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  • Writer's pictureThe James Kennedy Podcast

#43 - STEVE BARNEY - LIFE AS A SESSION DRUMMER BEFORE & AFTER BREXIT

Steve Barney is a session drummer who, for the past 30 years has performed with artists including Anastacia, Annie Lennox, Jeff Beck, The Wanted, Will Young, Gianna Nannini and many others. He is also the author of the viral open letter about how it all came to a crushing pause after Brexit as a result of the 90 in 180 rule. We chat about Steve's career, life as a session musician, advice for upcoming musicians, working with Jeff Beck and Annie Lennox and of course, the issue of Brexit and how it is drastically affecting the music industry as told through Steve's personal story. Hear our conversation at : https://linktr.ee/jameskennedypodcast


TRANSCRIPT


JAMES KENNEDY: Hello and welcome to the James Kennedy Podcast episode number 43. Who would have thunk it? How have you guys been doing? You had a good week. I don't know about you but I feel like my mojo is slowly kicking back into gear. It's been a long winter, man, you know, metaphorically and literally. But the sun is slowly starting to creep out from behind the clouds. I'm just feeling a little bit more of that kind of, optimism and positivity kicking back in of all the things that I want to do and all the things I got coming up this year musically with the band, Of course, the second book. And, of course, lots of more awesome guests on the podcast.


As mentioned on a previous episode, I've been forcing myself to try and get a little bit more back on the health and fitness trip. Start doing the yoga again, trying to work on some, you know, breathing techniques, trying to get the old anxiety under control, because I seem to have developed this this weird anxiety disorder since the lockdown and everything with my father and stuff like that. It's almost like my nervous system is just on on mode all of the time. You know what I mean?


So I need to try and get a chill vibe going on. And, more positivity and more creative activity once again, you know, But I just need to avoid getting ill anymore, because, you know, that seems to be my new pastime, which is crazy because I literally never got ill. Like I said, I was the guy that was like, you know, everyone else would be given whatever the cold and virus was going around, and they would never touch me. It was crazy, but yeah, my system is on the floor, man. So I got to rebuild myself, put myself back together and get back on the saddle and get out and see you, lovely folks and kick some asses on stage and make some noise together again. You know what I mean? It's been too long. Boy, I can't wait.


Got a great guest lined up for you guys today. Speaking of making noise on stage, we've got a guy that's graced 1000 stages all over the world as the main sticks man for the likes of Annie Lennox, Anastasia, The Wanted, Will Young and the great Jeff Beck, as well as many, many others. This guy's got a lot of stories to tell and a lot of things to say. He's also the man behind the viral open letter on the issue of Brexit and how it's affected UK to boring musicians and crews in the Schengen area. post Brexit. An open letter that was read out in the houses of Parliament. And it's been a massive catalyst in amplifying and raising awareness on this issue and opening up the conversation more broadly with his case with his personal case study of how he was personally affected, which is absolutely shocking and tragic.


And it's a travesty that this community and all of the industries associated with it, which are many, are still so badly affected by that ridiculously mindless decision that this country and this government made to leave the EU. So we're going to be talking the life as a session musician. We're going to be getting into advice for upcoming musicians. We want to get into the game the reality of touring what it's like to hang out with these superstars, and I want to get an update on how Steve has now been since posting that famous open letter and how things are looking in his side of the industry him personally. So we got a lot to get into. This is gonna be a great chat, So stay tuned before we get into it. I just want to ask you one more time.


Have you subscribed to the podcast? If you haven't, please give us a follow or subscribe. Give us a share. Help you spread the word. This podcast is currently completely independent and advertising free. So all I've got is you guys to help me kick this out there. So if you give me a follow on whatever platform you listen to this on whether it's Spotify, Apple, YouTube, Stitcher, Castbox, on everything. Give us a follow. Give us a star rating. Let people know that it's some good shit happening here. And, and tell your friends to spread the word. So that's the nag done. Let's get down to business and bring on today's guest.


Steve Barney is a drummer and session musician who has taught the world performing with the likes of Jeff Beck, Annie Lennox, Anastasia, The Wanted, Will Young and, as I said, tonnes of others, which we're gonna hear about. He's also been very vocal on the issue of Brexit and how it's affected our beautiful industry and that of many others. So we've got a lot to get into. So let's welcome him onto the show. Mr Steve Barney, thanks for joining us, man. How you doing?


STEVE BARNEY: Good morning. How are you, man?


JAMES KENNEDY: I'm good thanks, bro. How are you doing?


STEVE BARNEY: I'm very good. I'm, I've been looking forward to this and good of you to ask me on the show. Thank you.


JAMES KENNEDY: No, thank you for taking the time out to come and speak with us, man. We really appreciate it. And, you know, the listeners won't know they won't be able to see, But we are currently both sporting very winter wear black hoodies. Very stylish, I might say very in season. Anyone that follows me on Instagram will probably believe that I spend all of my life pouting in a leather jacket and ripped jeans. But the truth, unfortunately is is far, far from that. So we got a load of stuff to get into today when you've got a really interesting career and life story so far and there's there's tonnes of angles that I want to get through on this. But before we get into it, do you want to kind of, like, introduce yourself to those listeners that don't know of you yet or what you've been up to and give us an overview of, who Steve Barney is, and what's he been doing?


STEVE BARNEY: Ok, well, my name is Steve Barney. And, yeah, I've been a drummer as far as I can remember back, you know, from when I was a when I was a very young kid and I just sort of grew up in a household with my Dad's kind of enthusiasm for music and his record collection and him kind of coming back from concerts and just generally smelling of music, you know what I mean? And a concert experience where I grew up in Norwich, there was a, there was a venue on the north Norfolk coast in a place called West Run, which is near Cromer for anybody that doesn't know. But my Dad would often go to this place called the West Run Pavilion, where quite a lot of bands would go to prior to the UK tour starting and kind of do warm up shows so my Dad would often go there. He saw people like ACDC and, you know, with Bon Scott and like, a lot of the original kind of great rock bands. So he would often come back from those kind of gigs and kind of, I guess wake me up to say good night.


But then I could just sort of feel this kind of, I could almost hear and sort of, I don't just mean the smell, that sounds kind of a I don't mean a bad smell, I mean, like, the enthusiasm and the Yeah, Yeah, yeah, it's kind of love your music. So, yeah, As I said, I sort of grew up in a house where, you know, music was was kind of very at the forefront of the household, you know, and that my Dad's not a musician, and neither is my mum. But, I guess the real turning point for me getting into music was, in 1980 when I was nine. My Dad and my uncle got me or got them and me and concert tickets for Janitors. The band Genesis were playing, they were playing like a UK theatre tour. I guess even though they were like, arena sized band, they wanted to sort of reconnect to do like a, I think they did, like, a 40 day UK tour.


JAMES KENNEDY: So you were, like, nice and up close and you could see the drums


STEVE BARNEY: Yeah, and we, you know, like for the Genesis of all places came to Great Yarmouth on the coast, which is mad to think that that happens. But, yeah, I again, you know, I think I knew it was a big deal. My uncle getting the tickets for the concert kind of queued all night with the a sleeping bag and flask, you know, old school kind of ways of getting concert tickets. So even though I wasn't aware of like how special it was that we got these tickets, I kind of I think I kind of and even to this day can kind of sort of remember almost the feeling of, like, the Golden Ticket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. So, Mate, just that night, seeing Genesis, you know, and Phil Collins and Chester Thompson, the drummers in in particular really hit a kind of a sort of really, really sort of struck a chord with me, right? And I pretty much left the concert that night going, I want to be a drummer, you know


JAMES KENNEDY: Beautiful. Yeah, man, I could totally relate to that because I had a very, very similar experience at the same age as well, like when I was nine. That's when I came across the guitar and discovered my love for the instrument. And I was just obsessed, you know, ever since then, you know, I can still remember that moment, like, you know, it was crystallised in my memory forever. You know what I mean? So I can totally relate to that. So you knew right there and then that you were a drummer and that was your calling. And and you were in for life.


