Exclusief interview met Brooks Wackerman
"Whenever I need some added sugar I just wiggle my feet together"
On Stage 09-08-2007 00:13
Brooks Wackerman, lid van de beroemde drumfamillie Wackerman (samen met zijn broers Chad en John, en vader Chuck Wackerman), heefft succesvol carrière gemaakt als freelance slagwerker. Zo werkte hij onder andere met Tenacious D, Avril Lavigne en Suicidal Tendencies. En sinds 2001 is Brooks de vaste drummer van Bad Religion.In een exclusief interview met Slagwerkwereld.com vertelt Brooks onder andere over zijn muzikale invloeden, het touren met Tenacious D, zijn drumspullen en de opnames van Bad Religion's nieuwe album 'New Maps Of Hell', release van de maand op Slagwerkwereld.com.

Invloeden
Brooks, hoeveel mensen in de Wackerman-familie drummen er eigenlijk? Zijn er nog Wackermans die we tot dusver onterecht over het hoofd gezien hebben?
"There are no unknown Wackerman drummers that I'm aware of, unless they're hiding out in Europe... The grand total of drummers in my family would be four: my brothers John, and Chad, me, and my dad."

Je hebt drumlessen gevolgd bij enkele fameuze docenten, waaronder jazzmeester Chuck Flores en Murray Spivack, een specialist op het gebied van snaredrum- en handtechniek. In welke mate hebben zijn jou als drummer benvloed?

"Both Murray and Chuck have influenced my playing tremendously. I learned my technique, speed and hand control from Murray and my cordination from Chuck. All of that constitutes my playing style, so I wouldn't play the way that I do had I not studied with them.

Actually, every session or band that I've been involved in has its own unique style or personality. Playing with Tenacious D was amazing, mainly because it had dirty comedy and I was a fan of their music long before I joined. Bad Religion has incredible song writers as well as politically driven songs that are inspiring. I've been fortunate enuff to have the freedom to add my personality to most of the musical adventures that I've participated in.

Zijn er nog aspecten die je verder wil ontwikkelen als muzikant?

"No, I think I've learned everything - just kidding, of course there will always be patterns that I'll be working on eternally. Ostinatos being one that is an endless practice and I'll always be going through stick control and accents and rebounds. I'll be taking those to the grave."

Bad Religion
Jouw voorganger bij Bad Religion, Bobby Schayer, was jarenlang lid van de band en wereldwijd geliefd bij veel fans. Maakte dat het moeilijk om hem te vervangen in 2001?

"Bobby and I are two different drummers and I respect everything that he has played on. We both approach the music differently and the guys in my band knew this before they hired me. I can see how fans might find change difficult, but I feel that I've been in this band long enuff for the fans' acceptance."

Welke nieuwe inzichten heb je opgedaan door het spelen bij Bad Religion? Per slot van rekening was je al behoorlijk ervaren toen je de groep kwam versterken.

"I think they taught me how to be a more 'mature player'. I feel that my parts are more song worthy than before. Working and analyzing with how they craft the songs has inspired me to shape my drum parts better."

Waarom is punkrock zo'n passie van je?

"I feel attracted to its aggressive nature, the message in the lyrics, and the energy of the live shows."

Bad Religion-songs zijn snel, vaak zelfs erg snel. En dan speel je nog 32-sten op de kickdrum ook. Af en toe gebruik je daarom een double-basspedaal. Sommige bekrompen geesten zijn van mening dat double-bass binnen punkrock not done is en noemen het bijna heiligschennis. Wat vind je daarvan?

"I've always used a double pedal since the dawn of my time. To me it's the extra frosting on the cake. Whenever I need some added sugar I just wiggle my feet together."

Je hebt ooit verklaard nooit dezelfde fills te spelen, om te zien wat je nog meer kunt bedenken. Dat is natuurlijk een uitstekende manier om jezelf te ontwikkelen als drummer, maar lastig voor de andere bandleden. Hoe reageren zij op jouw improvisaties?

"That statement is partially true... There are some songs that I do the same fill every night and other times where it's more improvisational. Whenever it's a fill that has a hook in it I'll always repeat it, but I know when it's appropriate. My singer will look back at me if it he feels that I'm going off into a Latin fantasy fill."

'New Maps of Hell'
Het koste Bad Religion drie jaar om te beginnen aan de opnames van het nieuwe album 'New Maps of Hell', dat overigens release van de maand is op Slagwerkwereld. Wat heb jij in de tussentijd gedaan?

"Well, I was working with tenacious D for most of last year, as well as doing various sessions. I also recorded a new project called Kidneys where I performed all the instruments myself, but I have a live band too, with Tony Palermo on drums. Whoever's interested can check us out on myspace.com/Kidneys. I hope to be touring with Kidneys in the near furture. We have a show in Hollywood for Setember. We'll see where we go from there.

Touring with Tenacious D was incedibly funny for obvious reasons by the way. I really liked learning Dave Grohl's parts, who I'm a big fan of. We're coming out with a live dvd from Seattle in the fall, so be on the look out."

Wat voor spullen heb je gebruikt voor de opnames van 'New Maps of Hell'?

