When F5 bassist and founder David Ellefson needed a drummer for the group’s sophomore CD, it was a no-brainer to enlist his former Megadeth rhythm section partner Jimmy DeGrasso. Though Ellefson hadn’t done any preliminary drum programming, DeGrasso nailed his parts for the eleven songs on The Reckoning in less than five days. He was able to incorporate a variety of feels from standard hard rock to thrash metal, a blues shuffle, and plenty of syncopated double bass drum patterns.
“With a lot of the syncopated double bass parts that drummers are required to play today,” DeGrasso says, “it’s very important to remain relaxed. Every note has got to be dead on, because if one of your feet starts dragging just a hair, suddenly the whole thing falls apart. You have to be really precise and play through those sections with a certain amount of flow.”
Working without Pro Tools, triggering, or what DeGrasso refers to as “anything tricky,” the drummer captured what have been referred to as perfect drum sounds on The Reckoning. “A lot of metal records today are very digital and so Pro Tooled that you can’t hear any articulation in the drums,” he says. “Everything is too clean, to the point where there’s no variation in volume and tone for certain things on the bass or snare. You can pick it out a mile away. The drums on The Reckoning are clean and very analog, and that’s what I like about them.”