Want to know the true meaning of a dedicated drummer? How about warming up your chops on practice pads in the back of a U-Haul trailer at 9:30 A.M. and in 95 degree weather, all in preparation for taking the stage at 10 A.M. on the grueling second stage at Ozzfest. Welcome to the world of metal drummer Jason Bittner. His band, Shadows Fall, works hard, and they’ve been slaying crowds with their unique blend of old-school metal and modern thrash.
Bittner’s drumming is smooth and confident. He has a relaxed technique that allows him to maneuver through the uptempo material with grace. And his playing style perfectly meld’s with the band’s influences, which reach back to the ’70s. “Believe it or not, a lot of us in this band are influenced by the music of Boston,” Bittner says. “I’m also a big fan of Slayer and Anthrax. But our musical influences go across the board, from ’70s, ’80s, and some ’90s metal. We feel that a lot of ’90s metal has run its course. We want to prove that there’s still room for a metal band that has melodic and lyrical abilities.”
Bittner’s biggest metal drumming influences are Dave Lombardo and Charlie Benante, and his favorite technical drummers are Mark Zonder and Neil Peart. “Those guys always play for the song and never overplay,” Bittner says. “That’s the way I like to play. I don’t like the constant double bass stuff. I like to break it up and play fills that enhance the music. I’ve been working out of Bobby Rondinelli’s book, The Encyclopedia Of Double Bass, and also Gary Chester’s New Breed, to try and strengthen my chops. I’m doing what I can to come up with new ideas that I can bring to our music.”