Drumming Mark Richardson

075: Mark Richardson and Marcus Smith on drumming performance

This week we have two guests, Mark Richardson and Marcus Smith. Mark Richardson is the drummer for the band Skunk Anansie, a band that were figureheads of the Britrock explosion in the mid-nineties, with defining songs Weak and Hedonism and remain a highly influential band 25 years since they were formed.

Dr Marcus Smith is Reader in Sport and Exercise Physiology at the University of Chichester, with background of supporting elite athletes, especially boxers to Olympic success but Marcus loves his music too and as you’ll hear he became curious about how hard drummers work while on stage. This led to him contacting Clem Burke the drummer of Blondie and from there a fascinating project was struck up involving quantification of the physiological demand of performing Their work began to gain momentum and the Clem Burke Drumming Project was founded. And Mark Richardson got involved in the project because in music circles he was known as one of the most ferocious drummers about.

In the conversation, Mark describes his early career, how he found drumming as an outlet, how exploring his own performance with Marcus has opened up his thinking and practice to a much healthier, sustainable way of approaching the demands of performing on stage or touring. They also both share some wonderful spin-offs that the project has had in supporting children with autism too (see the links below).

Make sure you listen right to the end of the episode where you can listen to Mark performing the drumming for “Tear the place up” (courtesy of Skunk Anansie and reproduced with permission)

This episode is sponsored by Junius, a multi-award winning, health food + drinks company. Junius have made a superb range of plant-based juices. We’ve partnered with Junius so that you can benefit from a 10% discount on your first order from a range of themed boxes of 7 juices. When you go to the checkout at wearejunius.com/shop  make sure you enter the exclusive code Champions10.

(Disclosure: Affiliate links are used for each product that we are an affiliate of, which means that if you click that link and subsequently make a purchase, we will earn a commission. You pay nothing extra; any commission we earn comes at no additional cost to you.)

Show notes

Drawing comparisons between performers and understanding of what is performance

Marcus discusses how he became interested in music; Blondie & Clem Burke the drummer. PhD with Olympic boxers and sport science.

Heart rate data collection of Clem drumming

Mark – the baddest hardest hitting rock drummer

Marcus discusses why he was fascinated by drummers and specifically fatigue

Mark discussed his childhood and how physical activity helped him not misbehave

Alcoholism, AA meetings and therapy, learning to get fit and stay healthy

The similarities between Premier League football players and drummer

The dichotomy between the perception a=of a having a dream job and the reality of the demands

The need to look after self pre-tour, including fitness, food and mentally

Marcus discussed the importance of asking questions and the person above the numbers

Learning to accept when ‘good enough’

The importance of collaboration and surrounding yourself with people more intelligent than you

Communication through movement and sound reaching out to kids with autism and the benefits of drumming

Outro of Mark playing “Tear the place up” (courtesy of Skunk Anansie and reproduced with permission)


If you’re ambitious to work in sports performance, and you realise that there’s no golden ticket to the chocolate factory – that you have to learn and develop and build a network of collaborators to get there – then sign up for our Graduate Membership today – go to http://supportingchampions.co.uk/membership/ and enrol. We’ll look forward to connecting with you there.

Connect with Marcus on Twitter on https://twitter.com/MarcusSmith78

Mark on Twitter https://twitter.com/markskunkanansi

The Project

Steve Ingham on Twitter www.twitter.com/ingham_steve

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Dr Steve Ingham is one of the UK’s leading figures in sport and one of the world’s leading performance scientists. He is steeped in high performance and has been integral to the development of Britain into an Olympic superpower. He has provided support to over 1000 athletes, of which over 200 have achieved World or Olympic medal success, including some of the world’s greatest athletes such as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent. Steve has coached Kelly Sotherton's running for heptathlon and to 4x400m Olympic medal winning success. Steve has worked at the English Sports Council British Olympic Association, English Institute of Sport, where Steve was the Director of Science and Technical Development, leading a team of 200 scientists in support of Team GB and Paralympics GB. Ingham holds a BSc, PhD and is a Fellow of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. Steve is author of the best selling ‘How to Support a Champion: The art of applying science to the elite athlete’, discussing and inspiring the importance of learning and adapting to reach our maximum potential. Steve established Supporting Champions with the ambition of helping ambitious people to find a better way of creating high-performance. Steve hosts the Supporting Champions Podcast on sharing his pursuit of understanding and exploration in performance.

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