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Pete's World Tour Diary 2012


30 / 31 July - Late July saw me zapping off to Heathrow terminal 5 to begin a colossal solo adventure taking me all over the world ‘banging ma bongos’ Numerous x-rays and pat downs later I was aboard, supping small bottles of wine and watching inane films before dozing off to awake in mainland China at 9am. Soon I was being whisked off through Beijing in torrential rain by Jason and Emily of KHS. The first day was my only day off in China and I wasn’t about to let it stop me from driving out of the city for a few hours to visit the great wall. Luckily, as we headed into the countryside the weather eased and presented us with a stunning scene. The whole area became dotted with small fluffy clouds floating across the wall and mountain tops. It was an incredible start to what was sure to be a stunning seven week trip. The excursion was brief though and soon we were heading back into town and back to the monsoon style weather. An evening meal of chicken feet and local delicacies finished off the day and I was soon back at the hotel hitting on my sleeping pills. It is vitally important to not succumb to jet lag on these trips, especially once the work starts up.

01 Aug – The first gig day. I tried to get a trip in during the morning to the Forbidden City, but the rain was too hard even to get out of the car. Gushing torrents flowed across the pavements like tiny rivers so we headed off to the venue instead to set up. The gig was in the late afternoon in a local club, but neither the time nor rain prevented a great turn out. They loved the new Remo stuff such as the Mondo Cajon, Textured Cajon Targets and Kanjira. They are not overly exposed to that style of percussion there and the questions really reflected their inquisitiveness. Luckily as we wound up, the rain demised and so we got to go to the Forbidden City after all, albeit to see the outside. Soon I was back at the hotel frantically downloading the latest beta version of my new iPad app, DrumJam. I had been developing this in conjunction with Sonosaurus and was hoping to release before the tour, but it proved impossible. One of the intense themes of the tour was to become a desperate quest to seek out a WiFi signal strong enough to download the 200mb beast to beta test.

02 Aug – Today we headed off on the very impressive high speed train to Tianjin, not far from Beijing. Having stopped off enroute at the factory where some of the Remo range is made, we proceeded into the city and set up for a mini show for the factory workers. It was an amazing opportunity for me to get to play for the people that actually build the drums I play. It was a special afternoon.

03 Aug – A travel day. Off to Guangzhou by plane and zapped over to the hotel to frantically download the next app version. Each time this happened I would spend three hours checking it through, compiling notes and ideas. I would then have an online discussion with my partner in crime, Jesse in Washington, about what and wasn’t possible. It led to some very sleepless nights for both of us!

04 Aug – Gig day in Guangzhou. Another late afternoon show. Really good turn out from the whole community: parents, children, pensioners, rockers and teenagers. A really mixed crowd. Hot work in the intense humidity, but another great show. The sound guys are really on the case and wired up a fantastic sound. The early start gave us time in the evening to go and sample the local cuisine, including deep fried worms and bumble bees. Strange as that may sound, they were delicious!

05 Aug – Midday flight to Japan. I was very hands-on with the details of the tour beforehand, making sure that flights were always at a civilized time. There is nothing worse than hitting the airport at 6am. When there are weeks more to go on the tour, it’s crucial to avoid potentially tired moments. I get met at the airport by Masa of Yamaha and taken off to the hotel. Here I get my own WiFi router and a room on the 36th floor overlooking Tokyo. Perfect in every sense. I can download my app super fast whilst watching the bullet train speed through the landscape below me. Quite marvellous.

06 Aug – Day off. Can you believe it, torrential rain again. Sod’s law. It doesn’t stop me in any way whatsoever though. Masa and I head through the rain and visit some local sights. Just like China, Japan is such an amazing country with so many incredible things to see, even in the rain. It also has fantastic massage shops on almost every street corner. I pop in and have a foot massage. I damaged my feet playing drum set with no shoes on, a while ago, and the walking has made them a little sore.

07 Aug – First gig day in Japan. We travel on the bullet train to Nagoya, slicing through the countryside at ridiculous speed for two hours to reach our destination. The show is scheduled for the evening in a small auditorium. We spend the afternoon being frustrated by the menus of a digital desk and the reflections of the wooden panelled walls. Give me analogue and curtains any day!! Buttons to twiddle and faders to push. You can’t beat it. The show goes down well, albeit for a smaller select group of invited professionals. The draft Japanese beer that follows is by far the best of the tour. Amazing.

08 Aug – Reverse of yesterday. Bullet train back to Tokyo for show there in the evening. More great beer after numerous rhythmic mutterings on the mic. The Japanese audience is so focussed. I have never come across such concentration from an audience before anywhere in the world.

