As one of rock's most respected and talented percussionists, getting Porcupine Tree's Gavin Harrison to talk to us about his skill was an opportunity we couldn't pass up!

In this exclusive interview, the prog rock troupe's skinsman and session player runs us through his career, his set-up and exactly what got him into drumming in the first place.

Read on to find out all about it, and don't miss Porcupine Tree on a quick North American spring tour now! Check dates and ticket information right here, and get your copy of the band's 2009 stunner The Incident!

So how old were you when you started to play drums?
I was six years old. Originally I started to play trumpet (as my Dad was a trumpet player) but it didn't feel natural. I was quite coordinated as a kid and playing drums felt good and was just the right thing for me.
 
Who inspired you to play drums?
The drummer friends of my Dad - and the jazz records that I would listen to and play along to. Drummers like Stan Levy, John Guerin, Steve Schaeffer - and then later Steve Gadd, Jeff Porcaro and many others.
 
What styles have inspired you the most over the years?
Jazz mostly.
 
Who do you aspire to be like now?
I try to sound like me. Obviously I still have favourites that I listen to and I guess everyone that I listened to carefully has had some influence on me.
 
Were you self taught or did you have lessons? What is your practice and warm-up regime?
My Dad could play a little bit of drums so he guided me through the first few years and then I had lesson from about age 10 onwards. From about 18 years old I started to really develop my own style and ideas. I still practise a few hours everyday - when I'm at home. Pre-show I usually warm up for about 20 minutes just to get the muscles moving.
 
Give us a quick run through of your drumming career…
I've done so many different kinds of jobs - playing in jazz groups - orchestras - theatres and many different styles. Working as a session musician mainly. Here's some of the albums I've record of the past 25 years:
 
