TOTO - Official Website - Questions and Answers


Simon Phillips

If you have any question regarding Simon, please read this page first to check if the answer is already printed here before writing in. Please note that questions regarding Drums, Drumkit, How to, Equipment etc. will be answered by Simon on his personal website www.simon-phillips.com. The Q&A will be updated time after time.
Jean Can't you arrange for release of "Out of the Blue" in the Canadian and U.S.markets someday? Right now we're at the mercy of scalpers...
Simon: I have acquired all the rights to my catalogue so will be looking into re-releasing all my CDs soon. Maybe some surround versions too. Definately re-mastering.
Tim: 1) How would you describe the present state of mind in TOTO? To me and to everybody that experience you live or after one of your numerous shows it seems that you guys are really enjoying each other, playing for real (live), the potential of the band and the touring part... It would therefore be very interesting to hear from Simon himself how things are. What is TOTO aiming at? What are your future goals for the band?
2) How did it affect you to be away from the band and from the drums for 3 months? Also, is Heavy D getting well and do you think we get to see him this summer?
TOTO is THE band!
Simon: 1) Now we have a new set to play we are enjoying the gigs immensely. I think the band is playing well and especially as we have made quite a few changes to the way the operation works internally. We are definately ready to make a new CD. We just need to get off the road for a second so we can concentrate on writing some new material. We are actively looking at playing more shows with an orchestra. Hawaii worked out great and we have another orchestral date in Atlanta this summer.
2) Well - I really needed a break to get my health back together so it was both a recuperation from my illness and a much needed rest too. It is impossible to get better whilst touring and that's what did me in last year. In a way it did me a lot of good. I think I am playing better this year and I feel great and really enjoying being on tour again.
Dave will join us later this run for the last few shows - it will great to have him around for little while - we miss him. Greg is doing a wonderful job though and is really finding his feet in the band.
Marcello: Are you planning to do some new didactic DVD or maybe a DVD version of your old VHS? Waiting for your answer and for a lot of new videos... I send you my personal best regards.
Simon: I have been talking to Warner Music Video about releasing my 2 videos on DVD and I hope that will happen soon. No plans yet for a new DVD - they take a lot of planning and a lot of work!
Tim: Dear Simon,
Great to know you've recovered and is back on the road with TOTO again! You were missed at NOTP...
In your FAQ I just read that there's only little point moneywise in making new studio albums these days whereas touring still makes a lot more sense.
My questions to you therefore are:
1) In order for you to tour to the extent TOTO does new material has to be made along the way, right? To me it seems that studio albums and touring are complementing each other even if record sales isn't what it used to be - is that an old fashioned concept?
2) Considering TOTO's fabulous catalogue of albums, the ability of each of you and the live and studio experience TOTO has built on their own and together over the past 26 years, I find it really hard to experience bands at your level today. Which other bands manage to stay this sharp, fresh and ass-kicking after so many years in the business? Seriously?
To me, the answers to these questions are obvious reasons to keep going, evolving and building upon the legend that TOTO has become. Who today does what you guys do, but WAY better? Playing live this much and at your level is really hard to find these days. What you accomplish on numerous stages all over the planet is rare and therefore very needed. You're almost on your own here.
I'm fully aware of how critics treat you, that the US market never happened etc. BUT you guys hold the ultimate cards; you can play like very few musicians, you've built a very strong reputation in the business and Toto is happening even during very hard times for bands in general.
How do you consider these issues?
Simon: 1) Not necessarily - we could keep touring like we are for quite a while - as long as we change the set occassionally. There is plenty of material to choose from. However, I think our real fans would love to hear some new music and believe me we would love to make some new music too. But on pure business terms I don't believe it is necessary anymore. We would probably sell our usual number as we have a good fan base who would buy a new CD - but given the cost of production, marketing and advertising - we are not breaking any new ground.
