVILLE SENT YOU!!!