Born in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England 1966, John began playing the drums aged 11. He studied with Barry Black at Ronnie Pearson’s ‘Drum Shop’ and made his first recordings in the shop’s basement studio aged 14. He became a full-time professional on leaving school aged 16 with The Don Smith Band at Newcastle’s Mayfair Ballroom. In these early days, whilst playing cabaret clubs, summer seasons, cruise ships and corporate shows, John accompanied a long list of ‘variety acts’, including Cannon & Ball, Bobby Davro, Marti Caine, Rod Hull, Renée and Renato, Bob Monkhouse, Frank Carson, Freddie Starr, Jim Davidson, Danny La Rue, Jimmy Cricket, Peters & Lee, Bernard Manning, Bradley Walsh, Roy Castle, The Tiller Girls, The Dallas Boys and Rolf Harris.
John moved to London in the mid-1980s, playing initially with the house band at The London Empire and then The Andy Ross Orchestra. He became a respected member of the ‘session community’ covering all aspects of the music industry. John has accompanied a wide range of artists, including Robbie Williams, Hot Chocolate, Cliff Richard, Georgie Fame, Michelle Shocked, Boney M., Ruby Turner, Colin Blunstone, Barbara Dickson, The Drifters, The Three Degrees, Jimmy Barnes, The Platters, Chris Thompson & Stevie Lange (Night), Joe Camilleri, Lucy Durak, Robert Hart, James Belushi, John McEnroe, Viola Wills, Chris Farlowe, The Nolans, Vivian Stanshall, Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges, The Chippendales, Guy Barker, The Zydecats, Troy Roberts and 1970s multi-hit-maker Tony Burrows (Edison Lighthouse, The Brotherhood of Man).
John toured with The Peter Green Splinter Group, ‘Whitesnake’s’ Moody Marsden Band, and was a member of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band from 1996-2000. Upon leaving MMEB, John joined the re-formed Prog Rock band, Greenslade. The line-up consisted of founding members Dave Greenslade (composer/keyboards), Tony Reeves (bass), Trotter (drums), and ex-Asia keyboard player/vocalist John Young.
John has also worked for a range of Producers/Musical Directors, such as Laurie Latham, Philip Pope, Richard Niles, Matthew Fisher, Jeff Bova, Trevor Brown, Nigel Lythgoe, Simon Webb, Don Airey, Julian Littman, Tony Ashton, Spike Edney, Andy Fairweather Low, Raph Ravenscroft, Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens, Colin Keyes, Tony Platt, Kennedy Aitchison, Steve Brown, and legendary Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller.
Over the years, John has recorded numerous Film Soundtracks and TV Themes, including Spitting Image, Not the Nine O’Clock News, Gimme Gimme Gimme, Jane Horrocks, Harry Enfield & Chums, My Hero, KYTV (The Hee Bee Gee Bees), Kevin & Perry Go Large, The Dame Edna Show, Hale & Pace, The Lenny Henry Show, TFI Friday, Game On, Two Thousand Acres of Sky, Man ‘o’ Man, Auntie’s Bloomers, Noel’s House Party and the multi-award-winning ‘Fast Show’ (AKA ‘Brilliant’ – USA).
He has also recorded a long list of jingles for companies such as McDonald’s, KFC, Pepsi, Esso, British Telecom, Martini, Nescafe, McVitie’s, Cadbury’s, Andersen Consulting, Sharp Electronics, Mars, Kellogg’s, KP Snacks (Hula Hoops), Bubblicious, Gillette, Heineken, Vauxhall/Holden Cars, The Liberal Democrats (UK), Oxford University Press and Fuji (Mr. Bean series).
Other ventures include various educational projects, such as demonstrations at the British Music Fair, workshops at London’s Musicians Institute, Drum Teacher at Don Airey’s Rock School, and accompanying Paul Westwood on his highly acclaimed book/CD The Bass Bible.
John relocated to Australia in 2002 and became a citizen in 2007. He has contributed to over 150 albums/EPs with producers Rob Agostini, Anthony Cormican, Roy Martinez and Luke Steele (Empire of the Sun).
John continues to develop his Drum School and has written three educational books, titled The Working Drummer (2013), Beats & Pieces (2014), and the award-winning Junior Drummer’s Bible (2018). John teaches at several colleges and is a Drum Specialist Examiner for the AMEB Rockschool Programme. In 2019, John and UK keyboard player/composer Stuart Collingwood released the Jazz/Funk album Beep, Bap, Bop.
In 2023, John launched his new “rhythm for film” venture, titled RUMBLE, featuring his percussion-based compositions.