The Telegraph – Calcutta 2007
If he wasn’t making music
for blockbuster James Bond movies, he would’ve been a stand-up comedian,
says Pete Lockett
Pete Lockett (left) does his thing with
a Roland Handsonic at Hushh as
Bickram Ghosh is all smiles.
Bickram Ghosh calls him “the only western percussionist who
sounds like an Indian on the tabla”. When he’s not creating sensational
soundtracks for James Bond films like Casino Royale, British
percussionist / composer / producer Pete Lockett hangs out with his
drumming pals in India, with tabla, ghatam and other Indian classical
instruments for company.
In the city for the official music release of Bickram
Ghosh’s “primarily drumming” album Drum Invasion, the hippie but
sage-like Lockett spoke to t2 on everything from musical influences to
What would you have been if you weren’t a musician?
A comedian (without missing a beat). Being an artiste on stage, I always
feel that it’s really important to connect with your audience. The way I
achieve that is by having fun; telling a joke, lightening up the
Biggest musical inspiration/influence…
It’s really difficult to separate the inspirations in my life from the
inspirations in my music. I started playing rather late in life, when I
When I was a kid, my biggest inspiration and influence was (The Who’s
drummer) Keith Moon. Further on, it was Steve Gadd. When I started
getting into Indian music, my inspirations were (tabla maestro) Zaakir
Hussain, (ghatam legend) Vikku Vinayakram, Hari Shankar and Bickram. My
initiation into Indian music didn’t happen via fusion music; it happened
through listening to a lot of Hindustani classical music. In the
present scene, as far as drummers/percussionists go, I totally dig
(German jazz/world music drummer) Benny Greb, Steve Smith and (sessions
star and Steely Dan alumnus) Keith Carlock.
What’s your favourite live venue…
For purely emotional reasons, the Royal Festival Hall, London. It
doesn’t boast the best acoustics or may not be the best live situation,
but I have a lot of fond memories of that place.
Favourite James Bond movie…
Casino Royale, without a doubt.
Favourite music to drive to…
Anything trancey; it can be trance music per se, or a long classical
piece that puts you in a trance. It depends on my mood, but the trance
is a given.
(Rolls up trouser leg) The dragon.
Who has been the toughest band-leader you faced?
None; I don’t spend too much time with someone if we don’t get along
Favourite instrument: in other words, the one to take
away to that proverbial desolate island…
The tabla. (looks at Bickram). I think I’ll take his pair (laughs).
Biggest fear as a percussionist…
My pants falling down (laughs)! No, seriously… a recurrent nightmare I
used to have as a kid was playing on a slippery floor, where every bit
of your instrument moves away. In more recent times, since I work a lot
with electronics, there’s this weird one: I usually have headphones on,
wherein the volume can be set high, even when the audience is hearing
nothing. My fear is that some day, I’d listen to that headphone, not
realise that the PA is on mute by mistake and panic on stage, go crazy
twigging buttons etc and totally confuse the audience.
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