HE’S known for chart hits, sell-out concerts and a cringe-inducing Scottish Cup draw but Rod Stewart will always be remembered by one Johnstone drummer for his love of pranks.

Ryan Hassan was given the experience of a lifetime when he joined the best-selling artist for his stadium tour across the UK this summer.

The former St Brendan’s High pupil was hand-picked by Rod after meeting him backstage in Glasgow after they both performed at the SSE Hydro for Celtic FC’s ‘Celebrate 67’ event.

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And any illusions he had that the notoriously mischievous rocker would give him time to settle as they toured the likes of Southampton, Bristol and Cork were crushed on the very first night.

The Gazette: Ryan on the opening night in Bristol Ryan on the opening night in Bristol

Ryan, 32, told The Gazette: “For the first show, I was sound-checking and speaking to a few of the other band members who told me Rod loved a prank.

“I didn’t really think anything of it and, when I came back out for the show, it looked like my drum set was all fine and nothing had changed.

“It was only when I went to test my cymbal that I noticed he had drawn an obscene doodle on it.

“It was with a permanent marker too, so I had to play the whole tour with it staring back at me.

“How many people do you think will have that kind of momento?”

The young drummer kick-started his career in music through a two-man act – That Drummer and That DJ – with DJ Grantos, performing at the University of Glasgow QMU.

Success followed as the duo were invited to support British boy band McFly and embark on a US college tour.

The Gazette: Talented Ryan loved life on the tour Talented Ryan loved life on the tour

And after the surprise meeting with Rod at the event in Glasgow, the rest, as they say, is history.

Ryan, who developed a passion for the drums after sneaking into school at night with his friends to play, said he couldn’t believe how “funny and full of energy” 74-year-old Rod is.

“I remember one day I was walking out onto the stage and all of the dancers were there,”

Ryan said. “They were all young and fit as anything, doing their stretches and getting ready for the show.

“Then Rod came out of nowhere and started doing his own lunges and was getting his legs right on top of a fence.

“I was just thinking ‘wow.’ I don’t think I would have been able to get my leg down if I tried something like that.”

As well as joking with all of the band members throughout the tour, Rod also made sure no-one missed the chance to watch his beloved Celtic winning the Scottish Cup and completing the ‘treble Treble.’

Ryan, who is also a Celtic fan, said: “I remember doing my sound-check in Cork and I was looking at my watch and thinking I wouldn’t have time to get out to a pub to see the game.

The Gazette: Ryan at the SSE Hydro Ryan at the SSE Hydro

“Then Rod came out and invited us all back to his room to watch it.

“Hearts scored first and Rod was hiding behind the couch but then seeing him celebrate when Celtic scored was bananas.

“He was hugging me and I knew it was a final I would never forget.”

Ryan had to miss Rod’s gig in Aberdeen as the original date was cancelled due to bad weather and a previous booking meant he wasn’t able to make the rearranged event.

However, he has plenty of good memories from the rest of the tour.

“Cork was probably the gig that really stood out for me,” he said.

“The Irish crowd was just incredible and it was the first time Rod had played in Ireland for a long time.

“The stadium was just rammed from front to back and everyone absolutely loved it.

“There aren’t many artists who could fill a stadium, maybe ten or so in the entire world, so to get the chance to perform in that kind of setting was just amazing.”

The tour ended in mid-July and, while it’s an experience Ryan will always treasure, the talented drummer is already looking to the future.

In recent weeks, he has played at the Fringe Festival, in Edinburgh, and worked with one of the hottest artists in Scotland, Anna Sweeney.

He has big ambitions for the future and hopes his time with Rod will be just the start of his brushes with stardom.

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Ryan said: “The tour has cemented my credentials and, hopefully, I can go on and use it to play with some other artists in London and Los Angeles.

“A couple of Rod’s other band members are based in LA, so the plan is to use my contacts and hopefully work there one day.

“Whatever happens, I’ll always treasure the times I spent on tour with Rod. What an experience it was.”

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