Lee Allatson – Head of Drum Set Tuition at Dye House Drum Works
I have enjoyed a great deal of variety through my playing and teaching history. This mix of music, people and performance environments has formed a big part of my personal development and, I hope, my musical character. Here is a selection of current and past involvements:
Free Improvisation: Lee has played with Damo Suzuki (Can, Damo Suzuki’s Soundcarriers), John Russell, Paul Dunmall (Keith Tippett, Alice Coltrane), Alan Wilkinson, Hannah Marshall, Shih-Yang Lee, Liu Fang-Yi and Zhang You-Sheng (Kandala Records), Christopher Hobbs (Cornelius Cardew/Scratch Orchestra, AMM), Virginia Anderson (Musicologist and Experimental Music Catalogue writer), Mark Sanders (Evan Parker, Otomo Yoshihide, Jah Wobble), Tim Harries (Brian Eno, Bill Bruford), Walt Shaw, Bruce Coates & Jamie Smith (FrImp), Han Earl Park (Cork University) and Mrs. Pilgrimm
Events have included: Sound Source at London’s Luminaire, Skronkfest, Oooh! Fest, John Russell’s Discovery Fest, Fete Qua Qua and Mopomoso at The Vortex, as well as Leicester’s Stench music festival. Lee also runs and plays regularly with the South Leicestershire Improvisors Ensemble.
Jazz: Lee is an active performer and bandleader on the Midlands jazz circuit, as: Founder an coordinator of The Fourmasons (straight ahead jazz quintet, quartet and trio); Founder, writer and coordinator for Ka Safar (13-piece, World Jazz ensemble, in the vein of Alice Coltrane, Sun Ra and Pharaoh Sanders). He has also guested with Klaus Bru’s ‘Elastic Standards’ group, featuring Klaus Bru (C-melody sax), Orphy Robinson (OBE) (vibes), Michael DeSouza (guitar) and Jerome Fouquet (trumpet).
Ska music: Lee has also enjoyed playing with Prince Buster, Laurel Aiken, Dawn Penn, Winston Francis, Delroy Williams, Skaboom, El Pussycat Ska, Kingsize and members of The Specials, Desmond Decker and Junior Murvin’s bands.
Singer Songwriters: Jackie Leven (Doll by Doll), Kevin Hewick (Factory Records), Sally Barker (The Poozies/The Voice winner).
Dance Collaboration: Co-director of Near Miss Company (Associate Artists at De Montfort University, Leicester) performed at DMU Borderlines Conference, UK Young Artists (2019), East Midlands in Focus (Dance4) and Skronkfest 2019.
Other: Bill Drummond (KLF/The 17); A Ritual for Elephant and Castle (Wildbirds and Peacedrums, Coronet theatre, London); conceptualist behind the Summer Sundae Weekender Fringe Festival and organiser/promoter of the First International series of festivals (Leicester); One Voice for Care choral event with the Fron Choir and Military Wives Choir. Lee has even deputised for Romeo Challenger with Leicester’s favourite sons, Showaddywaddy!
Lee also writes and performs under the name of Misterlee, recording and releasing music through his own Rubber Czech Records label. With this project, Lee has worked with Sebadoh, Hamell on Trial, David Thomas (Pere Ubo), Mountain Goats, Jeffrey Lewis, Enon, Lach, Major Matt Mason, Jazz Butcher, Thomas Truax, Duke Special and Curtis Eller. With this project Lee has toured exetensively in the UK including several major festival appearances, as well as touring the US.
The early years: “I got started playing on steel pans in junior school when I was about 8 or 9 years old. My dad had always played in bands and I was brought up surrounded by music and musicians. I started taking percussion lessons with Dougie Wright (UK 60’s and 70’s session legend/John Barry Seven) when I was 11. I was very lucky as my secondary school (Judgemeadow Community College, Leicester) had a strong music department, headed by Mr. John Broadhurst who, along with Dougie and my family, I really do have to thank for the contributions they made to the joyous career I have today.
Education: My formal music education was taken at the Leicestershire School of Music where I played percussion in a series of wind bands and orchestras which provided an excellent balance to my discovery of rock music in school bands during my early teens: The disciplined snare drum of Ravel’s ‘Bolero’ on a Saturday morning followed by the brazen abandon of The Who’s ‘Baba O’Reilly’ in the pm. The LSM taught me a lot about the many breadths of music and musicianship; working under the direction of a conductor and the wider ‘tool box’ of the percussion section, whilst my early forays into bands opened up a world of songwriting, rocking out and blisters!”
Retailing: Lee has run drum departments for: Carlsbro Retail/Academy of Sound; Drumstix (Derby & Leicester); the Drum Pad (Northampton) and trade stands at the British Music Fair/London Music Shows for Sabian, Aquarian, Vic Firth and Remo products.
Teaching history: includes tenures teaching in-store for Drumstix and Carlsbro Retail drum departments; peripatetic tuition in schools for the Leicester Education Authority and private lessons given at the Drum Academy, Leicester; ‘releasing your own album’ workshops for De Montfort University, Leicester; music performance and music business seminars as a guest lecturer at Leicester College, plus many other workshops and masterclasses for community bands and groups.
In 2009 Lee founded the Dye House Drum Works which is his teaching base to this day.
Clinics, workshops and masterclasses working with: Chad Smith (Red Hot Chilli Peppers), Steve White (Paul Weller/independent), Dom Famularo (international educator), Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden), Carl Palmer (soloist/ELP), Pete Riley (independent/Rhythm columnist), Trevor Thornton (Asia), Birger Sulsbruck (PJ Percussion), Jim Chapin (educator and author), Pick Withers (Dire Straits), Edwin Prevost (AMM), Leicestershire’s Magna Band and Leicester College.
Lee was born in Leicester in 1970 and now makes his home in Market Harborough, South Leicestershire, UK.
For drum lesson bookings and contact information: http://www.dyehousedrumworks.com/contact/