I still recall, back in ’95, when I just started my music studies at TUT. The excitement, when we were informed that for the next 3 years, we will be taught how to play drums, by the one and only top session player, Neill Ettridge himself.
Not knowing what to expect, a nervous first-year drum student entered the studio on that very first day. Tattoos, ponytail, torn jeans, doped eyes, and a burger-stained shirt, was the pre-conceived idea with which my mind drew a picture of this in-demand musician.
Instead, I was met with a smile, sharp British humour, and a neatly dressed individual, who played the living daylights out of most other drummers I have ever seen!! I left that class feeling a little depressed, with the realization that I actually knew very little about my instrument of choice.
At the end of my first year however, I was selected for the seat in the “pristine” TUT Big Band ensemble, which involved some serious chops and reading skills. In my second year, I was able to stand in for Neill himself, playing some serious Salsa in THE LATIN FIRE BAND, where I was not only the youngster, but also the only non-pro musician….and still only a student….
Today, I have recorded on more than one thousand albums, worked with most directors and artists, and still loving every moment. All thanks to Mr Ettridge.
Frankly, if you are serious about playing the drums, I cannot think of an alternative option.