Scott Preece of GBH: Still Kicking Punk Ass

By Radim McCue Published November 30, 2010

Scott Preece has been holding down the drum chair for 18 of GBH's 30-year run. Roaring out of Birmingham when punk was still relatively young, GBH is a band that has stayed close to is vision, pumping out powerful, incisive, short, sharp tunes that have never lacked for an audience. We caught up with Scott on the Warped Tour earlier this summer.

  • Name: Scott Precce
  • Age: 44
  • Years playing drums: 24
  • Drums: Star Classic, Maple
  • Sticks: Vic Firth 5A
  • Cymbals: Stagg
  • Pedals: Tama
  • Hardware: Tama, Elite, American Drum Company

What was the idea behind GBH’s new album, Perfume and Piss?

The idea was just to have fun and enjoy what we’re doing, get what was inside us musically and lyrically.


How many recordings has the band done?

Oh blimey, I think it’s about 12 or so, maybe more because I only joined the band 18 years ago, and they’ve been going 30 years. The only lineup changes have been drummers, basically. I’m the fourth drummer.


What is the process for recording an album like this?

[For the writing,] the guitarist goes home and comes up with a riff and then we just all carry on with it. It’s usually spontaneous; we don’t try to work on just one song. You gotta feel it, you know? We got all the ideas in our heads and there might only be a few songs finished, but in the studio it all comes together.


When you’re in the studio are you recording everything simultaneously?

Yes, on some of the albums. Some we play live, some we put in vocals, bass or drums separately.


Is this your first time at Warped Tour?

Second time.


How does Warped Tour compare to other festivals?

[It’s] wonderful --- the variety of music and happy people; It’s such a diverse thing going on here, everybody seems happy. It’s very relaxed and they look after you.


How much do you mix it up on the road? How much of the performance is improvised?

It all depends because if I’m feeling it, or I feel there’s something that needs to be put in there, then I’ll do it. I try to play as straight as I can but with the excitement of playing, I might improvise a bit, an extra something here and there.


Does the band change the songs as they go along or while on the road?

No, they’re exactly the same, a few more doubles or kickdrums in there, but only when it’s needed, it’s basically just straightforward.


What do you think has been the most challenging thing about being a professional touring drummer?

It’s just what the body can take. Trying to get your best performance every show. I’m not going to moan, I’m a very lucky person, but there’s a lot of sleep deprivation. Your body hopefully adjusts eventually, it takes a while but, it’s just [you want to] drum perfectly for the people.


Are there songs on the recording that you’re particularly proud of?

Yes, “Cadillac,” because it took me quite a while to learn and it’s completely different for us. I’m proud of that one.


Let’s go back 24 years when you started playing drums. Do you remember an experience that made you think that you’d really like to do this? Do you remember what you felt like?

Yes. This band called Adam and the Ants had two drummers and it was like tribal drumming. And the bands The Specials and Motorhead, just that feeling --- I can’t explain it, it’s just the sound. It was uplifting and it took me by surprise and cleared my head. I heard this song come on and it automatically clicked.


From there did you take any lessons?

No, I was self-taught.


What was your first kit?

My first set was a Premier, beautiful kit. 9 shells, I was very lucky I could afford those. I just enjoyed myself, but I should have been more regimented, I just let loose.


Do you have any side projects?

I have a few bands and projects on the side and I’ll fill in for a few bands here and there, a band called Mangles at the moment, but GBH is always first and foremost. I’m very busy at the moment so I haven’t had time for anything else.


So you’re heading for New Zealand, Australia, Japan?

That’s October, I believe, and we have two months in America before that. And a big festival in Blackpool in England called the Valium Festival, and a couple of weeks in Europe. Then we’re off to Japan, Austrailia and New Zealand. I’m really looking forward to that, I hear there’s a big scene over there, so that’s good.


What else should people know about GBH?

We put 100% in, we’ll never quit, and we’re enjoying every moment. We take every day, every show, as a privilege and that’s all we can ask.