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‘Ere, who’s this random geezer on the skins?

When you have to have the office party via Zoom…

Eagle-eyed viewers of our latest video probably keep having to turn their heads from side to side and chew mice whilst watching. Which must be weird. Those viewers with regular human eyes and an observant streak may have noticed an unfamiliar face behind the drums.

That would be our old friend Duke and, in case you didn’t know, there’s a little story.

Way back in the noughties, when anyone wearing a face mask on the street was just a mugger and a barrel of oil cost more than minus 37 dollars, The Layers were touring Europe and having a quite splendid time of it. All was going well until Roo, our first drummer, picked up a heavy set of drum hardware and, with a rending of vertebrae audible on Mars, did something nasty to his back. Without European health insurance, it was either fly Roo home or allow a back-alley Viennese surgeon to rip out his spine and turn it into a coat rack and two sets of chessmen. Unfortunately, the surgeon was unavailable at short notice so we stuck the drummer in a jumbo sized Jiffy bag and took him to the airport in Bratislava where, to save money, he was faxed back to the UK.

This looked like also being the end of our tour, no one else in the band at the time being able to count to four. Just as despair beckoned, one of the other musicians on the tour with us, a solo troubadour with a blistering voice, said: “Hey, I play drums.”

That man was one Duke Bryan McDonald. This was a wonderful and generous offer from someone who hadn’t picked up a drumstick in years and barely knew us or, for that matter, our songs. So with a set of recordings and a little bit of tour bus tutorial, Duke learned the whole set in about a day and a half and played brilliantly for us a night later in front of a fantastic Czech audience. Many drummers have, for various, Spinal Tap-esque reasons over the years, taken a turn at keeping the wayward musicians of The Layers in time and, as any of them would no doubt attest, our songs are rarely straightforward. Duke did a great job and earned our enduring friendship which is, let’s face it, something of a booby prize at best. Such is life.

Duke now lives in Finland and makes his living as a musician. Very good at it he is too – check him out ((https://www.facebook.com/dukemcdonald/)) and we hope that we’ll be able to work with him again.

In the meantime, we’re hoping to get more collaborations done with musicians who’ve inexplicably failed to give us fake contact details over the years. Keep an eye on our splendid new(ish) YouTube channel for more videos and, if you’re a musician (at least by the loose standards of The Layers) and would like to record with us like this, please get in touch via contact@thelayers.me.uk

We hope that you enjoy these recordings and that, if you’ve been finding lockdowns and social distancing a chore, this music brightens your day a little.

Thanks for listening. Unlimited love from The Layers.