We caught up with Utah-based drummer Branden Steineckert while he was on tour in Southern California with the legendary punk band Rancid. The snare on Branden’s acrylic SJC tour kit—the same drum he used on Rancid’s latest album—features Hoonigan Racing–themed custom wrap based on artwork used by professional rally car driver Ken Block. “I tend to like my snares to be visually fun,” says Steineckert, “but I don’t want it to compromise my sound at all. My favorite snares are usually metal, but SJC put a carbon-fiber shell on the inside, which makes it sound more like a metal drum.”

Branden loves this kit so much that it’s been his go-to for just about every project. “Why replace it,” he says. “It sounds amazing, and I love the way it looks. I feel like I’m being greedy if I ask for new kits all the time, so I just roll with this one. And I have a hard time parting with my drums. They’re like kids to me. I have a lot of memories and have done incredible things with each of them. The few drumsets that I’ve gotten rid of, I kind of wish I hadn’t. But at the same time, you don’t need to be a hoarder.”

If you take note of Steineckert’s hi-hats in the photos, you’ll see that they’re positioned very high. The drummer even custom ordered an extra-long rod for his DW stand. “I always joke with people that they’re not called ‘low hats,’” he says. This positioning goes back to how Branden learned to play, from watching his favorite drummers of the ’90s, such as David Grohl, who often kept his drums low and his cymbals very high. “It makes for more dramatic crashing,” he says. “There’s no such thing as a lazy day [with Rancid]. You’ve got to move and raise your arms above your head.”

Having broken his tailbone when he was younger, Steineckert relies on the channeled Carmichael seat to relieve pressure on his spine. Branden was also in a car accident that caused injuries to both of his wrists, so he makes sure to put his hands in an ice-filled Yeti cooler after each show. “Yeah, it makes me feel old to have my gear revolve around my injuries!” [laughs]


Drums: SJC acrylic with frosted houndstooth pattern

A. 5×14 10-ply maple snare with 1-ply carbon-fiber drum on the inside
B. 7×12 tom
C. 12×14 floor tom
D. 14×16 floor tom
E. 18×22 bass drum

Cymbals: Zildjian
1. 14″ A Custom hi-hats
2. 19″ A Custom Projection crash
3. 23″ A Sweet ride
4. 20″ A Custom Projection crash
5. 20″ A Custom EFX crash

Sticks: Vater Power 5B with nylon tips

Heads: Remo Emperor Coated snare batter and Ambassador Hazy snare side; Emperor Coated tom batters and Ambassador Clear tom resonants; Powerstroke P3 Clear bass drum batter and Ambassador Smooth White front. Snare and toms dampened with a single Moongel pad. Bass drum muffl ed with two Evans EQ pads on the inside.

Hardware: DW 9000 stands and pedals, Carmichael throne top on a DW base, Stanley fans, Yeti cooler, Vater stick holders, and a 25-ply “Never Give Up” Jeremy York tribute woodblock (mounted on bass drum hoop)

In-ear monitors: Ultimate Ears UE-11 Pro