Monday, February 1, 2016

Volume 9 - Robbie Shipway

Volume 9 - ROB SHIPWAY

Hello again,
It's time to bring you some of the best and brightest drummers from around the world. This week, we brought you a kat who knows how to do his job and do it well. He's the Drummer of a really good band from Canada and make no mistake, they know how to groove up there. There are some guys that play and you try to figure out "what is it that makes them good?" and you realize, it's not just a "thing" it simply is, the way they play. It's in them and it just flows naturally.
You don't have to blaze all over the kit, sometimes you just have to be the Drummer. We Found a Drummer...
Rob "The Vessel" Shipway is Talkin' Chop!

Name or Stage Name:
Rob “The Vessel” Shipway

Where are you from?
I’m from the small town of Ailsa Craig Ontario, but I call London home these days.  

How long have you been playing?
I’ve been around drums since before I can remember listening to my brother Paul playing.  I was about 10 when he gave me my first drum set, and from that day it’s been something I’ve never been able to put down.

What is or are your main genre of playing?
I definitely enjoy digging into several genres depending on the day, but currently I prominently am playing groove heavy pop rock that focus on a solid backbone for the tracks.  

How did you get where you are now?
I’ve had quite a few different journeys in my musical career ranging from Folk, Hardcore, Classic Rock covers to Pop Rock and I wouldn’t change it a bit.  Having a large background in a heavier genre has allowed me to bring different feel to the songs that we play, which has become a valuable asset to our overall sound.  This began several years ago when I got the privilege to join up with a local Hardcore band “Lifeboat” which gave me my first real touring experience, making me understand this was something I wanted to pursue long term.  

What are your goals, short & long term?
Currently I'm looking to put out the best possible album we can with the tunes we have.  With that comes touring that album and bringing it to as many people as possible, in the way that it's meant to be heard, live.

As for long term goals, being able to continue this hectic life of spending time on the road is really all I can ask for, and all I really need.

Artists you would like to play for?
This is a tough question because there’s simply way, too many bands I would love to share the stage with, but I’ll do my best to narrow it down for you.  The first band that came to mind was mainly due to not only technical skill and feel this drummer brings, but the pure energy that he keeps up through an intense set.  Belvedere, specifically the “Fast Forward Eats the Tape” album is full of some of my favourite tunes to play along to that can only be attributed to the ability Dan Hrynuik has behind a kit.  

The second option is a drummer that I think perfectly encompasses what I bring to the table for a song, album or performance and that is Bayside.  Chris Guglielmo is someone who just oozes passion during every second of every song and you can feel it in what he plays.  Understanding that a deeper pocket, and a tastier groove outshines complex patterns for the songs they play is what makes me appreciate and take note of how to make a lasting impact.  

Do you have your own band? genre? Details….
Currently I am focusing solely on Texas King as our show schedule is so demanding there isn’t time to spend working on any other projects.  With that being said, I am more than fulfilled with what we do together on stage, as it’s some of the best chemistry I’ve ever felt when really digging into a tune.  

Do you play any other instruments?
I dabble.  I have some of the best musicians I’ve ever played with surrounding me, so I definitely look up to them and play around with many instruments but by no means could I hold my own in any other capacity than sitting down at a kit.  

What are your touring experiences, if any?
This has to be one of the best parts of being in a band, period.  A new city every day, road tripping with 3 of your best friends, it almost doesn’t seem like it should be allowed.  With my Texas King we have been lucky enough to do some touring through campuses in Canada during Frosh/Orientation weeks which gives you a skewed perception as to what a tour for an emerging band should be like, but we definitely made the most of it.  Aside from that we have definitely done some grinding, sleeping in our van in the middle of winter and powering through 12 hours drives just to get to the next show mainly in Eastern Canada.  