"I use DW drums, Vater drumsticks, Zildjian symbals and Protection Racket drum cases. I put Evans G2 clears on the toms. The snare got an ST coated head, my kick an EQ4 head. My studio set up is the exact same as my life set up: 18x22" kick drum, 8x10, 10x12, 12x14, 14x16 toms. I can't remember all the snares but I know we used a 5.5x14" DW Bamboo and a few Ludwig Black Beauties. On the song An Honest Goodbye I did use a 26" kick which was monstrous, but did the job."

In welk opzicht verschilt 'New Maps of Hell', Bad Religion's veertiende album al weer, met 'The Empire Strikes First' uit 2004?

"I think the songwriting is better and it's more reminiscent of some of our earlier work. Some songs sound like a train falling off it's tracks but the sound is still cohesive. I think we sound younger, which is good for the our older image."

Op 'The Empire...' heb je meegeschreven aan drie nummers (The Quickening, Beyond Electric Dreams en All There Is). Waarom niet op het nieuwe album, waarvoor Greg Graffin en Brett Gurewitz alle liedjes schreven?

"Honestly I was touring so much with Tenacious D that I couldn't really focus on song writing for this record. I hope to write on the next one, since songwriting is one of my passions. Greg and Brett are both fantastic song writers. Brett's songs are a little more poetic and Greg's are more scientific."

Kun je wat meer vertellen over het opnameproces van het nieuwe album?

"For 'The Empire Strikes First' Brett Gurewitz and I started demoing songs at Brett's house, where has he has a little studio set up there with a Roland V-Drum kit and Pro Tools. We did the same demoing approach with this record. Usually we work out the parts on ideas that he has or sometimes an idea will form from a drum part. Greg works on his songs in New York. So he'll send out his demos and we'll formulate parts around that. Before we step into to the studio we have a two week pre-production rehearsal to practice and arrange the songs."

Ervaring delen
Wat is je favoriete studio om drums op te nemen?

"I really enjoyed working at Grand Master Studios which is where we recorded 'New Maps Of Hell'. I like it because it's a tighter sounding drum room. For this style of drumming I prefer a smaller room or else the sound will get lost."

Wat moet iedere drummer weten over spelen in een studio?

"Well, 9 time out of 10 you'll be recording with a click track. It could be your best friend or your nemesis. So I always encourage drummers to do their home work with mr. and mrs. click."

Hoe bereid jij je voor op een optreden?

"I do a lot of yoga, but I know when I'm pushing or over-exerting myself too hard, so I'm cautious. Usually I'll stretch for 10 minutes and warm up for 20 minutes by playing random rudiments at a slow speed, then eventually increasing."

Mike Fassano was je drumtech in de studio. Kun je uitleggen wat Mike's taken waren?

"Mike has great ear for tuning and knows which snare will sound the best on any paticular style of song. My live tech is a dude named Rhino, who has the same skills in a live setting."

In 2005 speelde je met jouw broer John Wackerman op 'Drum Duets'. Hoe kiujk je terug op die ervaring?

"It was awesome! It was a very relaxed session and John let me play with no restrictions. We plan on doing it again this year for volume 2. Keep an eye out!"

Hot Potty
Naast drummen, speel je gitaar en zing je. Wanneer mogen we een soloalbum verwachten?

"Well, I have already released two records with my band Hot Potty that were offically released in Japan. For anyone that's interested: I'm selling one of them on our Hot Potty MySpace site. I will be releasing a brand new record with Kidneys in the fall - also through our MySpace page."

Tony Palermo, bekend van Ten Foot Pole, Good Riddance en Unwritten Law, is Hot Potty's vaste drummer. Laat je hem alle drumpartijen bedenken, of hebben jullie daar discussies over? Ten slott is Hot Potty jouw band...

"It's a little of both. There are some parts that need to be played the same as the recorded version, and then other times Tony will bring his flavor into the mix."

Josh Freese speelde op een gegeven moment ook mee, toch?

"Indeed, on the last Hot Potty record entitled 'One Step Closer To Broadway', Josh played on the first song called Malaise. I never thought in a million years that I would strap a guitar on while Josh is playing drums on my record."

Hot Potty was voorprogramma voor Bad Religion. Was het niet raar om eerst als frontman in de spotlights te staan en vervolgens weer terug te keren naar je drumstel om op de achtergrond een solide basis te leggen?

"The main and ongoing challenge for me is fronting a band, since I don't do it regularly. I was very excited at the time to be doing both, so my adrenaline kept me going. It was a smooth transition for me."

Uit pure nieuwsgierigheid: welke drie releases heb je het laatst aangeschaft?

"1: The new Korn record because I played on it and was anxious to hear how it came out. I'm out on tour at the moment and I couldn't wait.
2: 'Icky Thump' by The White Stripes. I bought it because I've always loved their previous work and the single that I heard, Icky Thump, had me dancing in my house, so I couldn't resist.
3: Jimmy Chamberlin's solo record. I have been a huge fan of his - starting in my high school years. His work with Smashing Pumpkins is stellar and this record shows a little bit more of his fusion side, almost Tony Williams-esque. I love it!"

Bedankt! Heb je tot slot nog iets toe te voegen?

"I think it's great that you guys provide a forum for drummers to read interviews and become educated on the instrument... Kudos to the website!"

Luister naar Bad Religion's 'New Maps of Hell' - release van de maand!

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