David Hopgood – Drums and backing vocals
“This is all I remember and if you ask most drummers it’s the same, you’re drawn to the instrument from a young age, so young in fact that it seems as if you were born into it, or destined somehow to play the drums. I really do believe that.”
In Davids case, it was exposure to music in general, his Dad’s Trad Jazz stuff and then his older cousin Pete’s 70’s Hard Rock, Prog Rock and Fusion.
“I can name two drummers that really turned me on from a young age, I’m talking 8 years old, and they were Chick Webb and Ian Paice. These guys were exciting! That’s what the drums always were to me, this kinetic experience, fast, loud, audacious, an explosion of rhythm and adrenaline. When I heard Ian Paice and Carl Palmer I was awed, yes, but not intimidated. I just wanted to play like them.”
Drum lessons followed and right through primary and high school he had the encouragement and praise of teachers and a lot of musical experiences to help him grow and develop. Landing at high school and straight away being first choice drummer for the band and school production was heady stuff, as he was soon smashing out Stairway To Heaven at age 13 as part of Morphett Vale High School’s 1980 rock version of Wizard Of Oz.
He also played drum-kit in the state schools combined stage and concert bands through high school and jammed Weather Report and other jazz fusion with his cousin Pete who’s a keyboardist. This group eventually performed as Cucumber Slumber and still exists in one form or another today.
After school, and an aborted Arts degree, David ended up in the Bachelor Of Education Secondary Music course at South Australian College, now part of Adelaide University.
“I mixed with serious musicians, played a lot of jazz, including drum chair in the Adelaide Connection jazz choir, took lessons and percussion ensemble with Jim Bailey and played in the college concert band which won the national band championship just about every year.”
His Hard Rock/Metal side refused to lie down though. The band he had in college, Grasshopper, was funk/rock covers and originals, and he started getting into song writing and, more particularly, lyric writing at this time. Then, he got a call to join Martire, a very heavy, extreme thrash metal-type band and one of the more notorious underground metal bands in Adelaide’s history.
“That was a definite shock to the system, like, ‘you want me to play how fast!’ I got it together enough to record Martire’s debut self-titled cd in 1990, which has become a bit of a cult classic.”
Grasshopper folded around this time but David has continued to work with his close friends, guitarist Paul Kolomitsev and bassist Ben Chambers in various cover bands and projects to this day, including the successful Adelaide Fringe acts Every Breath: The Music of Sting and Respect: Aretha Franklin show.
The early to mid 90’s were exciting musical times and David formed the rap/rock/hardcore band Hobson’s Choice with Marty Czerwinski and frequent collaborator bassist/guitarist and mountain bike buddy Adam Ritchie. Hobson’s Choice produced a couple of 5 track cd’s and rode the wave of a strong alternative scene at the time, including shows in Melbourne and Sydney. The band supported the likes of Bad Brains and Ice T’s Body Count and played on the Adelaide Big Day Out festival in 1996. Also around this time he was in the grunge band Spine and heavy instrumental trio Chimera, both with Adam Ritchie in tow, but these bands were relatively short-lived.
As the 90’s faded, David drifted back into cover band work, mainly with pop/dance act Jellyhead, but also played a mixture of funk/soul covers and originals with the band Gosling. Later he worked heavily with popular cover band Club Schmaltz.
In more recent times, he worked again with Adam Ritchie in Prog Metal band Murdergrin before a neck injury precipitated his leaving. He made a short film in 2012, mainly an improvised drum solo, which tells the full injury story complete with MRI pictures!
David also played in original jazz trio Outside the Square with pianist/composer Andrew Barrett and in-demand Adelaide bassist Shaun Duncan.
The two biggest shifts in his musical landscape came in 2009-2010 with the project Split-Second Heaven, all-original rock/pop songs, all music and lyrics by David, and Unitopia, one of Australia’s biggest Progressive Rock bands, whom he joined as they were preparing for their first European tour in 2010.
Whilst Split-Second Heaven, Outside the Square and Unitopia are now on long hiatus there are big plans for a new project (United Progressive Fraternity) that will include lots of original material to be recorded and released and a return overseas for European shows in 2014.
Aside from all this playing, David also work as a percussion teacher with the South Australian Instrumental Music Service and writes lots of solo and ensemble material for students.
His first book of pieces ‘The Secondary School Percussionist’ was published in 2007.
He is married to wife, Margie, who is a violin teacher and they have two boys: Thom, 10 and Nicholas, 6 who keep them pretty busy.
David is Sports mad (North Adelaide and Adelaide Crows football clubs, Adelaide 36er basketball club, L.A. Lakers, San Francisco 49ers, Liverpool FC etc.) and he has always been physically active away from the drums with basketball, tai chi, weight training, mountain biking and lately running. He has picked up an assortment of injuries along the way for which Pilates is the latest attempted cure.
That’s the yin; the yang is meditation, Buddhist study (and off and on practice,) Eckhart Tolle, lots of self-help books and general reading.
David also writes sometimes and completed a creative writing course with some success in 2006.
“In the future, I would like to have a successful website, continue to inspire a new generation of drummers whilst developing a Zen approach to drum instruction, compose more drum and percussion music, write more regularly and push my drumming and songwriting forward in every musical situation.
“Maybe even run a marathon (if my legs hold up!)”