Back to the Feature with Mickey Curry of Bryan Adams: “There are so many great studio memories…I have been very lucky.”

Mickey Currey is among the most respected and admired drummers in the international scene. Early on, Mickey started to make the two hour train journey into Manhattan and eventually joined a band called Tom Dicky and the Desires. They were managed by music mogul Tommy Mottola who also managed Hall and Oates - big news in the early 1980s! Impressed by Mickey, Mottola asked him to record Hall and Oates’ new album ‘Private Eyes’. Around the same time Mickey met top producer Bob Clearmountain who’d just found a new singer called Bryan Adams. Within months Mickey had recorded Adams’ second album ‘You Want It You Got It’.

Next thing Mickey’s out on tour with Hall and Oates. All this was in 1981 when Mickey was 25. This was his big-break year and he’s never really looked back. The calls started to come in thick and fast - Tom Waits, Cher, Tina Turner, Los Lobos.

Mickey worked with Hall and Oates through till 1986, since then he’s been Bryan Adams’ regular drummer. He says “I get to sound more like me on Bryan’s records than on anyone else’s”.

We went to visit Mickey before sound check in Hannover for this little interview on his first musical steps and influential recordings and drummers.

What inspired you to pick up the drums? Was there a particular player/band or experience that ignited your love for drumming?

MC: I was 7 years old when I saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. Ringo changed my life!

Can you tell us about your 1st Yamaha kit? How did you discover it?

MC: I first went to Japan in 1982, and met Hagi. He set me up with a brand new Recording Custom kit and I was SO happy! I knew that Al Foster and Steve Gadd played them and I couldn’t believe my luck!

What about the Recording Custom drew you to play it? Do you still have it now?

I love the sound…. they were very adaptable between recording and live, and so very consistent. The 14” x 7” birch snare drum is still my favourite.

Mickey´s 2017 Set up:

Yamaha Absolute in Silver Sparkle with:

24"x18" Bass Drum

12"x8" Tom Tom

14"x14" Floor Tom

16"x 16" Floor Tom

14"x7" Snare (main)

14"x5.5" Snare (side)

Can you tell us about any memorable stories or stand out experiences throughout your drumming career?

Wow, too many to tell! Live Aid was really amazing, as well as Hall & Oates at Liberty Park. Recording with Richard Thompson, and Sam Phillips. Alice Cooper, Los Lobos, Steve Jones, Hall & Oates of course, Bryan Adams, Bowie, Ian Hunter, Elvis Costello. Tom Waits, T Bone Burnett. Lot´s more...There are so many great studio memories…I have been so very lucky.

We noticed your drum seat is set very low. Can you let us know how/why this came about or why you prefer sitting lower despite playing quite big shells?

I think I started sitting lower after a car accident when I was younger. I hurt my low er back, and sitting low and further back from the kit seemed to be less strain on the spine, so I’m quite comfortable.

Silver Sparkle finish and special Bryan Adams Badges on all shells.

Can you name us 3 records that –in your opinion- have set a bench mark in terms of drumming, sound or production?

There are at least 3 thousand! Firstly, any note Ringo ever played. Then Little Richard’s "Keep a Knockin’” is one of my favourites. Charles Connor playing what he calls his “flattened out double shuffle” amazing track. Sonny Payne on Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” is perfect. Dynamics are crazy, and the fills!! Man…

Danny Seraphine on Chicago’s “Make Me Smile” (2nd album) the playing is crazy good, the sound is perfect, and his choices of fills and parts are brilliant. He taught me how to play drums on that album. Hal Blaine on the Association’s “Never My Love”. The Rivets Cymbal off the top is magic, and his brush work makes the song…. a true studio master. I love John Bonham on every single song.

Jim Gordon on anything. Especially Classical Gas, (Mason Williams) “You’re so Vain” (Carly Simon—this in my opinion is the perfect drum track for a pop song. Flawless). “Rikki Don’t Lose that Number” (Steely Dan), “Layla”(Derek and the Dominos), “Wichita Linemen” (Glen Campbell) anything with James Gadsen, Bernard Purdie, Clyde Stubblefield, Jerry Conway, Barry Morgan, Nigel Olsson, Richie Hayward, Jeff Porcaro, Steve Gadd. Billy Cobham, Tony Williams (changed my life), Joe LaBarbera ,Adam Nussbaum, Levon Helm, Bernard Purdie, Mitch Mitchell, Ian Paice, John Guerin, Floyd Sneed, Phil Collins, Elvin Jones, Kenny Buttree, Kenny Buttree, Kenny Buttree!!!!! Jim Keltner(every note a gem) Gene Krupa, Don Lamond. Cozy Powell, Kenny Jones, Ralph Humphreys, Philly Joe Jones, Papa Joe Jones, SONNY PAYNE>>> THE BEST.. Al Jackson Jr, Stix Hooper. Baby Dodds, David Garibaldi, Keith Moon, Ginger Baker, Aynsley Dunbar, Mickey Waller, Charlie Watts, Johnny Barbera. The king of American radio HAL BLAINE!!! And Earl Palmer!!!

We gathered some of these songs in a special Playlist on SPOTIFY.