Monday, December 11, 2017

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

  In that Brisbane hotel room I spent the rest of the night writing out a modus operandi to Andy, our tour manager. There was no point waking him up in the middle of the night, as he gets precious little sleep as it is.

 I started writing on the hotel stationery that was an uncomfortable hobble away. This four meter journey was excruciating. 

 As with all unknown ailments, the worst scenarios are uppermost in the mind. What the hell was up with my knee? Surely it was cancer and it was a question of immediate amputation??

  I worked my way around it by starting with the words 'full investigation needed', followed by 'consultation with experienced sports doctor'. I knew enough about such things to realise I would be ‘in the right ballpark' so to speak. It turned out that I would be spot on.

 After three long hours, at 6am I made my way downstairs for breakfast. Each step was as restrictive and as laborious as the last. The idea of letting the band down was weighing heavy. On the plus side, today was a travel day to Melbourne followed by two clear days off. However, they were followed by three shows in a row: an arena show, our own theatre show and another outdoor winery.

 The flight to Melbourne resulted in the pain in my knee becoming more intense, but thankfully later that evening, Andy informed me that I had an appointment to have an MRI scan the following evening.

 Coincidentally, that evening was a tour party for all crew and band members. This was to be held in the private suite of rooms at the top of the Crowne Plaza overlooking the Yarra River.

 Chrissie, of course, was concerned about my position and supported my need for a complete and professional assessment. 

  The following evening Andy and I went out to the hospital appointment so I could get the MRI scan (beforehand I had pressed my white Barbour shirt for the party that followed the visit.) The MRI scan was a long drawn out procedure that involved state of the art equipment. To keep the explanation short, they asked me endless questions and I had to fill out forms to declare that my body contained no metals (pins, supporting bones, shrapnel, pacemakers etc.)

 After an hour and a half, Andy and I left the hospital and went straight to the party. The detailed info. of the state of my knee was stored with extreme precision on a DVD for us to take to Mr. Brian Devitt MD FRCS Orthopedic Surgeon in the morning.

 The following morning I walked past walls adorned with pictures of sports stars and was introduced to Brian Devitt who was born in Dublin. I was not in the least concerned about the outcome of this consultation. 

 After thirty minutes of all tests and manipulations, we studied the MRI on his monitor.
 I found it amazing to study every fibre of my right knee from front to back and top to bottom. The conclusion was quick and very positive. There was no tear in the tendon at all, and the diagnosis was Prepatellar Bursitis (also known as ‘Jumper’s Knee').

 This meant that I was clear to play with no fear of further damage as long as I took the anti-inflammatory drugs for one week, and stopped jumping down off risers like a boy in his twenties!

I had learned I was no longer 25 years old, but I was good to go.


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Walking It Off

  After arriving safely in Perth W. Australia, things started to pick up after the first show with Stevie and her band. Having done the two tours of North America with her, it became enjoyable pretty much immediately.

 It was great having my own kit to play. Even though all the hardware was supplied by DW Drums, I was at home. Tours a long way from home are not always comfortable for me on hired equipment, but with the assistance and insistence of my top man tech. Justin Welch, we took all but the hardware and had a special flight case made for the drums alone.

 Playing a drum kit is not like a keyboard or guitar (or any other instrument, for that matter). Although those instruments have different feels of course, a drum kit is a much larger area of operation. I got into this conversation with Jim Keltner on a tour we did together with Neil Young/Pretenders some years back.

  Jim has an incredible feel and plays with such an elegant flow. He really is the cream. We spoke of the distance that some unconscious choices take the hands and sticks to that micro moment of contact with the colour and temperature of the sound you wish to throw into the mix! There is an endless amount of choices in the way anything can be struck, brushed, stroked or smashed, and that’s just with a bit of wood! There are tympani mallets, brushes of all types, and of course, custom made shaker stiks and nylon brushes with bits of wire attached for bright moments. It really never ends.

Chrissie overheard us and was (metaphorically) thrown into a coma!  

What it really adds up to is the 'feel', the 'groove', the life of the platform of the music upon which the top lines can play.

Still with me?

It's kind off important in a massive way.

