My drumming teacher at school (circa 1976) was one Jimmy Grossart. He taught Kyle and me the rudiments, coaching us to pound away on circular black rubber mats, learning the basics as well as some exotic rhythms, like Bossa Nova and Rumba. Our usual tuition time was Friday morning’s instead of Chemistry but one week we had to meet him at the back of the school stage where he had set up his own reel-to-reel tape player connected to two large speaker cabinets, “Right lads, listen to this” and on came some jazz drumming, I’d like to think it was the 1952 Drum Battle between Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, me against Kyle, but I can’t be sure. But we were blown away and would never give up. Mr Grossart was also the bandleader of the Edinburgh Jazz Band; the drummer was in charge driving from behind. We were asked to join band rehearsals one dark Thursday evening and we had to meet in Market Street in Edinburgh, in the New 57 Gallery, which was in the same building as the Fruitmarket Gallery. We both took the drumming seat for a number; my one was American Patrol, which had a short drumming solo. I was conscience of sitting in a space, which had paintings and white walls, spot lights and a desk with a typewriter. I remember the paintings were graphic, flat, grey and red, powdery. I realised that we were practicing in an art gallery. This was the space I would work in 10 years later and install exhibitions. I came back again and saw a Laurie Anderson exhibition the next month.


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