What’s up, all you fellow drummers and comrades! My name is Jesse Beahler, drummer and music lover extraordinaire. I play in a few groups, one of which is heavy metal band Jungle Rot. We hail from Kenosha, Wisconsin, and have just released our eighth studio album, Terror Regime. It’s fast and catches you off guard with powerful grooves and pummeling breakdowns. Terror Regime is due to hit shelves this month, and then the boys and I will be touring North America in April with Suffocation. So grab the CD and come head-bang!
I was raised in Newark, Delaware, in a very musical family. My parents have always been huge fans of heavy metal. I’ve been listening to Black Sabbath and Megadeth since I was five years old! Growing up, I would constantly go through my father’s CD collection to discover new and more extreme music. I remember the first time I heard Far Beyond Driven by Pantera; I was fourteen and it changed my life forever. It transitioned me into heavier and faster music, and slowly I developed an obsession. All of a sudden I couldn’t get enough music, getting CDs from my friends at school every day and listening to my headphones 24/7.
Being surrounded by music all the time, I started to develop an interest in playing. I tried to learn every instrument that I could get my hands on—guitar, bass, keyboard, even trumpet and flute in elementary school! I gained a little knowledge about melody and note value, but for some reason I could never stick with it.
One day I decided to ask my uncle for an old beat-up drumset he had in his basement. That’s the day I became alive. Suddenly, music became everything to me. I would play that drumset for hours, practicing easy songs and buying beginner books from my local music store. Nothing was enough for me; I always needed to know more.
A buddy of mine convinced me to sign up for my high school’s marching band. I went to practice three times a week and got familiar with all forty-two rudiments, practicing them for hours a day.
I am very fortunate to have had such supportive parents, and I believe that was a big part of my success. I craved knowledge, seeking every resource that would make me a better and more diverse musician. Pretty soon I became involved with every musical class my high school offered. Jazz band, percussion ensemble, concert band, indoor marching band, music theory, history of popular music—you name it, I was in it. Having all these classes, I soon gave my whole day to percussion, from the moment I woke up until I went to sleep. I would spend days practicing site-reading and learning notation. I would bring my practice pad to lunch, on the bus, even to work with me! My music instructor was indeed a great inspiration and really helped me attain a solid platform to build my skills as a drummer and artist on.
Over the years I’ve gained a pretty good reputation and I joined a few local metal bands. Playing music that I actually created was a wonderful feeling, and it led me to become an even better drummer. I was consistently playing at local venues and meeting all kinds of new people.
Eventually I stumbled upon extreme metal—you know, blast beats and hyper fast double bass, the kind of stuff that’s so ridiculous it’s hard for most people to listen to. I remember first hearing “Ithyphallic” by Nile. George Kollias blew me away. I couldn’t believe that a human being was actually playing that fast! I gained an immense interest and started working on my chops even harder. I figured if I could play at that speed then I could likely play anything I wanted! Little did I know how many years of hard work and determination it would take to get to that level, or the important musical aspects I would come to recognize along the way.
Around my eighteenth birthday I was on tour in Europe, supporting the band Jungle Rot. I hadn’t heard of them before, but they stuck out to me. Here was a death metal band that relied on power and simplicity, crafting hard hitting and catchy songs from simple riffs and time signatures. I knew I would never forget them.
Becoming good friends with the guys in Jungle Rot was easy. Of course, I had my practice pad with me at all times, so they got to know my skills very well! About a year after that tour they ran into problems with their drummer. They needed someone to play on their seventh studio album, Kill On Command, and they contacted me. Well, I live about 1,600 miles away from Wisconsin, so it was a little rocky at first, and due to commuting issues they decided to go with another guy from Chicago. After running into problems yet again, they decided to look past the distance and give me a shot.
I learned the eleven songs and wrote drums for the Kill On Command album in about two months’ time. I packed up my gear and headed out to rehearse and record! Needless to say we all had great chemistry, and I’ve been a full-time member ever since. Kill On Command landed us a deal with Victory Records, and they got us out on the road in no time. It was like a dream come true for me—touring the world and getting to share the stage with some of my favorite bands and drummers!
During this past year we’ve played with Immolation, Obituary, Deicide, Abigail Williams, Lecherous Nocturne, Decrepit Birth, and countless great musicians and artists, all of whom are artists I’d idolized and held to a very high standard. I got to spend time with some of the best extreme metal drummers out there. It’s given me priceless knowledge and technique that I will use forever.
Lately I’ve been rocking out on a killer Pearl Export kit in a beautiful chrome finish. With Jungle Rot I utilize double 18×22 kicks, 10″, 12″, and 16″ toms, and a free-floating 5×14 maple snare.
I depend on my pair of Axis A Longboards and my Alesis DM5 trigger module and Ekit triggers for each of my pedals. This combination is essential to any drummer out there who wants to play with triggers. The ease and efficiency of the system makes setting up on stage a breeze, and double triggers are a thing of the past.
I currently use Sabian AAX cymbals because they sound amazing live and even better in the studio. They are also great for many genres of music.
When I was younger, a fellow drummer gave me a bunch of half-beaten Pro-Mark 747 sticks, and I fell in love! The reach and weight is perfect for hard-hitting metal or delicate jazz. They allow me to be expressive on the kit, no matter what I’m playing. I also love the warmth and feel of Remo heads. They are very versatile and allow me to play and sound my best in any scenario.
Come on out to a show and I can guarantee you’ll find me somewhere in the club warming up, getting ready for the stage. I love to practice and often times continue to tap away at the merch booth after the show, so feel free to stop by with sticks and share some licks. Give me a shout out and we’ll talk drums, beer, or superimposed metric-modulation any time!
Please check out my YouTube account or any of my musical endeavors and leave a comment or like something. Thanks so much, MD readers, and remember to play every day!!!
For more on Jesse Beahler and Jungle Rot, go to victoryrecords.com.