What was the first song you learnt?

I first started practicing drums in the Glebe share household I lived in. The neighbours were incredibly understanding and tolerant! It was about 1989 so I was playing along to records by the Pixies, Dinosaur Jr and Mudhoney, thus the first song I ever learnt was “Touch Me I’m Sick” by Mudhoney. A classic to this day!

What made you want to play music in the first place?

I didn’t take up the drums until I was about 18 or 19. Previous to that I had only played the piano and a bit of guitar. My mum suggested I take drum lessons in primary school but I was not at all interested.

It was only when I started going to see live local bands that I became entranced with the idea of drumming. It just looked like so much fun! I remember in particular watching my friend Tony, from Ice Nine play the drums – he was a huge inspiration. Then Nic Dalton lent me a drumkit that once belonged to Cathy Green from X and that’s where it all began.

Who were your music heroes/idols back then? Who are they now?

Cathy Green and Mo Tucker were two of my drum idols when I began. They were understated and cool, playing to the songs rather than trying to impress with any mad skills. And you can’t go past Mo for awesome floor tom action!

What was the name of your first band?

Nic Dalton, Miles Ferguson and I used to play the open mic night at the Lansdowne on a Wednesday and we would come up with different band names every week; The Afterbirth, Yummy Fur. But the first proper band I was in was called Jupiter, followed 6 months later by Smudge.


Alison Galloway is the drummer in seminal Sydney indie-rock band, Smudge.