Thirty-nine-year-old New Jersey native Tucker Rule has remained more than busy since his band Thursday—one of the most successful to emerge from the brutally passionate hardcore/emo/screamo scene that took hold on the East Coast in the 1990s—disbanded in 2012. Following a stint backing British boy band the Wanted and filling in with Murphy’s Law and My Chemical Romance, the drummer toured with pop-punk standouts Yellowcard and recorded an EP with famed producer Ross Robinson in the side project Get Involved! Last year saw Thursday reuniting for several shows, and 2017 found the group on the road for real. MD spoke with the recently married drummer, fresh off the initial leg of the band’s first tour in six years.
MD: What’s the status of the rebooted Thursday?
Tucker: We just finished a month-and-a-half-long tour with Touché Amoré and Basement, which was awesome. People have been asking what’s happening with the band, and the response is we’re just trying to get through this time right now. We might write a new record, we might not. We might do some more touring, we might not. It’s just kind of up in the air. If it wasn’t by the seat of our pants, it wouldn’t be how we’ve always done it.
MD: During Thursday’s hiatus, you were pretty much as active as you’d ever been, correct?
Tucker: Absolutely. I didn’t have any real lapse, aside from a few months here and there. I’d think, I can’t wait to get home, and then a week and a half later I’d want to be back on tour.
MD: So what did you do when Thursday stopped working?
Tucker: Right when Thursday broke up, I had the opportunity to be in the backing group for this British boy band called the Wanted, which was a super-cool experience. We did a show at the Gramercy Theatre in New York for a bunch of industry folk, and the boys in the band loved the way we played, so they took us around the world for three or four years. It was amazing. We did a bunch of television, and it was one of the craziest experiences of my life. It really taught me to try to play as perfectly as you possibly can, because you’re under a microscope.
MD: You’re still playing realtively flat toms and cymbals.
Tucker: When I started playing in Yellowcard, there were a lot of faster fills around the kit, so I started tilting the rack tom a little more toward me just to make it easier to get between the toms. Everything else is the same. I played the same cymbals with the pop band as I did with Yellowcard, which are the same ones I play with Thursday. All rides, all the time! [laughs] My kit is all Bonham sizes.
MD: And you’re still tilting your snare down and away from you.
Tucker: That started when I got tired of buying new jeans, because I would either soak them in blood or rip holes in them where my snare hand would hit. So I raised it, but I didn’t like the angle. I figured out along the way that I preferred the sound of a rimshot, because a lot of the stuff I played, I was fighting loud guitars. Playing rimshots helps me be loud enough to cut through the music.
MD: So tilting the drum away from you helped you get a consistent rimshot?
Tucker: Yeah, and it turned out to be comfortable for me somehow. Though as I angled it, it got to a place where no one else could play my drums! [laughs]
MD: Talk about your relationship with Q Drum Company. Did you move directly from C&C to them?
Tucker: I did. When I was with the boy band I got in touch with Ilan Rubin [Nine Inch Nails], who’s part owner of Q Drum Company, and I asked him if he could put me in touch with Jeremy Berman, co-owner and builder with Q. I’d been sweating them for few years. Thursday did a tour with Taking Back Sunday a bunch of years ago, and [Ilan’s solo project] the New Regime was the opener. His live drummer, Hayden Scott, had one of the first Q kits, and I thought it sounded awesome. I fell in love with them, and once I saw that they were making metal drums with riveted seams, I decided that I needed one of these kits. Ilan is a good bud of mine, and Jeremy’s become a close friend, so it’s worked out really nicely.
MD: How did Get Involved! come about, and what was it like working with producer Ross Robinson?
Tucker: Get Involved! was a project with my friend Todd Weinstock, who used to play in Glassjaw. We’ve always been close and I’ve always loved his playing. When Todd told me that he’d gotten Lars Weiss, the bass player from Judge, I asked who else was involved. He said that Brian Deneeve [From Autumn to Ashes] was playing, and I was like, Cool, all my friends—let’s do this!
