On The Beat with Stephen Kluesener of Wage War: Talks Gear and Tours

Stephen Kluesener

Hello Modern Drummer readers! Thanks for checking out my “On The Beat.” My name is Stephen Kluesener, and I drum for a band called Wage War. I’ve been drumming for fourteen years now, mainly self-taught. I joined Wage War in the middle of 2012, after my high school band split up.

Since Modern Drummer has graciously given me the spotlight for a minute, I’d like to highlight some of my favorite things about being a drummer in a touring band. The first is how many prestigious sponsors are willing to work with me. I receive a lot of messages about my setup so let me address my “go-to gear.” For cymbals, Zildjian has generously hooked me up with the following: 20″ A Custom crash, 19″ Projection crash, 10″ A Custom splash, 14″ K Custom hi-hats, 20″ K Custom hybrid ride, and the love of my life, an 18″ Oriental Trash China, which of course is absolutely essential to any metal drummer.

I’m currently using SJC’s Foundation hardware, which is wonderfully sturdy, consistently smooth, and extremely versatile. As for a kit, I’m in the process of ordering one from SJC, so I’m super excited to move forward with that. For sticks, I’ve got custom signature 5B wood tips from Vic Firth. When it comes to heads I prefer Remo with either a Coated Controlled Sound or a Coated P3 Powerstroke for my snare, and Coated Ambassadors on my toms for a warmer, more controlled tone. Last but not least, my kick drum currently sports an Aquarian Super Kick 2. Advertisement

The second greatest thing in my world as a drummer is the sheer number of faces I get to see day after day. Wage War has played nearly four-hundred shows since October of 2015, with bands such as August Burns Red, A Day To Remember, Parkway Drive, Issues, I Prevail, and the Amity Affliction. In fact, we just performed for our biggest crowd ever at Self Help Fest in San Bernardino, with about 7,000-plus pairs of eyes watching us! It’s an incredible feeling; one that I suspect will never become dull. Speaking of big crowds, we recently did a European tour with Of Mice and Men, and then the entirety of Warped Tour over the summer, so be on the lookout in cities near you.

As my career continues to develop I’ll have more to say for myself as a touring musician, but this is a good start. To everyone reading this, thanks for taking the time to listen. To Modern Drummer, thank you for letting me share a small piece of myself.

Watch the “Witness” video here: 


 Watch the drum cam performance of “Stitch” Live at Self Help Fest 2018 here: 


Stephen Kluesener



For tour dates and more, visit

Photos by Luis Velez (@therealvelez)