|This is a Brain interview from dwdrums.com.
Interviewer: Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm here with Brain... from Guns N' Roses...
an' I wanna to talk to him a little bit about rock n' roll drumming
I think the first question I have is how do you approach
a studio situation
versus a live.. situation?
Brain: Well... ya know li..I mean live.. it'ss
I..I try to approach
them actually the same. Because I think if you can
you get more energy and you get, ya know like your adrenalin gets
pumped because there's a crowd
but an' then, ya know, your performance
is better because of that
because you're psyched to play... you're psyched
to just ya know do the gig just, ya know there's a bunch of girls out there
or somethin'. But ya know in the studio, I try to recreate the same thing because
whatever you play
whatever you play
basically a studio, all
it is is just putting up some mic's in front of the
who you are, what you
are, what you do. So
I try to approach it the same way, where I try to
get all the energy I can an..an feel like it's a live situation where I wanna
rip... and shred
because then it'll come out on the tape... and if you
can get that performance it's there forever
and then, ya know, it's the
greatest thing that to listen back and love what you've actually done. So
actually try to approach it the same. I try to make a vibe in the studio that
is conducive that makes me feel like I wanna play. The same way as live when
there's a bunch of people there. So maybe I'll put up posters of
ya know like Tony Williams and then Bruce Lee and Robert DeNiro
or somethin' ya know and I'll look at them while I'm playing
Interviewer: Do those non-drumming influences, influence your playing?
Brain: Oh yeah
I mean, ya know, there's only a few
ya know a handful of drummers that I
I still listen to daily
ya know really in
make me wanna play drums
ya know such a different vibe with computers
and drum machines that it's a different feeling, ya know. When I listen to Timbaland
or somethin' an' I listen to his programming, I wanna program
when I listen
when I put on ya know Buddy Rich, I wanna play the drums.
So it's different, ya know. I don't really like listen to like ya know a techno
that I know that's been done.. totally on computers and go like.. "okay
now I feel like playing the drums'. It's more like 'Whoa! What did they do?'
I might wanna le..learn from it and learn rhythms but it doesn't make me wan..physically
wanna play. But if I put on, ya know Vinnie Colaiuta in "Shut Up N' Play
Yer Guitar,"... shi
I just wanna go and start soloing... because..
ya know.. he's just ripping in that song so
Interviewer: Do you feel like your other musical influences like jazz..
or electronic drum base whatever, effect your rock drumming, though?
Brain: Oh, totally
I mean it'ss..ya know I m..mean rock drumming
remember ya know when I first started playing an' my.. teacher..umm..I was all
inta all these chops and I was listening ta
ya know all this jazz stuff
it be Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Elvin Jones
and he was just ya know so..soloing
an' doing all this crazy stuff
and I knew how to do that... but
know the other side of the coin, which he was like "Well, have you ever
heard, ya know, of Phil Rudd from AC/DC" ya know, "Ya know how to
just rock?" And I was just like.. "Well... yeah, I guess?
I think I do?"
ya know or whatever. So, I started playing and
it was like a lot easier to jus
I mean..ya know
I learned all these chops an' I learned how to
play the drums - jazz drumming, Latin drumming
I can play
a Mozambique 8
a Baion, any kinda rhythm
you ask me
a somba at
160 or whatever ya know, I was into just playin' as fast as
ya know all that
when I let it
now I knew how to play,
that I let it go
and I learned how to just play two n' four, make the back
beat as solid as possible and the 8th notes on the high hats and just ya know
two n' four on the cl
two n' four on the snare
ya know jus
lay it down. It's just like..it helped
now I didn't have ta
I'm just a rock
drummer and now it was
it was easier to go the other way
if ya know what I mean
instead of like
how to read, an
an learn how ta like
play all different styles really
helped my rock drumming because I could just let it go then.
Interviewer: So you think it's important to have a vocabulary?
Brain: Oh, definitely because that's the..that's the only way where
you can stretch out when you want to
but ya know
the the thing
I've talked to this about when I interviewed Stewart Copeland
he's one of my favorite rock drummers
you gotta have that
you gotta have
he calls it the X factor.. an we were
talking about that, because.. he used ta say ya gotta..ya gotta know how to
rock first of all
it's gotta be in you. I mean even if if you listen to
ya know he's
he's like he's rockin' the jaz
but it's jazz but he's rockin'
it.. ya know. I mean it's like
it's like... punk
ya know it's like
he's playin' hard
he's he's killin' it. So it's like there's this that
thing that ya gotta have
I think that
ya know you can develope
ya know wha
whatever happens when you're young
and how whatever you're into.. in life or whatever.. but ya know I think that
it it helped me so much to learn all those influences
learn how to read
and really ya know..kno
be a well rounded drummer cause then
you can jus' let it go
Interviewer: Umm huh
And then ya know what's rad is like.. okay you are playing
the Phil Rudd solid stuff and jus ya know laying down the two n' four but then
ya know if there's like a good lookin' chick in the audience you can do crazy
fill an' impress her so it's like it's
ya know ya have to
to learn everything. I
that's the way
that I approached it
and it's worked for me
cause obviously I'm ya know
still in the business
Interviewer: What advice would you have for a young drummer coming up that
wants a career in music?
