For more than 25 years Stu Martin has developed and maintained a reputation among friends, worship bands and musicians as a versatile drummer and musician, his broad experience ranging from gospel, big band, blues, and rock, to funk, fusion, and much more. Stu’s warm, easy-going down-to-earth manner is refreshing; His perfect balance between professionalism, strong work ethic comes across clearly whether he’s recording or playing. Stu Martin is a much-respected drummer.
Born in Romford 19th May 1974, Stu Martin a devoted father, son and brother. He uses the word devoted because he cannot stress strongly enough how important his family is to him. He grew up in a secure, loving Christian family and remains very close to his parents and siblings. His parents have been a major influence in his life, a fantastic example of how to live a worthy, morally upstanding life, with a strong work ethic and have always been there to offer guidance and support. They provided him with the moral compass as a start in life but gave him the freedom to go on his own journey. Although he grew up in a Christian home, and was encouraged to attend Church regularly, it was ultimately his choice to become a Christian, a very personal decision which has taken him forward in life and shaped the way he is and his attitude to life and others. Stu started playing drums around the age of 13. He started to teach himself in his bedroom on a practice pad/Kit.
That evening Stu became a drummer!
Caught by the drumming bug, Stu started playing at Romford Evangelical Church. With the combination of drum lessons and self-teaching he soon became the regular drummer in his church worship group. This gave Stu ‘LIVE’ playing experiences. His friend Simon Edward a bassist and other musicians regularly played in the church worship group. Stu remains close friends with Simon Edward and continues to work together on music projects today.
At 16, Stu and Simon started a band called 2nd Generation, inspired by their musical hero’s Phil Collins and Mark King. The band started with around eight members from the youth club at Romford Evangelical Church. 2nd Generation started paying at the church on Sunday evenings. Stu spent the majority of his teenage years playing in church with the church music group and with his band 2nd Generation. During this time 2nd Generation went from eight members to four. They recorded the Album Heal Our Nation, a collection of worship songs.
Stu’s working life in continuous employment from 16 to 27 was not the easiest; he started working in packaging factories as a printer and later working as a packaging designer. He persevered because he understood his obligations to his employers and his responsibilities at home. Stu’s factory job was repetitive; headphones were allowed to be worn to drown out the noise of the machines. Stu was never far away from music and had a constant metronome from the machine he was operating. It was at these times Stu would work out what the drummer was doing on the tracks he had playing through his headphones. Then at the end of the working day, straight back home back behind his kit to play what he had heard. Stu taught himself to play drums this way and in the process gave him a very good ear to be able to pick out what the other musicians were doing. Giving Stu a great understanding of other musicians and their instruments. Stu’s ability to lock in with the bass player evolved from his factory working days.
Outside of the factory Stu continued to play drums with 2nd Generation. Playing in church and doing the odd private function for friends and family. During the 90’s 2nd Generation’s line up changed a lot, partly due to band members going to universities and moving away. However the core members of the band remained, Stu on drums, Simon on bass and Griff on Lead Guitar. During this time 2nd Generation played at many smaller churches around the area that didn't have a music group.
In the 90’s 2nd Generation toured churches in the UK drumming up support for a multimedia Christian event called THE MESSAGE.
In 1995, Stu played drums for an Easter musical called Day Break written by the Christian singer-song writer Paul Field.
Stu toured with this around churches in Essex.
In 1996, Stu was back behind the kit playing for the Easter musical Day Break, this time at his home church Romford Evangelical Church for a 2 night run. Playing with his fellow 2nd Generation band mates Simon and Griff.
1995 – 1997 Stu continued to play drums at his home church, whilst outside of church Stu played for a big band. This gave Stu a great experience playing a style of music he loved. Having been inspired by Buddy Rich and The Phil Collins Big Band. Leading and feeling the full power of a big band horn section was a highlight. During the big band days Stu saw the importance of being able to read drum score. He went back to his drum teacher in Hornchurch to learn how to read and play at the same time! Stu admits that reading drum score is still an ongoing challenge.
In 1998, Stu played for the Theos Worship Band. The band was made up of young people from Romford. Stu’s job along with his 2nd Generation pals Simon and Griff was to keep a strong steady rhythm section. For 3 years the band held and played at Christian multi media events in schools, sports halls and outdoor marquees. Outside of the Theos Worship Band Stu and Simon, the founding members of 2nd Generation embarked on recording an album. The album was Engineered & produced by Simon Edward for his Volcano Red Productions. The drums were recorded at Stu’s home studio in Romford. An album of covers entitled 2nd Generation X.