STEVE BARNEY: I did. I was already playing, but that concert that night just sort of felt like I was sort of struck by a bolt of lightning, and that's so corny. It's so corny to say, And when you repeat these things, it just sounds like a cliche corny story. But I really, I can't be more honest about how I felt that night and subsequent kind of concerts that Dad took me to see. I saw the great Buddy Rich jazz drummer at the Theatre Royal, which I knew was kind of a special thing. We even kind of hung side stage trying to catch him before we arrived and we were waiting. And I said, Dad, you know what? We might as well just go in if he's not coming. And my Dad said, No, just wait five minutes. You know, like I said, the show's gonna start. We're gonna miss it. And then I think it was either like a BMW or a Mercedes or a Rolls Royce or something quite posh. And out steps Buddy Rich, and we kind of met him and I shook his hand. You know what? I think I was 10 or 11, so that felt special as well.


JAMES KENNEDY: So you got a cool Dad then, fair play, your Dad, he’s responsible for all of this


STEVE BARNEY: I did and do have a cool Dad. He's not in the best of health these days, but he's still a very, very cool man. And he's got a lot to answer for the way my life went


JAMES KENNEDY: He sounds like a legend, man, and we thank him as well for the gift of music that you've given us over all these years. So fast forwarding, then from there into you becoming a professional session drummer. You know how How does that happen? How did it happen for you? Because I'm always interested in how people get into that world.


STEVE BARNEY: Well, I'll fast forward through all the years of kind of being being in Norfolk until I moved to Liverpool where I live. I mean, now I've I've been in, next year will be 30 years since I moved up here, and it was it was a leap of faith. So when you say you're professional, I consider myself when I had a great grounding in Norwich and Norfolk, playing around the pubs and clubs and kind of cabaret circuit and summer seasons. I started very Young, you know, I was in quite Young bands doing talent competitions, you know, all sorts of stuff. Just playing mate as much as possible. But yeah, I consider from 94 is when I kind of left my normal job and I went, you know, I've got to give it a go. So I am I answered an ad in the NME and Melody Maker for an advert for a band up in Liverpool called Bully Rag. And it was a heavy rock kind of ragga rap, sort of crossover mishmash of styles with a very scouse kind of attitude about it. And I answer this ad and I came up to Liverpool for an audition and I got the job. So that was that was me kind of, make making or rather, taking the leap of faith. And I'm really proud of myself, man, that I'm sitting here almost 30 years later. You know, still, you know, playing drums and that was that's become my kind of job, you know?


JAMES KENNEDY: So you were in the band. It wasn't a session gig. You were actually in in that band?


STEVE BARNEY: I was in the band yeah. So I joined the band, as I said in in 94. 2000 we got signed to Mercury Records. We made one album, released, you know, about four singles. We did an awful lot of touring quite often. Supporting quite larger alternative rock acts, you know? I mean rock hadn't really broken on commercial radio as much as it did you know then And who knows what would have happened if we'd have been signed slightly later? You know, But, you know, I don't regret anything. And it was a great grounding being in that band. There was some great musicianship, and it was a great time. We made an album with a guy called Chris Hughes producing who was the drummer from Adam and the Ants. He went on to, produce Tears For Fears and Paul McCartney and Robert Plant. So that was very good.


JAMES KENNEDY: Must have been awesome.


STEVE BARNEY: Yeah, so that kind of brought me to Liverpool, Mate. And when that band kind of disbanded or imploded like bands do, I was kind of like, man, what am I gonna do? And I really didn't feel like continuing down the band kind of route. I sort of just reached out to various producers and musicians and managers that I've met and just trying to carve a route of getting something more freelance and and self employed, which does take a while when you put all your eggs into a band basket, you know, and you suddenly you tell people that you want to be a session drummer but yet you've got no previous experience of it. You know, they obviously people ask. Well, what have you done then? You go? Well, I've been in this band for six years. So it took a few people to really, God bless them, give me an opportunity. And strangely, I took a massive left turn musically from what I'd been doing. And, I got the job as a session player for the pop group called the Atomic Kitten.


JAMES KENNEDY: That was your first gig?


STEVE BARNEY: Yeah, that was my first session gig. And they were, they had a number one at the time with Whole Again. You know, the pop song. And we ended up doing a live Top of the Pops thing and, you know, wasn't played back. It was, you know, pretty pretty simple song. But it was a big deal, man. I mean, getting Top of the Pops for me was, as we all kind of remember, Oh, people of our age at least


JAMES KENNEDY: Speak for yourself, Granddad.


STEVE BARNEY: No, I'm probably a lot older than you, but, but no, Ultimately anyone that knows the Top of the Pops knows that was a great you know, boost for me, that was the one to have on the CV for sure. And I subsequently continued to play for them. The manager brought in a musical director, which is quite common as you'll be aware. And, but also, what you'll be aware and many musicians will be aware is that musical director tends to bring in their own players, you know, again, because of a previous experience that they're working with them or friendships with them. But it was I was fortunate enough that there was a guy who was brought in to do the MD for them called Mike Stevens. He's a great musician and subsequently became a great friend. And again, he was a real golden ticket for me. I didn't realise that at the time, But ultimately he, he came down and he kind of checked. I guess me and some of the other local players out and kind of kept me on board, you know? So I did that for a couple of years, you know, with them.


JAMES KENNEDY: That's awesome, man. I mean, Jesus Christ, what an opportunity to kick off with? That must have been amazing. And is it like it is in other branches of this industry whereby, you know, once you've kind of got that first foot in the door, that it is a lot easier than to hear about other opportunities or other things that are going on to, you know, or to be offered things or be included in things? Was that kind of your experience? Is that what happened with you.


STEVE BARNEY: I think it did. I think that sort of I think work work can breed work. And if people just see you about and on things, they can think of you. I mean, oddly enough, I I mean, I guess London being the kind of centre of, you know, things in this country that everyone kind of seems to think you have to live in London to be, you know, doing stuff. And for the most part, that that's kind of true. But I I never wanted to move to London. I've I've lived and worked in London on and off for various points, and I really love London. But financially, I wanted to see if I can make your work staying in Liverpool yet working in London and, well, that's not always been the case and doing these types of interviews that we are speaking now, and I kind of fast forward and edit my life. People may think that just because you ask me about my career that we go from one thing to the next because I'm trying to remember the good stuff and it is good and I've been incredibly lucky Mate, but, but there's a lot of kind of highs and lows, Mate, that there really is. I've I've been I've been, I've had times where there's not been too much work. So not I'm not trying to go off kind of a subject here, but I'm just trying to sort of get a balance. So when you talk about, once you're in kind of breed work, it kind of does. It definitely does. But I think ultimately for me in particular, meeting Mike Stevens, that musical director in particular and really helps me a lot. And he, you know, while he put other people up for lots of gigs, he definitely, you know, gave me a call for some really great work, which, you know, you know, which we can we can talk about, you know?


JAMES KENNEDY: Oh, yeah, 100% man, we've got to get into all that stuff. But I think it's really interesting that you mentioned the balance because that's something that I'm personally interested in, as I've mentioned in previous episodes, because I think it's healthy for people who are coming up in the game who were starting out. You know they they're working their ass off. They're doing all the things that the rule book says, You know, be professional, be nice, be easy to work with and all that sort of stuff. They're doing all that stuff. They're talented as all hell, and they just cannot catch a break. For whatever reason, you know, they're just not getting any luck at all. And they're getting despondent. They're questioning their decisions. You know, they're struggling with mental health or struggling with their finances. They have to juggle a day job and stuff. So I think it's really good that you mentioned that it wasn't just one straight line from, you know, Atomic Kitten to Anastasia, Annie Lennox, Jeff Beck, win after win after win after win because that just makes other people, then think, Oh, shit, well, what's wrong with me then? You know, So I think it's really cool that you mentioned that reality because I'm sure in between all of those amazing successes you had, that there were periods when you were struggling or questioning your decisions or, you know


STEVE BARNEY: You know what, I still do. I mean, I don't mind being honest about it, even to this day like I mean, I know we're going to speak about, my kind of situation that happened last year with regard to my open letter and the the the 90 in 180 situation I got caught up in. But so even to this day, there are struggles for us all with work. And let's be honest. I mean, I'm a drummer, So let's talk about drummers. There's some incredible drummers around. Many of them are my friends and peers and, like we're all eating off the same plate. So and you know there's everyone can offer something different. So there is. There's a lot of really good people around, and they sort of, sometimes it's Luck just being in the right place at the right time. Some people network like hell to try and get work off the next man or woman. Do you know what I mean and find out what's going on? Some people just wait for the phone call, and sometimes you get a phone call out of the blue that you've not tried to get a gig for, and it just happened. Some of the best bits of work I've had have come to me like that, which I'm very grateful for. It’s just whatever you want to call it, Luck or my name just kind of crops up at the at the right time. But no, I think I think it is important to speak honestly about this because I think no one likes, I think, for their own pride, nobody likes to talk about the down times.


