When was the first time you counted off a song?
Good question...probably in one of my first bands in the late 90s?... To be honest, I've never been a big counting off person- I've been in a lot of bands where the singer counted off songs or the music started before the drums kicked in... and I don't mind that.
Are you a table-tapper?
Only in private... I hate to annoy people.
How would you describe what drumming feels like for someone who hasn't tried it yet?
I guess it's different for everyone, but for me it's transcendent- The concept of "Flow". When I'm really in the zone it's just about the happiest, freest place I can be.
Do you sing while playing?If yes, how does singing effect your playing?
I do and it's hard when you're teaching yourself the part. Once you learn it it's like any other complicated drum part - you know it, your muscle memory kicks in and it's easier. Singing is like having another limb to coordinate. The hardest thing I've ever played is probably in Iyaxia when I'm singing, drumming, and playing a casio keyboard simultaneously. TRICKY.
What do you do usually before rehearsal?
Nick and I started exercising before band practice and that's been working out well.
What do you bring to rehearsal?
Well, considering that we practice in our apartment, I don't need to bring anything. I do like to have a glass of water within arm's reach...
Can you explain how you rehearse in your apartment?
Well, we used to have a practice space in the basement of our building, but that's currently under construction, so we've been playing in the apartment at mid volume- me on my electronic drums through speakers. Not exactly ideal, but a lot better than renting a place by the hour like a lot of New Yorkers have to do.
What do you forget at the practice space every time?
What HAVEN'T I forgotten?
What is a typical rehearsal like for you?
It depends if we're in a song writing stage or a practicing-the-songs-we've-already-written stage. Right now we're in the latter, so we pretty much just run through the set.
How do you unwind after rehearsal?
Really depends on the night.
Please describe your instrument.
In Xaddax I'm playing a stainless steel Ludwig kit from the 70s- kind of like a Vistalite kit, but metal. Power toms without bottom heads. But it's a hybrid kit because I've attached drum triggers to the snare and bass drums, and I use electronic symbols. In Iyaxia it's an electronic Yamaha kit that I play standing up
Why do you go with toms with no bottom heads?
When I was looking for a kit initially I was really into Vistalites. I just liked how they sounded- all thumpy and booming. They don't have bottom heads either. Then I found my kit which is the same but metal and I snatched it up. I got it at a little mom and pop music store outside of Cleveland for $600 back in 1999. It came with 2 giant bass drums, SIX toms (the smallest was about 7 or 8 inches- absurd), and a floor tom. Ridiculous! I think it's the same kit the guy from Slayer has. Any way, I only use one of the bass drums and 2 of the toms.
What would you invent to make your drum life easier?
I HATE CORDS and yet I keep adding electronic elements to all my music. I love the sound of synth parts and electronic drums, but I hate the resulting tangle of cords, especially when I'm trying to get set up at a show. It's the bane of my existence. In fact, if I could somehow be free of electronic cords and wires in all aspects of my life I'd be very happy.
Design the perfect kit.
The one I have, just without all the tangled cords.
Do you use any auxiliary percussion?
Not anymore besides the electronics. In the Hex and My Name is Rar Rar I used to have all kinds of pipes and scrap metal but I got tired of lugging it around.
Do you incorporate electronics into your playing?
Besides the hybrid kit I also operate a "Jam man" pedal with synth parts and samples that go with our songs.
If you could repair one thing with a snap of your fingers, what would magically fix itself?
The cords would untangle themselves...
Do you have a bass drum graphic? What is it and who designed it?
I used to have a big silver spiral that I spray painted on it but I got rid of that. Eventually I'll probably paint a Xaddax symbol on it.
What's inside your bass drum?
Currently my cat!...Her new favorite hang out.
What is your cats name?
Deechee aka THE CHEE.
Any advice for drummers starting out?
As a woman, starting out I had a serious fear of sucking. I didn't want to be a bad female drummer for any amount of time- even when I was just learning. I just couldn't stand the idea of being some kind of bad female drummer cliche. I felt like I had a lot to prove. But ultimately you just need to forget what people are going to think while you're learning and just focus on the drums and what you like and let yourself experiment. I'm entirely self taught and for me that worked well because I could find my own way and my own style. I would listen to my favorite drummers and just try to imitate them and come up with new parts in the process.
What would you do differently now that you've been playing a while?
Not really differently, per se... just advancing. It's like you get to a certain level and plateau, and then you can either stay there or progress. I like to keep progressing and keep pushing myself to try new things.
Do you have any theories on drumming?
Where do I begin? I've done a lot of research on the therapeutic uses of drumming and music in general and have a lot of interest in that. Rhythm is such a part of everything in life. I'm actually in the process of launching a "Drumming Doula" program in which I'll use drumming to assist women during childbirth. We'll see how that goes. I for one would want drums if I was giving birth! :)
Can you explain what "Drumming Doula" is?
Its an idea I have to use drumming and music to help women during childbirth. Lots of women use Lamaze breathing techniques and it could tie in with those rhythms and help set the pace through entrainment. Drumming can also help to reduce pain, create focus, and, I think, make the whole experience a lot more empowering and magical. I'm only in the planning stages right now, so we'll see how it goes.
