Off The Record: Paul Barry

Paul Barry

He has toured the World. His music has been featured in commercials, TV and film.
A multi instrumentalist.

An active and motivated guy on the local scene both with his teaching and playing.
He has also earwormed me with his guilty pleasure song.
Ladies & Gentlemen… Paul Barry.

Favourite food?
Favourite film?
– That’s a tough one. I’ll keep it musical and go with “The Last Waltz” by Scorsese.
Favourite Album?
– Man this just gets harder! I’ll go with one of my go-to albums (and my favourite kiwi record) “Solace” by Jakob.
Favourite Song?
How about my favourite song this week?…. “Magnificent (she says)” by Elbow
Favourite Groove?
– One of them has to be “The Funky Drummer” by the late, great Clyde Stubblefield.
Favourite Drummer?
– Lately it’s Benny Greb, Jojo Mayer, Steve Gadd and Brann Dailor.
Favourite Kiwi Drummer?
– There are so many rad drummers here in NZ, but I’d have to go with Dylan Elise.
Favourite rudiment?
– Single Stroke Roll or 6 Stroke Roll.
Favourite drum or cymbal?
– Probably my old Ayotte custom snare from the early mid 90’s
Can you describe your set up?
My main kit is a Tama Starclassic Birch Bubinga. I use a variety of snares depending on the gig (either the matching Tama snare, my Ayotte, an old Ludwig steel snare and sometimes a Mapex 10″ off to the side as well). Cymbals are usually 20″ Meinl Byzance ride, 16″ Paiste Dark energy crash, 17″ Sabian HHX Evolution crash and 14″ Evo hats. I have some old Paiste 602 hats that I use for smaller gigs and I’ll sometimes use a homemade stack or a china if I’m playing heavier, prog type stuff.
Career Highlight?
Jamming on stage with the legendary Garth Hudson from The Band.
Current gigs?
I’m teaching 5 days a week and gigging 2 or 3 times a week with my covers duo Rumpus Room.
Trained or self-taught?
I took lessons for about 3 years when I first started. I’ve been mostly self-taught since then but would love to find the time to do some on-one-one lessons again.
Main teacher or mentor?
My second drum teacher in Canada, Mike (wish I knew his last name) had some of the best advice when I was learning. I often catch myself saying the exact same things to my students these days. He was cool, easy-going and he really knew his stuff and was into a wide variety of great music even though he looked like a typical 90’s grunge rocker. That was very important for me as a young drummer….even though I resisted anything that wasn’t rock for years! I eventually saw the light and learned that there are only two types of music: good and bad. I later realized that even in ‘bad’ music there’s something to be taken away.
Best advice?
Be a musician first, drummer second. Also, learn another instrument if you can. Oh, and protect your ears!
Game changing moment?
I still clearly remember hearing “Good times, bad times” by Led Zep for the first time in my brother’s room back in the day. When Bonzo first dropped into that 16th note triplet kick part my head nearly exploded!
It was a great example of what I call the Inspiration/Application cycle. It starts with Inspiration (Wow, I wanna play that!) – Frustration (Damn, that’s hard!) – Production (Focused practice…and more frustration) – Revelation (I CAN actually play it!) – Application/Experimentation (Now, how I can make this ‘my own’ in my playing). Then back to – Inspiration (How can I build on what I’ve just learned? What do I want to learn next?) and it keeps going and going.
Recommended study material? Book/DVD etc?
For anyone starting out, I’m a big fan of (Kiwi drummer) Andrew Agutter’s “Learn to play the drums” series of books. Andrew’s books combine quite a lot of great material and they progress very nicely.
Advice to beginners?
Go slow, count out loud. Then slow it down and do it again. Listen to EVERYTHING.
Pre gig warm up?
Singles, doubles and whatever else pops into my head. If I can find a couch or soft surface to play on, even better. For full-on rock gigs and the like I’ll jump in place, stretch, do some windmills etc. Pretty cool, eh?
Currently working on?
Steve Gadd licks.
Chops? Yay or Nay?
Both. But musical context is everything.
Most embarrassing moment or Funny gig story?
A guy once tried to “reverse stage dive” at a gig I was playing. He pretty much broke his face on the singer’s large (and unscathed) monitor. The stage must’ve looked a lot lower as he ran up to it.
Strangest song request or audience situation?
Some goof requested Cotten-eyed Joe once at a pretty quiet/empty gig. So……we tried to play it. I dare say it was almost as good as the original. I’m sorry that it’s probably stuck in your head now just from reading it. Cotton-eyed Joe, in case you weren’t sure what I was talking about.
Pet peeve?
Rude/entitled people at gigs….and of course, the song that shan’t be named!!
Guilty Pleasure Song or Band?
– Cotton-eyed Joe!! Haha! 80’s Genesis? That counts, right?

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