But if you just talk about as you just pointed out, you just talk about all the gigs and the high times, then people that and I do want to inspire Young people you know who are sort of up and coming and want to do, say, freelance or session work that it is possible. But, but maybe it will make them kind of understand that it's not all sort of stepping from one tour bus to the next, you know, on the on the motorway, without without even going like, wow, he's like he's literally just going from one bus to the next to a to a looks like and sometimes and sometimes Mate, it has been like that really lucky going man this is great. And then sometimes you think, man, have I upset somebody? It is a balance, and the irony is sort of self employment, and the word self is in there. And you have to believe in the self because if if no one, you know, if you don't believe in yourself, how how the hell is anyone else gonna sort of trust your self employment? So it's it's a constant, you know, It's a constant evaluation and trying to improve yourself. And I just try and be a decent person when I'm on the road with everyone. And, you know, I'm certainly not, you know, the best drummer in the world. I'm not even the best drummer in my house. My son started to play drums. You know, I'd like to think and hope that I've been a really solid, reliable, drummer for artists to kind of have with on stage. And I think that says a lot about my particular drum style is that I've been solid and reliable and hopefully make everything feel good on and off stage.


JAMES KENNEDY: You know, I think that makes a difference as well, isn't it? Because it's not a meritocracy in the sense of it's just about how good you are, you know, you've got to be easy to work with. You've got to be reliable and professional and all those things as well, especially as a session player. So I think that's worth pointing out for, for up and coming session players as well who are trying to get into the game. And it's not necessarily just about being better than the next guy because, as you said, there's so many fucking great musicians out there, you know what I mean? And to think that we're in competition with each other, I think is is the wrong mindset. I'm not in competition with anybody in my community. We're a community of brothers and sisters, you know what I mean? But where you'll gain the upper hand, I suppose, is in those other things. You gotta be personable. You got to be reliable. You got to be professional. People have got to be able to work with you because it's tough on the road, man, in whatever capacity


STEVE BARNEY: Absolutely everything you've just said. I agree with I mean you literally, if you've got all the most technical chops and ability with your instrument in the world. But you're a complete, utter dick and you have no you have just no sense of people around you and their their space and their well being. You don't know what people are going through on the road, you know? You know, obviously everyone's got individual lives back home, yet you're on a tour bus together and you're sharing each other's days and and let's face it, just stay in the obvious. There's an awful lot more hours off stage than there are on. So while the music and the stage and the show is ultimately number one, that's the reason we're all there. It's vitally important to give each other the respect and, you know, just trying to be aware of each other's kind of personal space and and actually just try and, you know, just try and be a good person to be around, and I'm sure I'm not that all the time. But I do try and I do like having a laugh, and I do like trying to, you know, make make the room happy. You know, but no, I think it's important, like, you sort of say to to find that balance with, with not just being a crazy technical musician, because that will not get you or that will not keep you the gig , you know what I mean, long term


JAMES KENNEDY: Yeah. Oh, no. I know from personal experience some of the best musicians I've ever played with in my life would just be impossible to be in a band with. And ultimately, when you're on the road, especially when you're in an original band that's struggling on a shoestring budget, You know, you just haven't got the infrastructure to be fucking putting up with that stuff. You know, I'd rather go with someone who's not as good, but is fucking sane, you know?


STEVE BARNEY: Yeah, Yeah, yeah, yeah, I agree. I agree., totally


JAMES KENNEDY: Well sticking with the reality of of that this lifestyle for a second. Then let's let's let's pick a little case study. So what would say an average day look like you're in the middle of a tour with an artist at the level of someone like Anastasia. What would what does an average day look like? What's what's the reality of that life?


STEVE BARNEY: Ok, so if you're, on a yeah, you'd pretty much be doing it on the tour bus as far as travel is concerned, unless there's kind of sort of long, long journeys where you've got to get it from one country to the next. If it's doable by bus, they will do it in that particular way. But your your average time and you would wake up in the morning in your bunk and, and this is gonna sound crude. But it's kind of true if you wake up And, the call of nature is calling, and I and I don't mean I don't mean a number one. Sorry. So, quite often, and and also, for anyone that doesn't know tour buses, you're not allowed to do a number two or another, so you might want to start your day. I mean, I'm being very prime and talking about you might be parked up outside the venue. You might be, you know, throwing some clothes on. You might be trying to bang on the door to try and get in the venue early, which is usually locked because you're trying to go to the toilet. I mean, beautiful, but no.


So eventually you would kind of get up and, the catering would be there in the venue and you'd go in and you'd have your catering and, have a shower, and then you'd have sort of time throughout the day to do, you know, it's kind of free time if if there's nothing to be kind of, improved on or something to be learned with regard to the show, you would use your time to do that. But I would spend my day either, you know, sort of free, sort of like travelling around the the city that I'm in to, you know, sort of take a bit of interest in where I am or or catch up with the email, you know, or and then like before you know it, after having some lunch, you'll be kind of ready for an A like a mid-afternoon sound check. And then after sound check, you would you know, you would sort of, obviously, like the band would sound check first, and then the artist would stick. Say, Anastasia. She would come on and do whatever songs that they want to check from the night before stuff and then you'll have a couple of hours before the show do the show, and then you're back on the bus and and you kind of and you just really try and keep an eye on kind of your hours because after the elation of being on stage, even though the applause is connected to you, it's not for you. But you can't help but being caught up in the the the the emotion of a of of making people feel good, Mate, let's be really honest about what it is.


JAMES KENNEDY: Yeah, when you're up there doing your thing, you're up there smashing shit out of your kit. You know, up in the lights, you got the applause. You got the adrenaline. You you're just as much in it as as anybody


STEVE BARNEY: I think it's entertaining people. And when you come out of a room, say, for example, 5000 or or even one, you know, whatever 500 people, five people, you've entertained people it feels good, You know what I mean? And you and you've shared your kind of And you're talented people. So yeah, so it takes a while to come down from that, you know? So you might be on the bus having a few drinks, but try not to let that go to kind of sunrise. It's a bad balance, like with everything we spoke about. Musically, it's a balance as well, within how to look after yourself on the road, which people have been tested. And I'm, you know, I'm no angel with with regards to that, but me other you know, that's just one sort of scenario of the day. You don't always stay, you know, on the bus. You don't sleep on the bus in hotels, so you've got it kind of varies from gig to gig and artist to artist. There's, You know, I had a I had a great experience in 2019, going to Japan for the first time, and I was there working with a phenomenal guitar player songwriter called Hotei, most famous internationally for the soundtrack to Kill Bill. This instrumental that he did. But I'm sharing this because it was the absolute opposite of the Anastasia scenario. Or or that particular tour bus scenario where I was based in Tokyo in a you know, I had my own apartment in Tokyo for 3, 3.5 months, and, he predominantly worked in just weekends.


