Charlie Fiske reflects on a busy summer

3rd October 2018

Tags: ,

Since graduating from BIMM London last year, Drummer Charlie Fiske has found work as a session drummer for no-nonsense Brit Pop trio The Tailormade. We caught up with Charlie for a look back over an incredibly busy Summer period, including support slots with Madness, plus the backstory on how he came to be involved with the band. 

Tell us about what you’ve been up to since graduating from BIMM London?

Since graduating BIMM, I’ve carried on playing for the Pop band called The Tailormade. This summer, we supported Madness on their Stately Home tour (see below), alongside The Lightning Seeds.

We also supported Michael Buble in Hyde park at British Summertime Festival, and ended the summer having supported Emeli Sande (see main picture) and George Ezra at Lytham festival, which was a brilliant way to end the run of gigs.

How did you get the gig?

A couple of years ago, I found an advert for drumming auditions on Gumtree. Around 20-30 drummers applied, but I was chosen second on the list from a phone call they had with me. They hadn’t even looked at a drumming video of me playing! They just liked my attitude and enthusiasm. I wasn’t chosen to be their drummer originally, because I didn’t drive. However, they asked me to fill in on the odd gig playing Cajon.

So, there I am thinking, this is awful. They were off supporting Cee Lo Green at the time with the drummer who got the job, and I’ve been chucked on the Cajon whenever he’s busy.

Time goes on, I end up playing Cajon, doing school workshops with them, giving a drink and drugs talk and playing some songs. It then goes quiet for a while and I get a message from the band a few months later out of nowhere. “Hey Charlie, fancy playing Cajon to Radio 1 with us busking against The Vamps in Waterloo Station in London tomorrow”. What do you think my answer to this was? Not a bad situation to be in for the first time busking, eh!

The next day, I meet Nick Grimshaw and The Vamps as we perform for a load of people, pretty crazy! Check the video out, it’s on Youtube and I’m in it for about 10 seconds!

Soon after this, I get a call from the guys asking me if I want to support The Beach Boys the following day with them for 6000 people. Their drummer couldn’t make it because he had a job at the time and couldn’t get the day off work. I know, sounds crazy! After this gig, I get asked if I want to play full-time with them because their drummer was getting married and could no longer commit. After The Beach Boys gig, we went on to support Tom Jones, Olly Murs, Jess Glynne and Madness. This summer was mental!

What was it like being on the road with the band?

Always a laugh! We connected really well as a band and I owe them a lot to be honest. The people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and the experiences I’ve gained are incredible and I’ll never forget!

There are a few funny stories from gigs this Summer, the first being when Suggs (The Lead Singer of Madness) fell through the wall of their dressing room opposite ours. (It wasn’t a real wall – Just some dressing room facades). It was a bit awkward, as it happened right in front of me and I want to help him up but you don’t know if their security is going to grab you and pull you away or anything!

Second one was really funny as Jack from The Tailormade said to the crowd a few times, “it’s great to be here today in “(whatever location it was)”.

Turns out he was wrong and we weren’t in that location at all! And yes, we did have some funny tweets afterwards about it as well!

Lastly, when we supported George Ezra, I got to have a chat with him about his time at BIMM and what course he studied. He was asking what course I was studying at BIMM too. It was really cool! Later on, I bumped into him in the toilet after we played. He was brushing his teeth and I said “the crowd is amazing out there mate, you’ll love it! And he’s just making these weird noises trying to answer me back as he’s brushing away; it was quite hilarious!

What part of BIMM life would you say was the most beneficial to you as a musician?

As a musician, the part of BIMM that was the most beneficial to me was most definitely the Masterclasses! I cannot recommend them highly enough. Because of BIMM, I was able to meet some of my idols such as Keith Carlock, Kendrick Scott, Mike Stern, JoJo Mayer, Alex Acuna, Steve Jordan, the list goes on. If you watch the Steve Jordan masterclass on Youtube you’ll see myself going on about how great it was at the end!

What advice would you offer a new student starting at BIMM?

The advice I would give anyone starting BIMM is to not be narrow minded with a massive ego and believe that you are simply going to ‘make it’. Successful music careers aren’t handed to you on a plate! Be friendly, make decisions you think are right for you – not what others tell you. Take some advice, digest it in your own way, talk to level-headed people who want you to do well.

You are a business at the end of the day. So, make contacts, be polite, look for opportunities within BIMM as well as outside it! From day one, think of yourself from a marketing angle. You need to question every action you make. Is this right for me? How do I gain from this?

My last point is to be realistic. BIMM lasts for 1, 3, or 4 years depending on what course you’re studying. Graduation comes around quickly and you will be finished before you know it! Think carefully about what you’re going to do after BIMM and work towards that as soon as possible. It’s not a problem if you choose to do music for enjoyment on the side and go and do something else. Do what makes you happy!


If you’d like to study drums at BIMM London, like Charlie did, you can find out more about the course, right here.


James Watts

Social Media Assistant, Professional Bassist and Music Journalist. Career highlights include performing at some of the UK's premier music festivals, recording in Abbey Road and interviewing Debbie Harry.