  I have, on occasion, sat on other people’s kits. It's a hell of an eye opener and allows a mental view of the owner’s private creative hub. Keltner's kit is gentle and what you expect, but as Charlie Watts looked me in the eye and said of Jim years ago; 'he's a tricky one isn't he?'. I immediately knew what he meant! There's a hell of a lot going on within the beautiful simplicity of his performances.

 So, I was at home. My space is built for opportunism and aggression. It can be kind and tender as on 'I go to Sleep' or dangerous like in 'Up the Neck' or 'Tattoo'd Love Boys'. My kit is spread apart and there is distance to cover. My kit is a workout. 

 Hey man yer workin' too hard! Yeah ya got that right! I like workin' hard when the mood and lyric demands! It's about the song, dynamics and making moments hang in the air for longer than is real! That takes space.

 Around this Perth - Adelaide - Sydney period, I felt an annoyance in my right knee. It came and went and I figured I must have absent-mindedly knocked it on something, so I walked it off.

 The gigs were all going really well, and I was looking forward very much to our own show at the Melbourne Forum in a week or so. 

 The day after the Hunter Valley Bimbadgen Winery show we flew up to Brisbane to play another winery, but I couldn't walk off this pain in my right knee. It was becoming quite annoying…almost painful.

 During that Brisbane show I experienced more pain than any other show I had ever played. I’ve had severe and deep cuts to hands and fingers in the past, but this hurt more than when I broke two metatarsel bones in my left foot at the beginning of a long U.S. tour!

What was to be done? 

  After the show, I saw Dr. Bill backstage and he gave our tour manager a prescription for some special gel to be carefully applied. He said I had tendonitis. I hastily applied the gel  that night, but awoke only three hours later in screaming pain. The mind plays games at times like these and my thoughts turned to: “Is this what they call a career ending injury?”

I was in some kind of serious trouble. All I could do was swear and curse at my knee in a big way and wait until my painkillers (which I always carry in my bag) kicked in.

 We had three gigs on the trot coming up and I couldn’t even bend my leg!

This I can't walk off because I can't walk.  

Holy shit!


Monday, December 4, 2017

Latin America!

LATIN AMERICA! We are excited to announce that we will be touring next year alongside the legendary Phil Collins.

Together, we will be performing at shows in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Porto Alegre, Mexico City, Lima, Santiago, Montevideo, Buenos Aires and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Ticket details coming soon…

(Via The Pretenders Facebook Page)

Sunday, November 19, 2017


Hello,all! This is Valerie, Martin's page manager. 

Martin and I were having a discussion the other day as to what merch we should sell on his website ( 

Naturally, it makes sense to ask you, Martin's fans! 

A few ideas that we came up with were: signed drum sticks, signed drum heads, mugs, and t-shirts. 

If you have any ideas concerning what merch we should sell (and even what design you would prefer to have on your merch), please comment below. We are open to any creative input! 

Many thanks from Martin and I, and thanks to all of you who have been following Martin's blog posts! 


Friday, November 17, 2017

Classic Lineup

 From ‘The Book of Rock’.❤️ Photo: Fin Costello

Spaced Out in Perth WA

   Sunday, 29th October 2017  
M.D.C. in 1968 by Alan Bayley 
  As I wallow in the throws of jet lag here in Perth WA, the second day in Australia arrives with the sun shining after a windy rainy Saturday. Time is both stretching and standing still.  In the early hours on Sunday, world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua retained his world title with a win over Carlos Takam. Three time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton could only manage third on the grid behind the twenty year old Max Verstappen, and pole sitter (four time world champion) Sebastian Vettel in Mexico.

  I had somehow managed to watch it all live via T.V. screen and computer. The stifling wonders of the modern world, but it ate up the hours.

  I slept from 11pm until 02.30am and awoke wide awake to watch the sporting greats do their thing. I also managed to squeeze in the Moto GP qualifying from Malaysia where, like the F1 race, the pointed end of the season sorted the 2017 World Championship. I stayed up for breakfast at 7am and then slept from 08.45 until 1pm to watch the Moto GP race that Andrea Dovizioso won in the wet to take the championship into the decider against Marc Márquez at the final race of the season in Valencia, Spain. He crossed the line on one wheel at over 200kph.

  The British Tour already feels like a year ago. It is such a strange business, this travel and performance after fifty years behind a drum kit. In my addled mind I never think about how long I will continue. I laugh it all off with phrases like; “The next fifty years should be interesting!”

