A little about me..............

Like many drummers, I started at a young age. But back then the drum kit of choice was more Tefal than Timpani, dragging my mother’s pots and pans out of the kitchen cupboard and sitting for hours making a god awful racket. It was when I began school I realised I was destined for the stool when I formed my first baby band and joined the Sutton School band and the Pleasley Miner’s Welfare Brass Band. The moment I set foot on the stage at the Derby Assembly Rooms I knew I could get used to this.

In my teens, a group of lads and I from Sutton Centre formed a band called Grapevine, tooling our wares of rock covers of the day around local welfares and upsetting the locals, who occasionally frowned on our rather elaborate style of dress. A little later on, more of my mates and I formed Vengeance. This time around, we began to take things more seriously. Instead of a full set of covers, we spent time in the studio recording our own material and burning our own records.

In 1987, we went for it, and took on the might of the Guinness Book Of Records. To our surprise, this bunch of skinny kids from Sutton won the fight, playing non stop rock music for 107 hours to take the world record. The elation only sank in when the ringing in our ears finally stopped a week later.

Out of the ashes of Vengeance came Shocksplit, a band name that still gets thrown around now, from Sweden to Greece, as fans email hoping to find a copy of our much acclaimed E.P. “Under Wraps.” We toured extensively, selling out venues and gathering an excitable following who were always keen to buy their favourite local band a drink. We found ourselves in London, and our bizarre appearance led to a casting for an ACDC promo video. The name escapes me, but I still have the prisoner costume somewhere. We must have caught someone’s attention, as later we appeared in the movie “Bert Rigsby, You’re a Fool!” with Robby Coltrane and Ilkeston’s Robert Lindsay (I gave him one of our demo tapes, but it couldn’t have been his cup of tea, as he never got back to me!).

During that time, I depped for Glen Darren and The Crew Kats on a few songs, and recorded with Freakzone, a much harder sound in the style of the Seattle rock bands of the mid nineties.

Adhesive came next, recording our own material of more mature rock songs (such is the nature of the inevitable) and touring to promote ourselves as serious songwriters. Sometimes we still get together and bash out some of the old tunes, occasionally whispering to each other asking how they go, or mumbling a line or two of forgotten lyrics. Good times.

After Adhesive, I answer an ad for a tribute band in the local fish wrapper. I joined Zu2, and we fast became one of the most popular U2 tributes in the country. A national theatre tour followed, along with recurring bookings in Dubai, Switzerland, Bahrain and of course, Dublin. We toured up and down the country, playing popular venues and having our own fan base, but after eight years of pretending to be someone else, I decided to call it a day.

I wanted to stay in the fray, but after twenty years of touring it had lost its appeal. I found myself at Potatohead music, trying the other side of drumming with sales. It was not for me!

Having spent years on the road and in and out of studios, I knew I could put some of that knowledge to good use. I spent a year as a youth worker for Nottingham County Council and then set up my own mobile tuition. Finding a base at Zebra music in Ilkeston and Instru-tech in Mansfield, I got my CRB check and began to teach youngsters that there was more to music than playing Guitar Hero on their X-Box, that they could enjoy playing music for real, and learn real skills and discipline. Having come from a background of music, and having a wealth of experience behind me, it seemed a natural progression.

Teachers would tell me I had no future in being a musician when I was a lad, I’m thankful those times have changed since then!

Cheers Al.


Professional Drum Lessons


Some studies suggests that music lessons provide children with important developmental benefits beyond simply the knowledge or skill of playing a musical instrument. Research suggests that musical lessons may enhance intelligence and academic achievement, build self-esteem and improve discipline.

Finding Me

My name is Alan Ellis and I am a fully CRB checked Drum Tutor. I teach from 2 locations, Instrutech in Mansfield and Zebra Musik in Ilkeston. Lessons are available Mon-Fridays between 10am -6pm. Please call me for the latest availability.