the only way I've lasted
is by knowing
being a well-rounded drummer
learning how to read, taking lessons, getting
getting into it
- jus' learning everything you can about the craft
you don't know
at one point
at any point what the situation
you're gonna be in where you might have ta pull it out
ya know, so
as much as I've learned how to like
play jazz and play as quiet as possible,
I practiced playin' as loud and as simple as possible
learned every extremes of drumming to be able to jus' ya know
let it go and your own personality will come out
but I think it's important..
if you just ya know
only play in a
an' I mean
how many ba
if all you do is just like
start in a band an', an' all you
care about is
just like ya know going out and partying an' just playing..a..ya
know a.. at clubs and not like doing your homework and practicing
I mean how many bands last more than two or three years
if you learn your craft you can stay in this business for
that ya know
mean there's there's
.um there's a bunch of people
But they're all
they all know their craft
Interviewer: How do you think you've seen your drumming evolve since you've
a certain project or jus'
just since you started playing. I mean besides
years of experience, how've you actually seen your playing evolve? What have
well I mean it's it's
it's, I mean it's
found out like
who I am and what I can do as a drummer
know through like
I mean my the
the way that I've like
found out that
what I can do and what I am
makes any sense. Ya know, it's jus' like at first when you're first starting
you wanna learn everything and you wanna
ya know, like I was saying before
everything, but then at one point you'll throw it away. And when you throw it
away and jus' play the way you feel and what you wanna do
like, you evolve
you feel like "oh this is who I am an' this is how
I play." Now when I listen
ya know, when I listen to myself, I know
what I sound like
but it took years to get there by.. ya know, at first
I'm ya know
a..I'd wanna copy him
wanna copy him
a, John Bonham, I'd wanna copy him
and do that
ya know - learn. But then after you jus' got to let it go and ya know
it's that Bruce Lee saying
that I always
ya know think of is
what is ya know
but you're not suppose
think - feel
ya just gotta go
ya know at one point and jus' say
"Okay I don't care
is.. being written on paper
ya jus' gotta play what you feel
and let it come out".
specifically, what do you think is key about rock
Brain: A wi
well with rock drumming, I mean it's all about a vibe.
Ya know, I mean it's all
I mean with like what I
said before even in the studio, I mean
but especially live
you people wanna be rocked out
ya know, they wanna they wanna like
want "your" personality to come out
so they could feel it...
ya know, I mean
and that's like why it's so
ta like I think learn everything so you can have that
can just let go
because if you're constraint, you're never gonna be able
to be yourself
ya know, if ya.. can't.. quite.. rock.. the crowd or can't..
quite.. play.. that.. particular part you wanna play
ya know, as a drummer.
Interviewer: Well maybe some other aspects of rock drumming that are important.
I mean, how do you prepare for a live show
I mean it's probably pretty
physically demanding? How do you protect your hands and your hearing
you're hitting pretty hard when you're playing that type of music?
Brain: Yeah, well with rock drumming, I mean I definitely warm up before
and I have these exercises that are very simple.. but they've totally helped
and those are the ones that I'm gonna ride out. Umm.. ya know..
so there's like.. these hand exercises that I do and then these feet exercises.
They're very simple. They're like real basic. But if you learn to just do that
before.. and, ya know, do it for a half an hour to
I usually warm up for
about half an hour to forty-five minutes
that's all its really takes. Ya
know, I remember reading a thing about Billy Cobham one time and he's saying
that "Oh if you have if ya have to warm up
you're not a real drummer."
But umm, I mean ya know to me that'ss.. all.. ya know.. bull crap because I
mean, ya know.. I mean you gotta like protect your hands and warm up.. ya know
get.. in.. ya know.. so you can
soon as you hit
you can be playing
as hard as you want and strong as you want without like.. injuring yourself
or jus' ya know, feel like.. comfortable behind the drums. So, ya know, warming
up is a big.. for me, especially in a rock sit..situation, ya know, playing
these big shows.. especially now if like.. Guns N' Roses doing this last show
in a.. Rio in front of like 200,000 people.. ya know, I mean I was so nervous,
I'd warmed up for like 3 hours.. ya know ,but.. Ya know it as far as hearing
and stuff and the rock I.. I.. I have custom ear plugs and you know. you can..
you know.. I think it'sss.. "hear.com" I think isss the company I
got it from, ya know it's like "hear"
it's called "hear"
but I think you can go on the web it'sss "hear.com" and its like..
they make like these custom
they they mold.. these ear plugs for your ears
and they.. they give you these custom plugs so you can, ya know, protect your
hearing and I have two or three different ones
I have one that are solid
that completely cover.. your ear.. for like, ya know pla..practicing. So I really
then when you're playing with a band, I have like a 15db.. cut and a 30db cut
ya know depending on how it feels an' how loud the music is. But protecting
your hearing.. I mean.. ya know.. especially in the r-rock.. ya know.. when..
ya know they got Buckethead who's gotta be playing the ten different Marshall
stacks right next to me, ya know.. I gotta protect 'em.. ya know.. whatever.
