Foxy Shazam’s Aaron McVeigh Interviewed By…Aaron McVeigh
I was able to watch Foxy Shazam from on stage at South By South West, and let me tell you, there’s no other band like them. The band played three shows in one day at the Austin, Texas music festival, as part of their headlining U.S. spring tour in support of their self-titled major-label debut out now on Sire Records/Warner Bros. I got a chance to sit down with Foxy’s newest member, drummer Aaron McVeigh, to talk about life, love, and the letter L. And ask him some questions about himself…literally.
Aaron: How’s it going, Aaron?
Aaron: It’s going well, Aaron. We’re out on tour right now with Bad Rabbits and the Young Veins, and it’s been great. Really good people, lots of sold-out shows, overwhelming response from the shows and about the new album…it’s been awesome.
Aaron: Tell me a little bit about how you ended up in Foxy. I know the band is based out of Cincinnati and you’re from California, so how did that work out?
Aaron: Well, I met the guys through two tours that my old band did with them. We hit it off well and had a mutual respect for each other, I think.
I remember just watching them every night and it never got old. Foxy is probably the only band that I watched their entire set literally every night on tour. So anyway, when I left my old band, I guess they heard the news and called me within a week. They informed me they still didn’t have a permanent drummer, which I was unaware of, and asked if I’d like to fly out to Ohio and audition. So of course I said, “Hell yeah, I do!” And the rest is history.
Aaron: What can you tell me about your history as a musician?
Aaron: Well, I started playing guitar when I was about ten years old because I wanted to be like Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day. Then I realized guitar just wasn’t for me, so I tried bass. But it wasn’t until I sat behind a drumkit that I realized exactly what I needed to do with my life—what my “destiny” or “fate” was, if you will. But we can talk more about that later. Or not. I just remember feeling like that’s where I belonged. I think I needed a way to express myself artistically and have an outlet for my youthful angst at the same time, and drumming did it for me. I played in a couple silly bands growing up, but waited until I got good to actually form a real band with goals and all that stuff. I went on my first tour fresh out of high school, when I was eighteen, and I’ve been touring on and off in different bands ever since, most heavily in the past three years.
Aaron: What are some your influences?
Aaron: Life, love, and other four letter words that start with the letter L. Like food. Also, my mom.
Aaron: Any musical influences?
Aaron: Of course, I have tons. I grew up listening to a lot of punk rock, especially Bay Area punk rock, so that’s my roots. I still love it, but I tend to lean towards better-sounding recordings nowadays. I love HUGE drums…just ridiculously big-sounding drums, whether it be live or on a record. I feel like my favorite bands or musicians or albums or songs don’t necessarily influence my playing or style. My style is always kind of changing, just like the way I set up my kit. It’s not conscious, it just happens slowly. I believe that’s one of the things that make a good musician, or just person in general…to be able to adapt. Life is all about healthy change for the better.
Aaron: What is your current setup, and what do you play on?
Aaron: Well, Aaron, I typically play on drums made of wood with heads on them made from Mylar, cymbals made of metal, all on hardware made of different metals, and I hit them all with wooden sticks.
Aaron: So there are no companies you’d like to plug then?
Aaron: Oh…yeah! I want to thank Ben and Vic Firth. And Wayne at Paiste, they’re awesome! I love playing on Tama pedals and hardware, so if they ever felt like giving me some free stuff, that would be awesome as well.
Aaron: What do you think about your singer’s public accusation of you being “the best drummer in the world”?
Aaron: Well, I definitely appreciate it, but it’s a false accusation. I’ve seen Joey Jordison play live. Not that he’s the best drummer in the world (and surely he was influenced by the greats as well), but the man could probably destroy me in a drum off with one arm and one leg tied together behind his back. Anyway, I never set out to be the best drummer in the world. I’ve always just strived to be a super solid, hard-hitting rock drummer who can put on an amazing show. And record efficiently in the studio, too. Some people might think that’s lame, but I don’t care. I believe there’s a perfect drum part for every bass part or guitar part or piano part, and I don’t rest until I find it. Sometimes that part is technical, and sometimes it’s the simplest thing.
Aaron: Word. So what’s the deal with you being left-handed and playing right-handed?
Aaron: I don’t know man, I’m weird…. I guess it’s because ever since I picked up a guitar or sat behind a kit, it was set up right-handed. It didn’t feel wrong, so I rolled with it. I never really knew that being left-handed was odd until I got older. I actually broke my left arm in a car wreck a few years back, and now I have a metal plate in there. I’m like the bionic drummer or something.
Aaron: Anything else you’d like to add?
Aaron: I just want to thank ModernDrummer.com for having me…I’m honored and excited to be a part of it. And thanks to anyone who has ever supported me throughout the years in following this dream of mine.
For more on Foxy Shazam go to www.foxyshazam.com.