So, like Friday and Saturday, you'll do a show. And we had the whole week off, which was just an absolute joy on me. Well, don't say that to my wife. It was really, really no. It was as far as like, you know, the way we could live and enjoy the country and that city was was a great experience, sort of. His particular music was seriously high energy and in a funny way, to sort of have a whole week off of not drumming and then having to go in once a week at that level was definitely psychologically more of a challenge. You know what I mean? So it was very different. Yeah, that's two scenarios.


JAMES KENNEDY: Those are the true riches, I think, you know that we get because money comes and goes, you know, good times come and go. And I think When you look back on your life, though, and you've got all those stories and hundreds of others, I'm sure. And those memories, that's priceless. You can't put up price on that stuff, can you? You know, you've seen things that most people won't. And you've done it because of music, you know


STEVE BARNEY: Absolutely. I mean, I you know, I'm so grateful to be able to say, you know, sort of, you know, a lot of the things that I've been connected to, you know, And I've been really lucky in my life, Mate. And, for example, like, we just talked about the to be in Japan with one of the biggest artists in Japan on the Japanese stage. It's just the best feeling in the world to be so far away from home that an artist are singing in a different language. Yet you're there. And experiencing that, it's just you can't be anything other than grateful to be there really, for it. That was a particularly special one.


JAMES KENNEDY: Oh, I can imagine, man. Jesus Christ. What a trip That must have been.


STEVE BARNEY: I was so lucky thinking about man. If it had happened a year later and the pandemic hit, it would have been God knows what would have happened. This was 2019, then the summer before.


JAMES KENNEDY: Shit. Oh yeah, You were lucky!


STEVE BARNEY: It was literally I got home middle of September of, you know, of, 2019 and who would have thought six months later it would have been like, What? What? What happened?


JAMES KENNEDY: Oh, yeah, man, that is some seriously good fortune right there. I mean, to have to have lost out on that amazing opportunity and experience just for the sake of a few months difference before the pandemic. Jesus Christ, that would have sucked big time. So let's name some of the other guys that you've worked with and we've mentioned quite a few of them already. I'm sure, who have been some of the other notable and awesome artists? You've had the pleasure to pound the skins behind.


STEVE BARNEY: Well, just just last year. So after the pandemic in the couple of years, which was a a particularly, you know, challenging time for everybody. Let's face it, but particularly the arts. But just last year, going back out and with an artist called Gianna Nannini, who's an Italian singer.

And she, asked a friend of mine, a guitar player, British guitar player, A friend of mine called Milton McDonald to suggest, like some British drummer names for her to kind of think about it for a tour.


STEVE BARNEY: So, yeah, I am. I I spent all of last sort of summer out with Jana doing doing stuff which is great again, being predominantly. Travelling around Italy with a with an Italian singing artist, you know, was another phenomenal. Especially after the two year pause that a lot of musicians have felt. I felt very fortunate to get it back out and doing doing what I did, but yeah, I mean, going back to the other names you mentioned, Annie was a phenomenal artist this year, you know, sort of stuff with, again going back to Mike Stevens, the guy that I mentioned earlier on He, he put me up for that after seeing me playing with Jeff Beck, the following, the previous year. And, I think you know, God bless Jeff Beck. You know who who we've sadly just lost earlier in this month. I was so, so lucky to to to spend, you know, a small period of my career with him making an album. Which came out in 2003, and then, it was during 2002 that I was recording that album with Jeff that he got asked to do, a three night career retrospective at the Royal Festival Hall. And I think just maybe because I was lucky enough to be on the session at that time playing drum drums on this particular record and this call came in for these, shows. He asked me if I would be the house drummer for that for that event. And I was like, Sure, yeah, and I thought about all the incredible drummers that have been, you know, with Jeff over the years who I would have to try and emulate, which is just when you got names like Simon Phillips and Terry Bozzio.


And I'm not even gonna you know, I'm not even gonna I don't even belong anywhere near you know those guys. But the type of album we were making was more incoherent with Say what I play like, you know, I guess Heavy, heavy, groove orientated rock kind of beats is is the album that we were making. It was it was closer to say, Chemical Brothers and Prodigy esque from a rhythm section point of view. But anyway, I said yes. And I found myself in September of 2002 in the Royal Festival Hall with Jeff Beck for three nights and with a whole host of friends and guests of Jeff that that we got to play with every night from John McLaughlin, Roger Waters and we played What God wants. Do you know that song?


JAMES KENNEDY: Yeah!


STEVE BARNEY: Parts one and three or something. Great singer called Imogen Heap, Jennifer Batton, the guitar player to Michael Jackson, Mate, It was like, This is your life, you know, it's just unbelievable. But my friend Mike Stevens was in the audience that night watching me after seeing me play with Atomic Kitten, which is such a juxtaposition of, you know, it couldn't be more different from the pop gig I've done, but I think I think that showed my my versatility. And when he got the call the following year to put a band together for Annie, her first solo tour. He kindly put me forward. So I went over to Annie's house and, we met and we talked about music and she played me her new album. Yeah, that was the audition, just kind of meeting her and listening to her album. And then I fortunately got that tour, and I toured with her in 2003 and then 2010. We did promo for her Christmas inspired album called The Christmas Cornucopia. So and she's an amazing, amazing artist as you Oh, yeah, and everybody knows that there, you know, I absolutely love playing with a It was a probably one of the best tour in times of my life. Playing with her. You know, we did a tour in 2004, opening for Sting across North America. So, you know, to be on stage with Annie for an hour, go and grab a beer and then watch Sting play some police classics. It was the best.


JAMES KENNEDY: I think I'm done with this conversation. Now, I don't want to hear any more.


STEVE BARNEY: Mate there is high and low. I'm just sharing some golden nuggets and fortunate opportunities.


JAMES KENNEDY: Well, you've shared, you know, you you've given us, you know, some of the realities of this life. So, yeah, man. I mean, these are the Like, I said, These are the rewards, man. So you got to revel in it because you have done this shit


STEVE BARNEY: Apparently so. I mean, it's quite funny. I'm kind of like with a twist of irony. But quite often when you jump off these tours and it doesn't take long for me to get into sort of home life, then you think and you think, wasn't that me? You know what I mean? And it sounds kind of silly that I'm saying that probably. But it's, like, for example, even me reminiscing something with the great Jeff Beck, which was, you know, 20 years ago, and I and I did, and I think, did I really do that? And then you know, because I keep kind of stuff and I've got my memories. Thank thankfully. And I know I did that. Yeah. I'm fortunate to do it 100 percent, man.


JAMES KENNEDY: You know that that does make total sense. Because, I mean, I had this conversation with Benji Webbe just a few episodes back, and he was saying, You know, when you're up there doing all these amazing festivals and stuff and there's, you know, fucking hundreds of thousands of people there or whatever you kind of for want of a better word, you are kind of working, you know, it's not You're not working in that sense. Like, you know, you just you're just punching in the clock or whatever, but you are immersed in what you're doing. You know, you're concentrating on that. And if you stop and soak it all up for a second, it throws you off your groove. You know what I mean? Or you start panicking about it. So you're kind of just in the moment doing it. And then it's only afterwards when the adrenaline dies down and it's like Fuck, man, did did I just do that?


STEVE BARNEY: You know, you're right. I mean, when you when you're up there on the drum Riser, you know, as we're talking about drums, you know that Yeah, you You really, no matter what kind of, musical jobs I've had, whether it be some people might kind of, you know, might kind of smirk when we talk about Atomic Kitten, for example. But every single, you know, gig whether it be a pop thing or or a robust kind of rock thing, like or Bully Rag, my old Liverpool band I was in or Gianna Nannini last year, you know, playing sort of big, powerful Italian ballads. You really have to focus on every style of music that you're playing and be honourable to that music, as you would know. So you're right. I mean, in the moment, you really are focused on making things feel like, you know, you're the anchor of the band. Hopefully, and, just trying to make everything feel good.