What do you see as your role in a band?
Well, I've never been your standard rock drummer. The idea of a drummer who just shows up and lays down a beat to back up a band's songs is totally foreign to me. I've always been an equal partner in the songwriting process in all my bands. Coming up with creative, unconventional rhythms is part of it, but so is writing a lot of the song structures themselves, which is something I really enjoy.
Who do you think is an underrated drummer?
Yoshida Tatsuya from Ruins. Possibly the best drummer I've ever seen.
Which drummers do you enjoy?
Zack Hill is amazing. Any kind of overly- complicated brutal prog or metal drummer generally inspires me.
Did anyone inspire you to start drumming?
I was a big fan of Crash Worship around the time that I started drumming so that was definitely a big inspiration. Also, I remember receiving a letter soon after I'd started playing, from my then pen-pal (remember mail??) Fred Armisen (who was still playing in Trenchmouth at the time), telling me to play "all busy and complicated", and I definitely took that to heart.
Do you write songs?
Yes. Nick and I collaborate really well in that way.
Are there any songs that with drum parts that influence you?
Lots. Generally it's the stuff that seems too complicated for me to play- a challenge.
What is your favorite kind of song to play?
Weirdo progy circus noise rock?
Is there something you'd wish your band would do more in a song?
Xaddax is relatively new so this first batch of songs was about learning to work together and finding our voice. My goal in the next batch will be to make everything a little more complicated and a little crazier.
At what moment in a song are you most likely to screw up?
When I have to sing or when then pre-recorded Jam Man parts seem to be playing a little too slow or a little too fast and Im trying to speed up or slow down slightly
Is there any place you love to play at? Where?
We've played at Cake Shop a few times and that's kind of a nice atmosphere.
What piece of equipment do you always forget to bring?
Nothing, hopefully. I double and triple check these days.
What are most likely to injure at a show?
Oh boy. Show injuries! For me it's inevitably my knuckle smashed on the edge of the snare. Ow.
Show stories? Embarrassing show moments?
Hmm... so many weird show moments over the years... Once Rar-Rar was playing a show at a bar in St. Louis and halfway through the set someone came up on stage and gave me my driver's license. Apparently we'd whipped people into such a wild dancing frenzy that it had gotten to my bag (which I'd hidden away under a chair near the stage) and it's contents ended up all over the floor of the bar. I didn't know whether to keep playing or look for my wallet. I kept playing.
What is your fantasy show to play someday?
I'd love to play somewhere like the Bowery Ballroom where I could look up at the people in the balcony. I used to practice at the Congress Theatre in Chicago with this noise band I was in briefly and it was truly amazing to play on stage in a place that big and beautiful, even empty.
You have a time machine, what year are you going to go to and bands are you going to try and see?
I've always thought that if I had a time machine I'd use it to go back to the early 80s and see the Birthday Party, and the Butthole Surfers back when they were insane and amazing.
What is something you've always wanted to ask others drummers?
Not sure. I'm usually more interested in looking at what a drummer is doing than asking them about it.
Mar 29, 2011
Nice interview, drummer!!
Nov 10, 2012
The inconsistencies & ftorcay installed variables on old Gretsch make it a kit by kit sort of thing. Thirty degree, inside cut, sharp edges, thirty degree, outside cut, sharp edges, rounded over edges, no edges & snare beds where they shouldn't be are all part of older Gretsch. Every shift was Friday Afternoon' at the Savannah plant, back in the day. That great Gretsch sound. is modeled on coated Ambassadors top & bottom. It's actually a pretty nice all purpose sound on those Jasper shells with die cast hoops.My '82 square badge Gretsch are currently set up with coated Emperors over coated Ambassadors & in a room where every instrument sounds like shit, they actually sound pretty good. I've used clear & coated Pinstripes, clear & coated Emperors & clear & coated Ambassadors for decades & I once even ran clear Ambassadors over clear Diplomats. I lucked out & got a pretty consistent bunch of toms & a decent kick. All the combinations worked but, you do have to play them in enough to get the real sound. Most people slap on a set of heads, play the drums for ten minutes & decide with that amount of information. Regardless of the marketing hype, heads do have to be played in. Heads that I really like are the Remo Suede series & the Attack Terry Bozzio signature series. Neither are available in the Toronto area. I get them from Casio Interstate Music In St. John Michigan. the Suede Emperors are great batter heads & the Bozzio stuff is much like Remo Ambassadors. They use the same DuPont Mylar that Remo uses but, the collar is crimped like a Ludwig head. The Suede heads seem to have little texture but, actually get a decent brush sound & the Bozzio coated heads have a better coating than Remo but, you do have to sand it down a bit. The Bozzio heads are priced like early '80s Remo & that makes them even more attractive.You do have to remember that you're primarily doing this for yourself Unless the drums are too loud or sound like absolute shit, nobody out front knows enough or cares how your drums sound. Select & tune to what you like. It works more often than not.