For our first masterclass at ACM Birmingham, why not start with a bang?
Masterclasses with special guests from the industry are a regular occurrence at ACM Guildford and ACM London, so naturally we couldn’t wait to welcome our first guest to ACM Birmingham – Ash Weaver, drummer for Wolverhampton band God Damn.
Hosted by Ace, our Head of Creative Industry Development (and also known as the guitarist in Skunk Anansie), the session kicked off with him asking Ash how God Damn got started. Ash candidly explained that they were originally inspired by bands like Them Crooked Vultures, and that in the early days of the band they signed to the same record label that Skunk Anansie were on in the 90s. They also recorded their first album at Metropolis, for those of you counting the God Damn-ACM connections.
Ash provided the soundtrack to the afternoon by smashing through various different God Damn tunes on his kit, in between the Q&A.
The student body at ACM Birmingham came armed with questions, and quizzed him on all manner of music-related topics, from his approach to drumming, to the production on God Damn’s albums and who’d they like to work with next.
When asked who was the most impressive musician that Ash has met, he easily decided that it would have to be Dave Grohl, who had amazed Ash by appearing in God Damn’s dressing room looking to find out more about the band, when they supported the Foo Fighters at Old Trafford. Ace and Ash swapped ideas on what all successful professionals have in common, which ultimately came down to “being friendly, and hard work.”
“You’ve gotta have the focus and drive to do whatever it takes to make it happen.”
Ash’s huge drum kit was on full display at the masterclass, which prompted many of the students to ask him about his kit choices. He explained that, as the band were a 2-piece originally, he always wanted to have big drums to fill out the sound, which of course meant he had to get big cymbals to along with them! He also gave a shout out to his sponsors Tama and Zildjian for supplying him with the excellent gear.
When asked about his favourite venues to play in the UK, Ash replied that it would have to be the Academy rooms, and also Rock City in Nottingham, particularly for their amazing monitors.
Following another ear-shattering performance, one student asked about breaking sticks and drum heads. Ash’s first kick drum that he ever broke was at the Cavern Club in Liverpool when he was 17; luckily he managed to carry on playing because he uses a double-pedal setup, and the left beater was still hitting an unbroken part of the drum skin!
Ash wrapped up the masterclass with another Bonham-esque drum solo, before imparting this advice:
“Learn from everything here (at ACM). Like, even if it’s something not to do. Listen to as much music as you can. The more you play, the more you’ll create your own style, don’t try and be someone else. Bring your own personality to your playing.”
We’d like to say a special thanks to Ash for taking part in the first of many guest masterclasses at ACM Birmingham!
If you’d like to study at ACM and learn from incredible musicians like Ash Weaver, please call our Admissions Team on 01483 500 841 or visit www.acm.ac.uk/open-days/ to book a place on an ACM Open Day today.