This fall the comedic rock group Tenacious D—fronted by the actors, comedians, and musicians Jack Black and Kyle Gass—hits the road for a national trek that lasts through mid November. It’s their first tour in five years, and on drums is Scott Seiver, an L.A.–based composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist with a long list of credits. A brief overview of Seiver’s drumming output finds him playing on recordings with John Legend, Jason Mraz, Pete Yorn, Big Sir, and Tenacious D themselves. And that’s not to mention Seiver’s significant nondrumming credentials.
The road that eventually led Seiver to “The D” began back in the mid ’90s, after he graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston with a degree in music performance and returned to gig in his hometown near Denver, Colorado. The drummer tells MD that he soon saw more opportunity in L.A., so he joined a wave of Coloradan musicians in the late ‘90s who made the same move. With home-state connections and gigs established in L.A., and many more work opportunities that would come over the next half-decade, Seiver was eventually able to build a home studio in 2006 and 2007, enabling him to join a revolution that set the foundation for much of the recording industry’s landscape today. “I don’t know that there were many other drummers doing it at the time,” he says. “But I had a situation where I could record drums for a couple songs at home and just upload the files. That happens now all the time. I had a very early version of that.”
Eventually one of Seiver’s connections asked him to fill in for some extra songs on a Tenacious D record when the group’s usual rock heavyweight was unavailable for the additional session. “My good friend, John Kimbrough, produced the  album Rize of the Fenix, and he’s known those guys for a really long time,” he says. “Dave Grohl is always the drummer on their albums, and he played on that one. But there were a couple extra songs that were added, and Dave couldn’t do them. John called me in, which was amazing, and I played drums and percussion on a couple songs. I got in that way, and aside from that, I had tons of friends in common with those guys. So I quickly became friendly with them and the rest of the band.”
When it came time for the group to tour Europe in 2013, their live drummer, Brooks Wackerman, couldn’t make it. “At the time,” says Seiver, “Brooks was playing with Bad Religion, and he was away for what seemed like three hundred days a year. So I just started doing more and more of the shows until it kind of seemed like, I’m now the guy, which is great.”
Live, Seiver is encouraged to have his own musical voice—although he still pays respect to the original parts on each of the band’s records. “As long as the spirit and conviction are there, I’m welcome to imbue the songs with my own identity, which is great,” he says. “That said, Dave’s drum parts are so fun to play, and it’s just something that I don’t often do. I don’t have a background of playing any sort of metal or heavy rock. So it’s a fun challenge to sort that music out when I’m practicing and try to own it.”
And although Black and Gass have certainly achieved a considerable amount of fame and success, the duo has a welcoming dynamic on the road that Seiver admires. “They both have a way of instilling a real sense of belonging, loyalty, and enjoyment,” he says. “And they’re doing things at a high level, and their shows are big. They could feasibly be on their own bus and hide away in there. But they share the same bus, and the band is always together. We’re eating meals, playing Frisbee, or venturing around town together. I feel like they both just love the experience of being on tour with a band, you know? So it’s just all fun, all the time.”
Scott Seiver plays C&C drums and Istanbul Agop cymbals and uses Vic Firth sticks and ACS in-ear monitors.
Also on the Road
John Marshall with Soft Machine /// Josh Dun with Twenty One Pilots /// Dean Butterworth with Good Charlotte /// Alianna Kalaba with Cat Power /// Jon Syverson with Daughters /// Zbigniew Robert Promiński with Behemoth /// Paul Mazurkiewicz with Cannibal Corpse /// Robi Gonzalez with This Will Destroy You