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Biscuit tins, Sellotape, and plasticine

Ian Paice spoke to an outfit called MyGlobalMind that resulted in a lengthy, interesting interview, aided and abetted by an insightful and knowledgeable, albeit anonymous interviewer.

MGM: You got your first drum kit at the age of 15, which would probably be considered to be quite late, but you went from getting your first drum kit, to going into being a professional player very quickly. What are your memories of hearing music for the first time, getting into music and realising that drumming was something that you wanted to do?

Ian: I suppose it all started when I was about 11, maybe 12 years old, and I just got hooked on looking at drummers. I used to see these old black and white Hollywood bio pics where there’d be a big band playing from the ’30s and ’40s, or they’d be there as a featured five-minute section of the movie. There was one guy, Gene Krupa, and he just looked mesmeric. So, before I wanted to be a drummer, I wanted to look like him. I got a pair of old knitting needles and I started trying to copy what I saw his hands doing on the TV screen. TVs were about nine inches in those days. I would sit on the armchair of the sofa and play with the knit needles on the furniture. Then I realised that I understood why the notation was doing what it was, why one hand was doing this and why the other hand was doing that. So, it automatically made sense to me.

I’ve spoken to some other players, not just drummers, but musicians who have, let’s say, had that advantage from nature, where they understood the instrument almost immediately. I carried on like that building drums out of our biscuit tins and big bits of Sellotape stretched across the top and with plasticine underneath to make a snare drum sound. It didn’t sound like it, but it was good to me anyway. My dad saw that this wasn’t going away, and so on my 15th birthday, he bought me my first drum kit. A piece of rubbish, but it was a start. And my first gigs were with him. He was a really good piano player, and he had a little trio, sometimes a quartet, and he’d do dinner dances on Saturday nights. Over the Christmas period, he’d make a fortune. So that’s how it started. I played the odd gig with him with waltzes and quick steps and foxtrots and military two-steps and stuff like that. But like any kid, I was 15 and a half by then, a little local band got up together and I took it on from there.

When you are in a band that’s working, even the lowest possible level, you see other people playing. They could be absolutely crap, but they might have one thing, and you go, I like that, and you bring that into your repertoire. If you’re playing two or three gigs a week, which we were, as semi-pros those days, you saw lots of guys playing. So, you got this little bit from there and that little bit from there. And all of a sudden, you found you’ve got a bunch of things you can do, which are now your own, and it goes on from there.

Continue reading in MyGlobalMind.

4 Comments to “Biscuit tins, Sellotape, and plasticine”:

  1. 1
    Uwe Hornung says:

    That was an informative interview, but then whenever Little Ian speaks up, he has something to say.

    I was finally fortunate enough to grab a hold of that The Maze 4-track 1967 EP released as a CD a while ago (cost me a king’s ransom, I had missed the original CD release when it came out), that stuff is noteworthy for how good (and how loudly mixed for the time! 🔊 🎶 😎) Little Ian was already back then:




    You can hear how The Maze’s version of I’m So Glad was the blueprint for what ended up on Shades Of DP (even some drum breaks by Little Ian are identical), they basically just added an intro by Jon to it.

  2. 2
    MacGregor says:

    Another wonderful interview with Mr Paice & thank you for posting it. ‘Another damn piece of hardware, all those clicks’, ha ha ha, says it all doesn’t it. Take away the human element & freedom of it all & replace it with a machine. Good on Ian for constantly highlighting this days method of working & it not being so good. Cheers.

  3. 3
    Gregster says:


    Great interview, & very-true about picking-up bits & pieces of music from everyone when you’re young. And though you can’t take a drum-kit with you everywhere, as a guitarist, you also had the advantage of taking the guitar almost everywhere with you, & simply jamming along with other people. This is where you’re around music being played in front of you, so you can see it & hear it at the same time, & then discuss riffs & licks with others, & learn how it’s done..( If the others are open to sharing their tricks & things, some people are very secretive lol ).

    Peace !

  4. 4
    Dr. Bob says:

    It took me years of playing drums before I understood why the notation was doing what it was, why one hand was doing this and why the other hand was doing that.

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