Describe your current set up & gear - heads and sticks included and why you choose these items?
The road setup that I currently play is pretty simple and it keeps me pretty creative.
Snare: 1982 Tama Swingstar 14x6 Snare
42 strand strainer
Evans 360 Ebony Snare Head
Kit:  Gretsch Catalina Maple
22 Kick | Evans EQ3
12 Rack Tom | Evans 360 Ebony
16 Floor Tom | Evans 360 Ebony
Cymbals:  Soultone
14 Gospel Hats
20 Custom RA Crash
22 Vintage Crash
22 Custom Ride
Tama Snare Stand HS80R
Mapex Straight/Boom Stands
DW 5000 Double Kick
Sticks:  SilverFox
Length 17
Thickness of a 5A but with a very short taper

I’d like to start off by saying I’ve looked, and haven’t been able to find a beefier snare combination that gives me the sound I’m looking for, without being scared of a few hard rim shots coming at it.  Aside from that what I use is pretty standard, I found a series of heads that gives a big sound, without a ton of sustain as that’s something I try and avoid with my Toms and Kick.  As for cymbals, this took some adjusting to find the perfect combination for my style of playing, but I’ve found an amazing combination of versatile cymbals that let me express within a song while still having a smaller set up.  

Do you have multiple kits and snares?
I do have another kit, and a couple of snares that I keep home to avoid the dangers of being in a touring band.  
1985 Tama SwingStar
Standard rock sizes | 12, 13, 16, 22
Do you prefer a certain wood shell?
I’ve had a lot of great experiences with maple all around.  I tend to look for quick attack with a short sustain and I find I achieve that using maple shells over any other that I have messed around with.

Do you have a “Dream Kit”?  
I try to avoid having a dream kit at this point because I know the moment it comes to mind, I’ll find a way to purchase it and subsequently destroy it on the road, but I have been sitting on a snare I would love to get for quite some time now.  The drummer from A Wilhelm Scream has a company called “Wail City Percussion” and builds some of the most beautiful Stave Snare shells I have ever seen and if I could get my hands on one it would quickly become my favourite part of every show.  Not only do they have an unmistakable appearance, but they have so much attack and substance in the sound.  Just like every drummer I have a sound in my head that is almost impossible to get right, but Wail City definitely changes that with the quality they pump out. 

How would you describe your drumming style?
I have a heavy focus on groove and feel, letting the song breathe but still giving it what is needed.  I bring a huge sound which when placed inside of an Indie Rock style bulks up our live show and makes sure that the entire crowd feels exactly what we are doing.  Our bass player (Phil) and I have been locked in so tight for so long I almost forget what my kick drum sounds like without his bass beefing it up.    

Why the drums?
Drumming was a passion that was passed down to me from my brother, and something that just made sense from the beginning.  I was more interested in rhythm and patters than chords and notes so I stuck with it, and worked through the painful stages of figuring out what my “style” or “sound” would become.  I also attribute me sticking with the drums to the pure joy I have in watching Chad Smith effortlessly bash his way through some intense patterns, all the while being one of the hardest hitting and confident drummers I have ever seen.  My style definitely reflects what I learned from him.  

If you weren’t playing drums, what would you be doing?
Alongside playing in the band I also work in the Tech industry, and have somehow stumbled into a career that allows me to work from the van meaning it doesn’t interfere with drumming at all.  So with that being said I’m lucky enough to have the best of both worlds all in one!

How has drumming impacted or changed your life?
Drumming was something that always was there to give me a goal to strive for.  No matter how many hours you spend on a kit, or with a practice pad there’s always something that you’ll want to work on or tight up.  With that being said it’s given me some amazing opportunities to travel and see places I never would have been able to experience without playing in bands and spending months in a van.

Is the music business your career?
Music is a passion that in my eyes is closer to a career than a business.  While there definitely are some aspects of being a musician that requires you to put on your business pants, it’s something that will be there and be an outlet no matter the level of success or years we put into this idea.  

Are you involved in the local music scene in your hometown?
The local scene here in London Ontario is something spectacular, and I may be biased but I haven’t seen the same level of support in any other scene we’ve become a part of.  Almost any night of the week you can catch a show downtown and run into at least one member from any band from London no matter the genre of the show which is truly something awesome to see.  

Name 5 of your drumming influences? why?
Chad Smith (RHCP):  The power and feel that he plays with is something that has shaped my style vastly.

Thomas Pridgen (The Mars Volta): Versatility.

Jordan Burns (Strung Out): Just have a listen, if you’re not inspired after sitting through a couple tracks there’s something wrong with you.

Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters):  An example of someone who has a sound and brings that to whatever genre he’s playing.  Take a look at him playing with Alanis Morissette and it’s the same smile and energy that he brings to the table with the Foo Fighters.

Longineu Parsons III (Yellow Card): I found myself really dig into  LP when I wanted to expand my knowledge and chops.  He’s a drummer who shows that you can play some nasty chops and make them unbelievably musical when done correct.  

