Matt Greiner of August Burns Red : Modern DrummerGreetings! My name is Matt Greiner, and I play drums for August Burns Red, a metal band from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I grew up playing beats with my hands on the kitchen table and being that “nuisance” at home. My mom eventually signed me up for piano lessons at age ten, and I ended up playing for the following four years. My teacher always told me I had a great sense of rhythm and meter, but I felt like I was peaking in the piano world–so I quit playing piano and begged my parents to replace the pots and pans I’d played on as a kid with a snare drum. They fulfilled my wishes, and soon after I received my first Ludwig snare.

I practiced hitting around on it, experimenting with very basic rudiments and just getting a feel for having sticks in my hands. Eventually I got tired of having only one drum to hit and cymbals to crash, so I worked an entire summer mowing lawns and purchased my first drumkit, a chrome-finished Pearl Export–SICK! I played every day for the next two years. I imagine my mom was thoroughly annoyed by me, monotonously playing the same two beats over and over again. Still, she allowed me to play whenever I wanted to…in the basement.

I started playing for my church when I was fifteen and began to hone the art of finding the pocket. I played for my friends’ youth group, a second youth group, and for whatever church events I was invited to play for. My family switched churches and I became the main drummer on the youth group worship team. I started getting into much heavier music when I was sixteen, going to music festivals like Purple Door, Creation, and Cornerstone. After seeing bands like Zao, Living Sacrifice, Project 86, and Beanbag perform live, I knew what I wanted to do with my drumming abilities: I wanted to play heavy metal drums. I joined a punk rock band in the area and learned all of their songs off of cassette tapes. We ended up getting five songs together and practiced a dozen or so times but never played any live shows. So I quit.

Not long after that I became friends with JB Brubaker and Brent Rambler, both of whom had a mutual love for metal. Two weeks later we formed August Burns Red.

I purchased a Mapex M Series drumkit from the old drummer for Zao, Jesse Smith, and we started writing our own music, playing shows, and recording CDs. After recording and releasing a self-titled five-song demo, we decided it was time to step up our game. We spent $720 on our next EP, Looks Fragile After All, and we signed to a local record label, CI Records. Soon after we started writing for our next full-length, Thrill Seeker.

An A&R representative from Solid State Records heard pre-production of some new songs and expressed interest in signing us. Eleven months later we were signed and started touring full time. That was 2005; it’s now 2009 and I’m actually on tour as I write.

Since Thrill Seeker’s release in 2005 we’ve been on tour non-stop. We released our second full-length record, Messengers, in 2007 and just finished up our third full-length, Constellations, slated for a July 14 release.

I’ve learned countless things about drumming in the past several years, including showmanship, technique, tuning, recording, and writing. But I’ve also learned crucial life lessons in touring full-time and living with four other dudes 24/7!

Be sure to check out our video of the latest studio session via YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVYLhS2y2gs, and check out our new CD this summer.

Rock!

Matt