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John Kennard - Drums, Percussion & Backing Vocals

John was singing in a choir at the age of 6 and started to learn the cornet soon after. As a result, reading music became as natural as reading a Janet & John book. Equally, playing different parts in brass band arrangements as he gradually moved through horns and baritones and finally to euphonium, gave him an appreciation of harmonic structure which quickly spread into an abiding love for vocal harmonies which has endured to this day.

He was brought up on the Sussex coast on a diet of choral and brass music, and (a young and sprightly) Terry Wogan in the mornings. One or two rare brushes with unusual time signatures (5/4, 7/8) in brass band pieces really caught his attention and led him to wonder if there was any modern pop/rock music that had something other than the same old boring 4 or, very occasionally, 3 beats to the bar.

In 1980, at the age of 14, he heard just such a thing on the radio: Genesis’ Turn It On Again. This epiphany led to discovering more Genesis. And thence to Rush. And Yes. And Pallas, Camel, Marillion etc. And then through Brand X to Weather Report and Pat Metheny… and a whole world of Music That You Don’t Hear On The Radio.

Despite being surrounded by music all this time, he never got to grips with anything but brass and vocals; the local piano teacher refused to teach him any more after only 15 minutes, and the less said about violin lessons the better!
However, he had more than once been chided for tapping rhythms on his tenor horn when he should have been sitting quietly and always had his eyes glued on drummers on the telly or stage. So when, in 1981, the school asked for a volunteer to play the drums for a newly-forming swing band, he dived behind the school’s beleaguered kit and got stuck in. The school couldn’t find a tutor, so he just made it up as he went along. And, truth be told, he has done ever since!

He came to West Yorkshire in 1984 to study Applied Physics at University and there, due to the cost of instruments being disproportionate to the size of student grants, the drumming and brass-playing stopped. The singing continued, though, and over the next 4 years he sang with a 12-person chamber choir in various places in the UK and Europe.

In 1989, a friend alerted him to a rather swish-looking second-hand drum kit for sale in, appropriately enough, Manning's Musicals (no relation) in Bradford. The Atari ST was sold to a friend for £300 and he finally had a drum kit of his own.

Since then he's played in various bands occasionally doing original pieces but, more often than not, rock covers. The longest-lived of these was “The Garden of Edam” (yes, they were that cheesy), who survived in various guises from the mid-nineties until late 2009.

Having suddenly found himself without a band to play in, John set himself the target of finding fellow musicians with whom he could play the kind of music he really loved – prog! Eight months later with no success, he joined a local band, The Shrinks, playing punkish poppy tunes for fun (and still does). Then, came a phone call from Guy Manning...

When he's not listening to one of the many progressive bands that have appeared on the scene recently (Frost*, Moon Safari, DeeExpus, Touchstone, Tinyfish...) or an older prog classic, it's anyone's guess as to what will be playing on the PC as he designs software systems from his office in the back bedroom: Bach, Beanfield, Penguin Café Orchestra, Dave Matthews Band, Steely Dan, Rimsky-Korsakov...

John plays:

Drums: An aged (>25 years) Yamaha 9000 series kit; equally ancient Roto-toms
Cymbals: Sabian, Zildjian, Paiste and Vibra
Hardware: Anything and everything, including string and gaffer tape.
Percussion: As hardware, above, but not the string (that’s not classed as “percussion” as it is, by definition, a stringed instrument)













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