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  • Writer's pictureIan Patrick

Art of Drumming - A life behind the drums, by Steve White.

I’m delighted to bring to the blog a very dear friend of mine, Steve White. Steve’s not only one of the greatest drummer’s of my generation but he now has a debut book published.

Steve White’s, Art of Drumming - A life behind the drums.

Steve’s played drums for many years. He's played live and recorded with the likes of: The Style Council, Paul Weller, The Who, Oasis, Trio Valore, The family Silver and Hague and White to name a few. He’s also presented an award winning series about drumming on Sky Arts.

If you’re a drummer or know a drummer, then this a book you’ll want to own or gift. I’ve read it and was honoured to have an image I'd taken of Steve used as the front cover.

Needless to say, it’s my pleasure to have him as my opening guest to this part of my blog and to answer a few questions for you. I’ve included a link at the end where you can buy the book and where you can follow him on social media if you don’t already. IP.

Steve White - Drummer.

Has publishing a book always been a dream of yours or something that developed as a result of your career? 

It’s something that grew quite organically. I have to pay tribute to my co/author, Russ Tarley, for really driving the whole thing along. The material was in abundance but the organising was a different matter.


How does it feel to see your book out in the world?

It’s incredibly gratifying. So far the response has been overwhelmingly warm and positive. I’m really proud of the whole project. 

As with any creative industry, change is inevitable. You’ve always adapted to change and continued to produce some fantastic music as well as teach.

What advice would you give to someone who may be in a similar position but doesn’t know where to turn or what to do?

That’s a really hard one. I recently discussed this on another platform. Making a good solid income from art is a situation, I believe, that has plateaued after a golden period; probably in all the arts. The 40’s to the 80’s being the zenith. It’s quite hard to pick artists in every genre, whose financial success was on parity with their talent, and the facts are simple - the impact of the digital age has been detrimental to the ability to earn a decent amount of money as pretty much any kind of artist. This has only put us back to a similar situation that we were all largely in pre this 40 year golden age. That said, the vast majority of musicians and storytellers from all cultures do not see their art as a means to earn money but pursue their interest out of respect for cultural tradition or plain and simple love.

Any art must be approached from a pure basis: love or a simple necessity of expression. You will generally get found out if either or both are lacking. With this in mind you must embrace diversity, don’t lose your passion, and never see it as failure if you have to spread your wings to make a little cash. 

How hard is it to balance family life with creative work when you and Sally have many demands on your time?

I don’t find it that hard because I value the most important gift I have passionately: the gift of time.

I organise. I don’t delay. I don’t particularly engage with anything or anyone that I don’t feel brings positivity to my life. A little anti-social, possibly, but I do not waste time on anything that is a distraction. I don’t binge box sets, I don’t follow gaming and limit my time on computers. I genuinely love being around my family and have a passion for drumming and music that inspires me to strive. 

What book are you reading at the moment?

Two, I’ve been re-reading: Bruce Lee’s Tao of Jeet Kune Do, a book I revisit often especially in light of recent events. Like many I have found the upheaval, disharmony and tragedy truly upsetting and dispiriting but feel I best serve my family in a mind-set that is as focused as possible to deal practically with whatever this pandemic throws at us.

I can’t solve every problem or mourn every tragic loss personally, so remaining focused, reactive and calm is for me, the best coping method. I’m also reading a social history of the drum set by Matt Brennan, which is excellent. 

If you could only own and read one book, which book would it be? 

My favourite book by one of my favourite authors is the incredible Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. In my opinion, as a piece of literature, it is a perfect story. The subtext, allegory, atmosphere and the characters are absolutely brilliant. 

I know your own book has only just been published but is there another book being planned?

I have started on a much less adventurous tome, it’s been inspired by the needs of my students on line. It’s kind of a Manual to general hand fitness and technical improvement. I plan to have it finished quite quickly. 

Have you given any thoughts to writing an autobiography?

I have been asked, but a lot of the criteria of what makes a musician’s book interesting either didn’t happen to me or I don’t feel inclined to share as it’s too personal; so at the moment no. With access to the various platforms I share on social media: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, I think people have a fairly good idea of my career. 


Thanks to Steve for coming on the page to answer the questions. All images are mine and not for reproduction without my permission. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed the piece. Link is below for those interested in the book which can be purchased from Hudson Books. IP.

Twitter - @drummerwhitey

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