2) Thank you for your belief in us. We realize that our live show is what we are all about nowadays. The record business (sales and radio/video airplay) has no place as such for an act like us at present. All I can say is that we will be musicians for much longer than most of the artists you are hearing today and therefore we just have to be creative in the way that we promote ourselves. We will do another record - that's for sure. We are just not sure how we will market it and we are looking at all sorts of strategies to exploit a new CD.
Håvard: when do you release a new solo album? I will say thank you for the great music, I love your music, and I love toto!!!
Simon: Just haven't had any time these last couple of years to write enough material for a new solo album. However I am working on it and and hope to record one next year.
=========== End of last update July 28th, 2004 ==============
Jason: Hi Simon, I've just received and watched my copy of the new DVD. It's fantastic. I am yet to see you guys in concert, except for the video of the band from Paris and now your DVD. Congratulationson the mix - I have a DTS system and it sounds just great. I was wondering if there are any plans in the works to return to Australia.The band haven't been down here since the Kingdom Of Desire tour and it would be great to see you live. Some friends of mine were in Europe recently and they said they caught one of your shows, so after hearing that and seeing the DVD I'm pretty keen to check the band out.
Simon: We were very near Australia last year as we played 2 shows in New Caledonia. We tried to get down to Oz to play but it just didn't work out. We need a good promoter there! I haven't been to Oz since '95 and miss it. Maybe I'll be back to play some more clinics one day!
Question: Hello Simon,
great work on the New Toto DVD. The Sound is awesome and I like the backstage stuff. What do you think about releasing some older stuff on DVD? E.g. the 1999 Yokohama Concert, 1996 South Korea Concert, etc... I know that these concerts are on tape. Maybe a double DVD package with footage from the K.O.D. Tour, Tambu Tour and Mindfields/ Livefields Tour? Because, you made the best DVD Sound I've ever heard.
Simon: We actually did consider mixing the Yokohama tapes but when I listended to them they didn't sound that great. They were recorded on to ADAT without any timecode - using the BRC timecode. I mixed one track for a CD rom to accompany "Livefields" and the sync was all over the place. It is so important to have good source material to work with and dealing with live recordings is always more tricky. So, no plans as yet!
Question: Hi Simon
I play drums a bit as a hobby. I feel that there are song compositions inside of me but I cant write/read music. People have said either sit down with someone who can write music and transcript a song or hum melody into a dictaphone. Your views on these ? Any other ideas ?
Many Thanks.
Simon: Get a keyboard with an onboard sequencer and just start playing around yourself. Pick out your melody on the keyboard and then select a tempo, program a beat and slowly build up your composition. When you have all your ideas down and are at the limit of your musical theory then get someone to help take it to the next step. That way you will learn from them and end up doing a bit more each time you work on your own.
Bjarne: Dear Simon, I've seen you on quite a few tours over the past 25 years (or more), Jack Bruce, Jeff Beck, Toyah, Toto and of course solo to name a few, but my question is as follows: Did'nt you also play on the Mike Oldfield tour for the Crises album, i am sure you played on that tour, please help me settle a bet.
Regards
Bjarne
Simon: You are absolutely correct. In fact I played 2 tours with Mike - Crises in 1983 and Discovery in 1984. I co-produced those 2 albums and the last album I worked on with Mike was Islands in 1987.
Question: Simon I was wondering what your favorite type of music to play is? and why it is you favorite.
Simon: I enjoy playing many styles of music - but I do get bored playing one type too much. I have to have variety. For example after a tour with Toto when I get home I might play a straight ahead jazz gig at a local club. Very different and one has to adapt one's playing. I use a different kit, different cymbals and even different stick model. It is always a challenge and that's what I enjoy!
=========== End of last update April 6th, 2004 ==============
Tim: Just read the latest updates of your FAQ section and as always I learned new cool stuff about you, Toto and drums - fantastic service, thanx man!
I know you're very busy with Toto but when you're done with Night of the Proms this fall and you return to LA, what are your plans then? Recording some of the material for the new Toto album written in Europe, gigs and/ or mixing live album with Doves of Fire, gathering your electric fusion band for a new album, Los Lobotomys reunion, clinics or..?
