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Steve Goulding

Special: The singing drummer

This is: The Singing Drummer


Download of a one and only performance:

Steve Goulding and his interpretation of "Blue Jay Way"

famous composition of the late George Harrison
Download or listen NOW (1,6 MB)
For all Club.Mekons-members:

To Steve Goulding's discography of records with Graham Parker / Rumour. / Steve Goulding on soundmen / Burn Barrel, another Steve Goulding project.

You may want to visit the Graham Parker homepage. It's nice and very informative!

A short biography by Steve Goulding himself:
I was born and raised in South London, England. I left school at 18, and worked in a publishing house and also house-cleaning for a couple of years. I played with bassist Andrew Bodnar in a pub rock band called Bontemps Roulez until we joined the Rumour, later Graham Parker's band, in 1975. After the band split in 1981, I played with Garland Jeffreys on his Escape Artist tour, having previously recorded the ESCAPE ARTIST album with him. Around this time I also played with David Bowie on the Johnny Carson Show at the invitation of GE Smith, who was the guitarist on Garland's album and was playing with Bowie at the time. A stint with the British band the Associates followed, as did a succession of European TV appearances with Roxy Music. A world tour with Lene Lovich led to an audition for Gang Of Four, who I played with for around 18 months until they split. Band connections led to my joining the Mekons, who were just becoming active again after a short hiatus, in 1985. Bar a two year period from 1991-1993 during which I left the band (not realizing that no-one can ever really leave the Mekons), I've been with them ever since.
In 1988 I moved to Chicago, and got married in 1990. I lived in Chicago for 12 years, playing with a variety of bands, including the Waco Brothers, Archer Prewitt, the Pine Valley Cosmonauts and Poi Dog Pondering. I split up with my wife in 1998 and moved to New York the following year. I married again in 2004, and now live in Greenwich Village with my lovely wife, Alex. Non-Mekons related activities: I play with Megan Reilly (on her 2006 album, Let Your Ghost Go), Laura Cantrell (on her 2005 album, Humming By The Flowered Vine), and Richard Buckne
Elvis Costello Watching the Detectives
Dave Edmunds Here Comes the Weekend
The Cure Let's Go to Bed

Graham Parker All LPs 1975-81
Mekons All LPs 1985-91
Poi Dog Pondering POMEGRANATE
Archer Prewitt WHITE SKY

TOURS INCLUDE: WORLD Graham Parker 1977, 1979
Lene Lovich 1983
Thompson Twins 1985-6
Gang Of Four 1983-4
Marshall Crenshaw 1991
Garland Jeffreys 1981, 1991
Poi Dog Pondering 1994-5
David Bowie The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson
Thompson Twins Soul Train and American Bandstand
with Nick Lowe I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass

With kind permission I took the following post from the Postcard2 mailing list:

Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997 11:27:48 -0600
From: Jim Moran
To: postcard2@u.washington.edu
Subject: Steve Goulding on WNUR

Last night, Steve Goulding, the extraordinary drummer for the Mekons, Poi Dog Pondering, and the Waco Brothers, appeared on Wnur’s Southbound Train show. Steve talked about his amazing career and played a few of his country inspired favorites (Sally Timms, Freakwater, Gram Parsons, Handsome Family). Having played with Graham Parker and the Rumor, Elvis Costello, Garland Jefferies, Nick Lowe, and many others before joining the Mekons in 1985, Steve had many great stories, a few of which included:
--In the mid 70’s when Nick Lowe was attempting to get out of a record contract, he and Goulding recorded a Bay City Rollers tribute song as a joke. The song went to #1 in Japan and had the opposite effect on the record company.
--Steve did the Johnny Carson show with David Bowie in 1981. They played "Ashes to Ashes" and "Life on Mars" and Steve sat next to Bowie when Carson interviewed them.
--Steve played on the Pearl Harbor rockabilly album "Don’t follow me I’m lost too" with Clash members Paul Simeon and Topper Headon and Whirlwind /Havana 3am guitarist Nigel Dixon.

2 informative mails I got from the Graham Parker mailing list, thanks to Johannes and Patrick.

Date: Sun, 19 Feb 1995 17:17:11 -0600
From: patrickm@mcs.com (patrick monaghan)
Subject: Steve Goulding

Whooops!  I replied to Joe, instead of to the list.  Sorry you're
getting this twice, joe.  I hate it when that happens.

I would add to this Steve's impressive pedigree:

Memphis Skyrockets (I think...this was his first pub band in England
in the early 70's)

The Rumour (with and without Graham Parker)

David Bowie (live touring, incl. Japan and a spot on the Carson show
where he said he was so nervous he could hardly hold his sticks.  The
band flew coach to LA, Bowie flew first class.)