  I just wish Mott the Hoople could have done a few more shows back in 2009 or 2013 when I toured with them, but of course when it's done, it's done.

  The last few shows in the UK seemed to merge into one. The band had gotten into a high gear and was laying it out there with all the swagger and confidence of a champion prizefighter. We even played the occasional mistake with grit and attitude. As Ian Hunter always said: “Never get too good”. Damn right! Slick Rock ‘n’ roll is boring. It's always got to be edgy.

Oxford New Theatre 18th October 2017 by Alan Bayley
  When I arrived in the early afternoon in Birmingham, news of an accident to the vehicle carrying the rest of the band up from Portsmouth arrived. At an off ramp near the A34, a driver had driven into the back of the queue of cars that the band was in. The impact to the back of the vehicle was minor and fortunately, no harm had come to anyone. 

After the sound check a few of the crew, C.H. and I went to a pub the other side of a canal at the rear of the Symphony Hall to watch a trio playing rock and roll Birmingham style. It was great and could only have been in Birmingham. When they finished the gig at about 6pm we invited the band to the gig. Thanks fellas.

 In Oxford at the New Theatre, my old friend and photographer Alan Bayley arrived to take a load of photos of me. I thought it long overdue to document these 'Golden Years'.  Alan took pictures of me on the drums in the 1960's. He lives near Oxford so it seemed to make sense.

  As you can tell from these ramblings, things are a little fragmented. I am upside down for a day or two until I find my equilibrium - somewhere between my arse and the elbow!


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Memories from the British Tour, 2017

   On Friday the 13th I drove up to Manchester and followed the route my family had driven many times through the 50’s and 60's. Back then, there were no motorways in the west, so the A49 was the way to go. This journey was made in various cars through the years, but the first car I remember well was an Austin 7 Ruby.

  It must have been quite old but could still manage to travel at 47mph downhill with the wind behind it. The journey would take five or six hours or so, which translated to about a week and a half for an eight year old boy! It smelled bad and the constant cigarette smoke from the front of the car would often result in me throwing up over my brother!

The Austin 7 Ruby
 It was interesting to see the names as I passed familiar spots along the journey like, Prees Heath and the swing bridge at Warrington that allowed the smaller ships or barges full of goods to haul inland onto Manchester and probably Birmingham. This was part of the Manchester ship Canal. Today the journey was done amongst a lot more traffic in barely three hours.

  I drove back that night negotiating my way on the A49 to south of the M6 road works and arrived home in two hours fifty minutes.

  The following day was Portsmouth on the South Coast. In the early 70's my band Karakorum had played the Tricorn Club, which was run by the legendary radio DJ John Peel. In the afternoon, he arrived at the top of the tall car park block where the Tricorn Club was in his short wheel base Land Rover. We played football with him - a bit of a kick about before load in.

  During our show at around 10pm that night, Marc Bolan and Mickey Finn had walked past us to come and see John. They had finished the screaming teeny bop show with
T. Rex at around 9pm and were now going out to enjoy the evening with Peel.

  The next day was a gig in Birmingham, and in the late afternoon across the canal from the back of our gig was a band playing in a pub. They were knocking out Zeppelin and Sabbath songs, and were great. Chrissie was diggin' it and it was a nice distraction that killed the time very well. Just by the sound of it you knew you were in Birmingham! 

Photo by Alan Bayley
 The 17th took me to Liverpool and then the final show on the 18th to the Oxford New Theatre. This is where I had seen the very first Bad Company show in 1974. I had been staying at guitarist Mick Ralph's house in London whilst his flat mate (keyboard player Morgan Fisher) was off touring with Mott the Hoople in the States. It was a welcomed relief from sleeping rough in a van at the time.

 On the 18th, my old friend and photographer Alan Bayley had come to take some pictures of me. It was high time I had some promo shots for my drum manufacturer DW, and other general shots. Alan takes care of the preparation of my old pictures for the PRETENDERMC.COM photo archive site. We had a photo session at sound check and then he took some live shots of me.
 These are the sort of memories that remain with me during the closing dates on the British tour. 

Now off to Dubai and on to the Antipodean Tour.  We had played well and consistently in the UK but little did I know of what was to follow.