Black Stone Cherry Drummer John Fred YoungBlack Stone Cherry drummer John Fred Young is quick to cite his uncle, Kentucky HeadHunters drummer Fred Young, as his biggest inspiration. But John Fred nearly blew it one day when he was young.

“I went upstairs in The HeadHunters’ practice house, where Uncle Fred keeps all his drums and cymbals,” John Fred recalls. “I found these old K Zildjian cymbals from Turkey. I didn’t know what they were, so I set them up and started bashing away. Fred walked in, and he never gets mad about anything. But when he saw what I was doing, he said, very calmly, ‘If you hit those cymbals one more time, I’m going to kill you.’

“But Fred has been very supportive,” John Fred continues. “He bought me a Remo Junior Pro kit when I was five, and when I was in junior high and decided to get serious about drumming, Fred taught me all the rudiments. I used his WFL wood snare drum–the one he played on all The HeadHunters’ albums–on most of the tracks of our album.”

Growing up with The HeadHunters as mentors (John Fred’s father is HeadHunters guitarist/songwriter Richard Young), John Fred and his bandmates learned a lot about classic rock. “The HeadHunters’ practice house, which we’ve pretty much taken over, is filled with pictures of Cream, Hendrix, Howlin’ Wolf, and all the greats,” John Fred says. “We’re a real southern rock family. We live on a farm and we’ve got cows, horses, and pigs, and we raise tobacco and cut hay. And my dad, uncle, and cousins have been playing rock ’n’ roll since they were kids. So there’s a lot of tradition there.”

Rick Mattingly