How much time do you practice?
I spend a couple hours every night working through a set list of rudiments and hand speed exercises on a pad to keep everything in check.  Aside from that we have 2-3 whole band practices a week working on new arrangements and prepping for our full length album.  

Are you involved in local Shedding sessions? what do you get out of those sessions?
We don’t have a ton of this in our scene, but I have definitely experienced and been involved in a couple shedding sessions in the past.  I find I come out of the day with some new ideas, and different ways of looking at a linear groove which has helped me huge in making sure I’m not putting out the same groove that’s been done to death already.  

Describe your current gig..
Texas King is a high energy Indie Rock band that grabs a hold of you and doesn’t let you leave until the sets over.  We are currently in the studio recording our upcoming full length, but can usually be found out on the road at least 3 nights a week.  

Texas King EP - Buy it direct at

Do you record drum videos of yourself? why? how has it helped you?
I have dabbled with recording myself to see if there’s anything I’m doing that could become more efficient with some tweaks and it’s been a huge asset for my setup.  Realizing what works and what doesn’t when it comes to cymbal placement and angles was the main adjustments that came from watching myself.  

Do you concentrate on Chops or Grooves?
For me, first and foremost the groove is what matters.  You can blow me away with the craziest chops, but if you can push and drag a simple beat while keeping everything tight then it’s all for nothing.  Groove wins always.  

Are you into electronic drums?
I have a kit, I understand why they make sense, but I can’t seem to make practicing with it benefit me on an acoustic kit any more than using a practice pad, so I tend to stick with what works for me.  

Do you program drums?
I respect those that have the patience, but that is entirely outside of my wheelhouse.  

Are you a songwriter?
I definitely get the creative bug and work with the guys on shaping a song start to finish, however I wouldn’t give myself any credit as a songwriter.  Jordan (Singer) is a wordsmith and has a vision, we are mainly there to help make that into a cohesive piece.  

Do you sing and play?
I sing almost every word at all of our shows.. however I keep the amazing harmonies I’m adding to myself and won’t ever commit to being a singer as I don’t want to take away from the energy I bring while just hitting kit.
Do you prefer studio sessions, local live gigs or touring?
They all have so many positives for different reasons but for me getting to road trip with my best friends, spend every night in a new city with a new group of fans is something that can’t be achieved by doing anything else and is unforgettable.  I can live without studio sessions if I had to make a choice, but being able to bring our show to new people is something that I can’t see ending any time soon.

Do you have any Superstitions before you play?
I don't have a lot that needs to be in order before I get on stage, but I do have one thing that needs to be in place for me to have a good set.  It's all about the shoes for me.  I don't feel comfortable, and can't seem to really dig into a set without wearing the right shoes.  Currently I'm in this kick of wearing Nike Free 5.0's to get the feel that I need from my pedals, however the only other option I've become comfortable with is a fresh pair of Keds.  I don't know why, but it sets the entire night off wrong if I'm not in one of those two options.  (Keds are the uniform for almost all TK shows)

Do you prefer being in a band (artist) or being a sideman?
I’m a band guy through and through.  You build a different kind of bond with people that you rely on night after night, and then spend the next day in tiny living quarters with.  There isn’t an escape so you have to fully accept each and every detail about their personality which makes the commitment of a band the easiest decision for me.  
Texas King

Any Fun or crazy stories from the road, you would like to share?
As for touring stories, we're a band that loves to be in the van and on the road.  One of the things that I would say defines our style of hitting the road is we really know how to stretch a dollar, and make the most out of what we can get!  You won't see us drive past a lake without testing the waters, and we're no stranger to pulling off into a forest and throwing a mattress on top of the van, or hanging a tarp off the hood for some sleeping options!

What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there?
Find your sound, style and feel.   Be yourself on the kit at every show, and on every record.  

Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s???
A huge thanks for being interested in hearing what I have to say!  Drums are my passion and I won’t be getting out of the business any time soon!

I want to Thank Robbie for being part of this blog series.
It's always kool to have great musicians and people who want to share their life and music with the world.
Please Join Texas King at their various Social Media outlets. They are a really good band.
#SupportIndieMusic #DrummersSupportDrummers

Remember, if you or someone you know would like to be a part of Talkin' Chop
Please contact me at


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