Formed Priory of Brion in 1999 with Robert Plant after doing some informal gigs with the ex Led Zeppelin singer. Priory of Brion exists for two years, playing all over Europe alongside countless music legends (e.g.. BB King, Van Morrison, Billy Cobham etc).
Through this experience I become an endorsee of TAMA drums, MEINL cymbals, AQUARIAN drum heads
and CAD Mics
Start doing clinics for these companies.
In 2001 I was voted on of the UK's leading clinicians by Rhythm Mag.
I have performed clinics alongside Steve Smith, Horacio Hernandez, Marco Minneman, Johnny Rabb, Gavin Harrison, Mark Schulman, Russell Gilbrook, Michael Shack (Roland), Bobby Arechiga, Craig Blundell, Karl Brazil (Darius), Russ Miller, Pete Riley, Simon Hanson (Death in Vegas)
In 2000 I played on the Simon Phillips UK tour
In 2002 I joined the Ian Parker Band recording two widely acclaimed albums for Ruf Records and touring alongside Thin Lizzy, Walter Trout and Eric Clapton.
In 2003 I played on the Thomas Lang world tour
In 2004 I took a break from touring to set up The Andy Edwards Drum School and create my own group which features Dave Woodhouse (from Quantic) on keys and Bass virtuoso Mark Hartley.
In 2005 I became the fulltime drummer with UK prog rockers, IQ. As well as touring the world with IQ I am performing at Drumfest alongside Terry Bozzio, Greg Bissonette and touring the UK with Kenny Aronoff.
In May 2005 I began playing Zildjian cymbals.
Words Mark Walker
From teaching and running workshops to playing Moby Grape covers with Led Zep's Robert Plant and going on a clinic tour with Simon Phillips, You could say Andy Edwards is living the life of Brion...
What does a stadium rock god do with his down time? In the case of Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant, he forms a covers band and starts playing pubs again. Pretty soon he's back in the stadiums on the festival circuit. Funny old world isn't? Keeping the stool warm in Plant's latest band is Kidderminster kid Andy Edwards, who has had a varied career in teaching, gigging and production. Having lectured in music for the last ten years Andy currently runs Juggernaut, staging workshops all over the country. He is also one half of The Wikkamen which has remixed Amar and Red Dragon.
Rhythm: So how did Priory of Brion come about?
Before Zeppelin, Robert was in band called the band of Joy nand the guitarist was Kevyn Gammond, who's an old mate of mine. When the band split Kevyn went off and had his own career. Then he settled down, had kids and went into teaching, which is where I met him. But he'd always kept in touch with Robert and Robert kept saying they should put the band back together again. So when there was a gap in Robert's schedule we all got together to do that. It was in really small venues, just for fun really. But it's gone on, it's grown into something quite big now
And it's all covers?
It's all sixties psychedelic stuff. A few old soul tracks. Stuff by bands like Love, Moby Grape and Tim Hardin. We've done Ray Charles, Ben E King. It's not the famous stuff, but stuff that deserves to be listened to again. Sometimes we do them in the way they were done originally and sometimes we do them in our own way.
What made you get into teaching?
I originally trained as a graphic designer, but after a few years I decided to Jack it in and concentrate on music. Of course you can't always rely on music to bring the money in, so I started teaching privately. Then I met Kev and started teaching at Kidderminster College. Apart from the drums I started teaching all sorts of subjects like production, harmony and music theory. Later I set up my own workshop group (Juggernaut) which we take up and down the country doing really big workshops with kids. Sometimes it's like 100-120 kids, just trying to give
them some hands on experience. It's incredible, the talent that is out there but its difficult to break into the industry, especially in rural areas where there is nowhere to play. So one of the things we do is open up the local hall, put a PA in, get the local press and radio interested and put ten bands on.
I hear you're a big Billy Cobham fan. Did you get into really big kits like your hero?
I once had a huge double bass drum kit: it was great. I recently did a clinic tour with Simon Phillips. I sat behind his huge kit and it's a completely different thing, just from the point of view of resonance. When you hit the snare on Simon's kit the whole thing resonates. It's an absolutely incredible sound. But with the Priory I'm using a small four piece kit-I'm into both. The idea that Cobham couldn't play a small kit so he had to play a big one is rubbish.
Tell us about your Kit
With the Priory I'm playing a Tama Maple Starclassic kit. Its just a 22" bass drum, Two toms, a 14" and a 16" and a snare.
I'm endorsed to Meinl cymbals, I just use a 20" ride and a couple of crashes. I use a load off different snare drums and keep moving them around. My other kit is not much bigger; it's only a five piece, although I'm thinking of going up a bit. Its got two hi hats and a load more splashes. I'm really into using different kits, putting the stool up and down, changing things around. I think it forces you to do stuff you wouldn't normally do.
And what are your plans for the future?
It's been brilliant playing with Robert and I've learned so much about playing songs, but I want to do something really crazy. Really odd times and strange scales. Just a lot of weirdness going on. I'm hoping to record something and then maybe do some small scale gigs to test the water.