If you think drum sets are just part of the band, think again.
Watching master drummer Grant Collins play his one of a kind $75,000 drum kit, complete with almost eighty pieces, including twenty six drums, thirty four cymbals, and eighteen foot pedals – it’s clear this is no ordinary instrument.
For the last 25 years, Grant has led a musical revolution of sorts to see the drums performed and viewed as a solo instrument.
It’s this passion that will next week be formalised within the music community as he graduates with a Doctorate from Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.
Defying stereotypical views on drumming, Grant uses all four limbs when he plays and says he will continue to “always push the limits and confines of music”.
“There are so many misconceptions about the drums, but they have incredible potential to captivate and be a contemporary solo instrument for the world stage,” he says.
“It’s my goal to not only attack the boundaries of a solo performer, but to also push the restrictions of this instrument to create ground-breaking works.”
His love for the drums started in his late teens, when he noticed “just how cool they were”.
After being told by his school music teacher at 10 years old he was too old to start playing the drums, he began drumming later in life with his high school mates in the garage, playing at the odd birthday party and then touring as a covers band.
From the first rock beat on, he was hooked.
“I started lessons when I was 22 and I had an insatiable appetite to learn. I had a routine where I practiced 10 to 12 hours a day”, he says.
After auditioning for University three years in a row, Grant was finally accepted but says his unconventional attitude towards music wasn’t always understood.
“I was ridiculed for some of my outside the box ideas, perhaps so much so, that I began to practice on my own a lot, which ironically led to the discovery that the drums can be played as a solo instrument,” he explains.
From this point onwards, his kit began to grow, as did appreciation from the industry for his unique talent and approach.
Trying to get shows as a solo drummer was difficult so he decided to pour his life savings into staging a one-off concert at the Tivoli Theatre in Brisbane and invited everyone he could, from the Queensland Arts Council to the Queensland Ballet to music reporters and other bands – so they could all see just what he could do with the drums.
His gamble paid off. The 900 seat venue sold out and the very next day he received a phone call to go on tour.
Grant has since taken his one man show to concert halls across the globe, and has been actively involved with the Queensland Arts Council and Education Queensland to bring his love for the drums and music to children throughout the state.
“These educational workshops opened up so many people’s eyes to the true musicality of the instrument and is allowing the youngest generation to take this distinctive legacy with them and make it their own,” he says.
The educational side of performance then sparked his desire to undertake a new challenge – one that would see him formulise a lifetime passion into an academic concept.
During his Doctorate with the Queensland Conservatorium, Grant also composed new pieces – some so epic in proportion they have taken over a year and a half to learn to play.
So what can an audience expect from a Grant Collins performance? It’s possibly best described by drumming’s global ambassador, Dom Famulrao, who said:
“When you hear him, be prepared for the ride he will take you on… you will remember it for the rest of your life!”
Grant graduated alongside 300 other students at the Graduation Ceremony on Thursday 31 July at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, South Bank.
MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren Marino, 0418 799 544, [email protected]