You and Toto are the greatest musical inspirations to me - keep up the magnificient work you guys are doing in the studio and live.
Simon: Well - really need to take a break from touring to start with and some time away from the band would be good for all of us. I would like to stay in LA for a while and do some writing and maybe some production/engineering. I am going to re-release all my solo CDs as my Lipstick deal is over - hopefully I can make them available to everyone then. I have also been thinking of writing another solo album - I think it's about time. The main thing the band has to concentrate on is a new album so I hope we can get around to that after a couple of months off.
Soeren: The song "I will remember" from Tambu: How was the song conceived? How did you create the beat? Live you are playing 1/4-notes in the bass-drum- why not on record? Also - sounds to me that a shakerloop is being used on record. What loop material did you use/recommend? I´ve been searching for decent 16th-note shaker/tambourine loops for ages!
Simon: Luke sat down in the little demo studio that Mike and I had at the time and started playing the song. I immediately heard a Peter Gabriel type approach and started playing around on the toms on the little kit I had put in the studio and eventually settled on that rhythm.
However when coming to cut the track I had forgotten what I played originally and was floundering around for the part. I don't think we cut a demo! Anyway after a couple of run throughs it kind of fell into place and that what you hear on the record. The track was cut to a click - not a shaker loop. That was overdubbed by Lenny Castro. The best way to get a loop to play to is to make one yourself. Record a few bars of shaker/tambourine or whatever you want - pick the best 2 bars. Edit and loop it in whatever machinery you have at your disposal. Pro Tools is the probably easiest way to do it. Just create a 2 bar region and repeat it many times.
As an aside, when we were cutting the track, Vinnie Colaiuta walked into the studio to borrow some brushes from me - he didn't realize we were recording so he had to stay still for the whole song - ha ha ha!
Question: Regarding the upcoming Toto live DVD video, can you kindly explain a little bit about how you approached mixing it in 5.1? Was there much trial and error until you found the best "sonic placement" of the various instruments and audience mics etc, or did you have a specific concept or idea in mind when starting to mix in 5.1?
Simon: It's always a good idea to have some idea of concept before you start a project - even if you end up changing due to unforeseen events. It is a live concert so I wanted to give the listener a good seat in the hall. However I also wanted to exploit the surround canvas without resorting to cheap tricks - things that sound great at first but get tiresome after a while. In other words, not to distract from the music.
Then the next move was to listen to what had been recorded and how and if there were any problems. In fact I found the hall a little dissapointing in that there was much less reverb than I had imagined. The Heineken Hall is actually quite dead - especially from stage, which is probably good if you are at the concert, but can sound a bit lifeless or small once recorded. I had 13 channels of audience made up from about 27 mics - sounds good on paper but actually only 7 channels were really useful. If one uses too much ambience the listening experience can get tiring. However the audience were great joining in on some of the songs so I featured them whenever possible. The most difficult part is making the lo end work well with the 3 different modes of playback. DTS, Dolby Digital Surround and Dolby Stereo. The surround set-ups utilize bass management and everyone's system is different. Some people have active sub woofers which they love to turn up way more than they should, the center speaker is usually a different type of speaker cabinet and the surrounds can also be different. We have to have a reference so typically we use 5 identical full range speakers and a sub. A bass management system is also utilized and the room has to be carefully set up. Some engineers don't mix with a bass management system and some do - it's just down to experience really and it's all so new too. Remember a lot of titles released on DVD have partially mixed surround sources and are not true discrete 6 channel mixes. Much easier when it comes to making a stereo fold-down - but I don't go for that. I want to hear a full surround mix. On the other hand a live concert has it's restrictions. In the end it's all down to taste. I hope you enjoy it when you get a copy!
Tim: When will YOU do your next clinic tour and come to Scandinavia as well? I know LOTS of drummers and musicians in general that would die to experience a clinic with you.
Simon: I have never played a proper clinic in Scandinavia, as far as I remember, so it would be great to do so one day. I don't play many clinics these days as I am so busy touring or recording with Toto. When we take a break then maybe I will do some. It's really up to Tama or Zildjian to organize where I go though.
