An Editor’s Overview
There are multiple reasons we go down particular paths of drumming education. Our first teacher introduces us to Stick Control, and we start getting our hands together. We hear “Achilles Last Stand,” and John Bonham’s right foot becomes the new bar to reach. Later Count Basie sets us on the long journey toward developing a righteous swing feel.
Jutting out their progressive-djent chins like warriors conquering a city, Animals as Leaders take prog and metal to extreme heights of riff-rock intensity. The D.C.-based band had challenged drummers Matt Halpern (Periphery) and Navene Koperweis (Entheos) to up their already significant abilities while navigating the maniacally twisted arrangements and tortuous rhythmic conundrums.
“Content” is not a word that exists in this perennial MD favorite’s lexicon, who balances his day job as a top studio drummer with chasing the muse with creative artists like Brian Haas and Bill Frisell, as well as through his own man-machine solo projects.
When the Melvins toured with Le Butcherettes in 2015, they’d invite the group’s vocalist, Teri Gender Bender, to join them for a number at the end of their set. Even after the exhilaration of a sticks-flying, riff-crushing Melvins show, the fiery singer kicked up the energy a big notch as she hit the stage.
Seeing as he’s got a recording and touring résumé as long as your arm, you’d think the longtime Vince Gill sidekick would have done pretty much everything there is to do as a first-call Nashville cat. But like they say, everything old is eventually new again, and a recent immersion in Western swing music has allowed this drummer to experience some completely novel situations—and up his game in the process.
With so many different paths that might lead to a full-time drumming gig today, it could seem daunting for aspiring professional players to choose the best road to take. The drummer for the indie/psychedelic pop songwriter BØRNS is proving that it’s not the particular path you choose that matters, it’s how hard you push yourself along the way.
Independence might be the ruling concept of this drummer/leader’s career. It defines a common relationship not only among his hands, feet, and voice, but between his art and almost everything else in drumland.