Interview with David Phillips, Author of "A Drummer's Perspective"

  • Posted on: 6 October 2013
  • By: sheldonkreger

With many years of experience in the drum industry, David Phillips has established a fantastic network of musicians. Having worked in artist relations with a few different manufacturers, and also working freelance, his experience seems to be pretty unique. I'm not sure there are many people who have had the opportunity to put a book like this together. You can learn more about the book at

The book is a coffee table photo collection of amazing images of drummers onstage. It's really inspiring to see the beautiful drum sets and large audiences all over the world.

I decided to interview David, curious about how the book came together.

Sheldon: What inspired the idea for this book?

David: I have been taking photographs of drummers for several years through my role as Artist Relations for Drum Workshop. My photos have also been published in many magazines worldwide and I thought as I have so many photos it would be a good idea to publish the best ones in a nice quality hardback book and share them with other drummers. The other inspiration was when I showed Scott Travis of Judas Priest my photos of him and he said to me they were the best photos of him he’d seen. I thought to myself that Judas Priest must have been photographed by many of the world’s best photographers so to have him describe my photos in that way inspired me to really do more. Scott is featured on the front cover of the book.

Sheldon: How many different concerts do you think you attended while taking all the photos?

David: Over 70 concerts but some of them were festivals where I can meet and photograph more than one drummer such as the famous Reading Festival or the Drummer Live shows.

Sheldon: Did you take all the photos, or did you work with other artists?

David: Yes all the photos are taken by me with the exception of two photos. There are over two hundred photos in the book, which is a large format coffee table book with hard cover and thick paper for the pages.

Sheldon: Were there any moments you captured which stand out strongly in your mind?

David: Will Hunt: (Evanescence)
I think we all dream of playing a huge festival and wonder what it’s like to look out onto 70,000 people. Well, I didn’t get the chance to play, but Will did invite me to sit behind him when he played Download festival and this view really is the best seat in the house.

It was a real honour to meet and photograph Mitch Mitchell, especially as he very sadly died four months later. I think I was probably the last person to photograph him before he died.

Roger Taylor (Queen)
I was so privileged to meet and photograph Roger Taylor, after which I watched the show from the stage left. To see the band play ‘We Are The Champions’ as their finale and watch the whole audience swaying their arms to the song was just incredible and it was one of the most memorable experiences of any concert I have ever been to.

Sheldon: It sounds like you've had some really amazing experiences in your line of work! How many different drummers did you get to meet while working on this project?

David: Well there’s a hundred drummers in the book and I reckon I have met at least ninety of them in the process of putting the book together. The concept of the book is to show great actions photos as well as give a behind the scenes look at drummers. The only was you can get the rare access I have been given to take these photos is know the drummers and the management to get the privileged stage access. That what makes this book so different and unique.

There was one funny thing that happened to me with Chris Cano with Orson at Milton Keynes Bowl: The backstage pass I had be given had written on it AAA, which normally means Access All Areas, except this pass had written on it AAAA. I asked what this meant and they said ' Absolutely Access All Areas' !!!

Sheldon: Ha! You've got the hookups! Obviously, with so much love for drums, you must be a musician, yourself. How does your drumming background affect your pictures?

David: I think it’s an essential part of what I do. I have been told several times from my peers in the industry that I manage to capture the shots that I do of drummers because I am a drummer myself. I find I use my knowledge of drumming to predict where a drummer is going to play next on the drum kit, or to find interesting angles.

Sheldon: Where is the best place to order the book?

David: Best place would be my website where you can see more background on the book. You can also see more on Facebook.

Sheldon: Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing these great stories. I'm sure we have lots of great things to look forward to.


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