Ben: Hi Simon, what´s up with Wendell? Will You play again live or in studio with him?
Simon: Wendell is living in Houston and I spoke to him a couple of months ago. I haven't put the band together for a while now - been busy with Toto for the last couple of years. However if an opportunity came up to reform the band then I hope he would be available to play again. He's fabulous!
R.Bos: A time ago I read the discography about your musical career/background. The most striking name was, I noticed, Adrian Snell with the Passion from 1980. My father has that album and it is quite different from all the other musicians you have played with. So my question is: Did AdrianSnell ask you (especially) to play the drum-parts on the album, or was it just usual studio work?
Simon: It was all part of being a session musician but for that particular project it would have been the producer who called me. I used to do sessions for a company called Triumvirate which was made up of 3 guys who used to produce artists like Gordon Giltrap, Juan Martine and Adrian. We used to record at a little studio called Redan Recorders in Queensway, London.
Leah: Hello Simon.. I love your performance on "Burning for Buddy" trib. vhs, of "Goodbye Yesterday." It's stellar! It appears to me that you were not so pleased with performance.. Is that the case? Congradulations on MD's 2003 Hall of Fame induction.. It's way overdue... Best wishes Leah Las Vegas
Simon: Thank you for the congrats. It's funny - the Burning for Buddy sessions were certainly fun but I feel that my sound wasn't quite captured as it should have been. There were quite a few drummers to record in a short space of time, owing to the cost of a project such as this, so everything was moving along at quite a pace. If I remember correctly I recorded 3 songs in a 3 hour period with the band - Dancing Men, Norwegian Wood and one of my favourite arrangements Goodbye Yesterday. However, when attempting to play these songs you realize just how good Buddy was - one always feels one could have done better!
Soeren: The song "Biplane To Bermuda" from Symbiosis: I heard and met you in London back in 97? - at the Shepperds Bush Empire. What a great show! On record it sounds to me that the keyboard player is playing so many parts that he would have to grow an x-tra arm or two for live-play! What did you exclude from the "record-arrangement" for your live performance?
Simon: Well - Jeff Babko has amazing facility and can make it appear that all the parts are covered - he is so talented. The main instrument missing from the studio version is Sheila E's timbales - the cascara part - which is so important. But touring budgets mean that we have to make songs work live or not do them at all. I really enjoyed that show too - it was wonderful to be able to come to London and play with my own band after so many years.
=========== End of last update Sept 26th, 2003 ==============
Edwin: I've noticed your innovation regarding to the octobans at your drumkit. Would it be possible to fit the other octobans in the normal methode as well? I think this would be a great combination playing them the same time by hand and feet. In the old days you've used all 8 of them what made you change for only four?
Simon: Ha - you noticed! It's amazing how many people thought I was triggering something instead of playing them with pedals - but it is difficult to see them from the audience if you don't have binoculars.
There is always the problem of having enough channels in the mixing console for everything on stage and if something is not miked up you will never hear it in a large hall. Toto has a large input list - 47 channels at the moment and somewhere along the line one has to compromise. Hence I feel I am taking up enough mixing real estate. Interesting though but I don't think the difference in sound would be noticeable - why Octobans work is their contrast to the rest of the kit. 4 Octobans is enough!
Wings: I bought the debut cd of The Corrs and you were playing one song on it. My question is: Are you also gonna play/produce more for this Irish band?
Simon: That was a really fun session and a great track to play. However I think they are a pretty self contained band and now Caroline is playing drums with the band so I think she has that covered. However if they asked me I would love to play with them again. Great band and nice people too.
ncc1712: What is more difficult for you: to find a drum pattern for a ballad like "Just can't get to you" or a drum pattern for fusion song like "Party in Simon's Pants" or "Dave's gone skiing"?
