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Tom Kerr

 This page records the music career of Ayr drummer Tom Kerr - AKA Tam, Tommy or 'Ticker'.
That nickname was derived from how the teacher read out the morning register - Q. 'T. Kerr?'  A. 'Present!'


Recent pic (c.2017) of Tom holding the sticks for the Colin Kennedy Band.
Tom recalls: I was 15 years old, I had left school and was working in Anderson Bros in Ayr.  
One night, a couple guys I knew, Jim and John, took me along to the Doon Hotel in Patna where there was 
a wee band on -
an accordion player and a fella accompanying him on a snare drum with brushes.

John came from down that way and seemed well known to the locals. He had an electric guitar with him.
When John was asked to do a turn
he said., 'Right Tommy you play drums and Jim can sing.'

I had never played drums before and Jim had never sang into a microphone before either.
We had a go at Johnny B Goode - I held the wire ends of the brushes and battered the snare drum with the handles; it felt brilliant.

Well, soon after that I got a wee drum kit out of my auntie's mail order catalogue:
a bass drum, snare, and a tiny tom and bop cymbal mounted on the bass drum.
Before you knew it I was in my first band called 'X Cert' playing church halls and community centres.
I was completely self taught from listening to records - I've never had a formal drum lesson.

   
  Early days with the X-Cert at Annbank Community Centre 1967
l-r: Tom 'Ticker' Kerr - drums; Iain Ogilvie - bass; Brian McCafferty - guitar; Alex Kelly - vocals.
 Pic courtesy of Iain Ogilvie.  Note the improvised drum-stool - 3 stacking chairs.
The blue 'floor tom' was borrowed from the Community Centre.

Soon, the wee drum kit went and I got a second hand Olympic kit.
Alex and I eventually hooked up with bass player Ian Irving (R.I.P.) and guitarist Ian Stirrat, we called ourselves the Gyro.
After a few local gigs we got a residency in the Cellar bar in the Bobby Jones.
That soon led to three nights a week between the Bobby Jones, the Pavilion, and Troon concert hall.
We added Charlie Lundy on keyboards and played all the hits of the day plus some standards like:
Smokestack Lightning, Please Stay and Tobacco Road.
Playing so often meant we all progressed quickly on our instruments and....  
I changed kits again to a Premier one with three toms.


Omnibus Mk3 left to right: Bill Smith, Tommy Kerr, Ian Allen and Ricky Karling

After 3 years with the Gyro I was asked to join local rock band Omnibus  - I must have been about 19 at the time
and I jumped at the chance. that was when it got really loud!!
Another new kit was required - a dark blue Hayman kit with a Ludwig snare drum this time.

                                    

(i) Bill Smith, Tommy Kerr, Riki Karling & Jim Park.     (ii) Riki Karling, Jim Park, Bill Smith & Tommy Kerr.      



 I left Omnibus in '73/'74, moved to Milton Keynes and got a gig with Northampton based band, 'Left Hand Drive'.
They suited me fine as they did original material in their set and as I had always been interested in writing lyrics I could contribute to the songs.
 
We played all over the Northampton area and the usual London music pub circuit -
The Greyhound, Hope and Anchor, Windsor Castle, etc. We also did a small tour supporting the Tyla Gang.

 The pic above was taken in 'Upstairs' at Ronnie Scott's in London.
The one below in a Northampton venue.

An album of old LHD recordings  - 'Who Said Rock & Roll Was Dead' was released on CD in 2017
It can also be found on Spotify, and iTunes etc.
 It has half a dozen Tam Kerr co-writes on it that I'm very pleased with :-)





This was LHD when I first joined. After punk hit, the band soon changed both musically and in personnel - it got a bit more rocky!!



'Stand Or Fall' - another album of LHD recordings including a couple of live tracks.

I was around Northampton for about five years and when I returned to Ayr in '78 I played in a succession of cover bands around Ayrshire
which although financially rewarding, never felt as good as playing original material.  
One of those bands 'Dance Faction' became very popular.
We played approx 3 nights a week for 12 years.
It featured Alistair Kerr (bass) and Colin Ivory (guitar) both ex 'Dead End Kids' and a great singer from Irvine called Colin Kennedy.
We played just about every hit from the '80s - Lost In Music, 1999, songs by the Silencers, Dan Reed Network, U2, Tinsel Town in the Rain etc.

When I started in Dance Faction I had a special Simmons drum kit made which was the first one in Scotland!!
When the kits hit the shops they were 5 pads (bass, snare, 3 toms) and were only available in black or white.
I spoke directly to Dave Simmons and he made me a 7 pad kit in red sunburst!! 
BBC Scotland hired it from me to record the theme tune to one of their programs- I think it was Naked Video.
After a few years I got fed up with it (as you do) and bought a beautiful red Sonor kit!!

 After, Dance Faction I played in a few short lived bands including the Whisky Bandits who were a good blues rock outfit. 
The line-up was featuring Gavin McMulkin on guitar, Alan Scott on bass, Colin Stewart on vocals and guitar and myself on drums.
We covered the blues rock classics like
Layla, Gimme Three Steps, Twice as Hard, Mr Big etc.
The composite photo above shows theWhisky Bandits at Ayr Town hall supporting Wishbone Ash

 

Colin Kennedy and I had remained great friends and we now decided to form a band playing our own original material.
That eventually led to the release of an album called 'Paint The Grey Sky Blue' which is also on Spotify, iTunes, etc.
I have co-writing credits on three tracks: 'Paint The Grey Sky Blue', 'Karma Baby' and 'Bullets of Love'.
 All have Tam K lyrics - fame at last ha ha.

 


The Colin Kennedy Band or CKB don't do a lot of gigs but when we do we try to make them memorable!! 


John Blakeley - guitar and backing vocals; Colin Kennedy - lead vocals and guitar; Jim Eagleson - bass and backing vocals;
Tam Kerr - Drums and percussion.

It's been a long road and I have enjoyed every minute of it!

Tom's Drum Kits

Tom playing his Mapex kit - the boys in the Whisky Bandits called this ‘The Sparkle Monster’.


Tam's current 'A' kit : Tama Starclassic Maple
Photo credit: Alan Blakeley   



Bass drum close-up
Photo credit: Alan Blakeley 

Tam's current 'B' kit : Yamaha stage custom beech