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  • Writer's pictureTrevor Greenway

London rock star opens Edelweiss drum school

Paul Kodish wants to know if you can “hold a beat.”

If you can, he’ll teach you everything he’s learned from sharing the stage with Nine Inch Nails, Jay-Z and The Prodigy while touring with the Australian drum ‘n’ bass band Pendulum. 

He’ll teach you how to rock the stage in front of 135,00 people, as he did at Glastonbury, U.K. in 2009; he’ll teach you how to rub shoulders with some of the biggest in the biz – massive DJs like Diplo and DJ Fresh and American singer and drummer Sheila E., who collaborated on Prince’s 1984 “Purple Rain”.

If you can’t hold a beat, he’ll show you how and give you all the tips and tricks to become the real rock star in the band.

“You’re the timekeeper of the band,” said Kodish, 55, from his home in Edelweiss. The walls of his small drum studio are adorned with Gold and Platinum records for selling over 600,000 albums in the UK with Pendulum. 

He’s only been in the area for a year after spending nearly a decade in Toronto, where he was touring with DJ Fresh – an English DJ, record producer and member of electronic band Bad Company – and teaching music. “You’re the one all the girls are looking at, and you’re always the last one at the venue packing up,” he added, with a chuckle.

Kodish was born in Willesden in North London and spent his childhood listening to jazz and funk records from the 70s – namely Earth, Wind and Fire, because “they were the best,” he said about the American soul/funk group.

“Before I would go to bed, I used to put my headphones on and put on Earth, Wind and Fire and just shut my eyes and say, ‘I want to play for them one day.’ That never happened, but I did get to meet them,” said Kodish. “There was just something about them – the music was crystal clear, the drumming was fantastic. Everything about [them] was kind of what I wanted to do.”

So, he started practicing –  10 hours a day, every day, until people started noticing. He was slinking into pubs in London as a teen to see English rock bands like The Blockheads, where drummer Charlie Charles would sneak him into rehearsals. 

“I used to sneak down for rehearsals, and Charlie Charles would let me sit behind him and say, ‘Shhh, just tell them you’re my cousin or something,’” said Kodish, adding that Charles is Black and they look nothing alike. “And I used to just sit there and watch him play. I was really just hassling people.”

Hassling people is what he did – especially his parents, who let him work at a drum shop when he was 15. He later scored a job at Sarm West Studios – the famed space where Gorillaz – an English virtual band created by Blur’s Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett – recorded its sophomore album “Demon Days”. It was here that he leaned into the “session scene” that was growing around London throughout the 80s.

His earliest pro gig was with the American hip-hop group Whodini on their 1986 studio album “Back in Black”. He spent the next decade carving out his name in the London drum ‘n’ bass – a form of electronic music involving fast break beats and heavy bass – scene and landed a spot with Liverpool electronic band Apollo 440 in 2002. This was his big break and it led to a gig with Jean-Michel Jarre, famed French composer, record producer and performer. He was later hired to drum on Jeff Beck’s track, “Hot Rod Honeymoon”.

He then met Rob Swire, the lead singer of the Australian drum ‘n’ bass rock band, Pendulum, through connections with DJ Fresh and was added to the lineup as the band’s first live drummer. He toured with them extensively from 2006 to 2009 playing the biggest stages in the world – Coachella Music Festival, Ultra Music Festival, Creamfields in 2007 and the Download Festival with more than 80,000 fans. He played a headlining show at Glastonbury in 2009 in front of 135,000 screaming fans – a show he said he’ll never forget. 

“We headlined Glastonbury, which was an amazing show because of the anticipation of the crowd,” said Kodish. “You could feel the tension. I had played Glastonbury many times with various different bands, but this was something else. The press was outside the dressing room and everything, and [my bandmates] were all just sitting there on their phones,” he added, laughing. He urged his bandmates to live in the moment. “I said, ‘If we fuck up today, the whole world is going to be watching. You know this is live on BBC?’ 

“Anyway, we played the show, and we absolutely killed it.”

After his big gig, Kodish left the band and followed his partner to Canada in the early 2010s, as she had family in Toronto. He spent nearly a decade there but couldn’t work and was doing small gigs and lessons when he could. He relinked with DJ Fresh and did some live shows, but Toronto wasn’t jiving with him. An accidental Airbnb rental brought him to Wakefield for a vacation, and he said he instantly fell in love with the region. 

“In Toronto, it’s very hard to meet people that are very nice,” he said. “I’ve met more cool people here in 12 months than I did in nine years in Toronto.”

Kodish is now settled in Edelweiss and is starting his own drum school. He’s offering sessions for all levels and can teach music lovers all aspects of drumming, from jazz to drum ‘n’ bass.

“I basically want to teach people how to have fun with it,” added Kodish. “It’s all about having fun playing music.”

He teaches all levels and ages. Contact him on Facebook at Kodishlive. 


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