Simon: It all depends upon the song. usually it is a very natural, instinctive issue - I never think about it. However if the song is not working or the composer or artist wants to do something very different then it may take a while. When we recorded "Through The Looking Glass" we were challenged much more with this as we wanted to play the songs differently from the original. I think the song that took the longest to sort out was "House Of The Rising Sun".
G.H.: Great work on Through the looking Glass, especially all the cool modern percussion sounds and samples! My favourite tune is sunshine of your love! It's so f..... groovy! Which tools did you use for that kind of sounds (eg. maiden voyage)? And also, did you use your vantage point kit and an addional 18" kick in the backround on maiden voyage? Great groove, very dynamic! What kind of material did you use on the other songs?
Simon: Thanks for the compliments. I used exactly the same kit for the whole record and the only thing I changed for Maiden Voyage was the ride cymbal - I put up my 24" Constantinople.
When I am making loops I use probably 4 or 5 different ones and edit them so they work as 1 or 2. I love the Distorted Reality CDs for source loops and I also make my own too. It's really a case of sound sculpture. Working in Pro Tools makes this very easy and versatile.
JDBDrum: I was wondering if there are any tunes on the current tour that you especially look forward to playing, based on groove, a personal liking for the tune, or perhaps what the song allows you to pull out of your arsenal...whatever. The fans dig them all but I was curious if there are any you just really look forward to playing each and every time. Thanks, man.
Simon: There are always favourites and those favourites can change as the tour goes on. I would say Bodhisattva, Africa, the Waiting For Your Love medley is fun to play - it's quite challenging, I Won't Hold You Back and White Sister were the favourites from the last tour but as we haven't played for a while I am looking forward to playing the whole set again.
Neil T: I was just wondering if you find drum soloing easy or quite difficult. Don't take that the wrong way, I am not saying that they are easy by any stretch of the imagination but was curious to know do you spend alot of time planning a solo or is it pretty much freestyle each time you play one. Do you set yourself anything in particular to do in a solo such as time signatures or particular patterns or again, is it just a see what happens kind of thing.
Simon: Well - sometimes they come easy and sometimes not so easy. I always try for something different everynight and I hate having to resort to licks or patterns from my vocabulary. I would say most of the time I don't have a clue of what I am about to do before a solo - sometimes I start playing and I still don't know but I get guided by the sound of the kit and the hall/club or wherever I am playing. However if I am running out of ideas or are getting bored with my own soloing I listen to other players and I often get inspiration from them. I would say listening to Tony Williams is the most influential. It's about composition - not drumming. And that's how I approach soloing. That goes for any instrument by the way.
Thomas: What kind of carreer would you have lead if it had to be something else than a musical (or artistical) one ? Hoping this beautiful question hasn't been asked yet !
Simon: I would have liked to haved raced cars professionally but I would have had to start much earlier than I did so I guess that's out of the question. You know - as I started playing so young I really don't know what else I would have done but I guess I would have become a sound engineer as I was into that from an early age too.
Gary: Hi Simon, I was lucky enough to catch three of your Doves of Fire shows and they were all awesome. When will the live Doves of Fire CD be coming out. Any live Doves of Fire videos in the future? Also, I was wondering if Doves might someday play Tommy Bolin's Homeward Strut or Lee Ritenour's Captain Fingers. Everytime I hear these two songs I always picture you guys playing a much better version. Are there any new Doves tunes in the works? Thanks,
Simon: The Doves Live CD has been put on hold as I have been too busy with Toto. As for the new tunes, I will have a listen to those 2 songs you mention - I used to love Captain Fingers. Essentially it's more about Mahavishnu music and there are still many I would love the band to play - it's a question of time though. We haven't played since last year at the Baked Potato so hopefully we can get together in August for a show.
John: I'm hoping you could elaborate on what it's like playing with Anthony Jackson. Does he help you to play in any new ways ? Does he make the time feel different from that other bassists ? He seems to leave spaces in places where other bassists tend to play, does this change your approach at all ? I hope this is enough to get get you going on this topic. I've been enjoying your DCI video Simon Phillips Returns
Simon: He is just wonderful to play with. his time is impeccable and his musicianship is astonishing - it almost makes you stop playing! Otherwise I can't really say too much other than you don't have to think about it - just play. Except you have to make sure you play really well or he'll kick your ass - ha ha ha!