09 Aug – Late check out from the hotel and head to the airport for my flight to South Korea. End up getting a bus to the airport and once more use my magic lounge pass for my ‘gin and tonic’ flight preparations. It’s such a relief after the intense security scanning. Short flight to Korea and get whisked off to the hotel. Knackered but still need to download the app again to see all the new developments. Another late night. It is worth it though! My partner in Washington is a total genius with this stuff.

10 Aug – Gig day in Seoul. They have really got their act together here. Everything is absolutely spot on. It makes for a very easy sound check and gives a good window of opportunity to zip out for a bit of sightseeing with one of the Cosmos music staff. The palaces are truly amazing and it really gives me a great vibe to go and do the gig. Translation on stage always slows things down but the core remains intact.

11 Aug – Staff training session. This is a great opportunity to take some sales staff through the basics of some percussion techniques. They are a very inquisitive bunch and it is a really positive session. We all go off for Korean barbeque afterwards and then a trip to the observation tower where you can see North Korea. It is cloudy and really all we see is a North Korean cloud which floated over towards us without any security concerns.


12th Aug – Fly to Taiwan to be met by the KHS team, Otto, Chanel and Eugene. They take me for an absolutely stunning Taiwanese meal and some amazing flavours I’d never tasted before. We find time to visit an incredible local temple and go to the local market where giant snakes and everything imaginable are on offer. I decide not to take one with me for the rest of the trip.



13th Aug – Gig day. I had been told this was a low key affair, but it was anything but. A great crowd of percussion enthusiasts turn up and we blast them with beats and rhythms. Had to take the situation in hand myself during sound check though and got the mixing desk put onstage beside me so I could do the sound myself. All the crew from Remo Asia turn up for this one and we all hit the local restaurant for some local cuisine afterwards. I have an amazing soup which has super furry red pepper spicy seeds which completely zap your tongue with tingles. Incredible!

14th Aug – Fly over to Hong Kong to be met by Marvin, from Tom Lee company. This was a quick fire visit as well, with just one day for a staff training and clinic performance. The hotel was right on the harbour with a great view of the ‘waterfront postcard’. Air conditioning and pillow issues led to an impromptu upgrade to a suite in the hotel with a free bar and free food all day. Quite a result.

15th Aug – After a reclusive breakfast in the ‘executive lounge’ I get picked up and taken off for a bit of promo before the gig. We start at the Hong Kong TV and radio headquarters for a live radio broadcast and then head over to the local paper for an interview which will appear after the event. Then it is off to the venue, a small purpose-built auditorium where Tom Lee hold most of their events. One staff training, one gig and eight hours later I get taken back to the hotel via a restaurant and an offering of spicy pigs’ ears and double pigs’ stomach soup. Torrential rain once again greets us, as I hear news that a typhoon is heading our way and is scheduled to arrive just as I should be departing for Auckland. Marvellous!

16th Aug – Day off. Hotel, sleep, emails, download app and write the user manual. Too hot and humid to go out. Knackered!

17th Aug – Late check out and head to the airport for my twelve hour flight to New Zealand. More mini bottles of wine, more inane films and more claustrophobic mini meal containers. Then the sleeping pills and BOOM, I am in Auckland at 9am on the 18th! I am looking forward to the rest of the trip: three events in New Zealand, six in Australia, then Hawaii, LA and back to London.

18th / 19th Aug – Get picked up at the airport by Torey from Rockshops. It is my third tour of NZ and I know all the guys very well. We head off to Toreys beach house north of Auckland and spend a couple of days with him and his wife. It is a really nice break! The evening involves lots of home cooked food, wine and NZ vs AUS in the rugby. After one of the most boring sporting events in the history of the world, NZ come out on top and everyone seems happy!

20th Aug – The first NZ gig is in a really cool auditorium in Auckland museum. I am pleased to hear that all the NZ events have sold out and soon witness a large crowd population the theatre. Again, it is a real mix, from parents with children to muso teenagers. It is my third solo tour of New Zealand and a lot of familiar faces also turn out.

21st Aug – Mid morning flight to New Plymouth with Hamish from Rock Shops. Another evening event and we hotel in the area. I download the app during the soundcheck. It takes absolutely ages and I keep getting chucked offline. However, it completes just a few minutes before I go onstage. Another sleepless night to follow after the gig.

22nd Aug – Torey joins us again and we drive off to Palmerston North. It is a three-hour drive through stunning scenery and past the astounding mountain called Mount Taranaki. It is a perfectly clear day and the snow-capped peak is unbelievable. We fly back to Auckland after the gig on the last evening flight and I go totally ‘rock and roll’, doing my washing and drying when I get back. Fantastically boring thing to do at any time! The reception staff think it’s really comical that I’ve never used a dryer before and don’t know how to turn it on.

