Paul Weller's drummer hosts music class at South Tyneside College
An acclaimed drummer - whose polished playing powered Paul Weller's success over 25 years - got in the groove during a masterclass in South Tyneside.
Steve White showed South Tyneside College students how to keep perfect time and other skills that have made him one of the world’s most respected players.
The mainstay of Weller’s post-Jam group The Style Council and of his solo studio and touring band, also delivered advice grounded a world away from the pop stardom he enjoyed.
He revealed he would play up to eight hours-a-day while still at secondary school – and told them that only practise makes perfect.
Steve was the latest highly regarded professional musician to perform at the college as part of its music programmes curriculum.
Two days before his appearance on Friday, Aziz Ibrahim, a guitarist with The Stone Roses, Simply Red and Hot Chocolate, also displayed his prowess.
Steve, 53, told students: “Practise requires time management. It’s really important to change your approach and attitude to practise. Being at college, these are the golden times. I tell the students I teach to utilise their time.
“These skills will never go away from you, but you have to practise. A little and often is what I advise.”
Of being a professional musician, he added: “I’m kind of still here, which is quite amazing. I still pinch myself that I’m able to do this as a career.
London-born Steve, who played with The Style Council at Live Aid in 1985 and The Who at Live 8 twenty years later, told how he was plucked from obscurity aged just 17 by Weller.
After an unsuccessful audition for another band, word of his skills and jazz-influenced playing style reached the former Jam singer and guitarists ears.
A day after meeting Weller, he was invited to play with The Style Council on Radio 1’s Kid Jensen show, which enjoyed a huge audience in the early 1980s.
He impressed, and was invited to record and tour overseas.
Music lecturer Graham Thompson said the masterclasses showed the respect in which the colleges music department was held.
He added: “Getting musicians of Steve and Aziz’s calibre to perform to our students shows just how well thought of we are.
“They are quite exceptional musicians who are remarkably generous and giving with their time and talents.
“Being able to see perform them close up, and hearing them talk about their experiences, is greatly inspiring to our students.”
The college runs a range of music courses, including a two-year foundation degree.
More information on courses is available by calling 0191 427 3900 or by visiting www.stc.ac.uk