Thompson Twins (live tour--"Try not to draw any attention to yourself
and play with this click track)

Mekons (live and on record)

Gang of Four (tour)

Garland Jeffries (live and on record)


Waco Brothers (with Jon Langford of the Mekons, Dean from Wreck (RIP)-
gtr, Tom Ray from the Bottle Rockets/Poi-bass, another Limey friend of
John's whose name I can never remember, and the last show I saw they
had the bass player from Jesus Jones filling in for Tom Ray since he
was on the road. That's weird. Mostly drunken uptempo versions of
country standards sung by a guy (jon) with a working class Brit
accent.  Also weird, but fun.  The closer you are to their level of
intoxication, the better the show sounds.)

Steve is one of about 2 drummers who I could sit and just watch, even
if there was no band playing with him.  I always joke to him that he's
such a machine he should bill himself as Dial-A-Drummer because he can
play absolutely anything.  He also wrote the keyboard part for The
Chain that Dave C. plays and he's been trying to teach Tom Ray how to
play reggae and funk bass parts because Tom's forte is more .....

He's awesome, so next time you see Poi, pay some extra attention to
him. he blows away the previous 2 Poi drummers by so much, there's
really no comparison, and I liked Darren a lot.

Also good for a laugh, when you're out used record shopping, look at
the old Rumour record covers and guess which guy with sunglasses, big
sideburns and huge lapels is Steve.  Makes me chuckle almost every

more than you wanted to know,
--thinking about starting the goulding-list

patrick monaghan
carrot top records-chi il us
312-665-2055 fx
"I have a life, I just choose not to enjoy it."  mockd


Date: Sun, 19 Feb 1995 18:00:45 -0600
From: patrickm@mcs.com (patrick monaghan)
Subject: More Goulding

Just got of the phone with Steve because I knew there was stuff I was
forgetting, and damn if there wasn't a lot of stuff I'd never been
told. Here it is:

The Associates (record)

Paul Haig (record)

Lene Lovich ('83 tour-"Dreadful, but got me the Gang of Four gig. Not
sure if it was worth the 3 months tour or not.")

The Cure (drums on "Let's Go To Bed!")

Carlene Carter with the Rumour (record and tour in '78 when she was
still married to Nick Lowe.)

Nick Lowe (all the 70's classics incl. "Jesus of Cool")

Elvis Costello (very first demo's, incl. the drum part for "Watchin'
the Detectives" that he got paid 15 quid for writing/playing and then
it ended up on his album.  Super triva: There were other demos for
stuff that appeared on the first album that were erased by Genesis P.
Orridge of Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV because he was out of tape to
record on so he wiped the Elvis demos that were sitting around. Thanks
Gen, you bastard!)

Roxy Music-several videos where he didn't actually play on the record,
but synched the drum parts for the vid, incl. Avalon)

And the Waco Brothers have a single, a cover of Jimmy Cliff's "The
Harder They Come," coming out this week on Chicago's Bloodshot
Records, and they're going in to record a full album tomorrow also for

If there's anything else to say about Steve, I don't know what it is.
Hope this wasn't too much.


