Each month we post a little bit of the previous month's Fan Community Q&A. April featured Roger's drum tech, the very lovely Kevin Bell:
How did you become a drum tech?
I kind of fell into drum teching when I was about 19 yrs old, which was a very long time ago... I had good friends who were in a band, and I used to go watch them, and then I would get up on the stage after the show to help the drummer pack away... then they asked me to come with them and do some shows and set up the drums, so it all started and slowly I learnt my job. That was around 1979, and I did that for about 2yrs with friend's bands, and then I just had fun living for a few years after that and growing up.
In 1987, me and a friend set up a business looking after session musicians in and around London. We mainly had drummers, some keyboard players and a few guitar players. There would have been about 30 musicians in all, we would work in most of the London recording studios and TV studios setting up the equipment as at that time TV shows had live bands. I did that job for about 15 years. During that time drummers would ask me to come away with them on tour, so I started to learn about working live shows and how to do my job on stage(and i am still learning!). From that I started to go on the road more with live bands. I gave up the session guys job and started to only tour and do live shows around the world with different artists.
Tell us about being a drum tech - what does it entail?
First, before you go on tour, you have to get all the drums together as well as the flight cases which carry the drums. You also have to order spares in case things break on the road. Of course, you get lots of drum sticks, of which Roger has his own signed sticks, many sets of drum heads and spare cymbals, kick peddles, etc. On this PAPER GODS tour, Roger uses electronic Roland drum pads. He also uses acoustic drums, so we had to build a new system for the electronic drums, which was fun. Over all, I get everything together so I can cover all angles if things breaks on the tour. The most important thing is that Roger is comfortable and he can just concretrate on playing drums and relaxing, having fun and knowing that I am there for him. That is the most important thing, and we have built that up over time.
OK, most importantly, how did you get connected with Duran Duran?
I started working with Duran and Roger after I finished touring with Pink. Duran were looking for a new drum and bass tech, so the Production Manger at the time asked me if I could help out for a few weeks, but since I didn't do bass tech, and they wanted someone to do both, they asked me to look after Roger til they found someone. It was the start of the All You Need Is Now promo and world tour, and after a few weeks passed, we did shows around the USA and the UK, and me and Roger got on so well. He asked me if I would consider staying, and I loved working for him, so I gave up my other work with bands I had lined up. It all just kind of fell into place. This is my 2nd world tour with Duran and Roger.
What is the best & worst thing about life on the road?
I love being on the road with Duran Duran. It is a real honour to be working with Roger, he is the nicest and most chilled drummer I have worked for in 32yrs of drum tech'ing, and we have a really great friendship in and out of touring. I have been blessed in life to be able to do a job I love doing.