Drummer Neil Sanderson of Three Days GraceNeil Sanderson is all about taking it in. “I’m a sponge on tour, hanging out with other drummers,” he says. “I look at the way they present themselves onstage as well as off.” Three Days Grace, Sanderson’s very hot band, has been touring constantly. One-X, the group’s sophomore opus (featuring the hit “The Animal I Have Become”) has connected with Generation Y to the tune of eight weeks at number 1. That success has offered Neil free drum lessons on a nightly basis. “Guys like John Mushok from Staind and Daniel Adair from Nickelback are some of the drummers I get to talk to,” says Sanderson. “I walk away with a new perspective on things. These guys have a dedication and a passion for drumming that’s infectious.”

While most drummers can’t talk to Daniel Adair after a show, they can learn from the peaks and valleys in Sanderson’s drumming. One-X offers track after track of sweet dynamic shifts. “Letting the music breathe is as important as whatever chops you have,” the drummer insists. “I certainly am a listener as much as I am a player. That includes knowing when not to play. It’s important as a drummer to not compete with the other instruments.”

Sanderson says the drumming feel on the record was a whole lot more intense this time out. “Sometimes we build from beginning to end,” he says. “Some songs sound like one big crescendo. And sometimes I don’t come in full force until half the song is over.”

Steven Douglas Losey