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larryace 10-04-2017 08:41 PM

My UK trip part 1
Hi all, apologies for the delay in sharing the details of my trip.

First off, I have to thank my good friend Andy. This man is an exceptional human being. Words can't express how at home this man makes you feel. And he is very considerate. He took steps to make sure I was very well taken care of. I cannot say enough good things about you Andy. You're off the charts.

Anyway, I'm doing a 3 different threads, in the order they happened. First the drum show, then my stay at Andy's house, and finally my stay at Madge's house.

The Drum Show:

So I got out of the airport and grabbed a taxi to the venue, (Manchester Central) arriving at about 10:30 AM on Friday. Andy and Gloryhammer drummer/forum member Ben Turk (brother of Amy Turk, the amazing harpist) were already there. In their hi vis vests lol.

So we got straight to work, unloading what seemed like 50 drums, associated hardware, staging and other stuff. We set up 2 Guru displays, a main one and a smaller Origin stand. Ben mentioned that he wanted some tea, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to surprise him and get him some, and to also walk around the block, to see what was nearby. So I did. I'd like to make special mention of Alex from Amedia cymbals. Another top bloke who Andy has a symbiotic business relationship with, as well as a tight friendship.. What great people I met, truly. It was a bit overwhelming for me, in the best possible way.

We got done setting up by around 4 PM and afterwards we walked right across the street to where we were staying, The Midlands. WHAT a great place. Old world charming and pretty friggin huge. A whole city block this hotel occupied. Pics to come. We checked in, dropped bags off at rooms, and reconvened in the lobby.

David Floegal and Madge's drum teacher Liam joined us there. Great to see them again. So there we were sitting around a table near the bar in The Midlands lobby having drinks and snacks and generally chilling. Emmanuelle Caplette had made a loose arrangement with Andy to perhaps meet up with him/us for a hang. So as were hanging, Andy said, "Look who's here". Expecting Emmanuelle, Simon walked by and Andy got his attention.

Andy exchanged pleasantries, then asked Simon if he knew a certain recording engineer, and Simon perked up because they had this engineer in common, Andy and Simon were in Abbey Road Studios and met many years prior. That seemed to make Simon even more comfortable and they talked about that for a bit.

So after the initial talking, Simon went to the bar and got a drink. After about 5 minutes, he just walked over and sat down with us. No fan boying at all, we all were just hanging out. Pictures were taken. Simon stayed probably 1 hour, mainly talking with Andy. So this is shaping up nicely.

After the hang, we went to dinner sans Simon at a restaurant within the hotel. Simon was meeting his brother, who lives in Manchester. Apparently Simon doesn't get to Manchester that often. Tommy Aldridge and George Kollias were hanging together much of the weekend. I didn't speak to them but I saw them a lot in the restaurant for dinner and breakfast. Finished dinner about 10 PM. The guys hung at the lobby bar for a while after dinner. I was up like 36 hours so I begged off so I could get some sleep. So that was my first day there. Andy ended up staying past 1AM, I kinda knew that would happen. I usually stay till the end, but this time it was in my best interest not to.

Day 2, first day of the drum show. Saturday. Got up a little later than the rest, had breakfast (included with my stay, thanks Andy) in one of the hotel restaurants. The food I had over there was sooo good.

The day before I had acquired 2 illegal cigarettes, so I decided after breakfast to take a walk around the block, find a bench, and enjoy it. Everyone rolls their own smokes there it seems so I blended right in.

There was tobacco in it, and I never done tobacco before, and holy crap did it kick my ass lol. I was walking sideways.

The drum show itself....not a whole lot to tell, you know, just walking around and seeing the displays, tapping here, tapping there. Madge showed up early on with a friend of hers, Dave, who is a wonderful man. The venue was great for a drum show acoustically speaking. London sucked acoustically, it's all echo. This venue is ideal for a drum show.
Andy had the only solid shells at the show. He had the best drums there IMO, but that's no surprise. I did catch a few clinics...Gerald Heyward, who lives right near me, Emmanuelle Caplette, Dennis Chambers, and Simon on the last day. He was the featured guest.

I liked Simon's clinic the best because he played the least and talked to us a lot. The others mainly played along to recordings most of the time, which doesn't really do anything for me. I'd rather them talk. Still, it was awesome. With Dennis, when he first came out to do his clinic, He made a statement that kind of blasted the gospel chops thing. Dennis feels people "blame" him for the whole gospel chops thing. He kind of downed the gospel chops thing, citing drumming as sport mainly. The next night at drummer night he was sitting behind us so I commented to him that it took guts to say that. That's when he told me people blame him for the whole gospel chops thing.

Day 2: Sunday

Again got up a little later than the rest, did breakfast, and walked to the show a little after it opened that day. Got a chance to play drums with Caroline (Caz) who is just a lovely woman. The highlight of the 2nd day was the Drummer Night at the end of the show. It benefited kids with cancer. All the drummers from the clinics attended. They had like 11 drumsets set up, and a studio band with vocals and everything, that each drummer played with. Afterwards they auctioned off a Remo snare drum that was signed by all the pro drummers. Our own David Floegal won it. There were so many great unknown drummers there. David is a monster player, as is Ben and from what I understand, Liam. I really admire someone who can sit down at a drumset unaccompanied, and make it sound good. All these guys can do that. I do better in an ensemble situation. Alone, I just can't get it together.