From:Chicago Tribune January 31, 1997


BY: Greg Kot.
In Steve Goulding's Logan Square flat, there are few reminders that the drummer holds a significant if often overlooked place in rock history, from his early days excavating the groove for London upstarts Graham Parker, Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello to his current timekeeping duties in Chicago favorites Poi Dog Pondering, the Mekons and the Waco Brothers.
But on an end table in the living room, there's a telltale hint of Goulding's occupation: a framed picture of himself from 18 years ago standing next to Charlie Watts, the drummer's drummer. The opportunity to meet one of his heroes left Goulding star-struck, even though at the time he was in the midst of a creative burst that would be the envy of most musicians.
"Meeting Watts was a pretty big deal, because after Keith Moon, he was one of the guys who got me into playing drums in the first place," says Goulding, a soft-spoken 42-year-old who moved from his native London to Chicago in 1990 to live with his wife, Carol.
When the pair met, Goulding was busy recording "Squeezing Out Sparks" with Graham Parker, one of the classic albums to emerge out of the London pub-rock scene of the mid-'70s. Goulding was the timekeeper in the Rumour, arguably the tightest, toughest band ever to come out of that R&B-influenced milieu, and they would back Parker on his first half-dozen albums.
There were other inspired discs from that era that bore the Goulding touch: Nick Lowe's classic debut, "Pure Pop for Now People"; "Watching the Detectives," a cornerstone track on Elvis Costello's debut album; Wreckless Eric's "Whole Wide World"; two tracks on Dave Edmunds' "Get It."
On these records, Goulding evolved into the efficient stylist he remains -- a model of economy and restraint who, to paraphrase Keith Richards describing Watts, can swing with anything. "I spent about a year listening to Bernard Purdie's drumming on an Esther Phillips album, 'From a Whisper to a Scream,' and then I saw a video of him performing it and he was getting all these amazing sounds by barely moving his hands; it was like he was knitting instead of bashing," Goulding marvels.
Still, once Parker and the Rumour got hot, the drummer couldn't resist showing off his improved technique. "We made a terrible live album ('Parkerilla') and (critic) Greil Marcus stuck it to us in a review, saying how over-the-top the drumming was especially. I was mortified, and I learned."
After Parker cut loose the Rumour, never to regain his golden touch, Goulding rubbed shoulders with a few celebrities: He backed Davie Bowie on "The Tonight Show" and hung out with Bowie's pal Iggy Pop -- "Iggy stole my beer. Do you ask Iggy Pop for your beer back? I don't think so."
He played the television top-of-the-pops circuit in Europe with Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music, a job that involved a lot of lolling around swimming pools and lip synching, and he toured the world with the then-hot Thompson Twins, the not-so-hot Lene Lovich and the once-great Gang of Four.
He also played on the Cure's North American breakthrough single, "Let's Go to Bed" -- "If I played my cards right I probably could have played with them a while longer, but when I met them they were all tripping on acid and hanging out with Siouxsie and the Banshees; it was just too much of a leap for me, not musically but socially."
He also fell in with members of the Clash to back Pearl Harbour on her minor new-wave classic, "Don't Follow Me I'm Lost Too," and backed Garland Jeffreys on his acclaimed "Escape Artist" and "Rock and Roll Adult" releases.
In 1985, he joined the Mekons, punk-era survivors who had re-formed to play benefits for striking British coal miners.
"The first few gigs were really bad," Goulding remembers. "When I played properly it didn't feel right, and so I had to develop a new way of playing. I got to know them more and more and pretty soon I got dragged into this weird little cult."
As the Mekons assimilated more styles -- from country to reggae and even techno -- the drummer helped hold down the center with an open-ended, hard-swinging style. With Poi Dog Pondering, whom he joined nearly a decade after his Mekons debut, he takes a completely different, more tightly groove-oriented approach.
"I suppose I relate to the Mekons' attitude more, because in Poi Dog it's a pretty jolly, upbeat bunch," Goulding says with a laugh. "With the Mekons, their lack of commercial success becomes ingrained in you, for better or worse."
Which is why Goulding and fellow Mekon Jon Langford blow out the burners with four of their pals in the hard country band the Waco Brothers, which headlines Saturday at FitzGerald's to celebrate the release of their second album, "Cowboy in Flames" (Bloodshot).
"There's no way we'll ever do a proper tour, even though people want us to," Goulding says. "We've been involved in so many bands, so much politics, that this is supposed to be a vacation from all that. It's a night out with the lads, and a chance to play the drums for no other reason than it's fun." GRAPHIC: PHOTOS 5PHOTO: Steve Goulding, seen in his Logan Square flat, says he had to develop a new style of playing when he hooked up with the Mekons and, he jokes, "got dragged into this weird little cult." Tribune photo by Jose M. Osorio.; PHOTOS: Drummer Steve Goulding's greatest hits include his work on albums like (from left) Graham Parker's "Squeezing Out Sparks," Nick Lowe's "Pure Pop for Now People," The Mekons' "Rock 'n' Roll" and Poi Dog Pondering's "Pomegranate."

Burn Barrel

For those who've never experienced the Burn Barrel magic, they combine the Ohio twang of singer and songwriter JP Olsen with a swampy, swinging, tough-but-tender feel. Their sound is both urban and Midwestern, airy, bluesy, uncompromising, and consistently intriguing. In addition to JP, Burn Barrel comprises three other sunburned artistes: multi-instrumentalist and unsuccessful World Cup semi-finalist Mike Jung, who also plays with local favorites Alice Donut; bassist Brian Stanley, the Dudley Moore of rock & roll, who has trod the boards with the likes of Ray Davies and Tommy Shaw (yes, him from Styx), and gotten all creative with such luminaries as Brian Wilson, Garland Jeffreys, and Mike Scott of the Waterboys, to name but a few; and finally, Steve Goulding on drums, now in his 17th year as a Mekon, and still on his first liver!

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