What’s up, Modern Drummer readers! I want to start off by saying what an honor and privilege it is to be able to share some details with all of you about myself and my band Destrophy. First off I have to plug my band Destrophy’s new self-titled album, just released by Victory Records—please go buy it! Our first single, “The Way Of Your World,” is spinning on radio stations all over the country, and the video is on MTV2. Please check our myspace below for tour dates.
So let’s start at the beginning…. I began playing drums when I was twenty-three, so I got kind of a late start. My first kit was a five-piece red Mapex V series that I bought online. I didn’t have any formal instruction or training but I had been playing air drums for years so I came around pretty fast. I practiced as often as possible, usually about two to three hours a day, playing along to songs from bands like Korn, Mötley Crüe, Sevendust, Slipknot, Slayer—basically all of my favorite bands. Doing that kept me much more interested in practicing than I would have been if I had only been practicing rudiments.
After a couple of failed bands, many good times, and a ton of shows, I got pretty bored with the local scene decided to take a break from music. I didn’t touch my kit at all for a few months. In early 2006 Ari had disbanded Destrophy and around August of the same year I decided to come out of my hiatus. I got hold of Ari and found out he was looking to get Destrophy rolling again with a new lineup. I set up a try-out with him a week later and busted my ass for that whole week to get a few songs down. Once I got to his studio we jammed, all the pieces fell into place, and the new version of Destrophy was born.
After releasing a full-length disc on our own, we caught the attention of a couple different record labels, and after careful consideration we felt that Chicago-based Victory records was the best home to allow the Destrophy vision to grow to fruition. So far we have had the privilege of sharing the stage and stomping across the nation with some great bands, like Papa Roach, Buckcherry, A7X, Drowning Pool, Korn, Saliva, and of course, Type O. All of these bands have been amazing to us, and as a bright 2010 opens up hopefully we will hit more of the country and head over the pond to visit our European, Asian, and Australian friends.
I learned some rudiments in the beginning and practiced a lot with a metronome, which really helped to develop my timekeeping skills and to maintain power at higher speeds. I never liked how some drummers played really light when they got fast, so I wanted to still have some power when the tempo increased. A lot of people wonder what the secret is to getting fast double bass skills, and while there are a lot of tricks and techniques that are helpful, the thing I have found that helps me out is to get a metronome and start at a nice comfortable pace that isn’t difficult. I usually start around 150 bpm with 8th notes and after about a minute I take a few seconds to rest, then increase by 5 bpm. The key is to make sure you are playing every stroke at least at three-quarters the power that I would on slower-tempos 4/4 rock beats—don’t flutter your feet! I am also all about the stage show. I like to incorporate a lot of exaggerated movements, stick tricks (thanks to Racci Shay), and anything else I can find to make the stage show more interesting and raise the bar. After all, you come to a show to be entertained, right? I think of it like this: If I’m bored, then the crowd must be bored—and I hate being bored.
I’m sure all you gear heads want to know what I play so I’ll give you a quick rundown. I play a ddrum Dominion maple pocket kit, DW 5000 pedals, Sabian cymbals, Gibraltar hardware, Vater 3A fatback sticks, and Evans EC2 resonant heads and hydraulic batter sides on all toms, a Genera HD Dry on the snare, and EQ3s for the kicks.
Everyone in my band puts every ounce of energy into our live show, and sometimes it feels like an Olympic event instead of a live show. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. So the next time we are in town, get out to the show and come say hi!
For more on Joe Fox and Destrophy, go to www.myspace.com/destrophy.