And But I have, unfortunately moved, about, 14 months ago and sort of trying to get sorted with, I've sort of held on to a lot of stuff for my career, being I know to be the instrument, but like, you know, and that sounds crazy, but tour passes, laminates, itineraries. I haven't thrown them away. Because to me they they mean so much to me. And like some people, just probably at the end of the tour would throw them in the bin to me, every single one of those passes laminates, bracelets, you know, around, you know, backstage bracelets, or you know, this. They're all gold nuggets of my career, and I don't know, You know, I just I've been actually sorting through them in the last week, which has been quite mad, you know, to look back on some of the stuff, and it reminded me of these things.


JAMES KENNEDY: I think it's important to do that, you know, because yeah, like it so much happens in life. And, like I say, you've got, you know, your home life and stuff to deal with it as well. So they're your Mementos. You know, that's your kind of legacy, really, of all the things you've done. And it's a reminder for yourself as well, because, you know, then that fast paced lifestyle of stage to tour bus to stage and then another tour and stuff like that. You're bound to forget some stuff, you know? And these are precious memories, man. I mean, you know, you mentioned Jeff Beck. What was it like working with Jeff? I mean, obviously, you know, we lost recently one of the best guitar players you know the world has ever known. So I think we could to give a little shout out the nod to the incredible Mr Jeff Beck, and you got to work with the man himself. What was what was it like? That must be crazy.


STEVE BARNEY: It was amazing. I mean, when I got the call from a producer friend called Andy Wright who I met while I was in Bully Rag, he was one of the guys I've reached out to after my band broke up saying, Listen, I'm looking for session work, you know, and and he kind of, and and he sort of called me maybe a sort of six months to a year after I first got in touch with him about trying to get work and he said, Mate, I've got a project for you which I think you'd be great for. And I was like, Oh, great. I presumed it would be a new artist or something, something fresh that he was working on. And I said Who is it? He said. I was, Jeff Beck and I was like, I couldn't believe it. I said, I said, Have you got the right Steve? He said, Oh, definitely. And he explained it like so And he had already done a, a really successful album with Jeff called You Had it Coming. And I think that was out in 2001, and it was quite a, quite a departure for Jeff. It was they had a really phenomenal cover version of Nitin Sawhney’s song called Nadia. I don't know if you've heard of it. You should check that out. It's amazing. So anyway, he said, Listen, we come down to Metropolis Studios in, we'll get you a great kits and you know, we we'll play the song for a couple of hours. Jeff will walk in, you'll sound great. He'll love you, and that's exactly kind of what happened. I kind of was playing this song that Andy put up for me to play, too, and then I kind of was so focused on the kind of drum of my head was done and I looked through to the control room. And there was Jeff Beck, kind of arms in the air, giving me a, it is Jeff Beck. He he was seen in, like, 85 with Terry Bozzio on the Guitar Shop tour So there I was. Somehow I don't know how. I mean, I I don't know how you get from being kind of a a teenager in an audience at the Birmingham NE C watching the guy to being in a studio, and suddenly he's on the other side of the I was just, you know, very, very lucky. But you know that he was, but he was great to work with. It was I ended up contributing, maybe to six songs on the those sessions, one of one of which won Jeff a Grammy.


JAMES KENNEDY: Jeez, great work man!


STEVE BARNEY: It's called Plan B. It's best in I think it won best rock instrumental performance. But Jeff was just and will always be, You know, the greatest guitar player I think this world has ever seen. I don't know. What can you say that hasn’t been said about him already? He was. I'll tell you one thing that maybe not people don't know about Jeff is that he He's a really funny guy. He had a He had a great sense of humour. I mean, we were always laughing and joking around, You know, one of the things, for some reason that came to sort of mind recently because I found a letter that he wrote to me after I did those Royal Festival Hall shows and he kind of he reminded me because he said, Oh, maybe we should do a Bum Gravy tour over the USA And I remembered that we were joking about coming up with the kind of band names funny names for our our bands, you know, our sort of And, one of one of the names was Funf, which is German for five I believe we we thought we'd call ourselves and, and then Bum Gravy was randomly one that Jeff seemed to love, and that's the one he remembered. But so no, he loved He loved to laugh, Mate, but he had a other worldly ability on the guitar was a real note, and it was, you know, to to play with him in a studio context was just enough to me. The guy would have been enough. But for me to get that experience of playing with him at the Royal Festival Hall was just something I'll never I'll never forget. And he was a you know, he was a He was a great guy, man. And, yeah, he's gonna be really missed, but I think forever cherished and listened to by people. Ah, 100%.


JAMES KENNEDY: I mean, you know what an absolutely priceless experience. And of course, you know, big shout out and respect to Jeff, you know, rest in peace. Jeff Beck. What a loss for all of us. You know, it was for you. I mean, what an experience that must have been to have actually played with the man, let alone meet the guy. You know, totally well, things like that are, obviously they they're a dream gig, right? And so many of the things that you've talked about just sound like they've been incredible experiences both personally and musically. But I would love to know, for the sake of gossip, and I'm not asking from your personal experience because I know that Obviously you can't name names, but do you know of anyone in a similar field to yourself that's doing a similar thing? Who's had the opposite experience of working with an iconic artist who turns out to actually be a fucking dick?


STEVE BARNEY: Oh, definitely. Yeah. There's definitely people that, people within our industry kind of know about that are very, very difficult to kind of work for and seem to sort of go out of their way to make your life a misery. It might be. It might be an incredibly well paid gig. It might be one that holds a great stature. So once you've done it and you're associated with that name, but ultimately, I don't know, especially the older I get. You know, would you really want to put up with being treated so bad by by somebody you know what I mean? Or just someone who's a bully? You know what I mean? Even in the you know, or just Yeah, yeah, but there are There are people out there, but I wouldn't say I hear about loads of people out like that. But But there are people that there's a there's there's definitely one name, but I wish I mean, I I'll, I'll tell you off air. There's one person who's meant to be, really just, you know, not a great artist to work for, but yet is held in such high regard, you know, but yet not not kind of great, but yeah, I guess you know, artists they have, you know, They, you know, especially, I mean again, no names, even with the people that I've worked with. But, you know, even some of the artists that I work with, I think in the build up to so during rehearsal period during that period, the incubation period before you go out for a tour when maybe the artist might be still trying to get comfortable with the band or comfortable with what they want. They may not. They may have an idea of what they want from a song or a show, but it takes trying to out every day and then any awkwardness they might have about explaining to you what they mean.


You know, there's been scenarios with artist where they're feeling quite vulnerable during the rehearsal period, and you quite often feel way more than on the tour that you're really earning your money during the rehearsal period because because it's more intense, you know, basically. But, you know, that's part of the job. And you are there hired for the job, and you keep routine in the songs as many times as as an artist would need. But yeah, we just we all do our best, you know?


JAMES KENNEDY: Right? Nicely dodged. I'll get some names here after we finish recording. Well, we need to shift gears now because we've been talking for the past 40 minutes about how awesome this line of work is, and this industry and this gift of talent and music and joy that we we've given to people with what we do. But you've also become known for an open letter that you posted on the Internet last year about how Brexit has personally affected you. And it went viral, didn't it? I was there in the houses of Parliament when your open letter was read out to the MP s and the Lords that were there and they couldn't believe what they were hearing. It was a real talking point. It became a central theme, actually, of the of the rest of the proceedings because they just couldn't believe what they were hearing. And you kind of really helped to amplify that conversation around this issue about how Brexit has been so disastrous for the music industry. Not just the musicians but the crews and the light and text and the sound text and everybody and so many different associated industries and, of course, completely unassociated industries. But it's just been bad all round if we're honest, right?


But your open letter, which went viral, has really helped to, personify this issue away from cold facts and figures about how this actually affects real working people's lives. And we've heard about all of the wonderful experiences that you've had in your long, hard one professional career as a musician. And then you wrote about how all of that has come to a devastating and terminal end as a result of the British public's decision to leave the EU. Now some of my listeners might know about this already because we have done quite a few episodes specifically on this issue. Now we had Tim Brennan on, of course, from the Carry on Touring campaign. We've had Kevin Brennan the MP talking about it. We've had, our mutual friend Peredur Ap Gwynedd was on a few episodes back talking about this and several others as well. But as your personal stories has become so central to this issue now, I would love to reiterate it again just for those people who who need this repeated as to as to exactly why this issue is so important. So if possible, if you could if you don't mind going over this again, tell the listeners what happened with you in the Anastasia tour. What went down?


