G’day to all the MD online readers, it is a pleasure to be writing for you, and to be given the opportunity by MD in which to do so is very exciting. Allow me introduce myself; my name is Steve Judd, I am twenty-seven years old, and I’m the drummer of Australian prog-rock band Karnivool. Yes, I am Australian. No, I do not own a kangaroo.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, I want to scratch the surface on what it is that inspires me as a drummer. First, though, let me tell you a little about my band and what we’ve been up to. Last year we saw the end of recording (with Aussie producer Forrester Savell), and later, the release of our second record, Sound Awake, which are all thrilled with. The fact that after months of recording we actually finished it and all managed to survive the process unscathed, well, that was an even bigger accomplishment. Never underestimate the power of a ping-pong table in the studio. As well as touring the record here at home, we were able to set off on our first jaunt to the UK for some shows with our friends in Skindred, which was a lot of fun.

Fast-forward to this year: To start things off in 2010, we were lucky enough to play the Big Day Out festivals around Australia and New Zealand. It is an amazing festival and a lot of fun to be a part of. This year’s festival was headlined by Muse and featured a ton of bands including the Mars Volta, Mastodon, Fear Factory, and some great drummers that I was really excited about seeing.

The best thing about tours like this is that you get a chance to really watch the drummers up close and personal. Some inspire you, some you can learn a lot from. Others, you wish you had stuck to listening to on disc. This year I was pleasantly surprised and got quite a lot out of watching the drummers (of all styles) do their thing. I finished the tour with the desire to expand my practice regime and begin exploring some new things.

I’m sure all of you out there have your own approach to practicing and will find the desire to do so through various means. The only advice I shall try to impart here is this: As a musician, inspiration is the key to improving. We have access to so many tools it’s not funny. Lessons, books, CDs, DVDs, and for those of you who are technologically savvy enough to use it, the Internet, are all available at our disposal to aid us in our quest to becoming better players. As necessary as most of these are, there is nothing more inspiring to me than watching a kick-ass drummer tearing it up on stage with a killer band. Watching someone throw in some cool fills that you didn’t expect or just rock a solid groove is the kind of stuff that induces goose bumps every time I see it. I always feel compelled to get on a kit as soon as the show’s over and try to work on what my inner sponge (or brain) has soaked up during the show. So, my advice: Go out and experience some live music! Take in as much as you can. Inspiration awaits….

Special thanks to my endorsing companies Pearl, Zildjian, Vic Firth, and Remo.

For more on Steve Judd and Karnivool, go to soundawake.net, www.myspace.com/karnivool, or www.karnivool.com.au. Photo by Stuart Sevastos.