After Drummer Night was over, it was load out time. So we broke down the displays, loaded up and then it's drive to Andy's.

It was just him and I for a 3 hour ride from the drum show to Andy's little slice of heaven. We stopped for food at some point, then continued on to Andy's place.

Stay tuned for part 2.

Juniper 10-04-2017 09:57 PM

Re: My UK trip part 1
Great to read about the weekend Larry. Looking forward to reading parts 2 & 3.

force3005 10-04-2017 10:27 PM

Re: My UK trip part 1
Thanks Larry for your article, can's wait for the other two and pics.

steadypocket 10-05-2017 01:02 AM

Re: My UK trip part 1
What an experience Larry. Thanks for sharing this with us.

opentune 10-05-2017 02:40 AM

Re: My UK trip part 1
I love travelogs. Sounded like a cool trip. Never been to Manchester, but I hear it rains there a lot, even by UK standards.

spleeeeen 10-05-2017 02:52 AM

Re: My UK trip part 1
Well done Larry. Enough details to evoke pleasant images but not so detailed that I can't sort of "insert" myself into the adventure (if that makes any sense).

Looking forward to Season 1, Episode 2.

larryace 10-05-2017 04:21 AM

Re: My UK trip part 1
If I didn't allude to it earlier, this was a life changing trip for me. When I went to London in 2013, I stayed within a 3 block area. This time I got a real flavor for the countryside and the people. The best part of my trip was my stay with both Andy and Madge, by far. The drum show is really just an excuse for me to visit.

The sheer beauty of the countryside was far greater than I ever imagined. The food was so much better. The people are far friendlier than here in the Northeast part of the US. Everything about it is better, from where I'm sitting. I told Madge I felt like a newborn because everything seemed brand new to me. I'm going back next May, this time with my wife. We will do Madgefest and visit with Andy, then her and I are going to tour the countryside and some towns and villages.

So watch out, I'll be driving lol.

BacteriumFendYoke 10-05-2017 08:49 AM

Re: My UK trip part 1
Goodness me, Larry. I hope you can drive a manual and have experience of roundabouts...!

Anon La Ply 10-05-2017 08:51 AM

Re: My UK trip part 1
And drive on the left hand side of the road :)

Great travelogue, Larry. It brought back a few memories plus it looks like you've made a lot of good new ones.

JohnoWorld 10-05-2017 12:59 PM

Re: My UK trip part 1
nice to hear someone talking positively about the UK

The best advice I would give to someone visiting is to go somewhere other than London and I guess having the show in Manchester has helped.

Next time you're here, I recommend going to Wales

Magenta 10-05-2017 02:03 PM

Re: My UK trip part 1

Originally Posted by JohnoWorld (Post 1526397)
Next time you're here, I recommend going to Wales

He already did this time. And he will again next year :)

JohnoWorld 10-05-2017 02:58 PM

Re: My UK trip part 1

Originally Posted by Magenta (Post 1526400)
He already did this time. And he will again next year :)

Probably why he liked it so much :-)

Wales is just better than England, and I'm English

Magenta 10-05-2017 07:26 PM

Re: My UK trip part 1
10 Attachment(s)
A few photos:

Larry, enjoying ahfternoon tea and caek; Caernarfon Castle; Chester.

BacteriumFendYoke 10-05-2017 07:53 PM

Re: My UK trip part 1
Larry almost looks cultured there. Almost. Not quite. Almost.

Smoke 10-05-2017 09:36 PM

Re: My UK trip part 1
Dear me, Miss Madge! It's nice that you'd snap a photo of those three nice, old, grey-haired gentlemen. Nowadays, most folks don't include the "fauna" in their travel photos. These gentlemen add a nice bit of authenticity to Larry's travelogue. I'm sure he appreciates it! (hee, hee!!)

supermac 10-05-2017 11:47 PM

Re: My UK trip part 1
Pleased you enjoyed your trip to the UK. Nice pics...

As others have said, there's much more to our country than just London.

Meanwhile, might have missed it in your piece, but guessing 'Simon' is a certain Mr Phillips?

Magenta 10-07-2017 03:53 PM

Re: My UK trip part 1

Originally Posted by Smoke (Post 1526481)
Dear me, Miss Madge! It's nice that you'd snap a photo of those three nice, old, grey-haired gentlemen. Nowadays, most folks don't include the "fauna" in their travel photos. These gentlemen add a nice bit of authenticity to Larry's travelogue. I'm sure he appreciates it! (hee, hee!!)

Yeah, bless them, I thought I'd better take a photo for posterity while I still had the chance :D

GetAgrippa 10-07-2017 04:45 PM

Re: My UK trip part 1
Wow Larry, just Wow. I hope you don't mind if I live extemporaneously through your trip dude. Just love it man-Chapter 1 is fantastic and so happy this was such a great trip.

Jeremy Bender 10-07-2017 05:43 PM

Re: My UK trip part 1
Very cool Travel Blog. Thanks for sharing.

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