STEVE BARNEY: Sure. So Anastasia is an artist I've been fortunately working with since 2009. And, you know, I was I was kind of, set to do her tour of late last year, which the rehearsals were gonna be starting in, late August. And, basically, what what happened was, after the after the two year pandemic that we that we all know about, I unfortunately got asked as I spoke about earlier to go on tour with Gianna Nannini and so So there I was back, back on the road, enjoying myself, playing these shows with this great Italian artist and sort of, you know, apart from the weirdness of just going back out there and being on the road And, you know, once once you'd got familiarised with how to play drums again and how to tour again and and how to wear a mask.


And, basically, it kind of dawned on me. Hang on a minute. This Brexit thing has happened. You know, I obviously I knew it had happened, but what? It reminded me that there was a There was a kind of a 90 180 scenario with basically 90 days in every 180 days that British residents are allowed to be in the Schengen EU area. So I obviously was out with an Italian artist predominantly touring the EU. So I started to count my days up, and I flagged it with and the stages management and production manager saying, Listen, I'm out with this, Italian artist, and I'm just thinking ahead here, but in order for me to do the Anastasia tour, which was gonna be at least six weeks in the EU that I knew because I was with this Italian artist, that it was gonna be without without some type of visa extension on the 90 days, that we were going to run into trouble. So because this is a whole new dawn of this situation and like I've been going backwards and forwards, like all of us, to the EU for years without counting at all, you know, it's not a bit about counting or the end of freedom of Movement as we know it. So I was aware of, you know, the the more stuff I was doing with the the days are adding up and a sort of, you know, basically, in a nutshell, he came to a head when, you know, I was speaking to the production manager for Anastasia about visa waivers and stuff, and it really like the more we looked, the more the more we realised it doesn't there isn't a Schengen wide visa that covers all of the Schengen. It doesn't exist.


There is individual, I think you can get individual visas for each Schengen state, but that's individually purchasing a visa, which they would need flight details, hotel details where you're staying, and quite often as any touring person will know. A lot of those details for the hotels and flights aren't confirmed or quite close to the to to the tour, you know? So it was gonna be now impossible. It's basically red tape. It would take me forever to kind of get that sorted. So without a full, Schengen wide visa, I was unable legally to do the Anastasia tour. So it came to a head where, Anastasia’s manager rang me and he had to make a call on that because it was getting closer and closer to the time when, she was going to be starting rehearsals, probably in about a month after when he made the call. I said, I'm really sorry, Mate, but we're gonna have to, you know, we're gonna have to make a call on this. And I said to him, Don't even say the words like I didn't even want him to say, You know, I'm afraid you can't do the tour. I just I didn't even want him to say it, Mate. You know, so And I think you and your listeners will be understanding. And when I say this, I kind of felt almost because I've been lucky enough to go back out.


And let's face it, I was trying to make up, like all of us for the last two years of Yeah, No money, You know what I mean? With with with touring work and to have another tour? I was very fortunate to have that set to happen, you know? So it was really hard to lose that, Mate. And, you know, it was a It was a a sort of psychological hardship to lose that Anastasia tour and financial. You know what I mean? It was it was a loss, You know what I mean? Like financially and just, you know, even even now, I mean that that tour is still ongoing now, and I listen, we all know the expression. The show must go on. And I I have No, I have complete understanding, and I have nothing, but, sort of good vibes, like the stage and I and I definitely wish her well, it wasn't her fault.


It was, they run a business, and they couldn't take a chance on having someone on the bus that if we would have got pulled over on a border and I'm and I'm on kind of day, whatever 110. But they I would have been, you know, well at work, she would have been given a fine. Or I've heard of potential kind of bands, a ban from the Schengen area and a black stamp in your passport. And I wasn't willing to take that chance no more than they were no more than they were there. So I came home from losing that tour and, you know, our mutual friend Perry kind of phoned me because he saw me kind of post about it. Well, I think he saw me post something which he thought, Hang on, something's not right here. And he kind of encouraged me to write about it. And I was, I'll be honest with you, Mate. I was in two minds because quite often in life, we don't want to put our heads above the parapet, you know, and and talk about these things, you know? But when Perry sort of said, You can't suffer in silence, man, it's kind of, you know, this is massive. What's happened to you and and and I I initially wasn't sure. But after a couple of weeks of being at home, I really started to think about what Perry had said and he was right and, yeah, put pen to paper, right?


JAMES KENNEDY: Well, it's a brilliant letter. And it Yeah, it really has done the rounds. And it's been so important as well in advance in the conversation on this issue. So for those people listening who who who haven't heard the previous episodes where we've talked exclusively about this for the entire hour, what Steve is talking about right now is that crew members, musicians, lighting tech sound text, everybody in the UK cannot work in the EU area, in the Schengen area for more than 90 days at a time. So once you've expired your 90 days, nobody can hire you or employ you in the in the Schengen area for another 90 days, isn't it? It's 90 days or 90 days off, isn't it?


STEVE BARNEY: Collectively, yeah. I mean, it rolls forward every day going forward. I mean, there's kind of the Schengen apps now that you can get on your phone to help you work out how many days. You've got for example, now I've been at home, for a period of time. I mean, I was fortunate enough to go after losing Anastasia tour, and I was fortunate enough to be able to go back out with Gianna and at the end of last year, just for a couple of weeks, which still was within my a lot of time because I've gained days from being back home was crazy when he kind of, but it kind of back and forth. It's like an egg timer situation, you know, and and thank you for, thank you. Me for kind of sort of speaking out about it. But I really it while the letter is about me and my scenario, ultimately, the reason I wrote it is because I wanted to speak on behalf of us all. And I encourage every single person affected by this to do the same thing. We can't just have, you know, I'm not saying I'm the only letter out there, but I'm certainly not aware of many letters of musicians that have written about this like I've tried to do. And I'm not saying that in any type of I'm the number one poster boy for you know I am. I'm not celebrating this at all. Trust me. I would rather be on the Anastasia tour, entertaining people and, of course, the shows. The show goes on and that's gone, you know, But I really do encourage other people to to speak about this because it's vitally important. Like, right now, even though I've written that letter and I didn't think from one letter change was going to come about, you know, we're still in the same position.


Nothing has changed, even though last September when you were in the House Of Lords and you heard my letter, we're still in the same position right now. I mean, so there does need to be a conversation, you know, with Listen, I don't know. I mean, like the government, Whichever government is gonna be in the UK. Government is gonna have to go back to the EU with a tail between their legs because we know that the EU already offered, an ability for for, to people to come, but, to come to the EU. But we know that had to be reciprocated over here, which I believe that the government wasn't willing to do, which is to run indirectly. We shot ourselves in the foot, you know, by by doing this, so, I mean, I guess you know the only way I can see forward for a worker is literally stopping people from doing what they've always done. You know, right now, I'm still concerned about how I'm gonna move forward with this. I mean, you know, I've been home and I'm gaining days. You know, I can go back out there, and obviously you can work closer to home. There's nothing to say. I can't work here. You know where I live in this country and I love touring here. I've toured there many times, you know, But just having that kind of inability that freedom to tour is, I don't know, it's brutal, you know? It's brutal.


JAMES KENNEDY: Well, it's important to point out as well that although all of the glamorous and amazing stories you've been sharing with us over the past hour, you know this is your job. You're not doing this for the crack of it. You know that you're a professional who gets paid to do this stuff and it's And as I just mentioned, it's not just the musicians who get to have fun on stage, you know, it is the all of the crew, the drivers, you know, the, the light in Texas in Texas is entire industries have been terminally affected by this. This is whole livelihoods of people who now can't do the job that they've spent their entire life doing. And we've got some of the best crews in the world in this country, and we can't export that now. Not everybody can be constantly on tour on this little island, You know what I mean? That's just not the way it works.