Tangento: Hello Simon; Love your work.
You played on two albums which were highly influential to me during my life as a metalhead teenager:
Priest's "Sin After Sin" and Michael Schenker's first solo album, "MSG".
1. Did the musical complexities on the song "Sinner" have anything to do with your influence, and
2. Was Michael Schenker the "Mad Axeman" we all used to hear about? (slightly demented, tempermental, etc.) ...and while I've got you, what do you think of Michael in terms of his skills, you having worked with other greats like Satriani?
Simon: You are talking about 2 albums that were recorded over 20 years ago - Sin After Sin in 1977 and MSG in 1980. It's really hard to remember how we even tracked those songs. I only remember playing the Priest songs how I felt they should go. We tracked them live with Glen, Ian and Rob. KK was in the control room listening with Roger Glover. When I worked with Michael I think this was his most calm period and he was great to work with, great to be around and a great sense of humour. Michael's playing is more blues/rock based and although he doesn't have the facility of players like Satriani, Luke and Beck, he plays his music really well and gets a great sound.
justin: What size drumsticks do you use, and what brand are they? I've been expirimenting with 5A, 2B, even 3S size sticks and I can't find the right kind for the tpe of music I play (combonation of progressive and jazz, kinda like Toto meets Brian Setzer). I would like to get a light pair, mostly for cymbal work.
Simon: I use my own model - Pro Mark 707 Simon Phillips Signature. Drum sticks are a very personal matter and the only advice I can give you is this - don't use too heavy a stick - they will destroy your equipment - and don't use too light a stick - you will get a bad sound and may also cause problems with your wrists. The cymbal sound comes from the type of bead on the stick. You could use heavy sticks with a small bead (a little like the stick Tony Williams used - I think they were 2Bs). The reason I use a round bead (most of the time) is because of the sound on the drums. However the ride cymbal suffers. If I am playing straight ahead jazz then I use Will Kennedy Pro Mark model sticks - they are lighter and sound much better on the cymbals. Just depends on what you are playing.
=========== End of last update June 24th, 2003 ==============
Zeilim: When you came in for Jeff in 1992, how was the feeling for you? Were there many people which compared you to Jeff and said things like that: Ah Jeff is doing this better and Jeff is doing that better, ...? I think it is very difficult to sit in for a drummer like Jeff and I would like to say that you did (and of course also do) a great job!
Simon: You know I was never aware of any of those comments, if there were indeed any. My objective was to learn the songs and interpret them the way I do naturally. One of the main reasons the band asked me, and not someone else, was because I had a distinctive style and would approach the songs from a different standpoint - and not copy what Jeff did. I am sure there were some people that did compare the way we played and maybe still think that Jeff's way was better suited - but things change. Life changes and you have to move on. My joining, and the fact that the other guys felt it was right, has made it possible for Toto to continue for another 10 years after Jeff's passing. I am sure he would feel that all his time and efforts were worth it that the band has now reached it's 25th year!!
Rural: When you joined TOTO in '92 , you had very little time (3-4 weeks?) to come in and learn all the songs that were on the setlist. How did you managed to learn all those songs in such a short period of time (also considering the fact that this was your first time with "new" bandmembers) Were there songs initially on the setlist that were replaced by others after you came in?
Simon: The songs that they had chosen for the Kingdom Of Desire tour remained the same from day one of rehearsal. Remember I had had many years of learning new sets/songs for many different situations. Actually I had 15 days total of rehearsal - which actually was a luxury. I remember having 4 days to learn a set list for Al Di Meola's Electric Rendevous tour in 1982. But please remember that learning the songs in rehearsal is one thing - but actally owning the songs, playing wise that is, takes much longer!
drum_cas: I've read an article in the dutch magazine Slagwerkkrant (when you just joined Toto) that you surprised the guys during concerts with breaks and fills that weren't planned. Are the guys used to that already?
