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Meet the three Norfolk drummers whose lives have been made into a film

PUBLISHED: 12:29 16 January 2019 | UPDATED: 13:12 16 January 2019

Luke Bullen with Bryan Ferry Credit: Matthew Becker

Luke Bullen with Bryan Ferry Credit: Matthew Becker

Archant

An improbable but inspirational true story of three Norfolk drummers and friends who have toured the world and performed with some of the biggest names in the music industry has been made into a short film.

3 Drummers is set to debut at OPEN Norwich on January 23 and follows the trio from their early days starting out in the city to huge stadiums.

Steve Barney, 48, from Spixworth, Luke Bullen, 45, from Sprowston, and Nathan Curran, 43, from Salhouse, grew up just three miles apart and have all turned their childhood passion into a successful drumming career.

Between the three of them, they have played for acts including Anastacia, Annie Lennox, Basement Jaxx, Bryan Ferry and Elton John and have all played at both The Brickmakers pub in Norwich and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

The documentary film shows how the trio supported each other from the start and it also shows some of the huge concerts that they have been part of.

Ahead of the special screening of the film in the city, Luke, Steve and Nathan reveal the highlights from their career so far and what it takes to be a successful musician.

Steve Barney with Anastacia while recording her 2017 album EvolutionSteve Barney with Anastacia while recording her 2017 album Evolution

What is 3 Drummers about?

Luke: I was surfing in West Runton with my friend Martyn Gough, who is a director, on a January morning and was talking to him about the unlikelihood that we all knew each other as kids and were all passionate about drums and went on to tour the world.

It is a remarkable story and the three of us wanted to give something back and encourage others as we had loving families but didn’t get a foot up and weren’t particularly privileged.

I produced the film with Martyn and Simon Bayliss edited it and we initially filmed interviews with the three of us in my studio in Upper Sheringham studio in February 2017.

Simon got us to dig out old photos and video clips from when we were teenagers to current day.

3 Drummers follows Norfolk drummers Steve Barney, Luke Bullen and Nathan Curran3 Drummers follows Norfolk drummers Steve Barney, Luke Bullen and Nathan Curran

How did the three of you meet growing up?

Nathan: We met at a Drummers Alliance competition to find young drummers and I did the younger category and Steve did the older one and our dads got chatting and became really good friends.

I went to Broadland High School where the music wasn’t very good and I heard Sprowston High School was better so I decided to change schools and Luke was already there.

We didn’t really hangout as Luke was a bit older but became friends after we left school.

I was in a band called Vision when I was 11 or 12 and for some reason didn’t get on well with the guitarist who kicked me out and got Luke in instead so it was nice when Luke got in touch again.

Luke Bullen - one of the 3 Drummers Credit: Matthew BeckerLuke Bullen - one of the 3 Drummers Credit: Matthew Becker

What has it been like to see your childhood friends doing so well?

Steve: I’ve always kept in touch with them and have watched both Luke and Nathan play with some great artists.

It’s so lovely to be associated with other people from Norwich all sharing a common bond and following a dream.

Who have you performed with throughout your career?

Steve: Annie Lennox, Anastacia, who I have worked with since 2009, Mike and the Mechanics, Jeff Beck, Sugababes and The Wanted.

Steve Barney Credit: Dirk PagelsSteve Barney Credit: Dirk Pagels

Luke: I’m playing with Bryan Ferry at the moment but I have also played with Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg, KT Tunstall, John Squire, Cerys Matthews and Paul Heaton.

Hopefully the film shows we are different people on a personal level and that we sound different on our instruments so it is great when an artist taps into what you can bring.

Nathan: I’m currently doing gigs with Gorgon city, but have also performed with Basement Jaxx on many occasions, Lily Allen, Kano, Elton John, Lady Sovereign and a lot of urban dance stuff.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Luke: Most recently, it was the Bryan Ferry concert at the Hollywood Bowl which had a 70-piece orchestra.

Nathan CurranNathan Curran

Steve: Doing Live 8 in 2005 with Annie Lennox at Hyde Park with a few hundred thousand people and one of the biggest TV audiences in the world.

Nathan: It is hard as I have lots of highlights, but playing with Elton John in Ibiza and Sydney was amazing and also Glastonbury main stage with Basement Jaxx.

What do you think of the Norwich music scene and how did it help your career?

Luke: I value what I went through as a youngster and having the small venues in Norwich gave me the confidence to move forward and make mistakes and learn from them.

Steve: It is essential for young musicians to have a platform to play as you can practice all you want in your bedroom but nothing is more valuable than making mistakes in front of the audience.

It’s vital that places like the Brickmakers stay.

What is your message to other young drummers?

Nathan: Just be nice and play simple, go for it and be really dedicated.

3 Drummers will be shown at OPEN Norwich at 6.30pm on January 23 and will include a Q&A with the guys, film director Marytn Gough and editor Simon Bayliss.

Tickets cost £6 for adults and £3 for 12 to 18 year olds and over 65s and can be bought at www.opennorwich.org.uk

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