23rd Aug – Up early to hit my emails and admin for the app. We are near submitting to Apple at this point which is really exciting. Mid morning, Torey picks me up and drops me to the airport. I get pleasantly inspired with Gin and Tonic in the lounge and soon embark on the short four hour trip to Melbourne. Thank god, the seat next to me is empty the whole way. However, it doesn’t stop the ‘red wine in the lap’ disaster that tainted the last two hours of the flight. Pino meets me at the airport and I go to the hotel to crash. Amazingly I receive news that the app has finally been submitted to Apple. It’s a real high and gets me totally in the mood for the Australian Ultimate Drummers’ Weekend. It is the 20th anniversary and is going to be a big one! It’s such a coincidence, because on that very same day two years before, I turned up for AUDW and Rick Latham showed me his new iPhone app. At that very moment I realised I had to develop one myself. Here I was, exactly two years later and it gets submitted to Apple. Incredible.

24th Aug – Up early again for a lecture at Melbourne University. It is good to be able to switch between more academic lecture duties and more direct performance roles. It is exciting to get all these different things happening. I’m then taken off to the weekend venue to set up the gear for the festival performance and workshop. The team are super organized and everyone has their own rolling riser. I am sandwiched between Dave Weckl and Thomas Lang, all building our percussive worlds. The soundchecks are specifically organized with mine scheduled for the following morning. However, it is good to get the rig built. After the construction we all go off to the local Thai restaurant with Frank and Damien Corniola.

25th Aug – I am getting used to the early mornings. This one is 6.30 for an 8.00 am pick up, 8.30 soundcheck and then judging on the panel for the Australian Drummer of the Year category. This morning is for beginners and intermediate players, and the level is very high indeed. This competition puts all others across the world to shame. This is followed at 10.30 by my workshop / lecture. Both days are a sell-out and the hall is packed. I head back to the hotel in the afternoon. It is a short walk but I soon realize how dodgy I must look after being stopped by the police in the street. Very strange situation which takes me back to much less memorable times as a teenager in Portsmouth. The evening is the big celebration for twenty years of AUDW. It is a grand affair and the wine flows without cessation. Frank has done so much good for drums and percussion in Australia. He deserves every accolade that has been put his way. If there were more ‘Franks’ worldwide, then drumming would have a much higher profile than it currently has.

26th Aug – An early start again for the competition. It’s the advanced section today and the three competitors are of an extremely high level, It is very hard to make a decision. After this, there are workshops by John Riley and Thomas Lang. My performance is in the afternoon and the audience are absolutely great. It goes down a storm. An evening meal at Frank’s brother’s restaurant follows. Food, wine and merriment leads to an intense discussion with Dave Weckl, Thomas Lang, John Riley and myself, debating if one needs to know where the ‘ONE’ is to feel engaged with a piece of music. Opinion is split and the conversation quickly goes up through the gears.

27th Aug – Day off, at last! I go off on a day trip to the mountains and coast with local drummer, Daniel Luttick. I hit by a minor flu situation in the evening and hit the sack at 9pm.

28th Aug – Wearily make my way to the airport far too early for comfort and zap off on the flight to Sydney. Get met at the airport by Shane and Damien of Musiclink. They are bearing up under the strain of their company going into receivership just a few days prior. They have gone to great pains to make sure my clinics in Sydney and Brisbane go ahead. After a bit of rest at the hotel the whole cycle starts again, set up, sound check etc etc. All goes well and there is a good turn out for the clinic. By the end of the night I am really feeling the flu and hit a sleeping pill to get a good night’s rest.


29th Aug – Day off. I intended to spend the day going round Sydney but end up spending most of it in bed. At least I had the energy to pop down to the harbour for breakfast. The harbour is such a great area to visit.

30th Aug – Early flight to Brisbane, check into the hotel and whiz off to the venue to prepare for the clinic. I am well and truly in the swing of things by now and can get through the flu situation on auto pilot. Hit a nice restaurant with Musiclinks Darran and retire by midnight. The hotel is great with panoramic views of Brisbane city. It is important because I have four nights there.

31st Aug / 1st Sept - $30 for hotel breakfast and they want to charge extra for a latte. As a matter of principle I cancel the order and pop out to a local café where I get a better breakfast for a third of the price. Ridiculous! It’s the principle more than the cost concern. At least I have a couple of days off at last. I go totally rock and roll again and do a bit of hand washing. It’s also an opportunity for a few private students to swing by the hotel for a lesson.


