Preston Heyman

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Preston Heyman is an Anglo-American producer, drummer and percussionist, whose career spans five decades. Best known for his collaborations with Kate Bush he has also contributed to many hit recordings and worked with a diverse range of artists including Terence Trent D'arby, Tin Tin Out, Massive Attack, Paul McCartney, Tina Turner and a Grammy Award-winning film soundtrack with Mike Oldfield

Acting career[edit]

Although principally known for his musical career, Heyman's first experiences of show business came as a child actor and student of Corona Theatre School, while studying there appearing in the movies Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Goodbye Mr Chips with Peter O'Toole, Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River (1968) with Jerry Lewis, and Salt and Pepper Starring Sammy Davis Jr. and Rat Pack Star Peter Lawford, as well as in an episode of Z-Cars.

Early musical career[edit]

During this period[when?] he becoming increasing excited by music and drums more than acting and asked by classmate guitarist Ronnie Caryl together aged 16 and still at school they cut their teeth in a touring band fronted by former Unit 4+2 singer Tommy Moellar playing their hit Concrete and Clay sometimes three times a night up and down the country (1966-1967), It was quite a "musical education age 16" he said later.[citation needed] In 1969 Heyman and Caryl formed school band Sanctuary, the band's concerts often featured a friend from a rival stage school Barbara Speake Stage School a soon to be superstar Phil Collins in a two drummer set up Heyman and Collins playing the same fills which became the norm later when Phil joined Genesis, the two were to work again later when Collins asked Heyman to work with his band Brand X as percussionist. Leaving school on the brink of his GSCE Exams explaining to his parents that he would not need them in a music career, Heyman secured an album deal for Sanctuary with Polydor recording an album at Rockfield Studios that remains unreleased.

Early studio career[edit]

Heyman's first chart success came as a member of British R+B funk band Gonzalez[1] Drumming on their worldwide disco hit "I Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet" (1975).[2] He had long been a fan and was asked by bandleader sax player Mick Eve to join them on the eve of dates supporting Bob Marley on his Hammersmith Odeon shows. This led to many studio sessions as the Gonzalez rhythm and brass sections were always in demand especially with visiting U.S. artists. While in Air London Studio with Gonzalez recording tacks for their second album Our Only Weapon Is Our Music (1975) he was watched from the door by Brian Ferry who asked him when he finished if he would cart his drums along the corridor to the studio next door, he agreed and played on "This Island Earth" from The Bride Stripped Bare (1978) alongside bass player Alan Spenner and guitarist Neil Hubbard of Kokomo who were contemporaries to London funksters Gonzalez. And so began a long studio session career.

Kate Bush[edit]

Soon after this a telephone call came from Kate Bush and he worked with her rehearsing for 6 months as a member of her band before embarking on her Lionheart Tour later to become known as The Tour of Life (1979) and appears drumming on Live at the Hammersmith Odeon (1981), which was later re-issued in 1994 as a boxed set audio CD as well as the video, and on Bush's On Stage (E.P.) a live recording of four songs performed on Kate Bush's Tour of Life in 1979. It was released on 31 August 1979 with "Them Heavy People" as the lead track, it peaked at number 10 on the UK Singles Chart. Following the tour Bush then asked him into the studio to play drums and percussion and some backing vocals on the album Never Forever. Released in September 1980, it was Bush's first no.1 album and was also the first ever album by a British female solo artist to top the UK album chart, as well as being the first album by any female solo artist to enter the chart at no 1.[3] Heyman played drums along with the other Tour of Life Band on the B.B.C. T.V. Special KATE (1979) on which a new song "December Will Be Magic Again" was aired, later to be released by the B.B.C. as a DVD. He then went into the studio with Bush and played both drums and percussion on the single "December Will Be Magic Again" (1979) and again working with her on the 1982 album The Dreaming. His pounding drums[4] featuring on her Single "Sat in Your Lap" (1981) recorded in the stone room at The Townhouse Studio 2 London with Paddy Bush and Preston on whip like percussion actually played on bamboo canes swooshing through the air rhythmically, both appear in the video as singing Bulls filmed in Orchestral Studio 1 Abbey Road. Critic Simon Reynolds called it "an avant-pop stampede of pounding percussion and deranged shrieks.[5]

