Following lengthy stints with the established U.K. alternative groups Pitchshifter, Killing Joke, and Pop Will Eat Itself, Jason Bowld recently officially joined British modern-metal titans Bullet for My Valentine. The group’s latest full-length, Gravity, is the first to feature Bowld, who began touring full-time with the band in 2015 when original drummer Michael “Moose” Thomas took time off from the band.
Leading up to the release of Gravity, Bullet for My Valentine began 2018 with an arena tour supporting Avenged Sevenfold. This was followed by appearances at numerous European summer festivals, where the band was typically billed within the top five acts. They’re currently on an extensive international tour that lasts through the fall of 2018. “We started [this leg] on June 1 at Rock am Ring in Germany,” says Bowld, “and it’s been mind-blowing. There were 85,000 people for the first two German shows, and that kind of takes your breath away. Download Festival in the U.K. is also a massive show for us, being main support to Avenged Sevenfold on the main stage. The ambition of Bullet is to headline these festivals in the not-too-distant future.”
Bowld explains that the group faced some challenges when selecting songs to perform from among their singles and six full-length albums. “To make the set more diverse,” he says, “we’ve got four new tracks in there: ‘Don’t Need You,’ ‘Over It,’ ‘Piece of Me,’ and ‘Letting You Go.’ And there are also a lot of top-end singles in the set. There’s a good spread of songs from the band’s whole repertoire. There are at least two or three songs from each album, but it’s a more diverse set now because we have the new stuff.”
Bowld, who describes himself less as a metal drummer than as “a rock drummer with metal influences,” says that he prefers not to rely on electronics on his double-bass touring kit. “Triggers are more hassle than they’re worth,” he says. “You have to have a certain technique to make them work. I like to play very powerfully and for everything to sound clean and consistent and precise to my ear before it gets to the PA.”
A left-handed drummer playing on a right-handed kit, Bowld employs an open-handed approach. “I lead with my right hand when I’m grooving,” he explains, “and I lead fills with both hands. I’m fairly ambidextrous in that way. I actually think that my left foot is stronger than my right, even though my right foot is the dominant one.”
Bowld, who was tapped for his first U.K. arena tour with Bullet for My Valentine back in 2010—seven years before officially joining the band—professes a solid, workhorse mentality when it comes to landing big gigs. “I was basically asked if I could fill in [for that first arena tour] with two days’ notice and no rehearsals,” he says, “and the first show was at Wembley Stadium. I just said yes and thought about how I was going to do it after the phone call. If you don’t take these opportunities, you don’t know when the next one is going to come around, if ever. I knew that by taking the gig, it would open up doors—and it did. It opened up doors to other bands in the session world, and then five or six years later, I’m back with Bullet. You reap what you sow, basically.”
Jason Bowld plays Pearl drums and Paiste cymbals, and he uses Vic Firth sticks, Evans heads, Protection Racket stick bags, Baskey drum rugs, Cympad dampeners, and sE Electronics microphones.
Also on the Road
Bruce Smith with Public Image Ltd /// Marcus Lee with Kobra and the Lotus /// Andrew “Pinch” Pinching with the Damned /// Butch Vig with Garbage /// Dan Haggis with the Wombats /// John Dolmayan with System of a Down /// Brendan Canty with MC5 /// Keith Carlock with Steely Dan