About ‘Sir’ Alan Drums Buckley
Alan Buckley has, over the years, become affectionately known by his fellow musicians and the music press as ‘Sir Alan Drums’. The ‘Title’ encapsulates the pure English eccentricity of this well known and popular character.
However, long before he acquired the title he was plain Alan – a young man growing up in a musical family. His father was a very good stride piano player and very much wanted the young Alan to follow his footsteps. So, aged six Alan had his first exposure to the piano eagerly encouraged by Dad.
Alan didn't get on well playing the piano and his heart wasn’t in it because he always wanted to play the drums. His father was a visionary who knew that any musician needed to play the right instrument so he allowed Alan to drop the piano and in 1944, at the age of eight, his first drum kit arrived! For the experts amongst you - it was a Leedy 28 inch bass drum with a trap tray and lots of traps!
That first Leedy drum kit lasted until his father was convinced that he had actually found his instrument. Alan took to the drums like a master and in 1948 his father bought him a new, and better, drum kit. Alan has fond memories of the day that the new kit was bought - he remembers going to Birmingham and selecting the kit.
The new kit was a Beverley Genius - a white kit with two tom toms, 24 inch bass drum and a 6 1/2 inch brass snare drum. It looked great and it sounded great – especially when Alan played the kit with his 78 inch record of 12th Street Rag!
In the Fifties, 1956 to be precise, Alan bought himself another new drum kit.
This new acquisition was an Ajax drum kit white marine pearl 20 inch bass drum, two tom-toms and a 5 inch snare drum. The Ajax kit lasted well into the nineties. The next and present kit was bought at the Chicago drum fair is a 1970’s and is a white marine pearl Slingerland - a good looker and it sounds great too.
This early fixation with drums started the embryo of a drum collection but it was to be some years before it turned into the full scale endeavour that it has become today. In the meantime Alan, or ‘Sir Alan Drums’ as he has now become known, was a regular musician on the circuit. He also became a regular industry music writer specialising in drums and drummers.
‘Sir’ Alan started collecting vintage drums properly almost by accident in the 1980’s!
The idea came when he started a jazz festival in Malvern called AI Capone Hot Jazz Festival. Now Malvern is a picturesque town in the county of Worcestershire and is not the typical venue for such an event. However, ‘Sir’ Alan attacked the project with the larger than life enthusiasm for which he is recognised.
But in those early days it needed some jump starting! As well as publicity - there was also a need for some form of art decoration. So Alan, or ‘Sir Alan’ as he is fondly referred to, bought a few old drums as ‘props’ for the festival. This turned out to be a really good idea - they really looked great!
‘Sir’ Alan didn’t stop at those first few drums – he started collecting drums and carried on doing so until he had (arguably) the biggest collection of antique drums in the world!
He has managed to amass 110 full drum kits and over 300 hundred Snare drums plus Catalogues and books. His drum collection now forms the major part of the Classic Drum Museum and features in many exhibitions and shows.
The collection, together with ‘Sir’ Alan, is in constant demand by enthusiasts, writers and performers across the World. He has made many TV and Radio appearances and is a recognised authority on his subject.
‘Sir’ Alan has divided his time between his drum collection and his other love of music festival promotion. He has successfully organised more than 40 festivals throughout central England, including 25 at Upton-upon-Severn.