Thunderstick Interview – Barry Thunderstick Purkis (Samson, Iron Maiden) drummer talks about Maiden reunion, new projects, recording techniques for the drums. February 27, 2015.
– What’s new in the world of Barry ‘Thunderstick’ Purkis?
Thank you for asking, diversity would be the word that best sums up my life at present. For me personally, Barry, I am involved in a lot of local projects with young artists, one of which I am proud to say is my daughter, with whom I watch with interest as she develops musically. Involvement in a local studio and also drum design. As ‘Thunderstick’, sessions for various bands some of which I cannot mention at the moment as they have not yet announced my involvement. Remastering of one of the ‘Don’t touch, I’ll Scream album which has never seen release, followed by subsequent release by the end of the year. Have recently been in contact with one of the previous Thunderstick guitarists with a view to working together again.
– How did it feel to be reunited with your former Iron Maiden members?
For all of us to be in same room together after 37/38 years was intense and thrilling and it felt almost as though it was only yesterday. Genuinely pleased to see each other and interested in each of our respective careers. Lots to talk about and suggestions of further meetings.
– You being a member of the band Samson as well as all the other Maiden guys being in the group at different times must have created interest for Iron Maiden fans to see the Samson shows and buy the albums. Do you recall your best stage moments with the band?
Well members that have been in both bands (Samson and IM) were ……. myself of course, Clive and Bruce. I am sure that IM fanatics will be aware of all the stories of interaction between both bands. So, yes, I would say that both bands benefited by association to each other. As to whether the current IM line-up would agree… who knows?
Regarding best stage moments, my favourite performances with Samson are too many to mention. There was the time that Thunderstick systematically pulled the ceiling down and subsequently disappeared up into the void whilst the rest of the band looking on in disbelief! Or, pulling his cage down on top of Paul Samson; or almost maiming the front of the audience with unbelievably large amounts of pyrotechnics; or, …… or …….. or ….. zzzzzzzzz! Musically though, every gig.
– Where did the idea and concept for the mask come from and it must have been hard to breathe through while playing drums?
In the early days I wore a latex/rubber ‘old man’ mask on top of the Thunderstick mask for two songs – that was hard to breathe in! The idea came about because I felt that most drummers were somewhat faceless. Of course there were the exceptions such as the loveable Keith Moon, but this was a time when there was no MTV, DVDs, social media etc. The most a fan could ask for would be a poster of his or her favourite acts. So therefore I created the perfect faceless drummer. At this time, I might add, Slipknot would have still been attending elementary school.
– When going into the studio with Samson for the early recordings, do you recall any special techniques you used to record the drums?
I am a self-confessed lover of analogue although we live in a totally digital age. I believe that with all this technology at our fingertips there are still certain elements of analogue recording that cannot be reproduced. One example of an analogue “trick” would be to tape a speaker to a snare drum in the studio and send the original snare drum track to that speaker and mic up the room both for ambience and rerecord the return signal coming back from that snare drum/room gives you instantaneous thickening of the snare sound.
– In your opinion, which album would be essential to have if someone were stranded on a deserted island?
This is a hard one to answer, everyone would choose something that has particular pertinence to themselves or their life. So therefore, my own choice would be ‘Young and Rich’ by the Tubes.
– What is the strangest inspiration you’ve ever had for a song?
A Thunderstick track called ‘You get me in pieces’ which is written from the perspective of one of Jack the Ripper’s victims as a lovestruck lament….. a ’50 Shades of Grey’ for its time!
– You have appeared on a great number of albums throughout the years. What are some of your proudest accomplishments?
Maybe not an accomplishment, but I think one of my proudest moments was whilst having a break from rehearsals the band in the next studio came in (also having a break) a guy came over and asked who the drummer was, I acknowledged him – he complimented me on my drumming and said he thought my band sounded great. The person asking the question?….. Terry Bozzio.. gulp!!
Check out Thunderstick Online https://www.facebook.com/thunderstickofficial