Simon: Oh I am sure after 10 years they kind of know what to expect now - although I do like to keep them on their toes - ha ha ha. I just like to be creative - especially when playing the same set night after night - to me it's important to keep the flow of new ideas and to always be looking for the best way to play a particular song.
Tina: Do you still have stagefright after all these years before a concert? If it is so, what feelings do you have and how do you cope with it? Do you have special sporting excercises (apart from playing the drums) or a recipe to keep fit?
Simon: I never have stage fright and am lucky to have never suffered from that. I occasionally get nervous, as I am sure most performers do, and usually on the first gig of a tour or a new performance or a special gig - in front of a home crowd where one has many friends. No real "keep fit" regime. On the road it is not a problem as we are playing most nights. At home I take a good aerobic walk in the morning with my girlfriend - well not every morning - and occassionally a game of tennis - and more recently I have been getting into Yoga - but that's about it.
Yaktownguy: I love the loops and samples on Through The Looking Glass especially on Could You Be Loved and Maiden Voyage. Is there a certain kind of drum machine or sampler you used on that album that is available to us amatures? If not, are there any good loop machines you could recommend?
Simon: I have an Emu X4 Ultra (I think that's what it's called) and all of the loops for that CD were from Ilio's Distorted Reality 2 sample CDs. However once I had sampled them into Pro Tools I severely, and I mean severely altered them so you would not recognize them coming from Distorted Reality. I can't stand it when I hear a jingle on TV and I recognize where it came from - it shows a lack of imagination. On "Maiden Voyage" I also sampled a bit of the groove from one of Herbie Hancock's CDs and mixed it with my loop. The way things are going I would recommend getting a computer based sampler - probably the best available is the Giga Sampler.
Question: what kind of exercises do u do before a show to warm up? do u think that simple exercises like paradiddles (single, double and even triple) are enough? maybe also some single stroks and signls rolls? do u maybe warm up ur finger techniques more than the rest
Simon: I usually start off slowly with some double stroke and triple stroke rolls - 16th notes. Then I mix in the paradiddles and some exercises of my own. The main thing is control - that's what I concentrate on and then once I am warm then I go for speed. Yes I do the finger exercises and anything else I can think of or remember. It is up to you to be creative and work out exercises that are tricky to do and to play them with accuracy.
=========== End of last update Feb 16th, 2003 ==============
Question: How would you compare being in The Who to being in Toto? I don't mean to put you on the spot but which band is better?
Simon: You cannot compare the two bands. I played a show with The Who last year on June 6th in New York City and then flew to Sweden to play a show with Toto on June 8th - that was a culture shock!!!! I don't think in terms of better or worse when comparing 2 different kinds of music - how can you when you are talking about those 2 bands. All I can say is that I am extremely lucky to be able to play in both bands - they are both fantastic.
Question: Was it a problem for you or the other TOTO members back in 1992 that you had a different style than Jeff Poarcaro? Or was it even an advantage for you to sound different?
Simon: It was no problem for me (I am used to my style) and I think there were some real differences to the other guys having played those songs so many times with Jeff. It was never a problem - just different. In the light of the situation we all felt it was a good thing. The main reason after all for asking me to play was that they knew it would be different. They knew I had a distinctive style, just as Jeff did, and they thought that was the best way to go. I think the fact that we are still playing together nearly 9 years later says it all!
Question: What was the main reason for you to move to L.A. back in 1993? Was it a decision already made before joining TOTO or was the main reason that you became a member of a band which was based in L.A?
Simon: I had made my decision to move to LA in 1991. I needed a change in my life and big changes were about to happen anyway. There is a lot of paper work and bureaucratic bullshit to go through when you move from one country to another and I started that process in '91. It was a complete coincidence that Toto wanted me to play with them at the same time that I was moving to LA. I actually left UK on August 31st 1992 to start rehearsals with the band.
=========== End of last update Sep 28th, 2001 ==============