As a professional drummer for 40 years, my career came to a shuddering stop with my Parkinson’s disease (PD) diagnosis in 2008, age 50. During the previous year, I had been experiencing some minor difficulties when I played the drums, and I was convinced it was just wear and tear after playing drums for all those years. I was totally unprepared when I heard the words, “You have Parkinson’s.”
Nevertheless, being a strong-willed person and after a couple of months of reflection, I fought my way back from the devastating news and I continued to play drums with the Bob Geldof band for the next five years.
Drumming is a very therapeutic pastime as it allows you express your feelings through the music. Even if you are not an accomplished musician, it has benefits for your brain, like timing, coordination and exercise. Also, I was a singing drummer and I can still hit the notes.
Music has been a big part of my life since I first watched the Monkeys on television during the 1960s when I copied the moves of their drummer Mickey Dolenz.
In recent years I unfortunately retired from performing with the band as my speed has diminished and it’s very difficult to hold the drum stick with my left hand. I have recently written and published my memoir Timing is Everything. The writing process was a great way to relive all the stories of my career and if I was still drumming I probably would never have attempted a memoir.
I continue every day with a strict fitness routine, which includes a visit to the gym and swimming pool every morning. This has kept me in good shape and helps me cope with any Parkinson’s symptoms as they arrive.
Stay Positive, Keep Moving and Don’t Give up.