Drumming to beat multiple sclerosis

Michael Knowles is pictured getting in some practice at home before his trip to Manchester.'Staff photograph
Michael Knowles is pictured getting in some practice at home before his trip to Manchester.'Staff photograph

MONTROSE musician Michael Knowles is aiming to drum up support for a multiple sclerosis charity by taking part in a world record attempt next weekend.

Michael will be one of more than 800 drummers who will gather at Manchester’s EventCity arena next Sunday, July 15, under the banner ‘Stick it to MS’ to break the record for the largest group playing the same beat at the same time.

The current record of 582, set in 2009, is held in the UK and was also a charity event to raise money for the MS Society. It smashed the previous record of 533 set in Seattle in 2007.

A keen drummer since the age of four, Michael is well known locally as a member of popular bands The Mandrakes, with whom wife Victoria is lead singer, and Nosmo King and the event is an ideal combination for him as he will raise money for a cause close to his heart by doing something he loves.

He was keen to support the charity as he lost his stepfather, Ronnie Paton, to MS three years ago

Michael said: “He was diagnosed with progressive MS when he was 48 and he was 54 when he died. He always inspired me to play and came to all my gigs and I when I saw this advertised online I felt I wanted to give something back. If I can do that through drumming, then I will do.

“My granddad played drums and so did my uncle and it was my uncle who taught me. I went on to play in the Royal British Legion pipe band for a while and then it went quite and just played at home. I got back into the bands in about 2007 and have been with them since.”

The participants will work their way collectively through rhythms for a list of rock and pop songs as a warm-up before attempting the beat for the record attempt, which they will have learned in advance, under the eye of a conductor and accompanied by a backing track.

Drummers of all ages will take part and there is even a chance, as in the previous event, of seeing members of some famous rock bands which Michael said was a definite appeal. But his enthusiasm for fund-raising is such that he hopes to pull together more drummers from the Montrose area to take part.

Michael added: “I’m looking forward to it big time and I’m already planning for the next one. I know quite a lot of drummers and I’m going to suggest that we all go down together to represent the town.”

Michael has set up a JustGiving page online to raise money for the MS Society and donations can be made at http://www.justgiving.com/maknowles75.