In 2000, The Theos Worship band ended its 3 year run with a Christian multimedia event at The Queens Theatre,Hornchurch. This would be the last time Stu performed on stage and played ‘Live’ for a few years. 2000 was a defining year for Stu, not only it saw an end to his ‘live’ playing days it was also the year Stu was blessed with a daughter. Stu took his parental responsibilities very seriously. He gave up work and looked after the baby at home. Although Stu had hung up his sticks from playing ‘Live’ he didn’t stop playing altogether. While looking after his daughter he built a new home studio at the bottom of his garden. A new studio and space to practice was needed as his daughter now had the original studio space as her bedroom. Stu was a full time Dad and a part-time self- employed graphic designer. He still had a beat in his heart to drum, the next 3 years Stu continued to play, practice and record behind closed doors in his studio. The studio was nicknamed the TARDIS, (yes it was bigger on the inside) Stu continued to collaborate with Simon Edward in the TARDIS. Spending a great 3 years working on new material for a second album. Material that was laid to rest while Stu and Simon had a hectic work and family life. Material laid to rest but not forgotten as in the years ahead Stu and Simon would collaborate again.
In 2003, Stu’s son was born. It was in this year that Stu re-evaluated his family life in a busy commuter belt area. In 2001, Stu’s parents had moved to Lowestoft who he visited frequently. Attracted by the slower pace of life, in October 2004 Stu and his family moved to Lowestoft. The next 8 years Stu was kept busy with his young family and his graphic design business. During the first 2 years of moving to Lowestoft Stu went back to basics, back on his practice kit when he could grab a spare 5 minutes in-between looking after his children. Stu’s children have grown up with the sound of Stu drumming!
In 2005, Stu was back playing ‘Live’ at the church he attended, London Road Baptist Church, Lowestoft. Another defining moment as it saw Stu pick up his sticks and play outside of closed doors. For two years Stu played regularly at this church with the worship band most Sundays.
By 2010, Stu’s confidence had grown behind and outside of the kit. He went in search for a local band he could join. Posting a free add on the website Join MY Band. Stu received many replies to his add, August that year Stu joined the Band called Off the Record. The Band had four members. Debbie on Vocals, Dan on Lead Guitar, Andy on bass and Stu on drums. For the next two years Stu gigged the pub circuit with the covers band in and around Lowestoft. In-between gigging you could find Stu and the band rehearsing at Café Studio’s in Lowestoft. The Band also recorded a demo CD at Café Studio’s in Lowestoft.
Stu continued to run his graphic design business until October 2012. His children were now 13 and 10 years of age. The need for him to be at home all day had lessened. Time to re-evaluate what he could do with his life.
In 2013, Stu attended an open day at Tech Music School (formerly called Drum Tech) armed with questions maybe even hurdles. His biggest one, am I too old? He was pleased to chat to a mature student he really helped to put a perspective on his questions. At the end of the open day all his questions had been answered. Stu wasn’t too old and the course would work in and around his family life. He left the open day feeling very encouraged that this could be a new beginning for him.
In 2014, in his 40th year Stu applied to Tech Music School and attended an audition on 29th January. Based on his 30 minute playing audition and music theory test he was offered a place. Stu accepted the place and started the course in September 2014. Stu is studying a four year BMus (Hons) Degree in Popular Music Performance - Drums at BIMM London (formerly called Tech Music School).
With all his drumming accomplishments and accolades, to Stu his children are his greatest attributes. A strong and committed family man, he loves spending time with his family, with the love and support of his family Stu always stays grounded as he balances the challenges of a hectic musician’s life. Today, Stu continues with his studies at BIMM London, Playing for The Cliff Park worship band and collaborating on old and new material with Simon Edward for that long awaited second album.
Stu considers himself a good drummer but not the finished article. His ambition is to become a professional drummer with a sustainable career. A degree course at BIMM London will help him achieve this ambition.
Stu strives to “be a musical drummer” keeping the tempo and the groove for the whole song, and playing dynamically. Always adding to his music vocabulary of big band, Latin, funk, Afro-Cuban, hip-hop, R&B. Playing with brushes, in small groups, large groups, small or large venues, all ages and all kinds of styles and approaches.
“It’s not about playing drum solos, it’s about making a joyful noise…hopefully making a living out of it someday!”
This is what all the hard work is for - the inspiration to keep doing it - and that perspective is probably Stu’s biggest asset.