STEVE BARNEY: And the way it works out when the government sort of sort of saying it would have to be reciprocated. So the fact that you know, by the sheer size of the EU and the amount of countries in the EU, you know, the fact that an EU band can come here and follow the same kind of guidelines you can get around by doing? Let's face it, the average band that would come here would do they likely play London, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, maybe a couple of other places and then they can go. Whereas for us to do a European EU tour, it's gonna take a lot more days because you've got travelling in between those countries. I mean, the MU is doing what it can, you know, Naomi Pole has been I think he was really strong in speaking out about it, and they kindly got behind. I don't know if you knew, but they kindly shared my open letter in the last magazine and the n U magazine, which is good of them.


They wanted to share someone's scenario, you know, So again, I'm not trying to be a poster boy. I wasn't looking for sympathy, right? I just felt it was the right thing to say. And, as I say, I kind of really encourage people to to follow suit, you know, but it's not just that. I mean, obviously we're we're speaking because we're in the music industry, and that's our That's our kind of domain. But maybe you know the scenarios of people who ski instructors in the EU. There's people that are, say, travel bloggers that that that travel around doing travel, blog, You know, people I don't even know if the people know this. But it's not just when you're working, it's actually just literally stepping foot. So step foot in an EU country, your Schengen days start immediately, even you know. So again, I'm sure my my good friend Milton McDonald won't mind me sharing with you that that he went on holiday. Last year, he I guess he wasn't thinking it was connected. And but even being on holiday, you know, in the EU cuts and even into your Schengen allowance. So I know it sounds crazy, but I can't even think about going on holiday to any of the EU places. The places I love. For example, Italy. I would love to go with my family there.


I don't know. I know I can't help but think that some people, you know might be listening to this thinking Well, you know what a sub story You know, lucky you go somewhere else, but I can't believe we've done this to ourselves. But it's done. We know Brexit is done, you know, not on my vote, but it's been done. And ultimately, we just have to find the government has to find a way out of trying to encourage, you know, a way of getting some type of visa waiver to encourage more days, you know?


JAMES KENNEDY: Yeah, 100%. And well said, man, and do you feel that a visa waiver would be the answer to this?


STEVE BARNEY: I do think that's the answer. Yeah. I mean, I don't know if I mean, of course, rejoining the EU would be the answer. And even with the most positivity in the world, even if we had a referendum tomorrow, which we're not And even if we did and this entire country voted to get, you know, back, back in the EU, we've got 27 countries to let us back in yet it's like gonna take. It's gonna take years, man. Yeah, you know, it might take, you know, it might. It might not. It might not happen. It's likely to not happen in my lifetime. And I just listen, The early part of this conversation was all the golden nuggets and parts of my career, and I'm I'm so fortunate to be able to talk about that. And, well, I don't think that's over and done and dusted. They were the kind of They were the good times of my career. And as you asked, I've shared them with you. But this is the reality right now of kind of, you know, God forbid this was the end for me, of my doing, something I've loved all my life. I'd be heartbroken, Mate, and I don't know where I would kind of fit in to to society after being a drummer for so many years.


But I'm more concerned, you know. But I would think what I'm trying to say is that if it was, the end is like, you know, I've got so many things which I've done and I've been very, very lucky, you know? And but I'm more concerned for the upcoming musicians and artists that I haven't even got their foot on the ladder yet. I may not have that opportunity to get even, get out to Europe and tour. And yeah, 100%. It's a concerning thing, but we know our mutual friends, the Carry on touring campaign. They know an awful lot about this, and they're all forever daily updating people with information. So I'm sure you'll agree that the Carry on touring campaign with Tim Brennan and Ian Smith is definitely a campaign that people should follow, you know, because they're 100% on top of the the daily things moving forward with that.


JAMES KENNEDY: Oh, 100%. Yeah. Big shout out to Tim and Ian again for the carry on touring campaign for getting it up and running off the ground and for everything that they've done. I mean, they they of gains on this conversation, through their tireless effort on this, you know, those guys are just around the clock on it. All of us owe a lot to those guys. I mean, you know, getting getting this issue heard in the House Of Lords, building a huge body of ambassadors both in the industry and in and the creative sectors as well behind this, educating people, the brilliant website full of resources that they've done so much, we all owe them a lot. But as you say, it's frustrating because, you know, we're still legally no further down the line. I mean, we are. We've made massive gains in awareness and education on this issue, but in terms of the legality and you know, the the guys in the houses of power there. We've made no no gains whatsoever, and it's so frustrating. And as you say, you know any meaningful change on this?


It's likely to take years in bureaucratic minutia, and that's just not going to help. But I honestly don't see, and I echo what you said earlier. I honestly don't see why a Schengen wide visa waiver can't be granted to people who are working in those territories. That feels to me like something that could be could be pulled together quite quickly, you know?


STEVE BARNEY: Well, it's a win for the British people that want to go out there and entertain the people that live in the EU. But surely it's also a win for the for the EU to be entertained by people. I mean this, let's make it clear the people that live in the EU didn't vote for this. We did 100%. I mean, so I think some people can get it twisted, especially some people that have misunderstood my letter. Not many people, but some people have thought, Well, hang on. It's like you did this to yourselves. I know. I know we did. I mean, I certainly didn't. But I know as a country we did.


But it's trying to find a way out of it like you've said. Yeah, we're no further. I mean, like, as far as you know, any kind of extension on things in the EU, we are no further down the line. But we are further down the line in the case that people seem to be talking about it a lot more, but I don't know how much more we you know, Well, we just keep talking about it until something happens. But I just Yeah, it's, it's very frustrating. I mean, and going back to the early part of the conversation of being a freelance person and being like one tour leads to the next. I mean, for a lot of crew people, it it quite often does. And did you know, because they quite seamlessly go from one tour to another. But I think I I know of a, a great guy who runs a tour bus company, that he could have only been in the EU now for six months. Every year it's gonna kill his business, you know, it's like he used to be back and forth in the EU all year round. So there's so many scenarios. And of course I'm here talking to you. But, you know, it'd be great for more people to speak up about their experiences and not suffer in silence about it.


JAMES KENNEDY: No, I totally agree, man. And you've made a lot of great points there, which I know. I I can't see anybody would find any any anything in there to disagree with. But what is your situation now? I mean, are you able to to to still keep yourself afloat somehow financially, you mean? Yeah. I mean, are you able, with what's available in the UK and within the sticking within your 90 day Movement within the EU, are you able to be able to to continue to survive as a musician?


STEVE BARNEY: So, so, because of the way it works that that it gradually refills. I'm now on 76 days, that I could work in the EU for right, right from today. And I think it resets the 90 on the first of March. As I said, there's there's Schengen apps that kind of tell you that. So I've got I had some inquiries about some some festivals and some possible touring, later in the summer. So I'm waiting to see about exactly what's going to come in right now. I have nothing definitive, but I can to be honest, even without Schengen and the situation we're in, that that periodically has happened in my career before. You know where, as I say right now, there is a tour that I should be on. But it's quite hard to just land a tour overnight, You know, when you've lost something. I mean, there was another There was another tour that I did have. I mean, I didn't even speak about this publicly, but there was another tour that I was, could have done, or because I toured with this production called ERA, which is a French, show. And, I did that in winter of 2019, and they toured in in November, December, just gone of last year. But because that clashed with my offer of Anastasia, I had to turn that down. Then, of course, the Anastasia thing had gone. I actually probably could have done it because I would have been home for these type of knock on effects are really You know, they they're difficult, Mate. So, but you know what? I haven't You know, I haven't We haven't given up hope. You gotta just keep marching forward. But I'm definitely part of the want to encourage your way out of it for us all, you know?


JAMES KENNEDY: Yeah. Likewise, man. It's frustrating as it is. And what's doubly frustrating as well is that you know it. It obviously it will eventually rectify itself, however long that is going to take. But in the meantime, there's gotta be that generation of people who are going to be the first victims of this, and in our case and in our situation, that's us.