• Iggy Pop 1986 "Ritz N.Y.C Live "Real Wild Child Live"
• Eddie and The Tide 1986
• Zerra One 1986 "The Domino Effect"
• Dizrhythmia 1987 " Dizrhythmia"
• The Kings Of Oblivion 1987 "Big Fish Popcorn
• Sam Brown 1987 "Stop"
• Froon 1987 " Froon"
• Tom Robinson & Jakko 1988 "We've Never Had It So Good"
• Black 1988 "Comedy"
• Sarah Jane Morris 1988 "Can't Get To Sleep"
• Gail Ann Dorsey 1988 "The Corporate World"
• B J Cole 1989 "Transparent Music"
• Shari Belafonte 1989 "Shari"
• Yasuaki Shimizu 1989 "Aduna"
• Lene Lovich 1990 "March"
• Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin 1990 "The Big Idea"
• Mieko Shimizu 1990 "A Road Of Shells"
• Eugenio Finardi 1990 "La Forza Dell'amore"
• Donna Gardier 1990 "I'll Be There"
• Incognito 1991 "Inside Life"
• Eugenio Finardi 1991 "Millennio"
• Camouflage 1991 "Meanwhile"
• Miss Thi 1991 "Lover"
• Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin 1991 "Spin"
• Alice 1992 "Mezzogiorno Sulle Alpi"
• Kevin Ayers 1992 "Still Life With Guitar"
• Claudio Baglioni 1992 "Assieme"
• Fiorella Mannoia 1992 "I Treni A Vapore"
• Claudio Baglioni 1992 "AncorAssieme"
• Raf 1993 "Cannibali"
• Cavani 1993 "Alza La Testa"
• Franco Battiato 1993 " Caffe' de la Paix"
• Chizuko Yoshihiro 1993 "Conscious Mind"
• Jakko 1994 "Kingdom Of Dust"
• Richard Barbieri/Tim Bowness 1994 "Flame"
• Jakko 1994 "Mustard Gas And Roses"
• Sharon Rose 1994 “Never Be The Same”
• Mick Karn 1995 "The Tooth Mother"
• Paul Young 1995 "Grazing In The Grass" Live
• Eros Ramazzotti 1995 "Più bella cosa" Live
• BJ Cole 1995 "Heart Of The Moment"
• Claudio Baglioni 1995 "Io Sono Qui"
• David Devant & His Spirit Wife 1996 "Ginger"
• Franco Battiato 1996 "L'Imboscata"
• Jakko 1996 "Are My Ears On Wrong?"
• Claudio Baglioni 1996 "Attori e Spettatori"
• Manfred Mann 1996 "Soft Vengeance"
• Franco Battiato 1996 "L'ombra della Luce"
• Jakko 1997 "Road To Ballina"
• Devogue 1997 "Devogue"
• Claudio Baglioni 1997 "Anime In Gioco"
• Lisa Stansfield 1997 "Never gonna give you up" Live
• Saro Cosentino 1997 "Ones & Zeros"
• Gavin Harrison 1997 "Sanity & Gravity"
• Franco Battiato 1998 "Gommalacca"
• Claudio Baglioni 1998 "A-Live"
• Lisa Stansfield 1999 "Swing"
• Shooter 1999 "Life's A Bitch"
• Shooter 1999 "..And Your Point?"
• Claudio Baglioni 1999 "Viaggiatore sulla coda del tempo"
• Lewis Taylor 2000 "Lewis 2"
• Claudio Baglioni 2000 "Acustico"
• Lisa Stansfield 2001 "831 - Change"
• Peter Cox 2001 "Flame Still Burns"
• Angela Baraldi 2001 "Rosasporco"
• Heraldo Zuniga 2001 "Triangulo De Musgo"
• Manolo Garcia 2002 "Nunca El Tiempo Es Perdido"
• Patty Pravo 2002 "Radio Station"
• Sheila Nicholls 2002 "Wake"
• Porcupine Tree 2002 "In Absentia"
• Claudio Baglioni 2003 "Sono Io"
• Porcupine Tree 2003 "XM"
• Blackfield 2004 "Blackfield"
• Rob Cowen/Beverly Craven 2004 "Lady Advertiser"
• Claudio Baglioni 2005 "Cresendo e Cercando"
• Porcupine Tree 2005 "Deadwing"
• Lewis Taylor 2005 "In Session"
• Porcupine Tree 2005 "Up The Downstair" reissue
• Porcupine Tree 2005 "XM2"
• Stefano Panunzi 2005 “Timelines”
• Jakko 2006 "The Bruised Romantic Glee Club"
• Claudio Baglioni 2006 "Quelli Degli Altri Tutti Qui"
• Carlo Fimiani 2007 "Too Early"
• Steve Thorne 2007 "Emotional Creatures part 2"
• Three Blind Mice 2007 "Good Grief"
• Porcupine Tree 2007 "Fear Of A Blank Planet"
• Porcupine Tree 2007 "Nil Recurring"
• Gavin Harrison & 05Ric 2007 "Drop"
• No-Man 2008 "Schoolyard Ghosts"
• Ed Poole 2008 "ED4"
• Richard Barbieri 2008 "Stranger Inside"
• Steven Wilson 2008 "Insurgentes"
• Gavin Harrison & 05Ric 2009 "Circles"
• OSI 2009 "Blood"
• Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin 2009 "Blue & Green"
• Paolo Gianolio 2009 "Pane e Nuvole"
• Porcupine Tree 2009 "The Incident"
• Steve Thorne 2009 "Into The Ether"
• Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin 2009 "The TLG Collection"
• Claudio Baglioni 2009 "Q.P.G.A"
• Fjieri 2009 “Endless”
• Ed Poole 2010 "Depth"
• Marco Tafelli 2010 "Reset"
 
Tell us about your first kit - what was it like and how did you acquire it?
It was an Ajax (Boosey & Hawkes) 4 piece set that my Dad bought me when I was really young.
 
Who have you been endorsed by over the years and who are you endorsed by now?
My first endorsement was with Yamaha Drums in the early 80's and Paiste Cymbals - and then I switched to Pearl Drums and Zildjian Cymbals and since 2001 I've been playing Sonor Drums.
I now endorse - Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Remo Drum skins, Axis Pedals, Hardcase, Puresound snare wires, S-Hoops.
 
Run us through your kit and how you set it up…
• Sonor SQ2 Maple Drums & Zildjian Cymbals:
• Drums Sonor: SQ2 in USA (Golden Madrone finish) and SQ2 in Europe (Tribal finish).
• 8x7" Rack Tom
• 10x8" Rack Tom
• 12x9" Rack Tom
• 15x13" Floor Tom
• 16x14" Floor Tom
• 22x17" Bass Drum
• 12x5" 6 ply Birch Snare

Cymbals - Zildjian:
• 22" Swish Knockers without rivets
• 16" Oriental China Trash
• 5 Custom-Made Chimes
• 13" K Hi-Hats
• 18" K Crash
• 7" custom crash bell
• 9" custom crash bell
• 15" A Custom Crash
• 20" K Ride
• 18" A Custom Crash
• 12" Oriental China Trash
• 18" Z Custom China