And I, I jus' went to the doctors an' they said my hearing is pretty gr..great
actually.. so.. I get it checked out.. cleaned out twice a
good thing too for like your.. the.. drummers like coming up.. or one's that
are.. playing a lot, is go have your hearing checked like once a year. And ya
know have them cleaned out.. and whatever.. cause a lot of wax gets built up..
in your ear.. a.. from jus' wa..your ear wanting to protect itself.. from the
sound, ya know if you're not using ear plugs or whatever so.. I always get 'em
checked out an' cleaned..an' so I've been.. doing it now for thirty-somethin'
Interviewer: Talk alittle bit about yer yer gear.. for yer rock gig.. I
mean a.. what's.. you're playing bigger drums.. you're playing bigger cymbals..
Brain: Yeah.. ya know.. I'm playing like a twen..ya know, I mean I'm..
I'm playing bigger.. ya know, all my cymbals are 20's.. ya know.. I got 13..14-16
inch.., ya know.. maple.. a Toms... and my kick drum's bigger - 24.. ya know..
and umm.. snare drum.. I like to use like a seven and a half
er.. or si..I think it's si..six and a half.. yeah six and a half.. like, ya
know. metal drum.. ya know, that's different than, ya know, what I normally
do. But for rock, ya know, I like to have it big and feel like there's some
power behind it
that just sounds the best to me to have, ya know
the bigger.. bigger drums.
Interviewer: So Brain
what would you say your approach is to tuning
Brain: Well, it de. It de..depends on the situation but in in a rock
situation.. ya know, the situation I'm in now.. I like to tune 'em a lot lower
and a lot of people, ya know, say, "well, hey it's not".. ya know..
"tuning 'em low kinda they get lost.. an', ya know, you don't get the attack."
But, ya know, I mean, you get the right.. monitor system
live.. or ya know
in the studio, if the engineer's good, and he knows how to like give you the
right send.. an' an' the.. mon
I mean an' tha umm tha engineer live is
I just need ta fee
in rock... I just need to have everything
I tune my snare lower
usually, ya know, if if I'm if I tune
my snare.. like, I usually tune my snare maybe like even.. a whole step down
then from what I usually would do maybe like.. doin' jus ya know... I don't
I mean like a
ad.. sess..doing an ad session or somethin' or
just doin' a session, ya know they like to always hear a higher crack... but,
ya know with rock... I always tune my drums.. lower
I like to have.. ya
know.. with the bigger drums.. I.. I like 'em lower because I like to feel the
power behind the kit when I'm playin
the one thing I've
is to get.. ya know the right
you have to get like the right monitor system
you have to get the right kinda.. ya know, hearing
ear protection so you can hear yourself and you can feel what you're playing
because.. soon as I feel.. great... soon as the drums sound great
the drums are sounding great
then I can play so much better. So, ya know
I thinks it's important to find out what you, ya know, what you guys.. like
but I.. I definitely like ta make it sound powerful when I'm playing
Kick drums, too.. I'll tune it lower.. I'll jus' tune
everything.. I'll just do it like a little half turn.. and get it to where..
ya know.. it just feels a lot bigger.. ya know cause.. that's jus..just what
I like for rock drumming.
using different head combinations for rock? Or using
two flat heads or
Brain: Well, you can experiment
yeah, you can experiment.. I mean...
for live... I like to use.. ya know.. the.. ya know, double.. coated
emperor so I can play real hard on top, then I use the single coated embassador
on the bottoms. a..In the studio I like to use the coated embassadors on top
and the.. coat.. I mean.. umm then the..a
clear.. embassadors on the bottom.
Snares I alwayss, ya know, since you're playin' hard ..live.. an' especially
in this rock situation, ya know I like to use.. ya know, have like a maybe a
black dot put on top, ya know so I can play extra hard or whatever.. but, ya
know for tuning I definitely.. like to tune stuff lower in the rock situation..
just makes you feel big
ya know makes you wanna kick ass more.
Interviewer: How 'bout a
ya know when you
when you're lookin'
at your drum setup.. and you're talking about flexibility of your hardware
there anything you a
you use a lot of multi-clamps
do you have a pretty
standard cymbal setup for that?
Brain: No. I mean for rock..for rock I'd
I mean.. I just use all
I like to have all my stands straight up and down and..
ya know, everything on it's own... ya know.. every, every like.. cymbal on it's
because.. I'm playin' so hard... an' so powerful that if I
have too many multi-clamp stuff, ya know
it gets weird..
ya know, cause the setups harder.. and I'm using such a s-simplistic kit now..
and, ya know, in what I'm doing it's.. ya know.. it's like... it's like four
four drums.. and you're rockin'.
Thanks to Gypsy for the transcription.