Drummer Barrie: Let’s start a band

He's got a passion for percussion and for more than half a century has been happiest when behind a set of drums.

He's turned down opportunities to chase fame and fortune and is driven by a simple, primal, joy of striking the drum skin and symbols in time to music.

But now Barrie Bishop, 73, who lives in Kettlestone, near Fakenham, is frustrated because he does not have a band to play with.

He said: 'A drum kit is an instrument that can't be played on its own. It's boring to do and must be tedious to listen to.'

Mr Bishop got his first drum kit when he was 16. It was a gift from his boss when he was working as an office junior in London for The General Election Company.

Mr Bishop said: 'I painted it gold and black and there was only one skin so I just used part of a sheet where the skin on the front should be.

'But I was delighted with it. For a little while I'd had a group of mates who really liked jazz music and we used to put on records and mime playing instruments because we couldn't afford to buy any. I could now stop miming and start playing for real.

Most Read

'I left that band when I was 18 because I had to do my national service but they carried on because they were a bit younger than me. I was absolutely gob-smacked when one day soon after I turned on the television and saw them playing.

'The band was called Lenny Baldwin and the Dauphin Street Six and they became reasonably successful.'

Mr Bishop went on to play for many well-regarded bands, playing jazz, blues, pop and rock music.

It was with a band called X-It, later and more famously known as Consortium, that he turned down many a struggling musician's dream of securing a recording contract.

He said: 'I was living in London at the time but had just bought a house in Norfolk when we were offered the contract. I also had two young children.

'I've never really wanted to be a professional musician. It's a tough life spent on the road and I like my creature comforts.

'I remember some old band mates telling me they'd spent Christmas Day in Italy eating cheap spaghetti for dinner because they had no money.'

In the early 1990s, when in his 50s, Mr Bishop became a mature student and studied agricultural business management in Devon for a year.

His fellow students, many in their 20s, affectionately joked that he was not just mature, but past his sell-by date.

He went on to start his own accountancy and business advice company, Mitre Management, and worked in both Norfolk and Somerset before settling in Kettlestone in 2006 where he still runs the business from home.

Having a quadruple heart bypass in 2000 did not dampen Mr Bishop's enthusiasm for work or music.

He also finds the time to be the chairman of First Focus, a charity drop-in centre in Fakenham which provides information, advice and support to members of the public, particularly those who are disadvantaged in some way.

Mr Bishop works seven days a week and swims most days but says that he does not have too much difficulty finding the time or energy to fit everything in.

But his main frustration is not being able to find a band to play in.

He said: 'When you've been doing something for so long you really miss it when you can't do it any more.

'It's difficult because very few pubs have live music these days so there are fewer bands around.

'I'd be happy to play any kind of music that I'm capable of playing and I'd play with people my own age or much younger if we're on the same wavelength.'

Anyone who thinks that they can help Mr Bishop find a band can call him on 01328 878473 or 07860 228333.