FORMER Status Quo drummer Jeff Rich had pupils rocking all over their school as he popped in for a special visit.
Jeff left the iconic band 15 years ago and now travels around the country giving youngsters lessons in percussion.
Jeff’s told them all about how he practiced at school and went on to become famous, but he is a very humble type of guy
Yesterday, the 61-year-old was at Bernard Gilpin School, in Houghton, to teach youngsters all about the skill and its origins.
As well as talking about experiences such as performing on Top of the Pops, he got a number of children to have a go at playing snare and military drums.
It was a welcome return to the area for Jeff, who was part of the Status Quo line-up including stalwarts Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt, who played ahead of the Stadium of Light’s opening match in 1997.
Jeff, who left Status Quo in 2000 and also had a spell with Def Leppard, said: “I decided to give up on being in a band because touring was taking up sometimes five or six months.
“I went on to have some years taking holidays and now I enjoy going into schools and teaching kids about drumming.”
Joanne Stevenson, who is in charge of music at the school, said Jeff’s visit had been a popular one among pupils and staff alike.
“The children have learned about the history of drumming and how it originated in Africa,” said Ms Stevenson.
“Jeff’s told them all about how he practiced at school and went on to become famous, but he is a very humble type of guy. We’ve got more and more children learning to play instruments at the school and Jeff coming here today shows what they can aspire to.
“Hopefully, the children will go on to practice more, achieve good exam results in music and possibly go on to be in bands one day.”
Matt Nichol, who teaches drumming to pupils at an after-school club at Bernard Gilpin, said: “It’s fantastic to have such a famous drummer come into school.
“He’s really helping to raise the profile of percussion for our pupils.
“We’ve already got about 15 children who play in our after-school club, but Jeff coming will hopefully kickstart a bigger interest.”