Getting to Know: Dan Oldfield

Vernon’s Dan Oldfield got his start playing in local band Steel and now drums for a number of well-known musicians including Andrew Allen (pictured) and Salmon Arm’s Greg Sczebel. - Bob Oldfield photo
Vernon’s Dan Oldfield got his start playing in local band Steel and now drums for a number of well-known musicians including Andrew Allen (pictured) and Salmon Arm’s Greg Sczebel.
— image credit: Bob Oldfield photo

Dan Oldfield is a professional drummer from Vernon who has made a name for himself in the Okanagan area. He drums for numerous well-known musicians, but is mostly known for drumming for local talent Andrew Allen.

Q: How old were you when you first started drumming?

A: “I have been drumming since I was a baby, drumming along to Queen and The Beatles on the couch cushions and pillows. I got my first kit at age three and started drumming on stage at my parents’ church when I was eight or nine.”

Q: Is anyone in your family musical?

A: “Yes, my dad is very musical. He plays everything: drums, piano, bass, and guitar. He always has instruments lying around the house, from guitars to banjos and even a didgeridoo.”

Q: Do you sing or play any other instruments?

A: “I play the guitar and like to try all kinds of different instruments that I can get my hands on. I’m working on my singing; so far just singing backup vocals and also at home or in the car when no one can hear me. Who knows, maybe I’ll do my own show some day (laughs).”

Q: How is it playing the drums for Andrew Allen?

A: “Being on the road and playing for Andrew is always a blast. Andrew is my best friend and was the best man at my wedding, so it’s pretty great that we get to share the stage together. We’ve got to experience some pretty amazing things because of music. I’m very thankful that I get to do that with him.”

Q: Do you ever get nervous playing for a large crowd?

A: “Honestly, the size of the crowd never gets me nervous. In fact, the bigger the crowd, the better, or I should say the fuller the room, the better. No matter what size of room, there’s more energy when the room is full. There is nothing better than an energetic crowd, I feed off of that.

I did get nervous before a jazz gig recently because I felt a bit out of my element. Jazz isn’t my typical genre, but the crowd was really into the music and as soon as we started playing, all the nerves went away.”

Q: Do you have an inspiration or another musician that you look up to?

A: “Questlove and Steve Jordan are some of my favourite drummers. I have a long list of favourite drummers and they would be at the top. Those guys hold down a groove and take control of the stage without being flashy. I try to copy that and bring it into my own style.”

Q:  What advice would you give to someone who is considering learning how to drum?

A: “Practise. Practise. Practise. Get out there and play as much as you can. The best practise is playing live. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, something great could come from it. Put your headphones on and your favourite music and drum along to it.”

Q: Are there any other musicians that you’ve played the drums for besides Andrew?

A: “Yes, I try to never turn down a gig, so that list is a very long one. Some regulars would be Greg Sczebel, Jon Buller, Jo Burt and I occasionally play for The Creeks, a folk band that my dad is in.”

Q: What do you think the hardest part of drumming is?

A: “When you’re a beginner, the hardest part would be coordinating all your limbs at different times. Now, it would be getting the right feel for every song and situation. I try to be the best I can be so that it’s easy and enjoyable for other musicians to play with me.”

Q: If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, which song would it be?

A: “Wow, that is a tough question. I would probably have to go with A Day in the Life by The Beatles.

Q: How long does it take you to learn the rhythm for a new song on the drums?

A: “Not too long, but it’s different all the time. It really depends on the song. Usually I like to listen to the song and take some notes, then practise it with the band and maybe listen to the song some more if I need to. If there isn’t a recorded copy of the song, I run it a few times with the band and that’s usually good.”

Q: If you weren’t drumming, what do you think you would be doing instead?

A: “I would love to be doing photography if I wasn’t drumming. In fact, I will do both if I can.”

Ed note: This is the  fourth Q&A session with local musicians conducted by Kalamalka Secondary Grade 12 student Aniko Forgo.



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