2nd Sept – Gig day. I have a slot on the final day of the Drum Scene live tour featuring Dave Weckl, Thomas Lang and Dom Famularo. We head down to the venue around midday, all moaning about the astounding 55 cents per min internet charge in the hotel. The set up is a little more difficult today with no rolling risers. However, a suitable solution is found utilizing the strange multilayered flexible staging. Peter, the stage manager also does the AUDW event and is a real positive problem solver. Everything runs smooth when he’s in control.

The hall is very difficult to soundcheck. However, Dave Weckl is very good at analyzing the front of house system and the appropriate frequencies to make the event most powerful for everyone. The evening is sold-out and we kill it, concluding with an improvised finale involving all four of us on Dave’s kit, going bananas! The whole crowd stay for autographs afterwards and we finally stagger into the only late night restaurant in Brisbane, a pancake house. They do a great steak though. My flight is not till midday so a late night is no issue for me. The others are out of the hotel at 6am though - a grinder!


3rd Sept – Travel day to Hawaii. I will arrive there before I actually leave because of the date line. Very strange. My app, DrumJam, is still awaiting release from Apple but I see that Dream Theatre’s Jordan Rudess has posted another video online of him playing it. It is much appreciated and is really good publicity. I leave the hotel at 10.30 with Darran from Music Link and head to the airport for the connecting flight to Sydney and then the direct flight to Honolulu. The main body of work is out of the way for me now and I can relax a bit, even though I have fourteen hours in the air to come. Strangely at Sydney airport, I see the private Manchester City FC plane taking off. It’s the second time on the trip having seen it take off from Beijing airport when I arrived in China at the beginning of the trip. Very strange! Maybe they are going to sign me?

4th to 8th Sept - Chill out! Pearl Harbour, Waikkiki, Big Island, Hilo, volcanos, helicopter flight. Just a bit of low key educational workshop work whilst on the islands. A nice excuse to stop over. My app also becomes available in the Apple App store whilst in Honolulu. I am very excited to hear it has shot up into the top five in the USA and to #2 in Japan for iPad music apps in less than 24 hours. Meanwhile I climb a volcano - and also accidentally remove the side from a hire car. Thank goodness for insurance!

9th Sept. Midday flight to LA. Picked up by Remo’s Chalo Eduardo and whizzed out to Valencia near the Remo factory. It is a hotel that I have stayed in dozens of times before and the familiarity of knowing the staff by name brings a minor comfort to a long tour of unfamiliar faces.

10th Sept. I get taken over to the Remo factory and offices near the hotel. I organise and set up my drums for the video shoot in Burbank on the 11th. I meet up with Mr Remo and spend some time looking at many exciting new products for release in 2013. Then head back to the hotel early evening and watch Andy Murray in the US open final. Nice to see him win that one.

11th Sept. Leave mid morning and head down to the studios in Burbank. Photo shoot and videos for Remo. They have gone the whole hog with top-end gear and Hollywood camera men. The studio is the famous ‘Centre staging’ where Michael Jackson did some rehearsals for the tour that sadly never happened. It is also home for the LA offices of Vic Firth and Zildjian. I pop over and hang with Ben from Vic F in their very hi tec office. We spend a good chunk of time discussing my new multi-purpose signature stick. The proto types have just been sent from Boston to my home and neither of us have seen them yet. It’s all very exciting!

12th Sept. Off to Centre Staging again for more videos. I am really looking forward to being home and it’s a relief to think it’s only one day away. I spend more time with Ben at Vic Firth and we find time to do a video looking at my new app. It’s great how the companies get involved with every aspect of activities. In the evening I go out for a meal with the Randy Gloss and the guys from Hands On’Semble. They have been putting the finishing touches to an album, on which I have contributed two collaborative tracks. It’s great to hear all the news. They will be launching it at Pasic 2012 in the USA later in the year. They do such a great job with education over at the CAL Arts university, one of the most eclectic world music institutes in the world. Some ‘Long Island iced teas’ late, I get dropped off back at the hotel, ready for my final night on dodgy pillows.

13th Sept. Off to sunny England. I have flown goodness knows how many different airlines on this trip but I’m glad to be getting back on a BA flight. People always moan about their local airlines but BA really has a great service. Definitely my fave airline by a country mile. Chalo from Remo drops me up to LAX and I am soon in the lounge partaking of the complimentary beverages. (After the ultra security X-ray where a banana simply won’t cut the mustard.)

14th Sept. Heathrow, Taxi, HOME SWEET HOME and back to my lovely wife, Pam. I have missed her so much. It really has been a life-changing trip though. So many memories and new experiences. I am soooo lucky to be a musician. I couldn’t wish for any more! Next up, India again. Lovely!

  Petes new percussion APP for iDevices developed with Sonosaurus LLC.


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"You were born an original; don't die a copy."










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