Winner of an extraordinary sixteen World Solo Drum Championships and three-time holder of the Champion of Champions title in the same event, Jim has established a reputation that truly is second to none.
Born in Whitburn, West Lothian on August 11, 1956, Jim began pipe band drumming at the age of ten and his progress was so rapid that within two years he was competing at the highest level in Grade 1 competition. At the age of fifteen he joined The House of Edgar Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band and two years later, in 1973, the band won the World Pipe Band Championships, the first of eight wins Jim has enjoyed with the band in the ‘Worlds’.
He has also won ten Scottish Drum Corps Championships, sixteen British Drum Corps Championships, twelve European Drum Corps Championships and a record eighteen World Drum Corps Championships, fourteen of which have been won with Jim as leading drummer and eleven of which were won in successive years.
Under Jim’s leadership the Shotts & Dykehead drum corps also holds the Champion of Champions title, with which Jim has established another record in winning fifteen times. He is also the only leading drummer ever to win the Grand Slam of all five major drumming championships in the same season during a run that saw Jim win thirteen consecutive major drumming championships.
Success on this scale only comes through absolute dedication and, as Jim will be the first to admit, an unquenchable competitive streak – at golf as well as drumming. Drawn to pipe bands from an early age after seeing and hearing them in parades and gala days around the Whitburn area, Jim was given his first pair of drumsticks at the age of nine and almost immediately he couldn’t bear to put them down.
From his mid teens into his mid twenties, he practised for a minimum of twelve hours a day. He would then go out and play drums in pop and rock bands on the club and cabaret circuit all over Scotland and when he worked as a sales representative for Premier Drums, he always kept a pair of drumsticks and a practice pad in the passenger seat of his car so that he could make the most of any time that might otherwise be lost due to traffic hold-ups. The sticks and practice pad even accompany Jim and his wife, Fiona, on holiday.
Jim has shared his talent and enthusiasm at countless drum clinics and percussion festivals all over the world and his teaching skills are constantly in demand. He has taught at The Royal School of Music in London and currently teaches percussion at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, where he is also principal instructor of percussion on the BA Scottish Music course.
His honours include the Life Time Achievement Award for drumming from the British Chapter of the Percussion Arts Society in London and, in 2004, he was awarded the MBE for services to music, an honour unique to Jim in the pipe band snare drumming world and yet another distinction in a career that has made Jim Kilpatrick MBE a genuine legend in his own lifetime.