Max Abrams kept detailed diaries of his pupils and six of his diaries are kept in the archives at Leeds College of Music
In 1966 -
Max was a strict disciplinarian in his teaching methods, but if you could stay the course he would reward you with the occasional words of encouragement, but first and foremost you had to prove that you were serious about your drum studies.
I used to travel to London on the overnight train from Hartlepool and I remember on one occasion that the lesson was preceded by Max cooking breakfast for us both. On another occasion I was aware of someone observing my lesson from the back of the room. At the end of the lesson I was introduced to Bill Pethers who was the Musical Director for the Coventry Theatre who offered me a contract for a Summer Season playing for the Jimmy Clitheroe Show in Scarborough. This was one of Max’s ‘Secret Auditions’. A few years later I was playing for Val Doonican at the London Palladium and thought it would be nice to pay Max a visit and take him some whisky as a token of my appreciation. He was delighted to see me and after the usual pleasantries asked if I would like to test my sight reading with some new material he was developing. He set me off playing and disappeared (usually to the Fox & Hounds public house) for about 45 minutes and on his return he promptly charged me £5.00 for the lesson and mentioned that next time I visit I should bring a full size bottle of whisky and not a half (And quite right too!).
Some other pupils of Max Abrams:
Jack Parnell, Eric Delaney, Bill Eyden, Jim Marshall (Marshall Amps) Carl Palmer, Neil Wilkinson, Simon Phillips & Mark Fletcher.
I am sure that there are many stories to tell by all the individuals who went to Max for lessons, so please forward anything that you think might be of interest and I’ll be happy to add them to this page.