STEVE BARNEY: I think so. Yeah, I do think that I wish I had a definitive answer, but it seems hearing from the carry on campaign that the Schengen visa is kind of the way to go. But obviously we got to get the whole of the EU to kind of agree to that, really? You know?


JAMES KENNEDY: And what would you like? People listening to this who may or may not be connected to this industry in any way at all. What would you Is it? Have you got anything you could say to them that they could do to help?


STEVE BARNEY: I think I mean, anyone that can write to their MP about their whether it's their experiences or even saying that they've heard about friends or work colleagues or family that have been affected by the post Brexit scenario and and getting caught up in the travelling side of things. I just think people should put pen to paper and speak out about it. If you're a if you're a ski instructor, if you're a travel blogger travelling around the EU and you've not been able to continue doing what you do or you work for a holiday tourist kind of company and you're you used to do six months, you know, in a block or whatever in the EU and you can't I think I just encourage people that are either caught up in it and have lost work because of it, or people that care. You know that other friends and family have lost work to to speak up and to write about it to their MP s or, you know, to the government. But really, I think that's all we can do, you know? I mean, we can, you know, it's one thing to just sit in a corner and moan to each other about it, but I think we have to be proactive. And that's why I was even into, two minds. As I said to you earlier, until Perry kind of lit a flame under my backside and says, Mate, you can't feel quiet about this And that's why I wrote what I wrote, you know? But, here we are.


JAMES KENNEDY: No, I think you made the right move and I think you're totally right as well. I think we we all need to be screaming about this. I mean the problem is there's so many issues, especially right now in in in, in the sorry state that we find ourselves in in in, you know, Tory Britain of 2023. There were there were lots of things to be pissed off about and a lot of distractions, So people got a lot of worries. So it is easy for issues to have their moment and then to die away. But I think and I suppose for many people they they might see this as not being a priority issue when you know, most people can't afford to turn their fucking gas on. But and I totally understand that as I'm sure you do. But it is important to keep the pressure on this issue because you know it. It it is, it is a light right now, and I think it's important that we keep that going. And I think outside of like you say, pressuring your MP pe people can help by keeping the narrative alive as well. Keeping, keeping it going, telling people what is going on and like you say anyone that is affected by this tell your story, put it on social media and let it spread.


STEVE BARNEY: I agree. I totally agree. That's that's my main thing. It's, it's a repeat, you know, it's not a my open letter. While it was about my scenario, it's not about me. It's sharing my scenario, but actually trying to encourage others to do the same and and speak about this, you know, 100% and we have to maintain hope as well, because without that, we got nothing.


JAMES KENNEDY: I mean, you know, we got a difficult struggle ahead of us. I'm hopeful that we know we will get some kind of resolution on this issue. But in the meantime, you know, we've got to keep the They've got to keep the fire alive in our belly, and we've got to stay hopeful, you know?


STEVE BARNEY: Absolutely. You have to be.


JAMES KENNEDY: And you said it right to start the show must go on always well on that note. Steve, thank you so much for doing this. Mate. I really appreciate you coming on and giving us your time today. It's been amazing to hear about your story and all of your amazing adventures with these iconic artists that you've worked with and thank you so much as well for being so open and honest and putting yourself out there on the issue of Brexit that we've just been talking about. All of us really, really appreciate you for doing that. Hopefully, it's not gonna be too much longer before you're back out there travelling far and wide doing what you were born to do. Bringing joy to people all over the world smashing the skins under those red hot lights and doing your thing.


STEVE BARNEY: I can't wait, Mate. And thanks for giving me this opportunity to talk to you. It's really nice to, share a wide range of topics.


JAMES KENNEDY: Yeah, we got your whole but not not your whole life. But we got some of the some of the highlights, some of the greatest hits in there. So, thanks for doing it. And hopefully we'll see you again soon.


STEVE BARNEY: You're welcome, man. Thank you.


JAMES KENNEDY: Cheers, Steve. Thanks, man. Bye bye.


Steve Barney, Ladies and gentlemen, what a dude. You know what? That lifestyle sounds pretty good to me as someone that spent all of my musical life basically like slumming it in the back of a transit van, eating pot noodles and having to try and find oxygen amongst the drummers farts. The life of a session musician sounds pretty cool. I got to be honest. I mean, unfortunately, I am nowhere near good enough as a musician. The idea of ever being a session musician, I can do one thing and I can do one thing only, and that is you know, the thing that I do, but, I definitely think in terms of comfort level the session musician definitely sounds as if they've got a way cushier deal than the average punk rock band out there desperately trying to, make it to the next gig without breaking down or getting to completely fucking screwed by their manager, booking agent, fill in the blank.


But as Steve said, You know there are tonnes of great musicians out there. Not everybody catches a break, you know. So I'm not trying to make out that it's any easier on that side of the fence because I'm certain that it's not so. Yeah, I love it when people are honest like that. Those are my favourite types of conversations. You know, when people kind of give you the, you know, the the pros and the cons, rather than just trying to, like, protect their ego or their pride. But I said, Hey, guys, no, it's all amazing and everything I've done has always been awesome. I don't see anything that anyone can gain from that. It's certainly not helpful for those coming up under us. You know what I mean? Who who are trying to learn from the people who've been over the trenches first, you know?


So when someone like Steve comes along and he's just completely open and honest, he answered everything I asked him. He gave us the good and the bad and some advice as well. And yeah, you know, I really respect it when people do that. I haven't forgotten that he's going to tell me who the asshole is in the industry that nobody likes to work for. I haven't forgotten, and no, I won't be telling you. But if you want to leave some guesses in the comments, please do so I'd be interested to see what you think. And another thing you could do if you want to get involved like Steve said is get involved in the carry on touring campaign.


Some of you may already know about it already from listening to the podcast or elsewhere online. Those guys are doing amazing work that in an issue that affects not just the music industry or the or any industry connected to it, but every industry that has any interest outside of this country's borders, then get get behind those guys because they really are doing tireless work and and that that's not their job. You know, Tim and Ian are both guys from the music industry, you know, or or the the video industry. You know, they This is not their area of expertise. They're just working blood, sweat and tears on this issue for all of our benefits. So please go and give those guys some support if even if it's just amplifying their tweets or their posts or anything like that And outside of that, as, Steve said, you know, you you can keep being a pain in the ass with your MP.


Keep saying right, what do you think about this issue? What are you doing about it? What, are you going to vote on this issue and as well as that? What you can do to help us out? I mean, you like me music, right? Everybody likes music. I'm sure you like music. What you can do to help is amplify the issue. Keep it alive, talk to people. Tell people say, guys, you won't fucking believe what musicians are going through as a result of this stupid fucking Brexit thing. You're not gonna believe this. Wait till you hear this and you can share tweets share posts like Engage. Let us know that people are listening.


Let us know that people are hearing this stuff as well. You know, that all helps. Like I said, to keep that flame of hope alive so that we can keep the fight going, you know, it's it's hard enough in the creative industries as it is. I mean, I know it's hard enough for everybody right now, you know, like fucking over a decade of the Tories, absolutely rinsing this country from every fucking conceivable angle as I like. This is it's never been worse in my life. I've never It's known it to be worse on any front in my life, so I know that it is tough for everybody right now, and there are lots of things to be pissed off about. But if you want to get behind this issue, all of us in the music world and elsewhere would really appreciate the support.


So a big shout out to Mr Steve Barney you can follow Steve at Barney drums on Twitter, and if anyone's listening out there that he's a kick ass drummer for a, preferably UK based tour. Look no further than the tub thumping ass kicking dude, that is Mr Steve Barney, Get in touch with him. Drop him a line and get him behind you.


Thanks to you guys for listening. As always, if you haven't subscribed yet or clicked, follow or like or give me a star rating or a review or anything at all, then now is your chance to go clicking. And I will see you next week for another awesome episode. I got some cool guests coming up, man. Jesus Christ. This diary is looking pretty fucking impressive right now. Let me tell you. So, have a good week. Take care yourself. Look after each other and I'll see you next week. Love you.

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