Art Cruz of Winds Of Plague : Modern DrummerWeek two of Mayhem is in the books. Last week we were on our way to Las Vegas, Nevada, to play an off-date show with our bus mates, Shadows Fall, when Jeff the bus driver had to pull over because our Star Trek doors stopped working and John from SF couldn’t get to the restroom. He was about ready to pee in his pants! After the show we all enjoyed some slip and slide/bbq bro time on the Hatebreed bus. Jamey Jasta was grilling up chicken and sausages. It was a good time.

These shows have been some of the best we’ve played ever. We came out prepared equipment-wise, and I had to get my own gear solid. I’m playing a Pearl Masters kit on this run! It’s doing really well for these first-time outdoor festivals. For once, I’ve managed to keep my gear in tip-top shape. I’ve been lucky that I’m not breaking tons of sticks. Vic Firths always hold up well for me. And thankfully, I haven’t smashed through any cymbals. Jason Bittner (fellow Meinl user) and I had a brief talk about cymbals and how much we both adore the extreme musicality of Meinl. People at Meinl treat us very well!

I remember just about four years ago, I was working behind the counter at Sam Ash Music, reading Modern Drummer magazine and following all my favorite drummers. To be writing for the magazine is a dream in itself. One of the only DVDs I bought at Sam Ash while working there was the Chris Adler (Lamb of God)/Jason Bittner (Shadows Fall) Drum Festival DVD. To be on tour with both of them at the exact same time is a huge deal to me as a drummer. Both are true pioneers in the metal drumming world. Me and JB are always talking drum gear on the bus, and he’s showing me the ropes of this type of touring. He and Adler have been doing this for more then a decade! It’d be wise to listen to what they have to say. I manage to keep running into Adler in catering. It’s awesome, and he says he can’t wait to check out one of our sets out in the festival grounds. Nerve-wrecking? YUP.

As the tour continues, I’m definitely enjoying building new friendships. So far, every single person on this tour has been the coolest! I continue to learn so much every day from bands that have been doing this much longer than I have. We’re the youngest band on the entire tour, and we’re definitely making an impact.

Come out to a Mayhem Festival near you and come find me. I love talking to other drummers about gear, shows, bands—you name it. I’m all about making new friends and fans.