Since Glassjaw had done a record with Ross Robinson, we decided to have him produce our EP. It was awesome, a crazy experience. He’s a super-deep dude and really knows how to get it out of you. I was terrified at first. I was like, I know he hates drummers and he’s going to beat me up. But he was super-cool. I thought that I’d really trimmed the fat and created rhythmic hooks that a producer would appreciate, and he was like, “Play more. More fills, more everything.” I learned a lot from that experience.
MD: How has getting married affected your career goals?
Tucker: It has and it hasn’t. My wife’s always been really supportive. She understands that I take this really seriously, sometimes way too seriously, and she allows our spare bedroom to be filled with drums and other crap that I collect. I guess this is something that every drummer and musician says, but now if I’m going to leave the house, it’s got to be for something that’s really awesome and for the good of the whole. I try to take everything that makes sense. I just love playing drums, and if I get an opportunity I’m going to take it, and she usually has my back.
MD: Part of being a musician is realizing that we can’t play like we’re twenty forever. Have you had any hand or wrist problems over the years?
Tucker: No, thankfully I haven’t. It’s kind of ridiculous, but I attribute it to playing larger cymbals over the years. There’s so much give in them that you can bend them with your hand. And I’ve always tried to keep up with my technique and figure out how to evolve it. I always stretch a bunch before shows, and I just recently started using the Reflexx CP1 pad. It’s really gotten me into stretching and playing more rudiments. I think it’s what’s kept me from ripping up my hands on this last Thursday tour. You can get more power from hitting just as hard with better technique.
Tucker Rule was recently approached by John Naclerio of Nada Recording and drumsamples.com to create a sound library with his custom Q Drum Company kit. The library consists of more than 2,500 individual samples with an average of fifteen velocity layers and multiple articulations per instrument. Naclerio sampled Rule’s custom copper-shell Q drumkit as well as a Q maple kit. Snare samples include Rule’s primary 7×14 brass Q snare, an 8×14 steel-shell Keplinger, a 6.5×14 Tama bell brass, a 5×14 Ludwig Supraphonic, a 7×14 Ayotte maple, a 6.5×14 Ayotte steel, and a 7×14 Q aluminum that Rule favored on tour with Yellowcard.
Samples of Rule’s complete set of Zildjian K Custom Special Dry cymbals are also included, captured with close mics, room mics, and multi-mic combos. The library includes presets for both Native Instruments’ Kontakt 5 sampler and Steven Slate Drums’ Trigger 2.0 plugin. MD got to check out the library, and the snares alone are well worth the $34.99 price tag. The kicks and toms sound huge and warm, and the cymbals are dripping with character.
“This is something I’d always wanted to do,” Rule says, “but it’s hard to come up with the funding to do a project like this. John hit me up and said that he wanted to do a sample library. There were a bunch of other drummers I knew that were [already] part of it. It kind of fell in my lap.” Visit drumsamples.com for more information.
Tools of the Trade
Drums: Q Drum copper kit in damask patina with maple reinforcement rings
A. 7.5×14 brass snare
B. 10×14 tom
C. 16×16 floor tom
D. 16×18 floor tom
E. 14×26 bass drum
1. 16″ K Light hi-hats
2. 22″ Avedis ride
3. 24″ K Light ride
4. 22″ K Light ride
5. 22″ K Kerope ride with Promark R22 Cymbal Rattler
Heads: Remo X14 snare batter (with Moongel for muffling) and Hazy Ambassador snare-side, CS Black Dot or White Dot tom batters and Clear Ambassador resonants, and Coated Powerstroke 3 bass drum batter (with Falam Slam Pad and small towel for muffling) and Smooth Ambassador front head
Sticks: Promark Forward Balance 5B 595
Hardware: DW 5000 series stands and bass drum pedal with Low Boy wood beater
Accessories: PureSound Custom 24-strand snare wires, Reflexx CP1 Conditioning Pad, Big Fat Snare Drum products, Jerry Harvey Audio JH16 custom in-ear monitors
Tucker Rule teaches at reverblessons.com and can be reached at reverblessons.com/instructors/tucker.