During this period Heyman also played with the Tom Robinson Band on the album TRB Two, produced by Todd Rundgren (1979), and Atomic Rooster on their sixth album Atomic Rooster (1980). 1984 and a recommendation from bass player friend Phil Spalding saw him in the studio with Mike Oldfield recording the soundtrack for Academy Award winning film The Killing Fields (1984)[6] using unusual percussion instruments he had brought back from an extended trip to Indonesia after Kate Bush's tour.

Kim Wilde[edit]

In 1985 Kim Wilde asked him to join her band and he spent most of that year with her in France doing T.V. shows and concerts and appears in the video for her top 20 single "Rage to Love" which received a remix by Dave Edmunds. They also recorded a French T.V. special on Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean. And did a tour of Roman Amphitheatres in the south of France and Spain summer 1985.

Terence Trent D'arby[edit]

After studio sessions (again with Phil Spaldfing on Bass) for the 1987 album Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D'Arby produced by Heaven 17's Martyn Ware he found himself drumming on the U.S.A. Billboard Hot 100 No 1 "Wishing Well"[7] (1988) and features in the song's video. He joined Terence's band and spent the next 2 years touring the globe, every country they landed in both the album and single seemed to be No 1 and sometimes doing 5 T.V. appearances a day, describing it as "The worlds wildest craziest party that never ever stopped " eventually on the verge of another U.S. tour leaving saying he had to "save my sanity before it was too late to do so."[citation needed] Worldwide, the album sold a million copies within the first three days of going on sale.[8]


With Gonzalez:

  • Our Only Weapon Is Our Music (1975) Capital


  • "Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet" (1977) Capitol
  • "Bless You" (1978) Capitol

With Brand X:

  • Missing Period (1976) Gonzo [released 1997, recorded 1975-1976, collection of lost session tapes]

With Bryan Ferry:

With Kate Bush:


With Tom Robinson Band:

With Atomic Rooster:

With John Leckie:

With Randy California:


  • "Hand Gun (Toy Guns)" (1982) Beggars Banquet
  • "All along the Watchtower" / "Killer Weed" (1982) Beggars Banquet
  • "Run to Your Lover" (1985) Beggars Banquet
  • "Jack Rabbit" (1985) Vertigo

With Monsoon:

With Bill Nelson:

With Mike Oldfield:

With Sheila Chandra:

With The Colourfield:

With Roy Harper:

With Heaven 17:

With Heaven 17 featuring Jimmy Ruffin:


With Indochine:

With Terence Trent D'Arby:


With Tina Turner:


With British Electric Foundation featuring Tina Turner:


With Del Amitri:


With Heidi Berry:

With Tasmin Archer:


With Love City Groove:

With Ian McNabb:

With Massive Attack:


With Jai:

With Tin Tin Out:


With Tin Tin Out featuring Emma Bunton:


With DJ EZ:

With Whitney Houston:


With Sting


With The Waterboys:

With Anastacia:


With Fac 15:

With Simply Red:

With King Brillo:


  1. ^ Steve Huey. "Gonzalez | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-08-26.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel. The Billboard Book of Top 40 hits. Billboard Books. p. 259.
  3. ^ Williamson, Nigel (2 October 2005). "The Mighty Bush". Scotland on Sunday
  4. ^
  5. ^ Simon Reynolds. "Kate Bush, the queen of art-pop who defied her critics". the Guardian.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 145.
  8. ^ Whaley, Christopher (September 2007). Sananda Maitreya Speaks! (interview). Sobo Magazine. Retrieved 2008-01-18.