John McNulty - Drums


John is the elder statesman of the band and brings a wealth of experience gained from playing in previous bands, and different genres, on the pub & club circuit. In addition to providing the essential solid backbeat foundation that underpins all Riff Diamond tracks, John brings his knowledge and experience to bear in helping the others develop an initial song idea into a finished track. He is usually the one asking for one more take to correct an entry or a timing issue or tempo problem or whatever and it is almost always his voice that is heard saying “why don’t we try doing …” as the uncut stone is gradually polished into another gem. He likes nothing better than working up a good sweat in a 5/6 hour rehearsal – just don’t ask him for “more cow bells!”

John’s kitchen is where the band meets to write and develop new songs and even the regular running out of teabags doesn’t halt progress. In his day job, John works for the local Education Board and dreams of the day he can leave to pursue his real calling.

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Interview with John


John McNulty

When and where were you born?
13th March 1973 in Glasgow.

When did you start to play / sing?
First makeshift drum-kit aged 9, picked up my Mother’s guitar at 14. Only began to sing within the last few years

What got you started in music?
I was surrounded by music as far back as I can remember. My parents were either listening to or playing music, so it was inevitable that I made it such a part of my life. It was AC/DC’s Back in Black that got me interested in drumming and how songs are structured and timed.

Who are your influences?
Bands – Led Zeppelin, Soundgarden, Black Sabbath, The Cult
Drummers – John Bonham, Larry Mullen, Bill Ward, Ian Paice, Phil Rudd, Matt Cameron
Guitarists – Jimmy Page, Brian May, Tony Iommi

What are your favourite colour, film and food?
Colour – Navy
Film – Godfather II
Food – Pasta

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself.
I am teetotal
I love playing drums
Without music I would be miserable

Which one is a total fib?? Hmmmm…..

Coke or Pepsi?
Neither.

If you could take only three albums and one luxury to a desert island, what would they be and why?
Physical Graffiti – Led Zeppelin – one of the greatest bands ever, at their creative peak

Superunknown – Soundgarden – I have been listening to this for 20 years and never tire of it – brilliant use of alternative timings and tunings

Back to Black – Amy Winehouse – Brilliantly written songs, superb arrangements – I love listening to it.

The luxury would be allowing me to bring my drumkit along so that I could jam along to these albums!!

Tell us about your gear. Which one item of gear could you not live without?
I currently play on a Pearl Export drumkit and have added a few extras –  2 crash cymbals,  a Mapex Steel Snare, Tama Speed Cobra foot pedal and tambourine for the hi-hat (thanks to the late, great John Bonham for the idea!!) as well as 2 x 20” Sabian ride cymbals and a cowbell.

Aside from the sticks, I love the snare drum for the sound and natural ‘bounce’ that it has – hi-hat with the tambourine on it come a very close second though!