An Interview with Brooks Wackerman of Tenacious D

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“I’m old school,” laughs drummer Brooks Wackerman. “When I was 14 years old, I was in a band called Bad for Good that Steve Vai produced. We used to be in Metal Edge all the time!” Nearly fifteen years later, Brooks has a fulltime job behind the kit of LA punk legends Bad Religion as well a hot touring gig with the comedy/hard rock duo of Jack Black and Kyle Gass – better known as Tenacious D. Promoting the duo’s big screen debut, The Pick of Destiny, and its soundtrack album, the tour took the band to venues as massive as New York City’s Madison Square Garden – a first for the drummer. Known for his fast footwork as well as for being the first drummer in Bad Religion to use a double kick set up, Brooks actually plays a triple kick drum configuration for Tenacious D. You can see Brooks in action in the summer of 2007 when Bad Religion joins the annual Vans Warped Tour.

Metal Edge: Tell me about the Tenacious D gig.

Brooks Wackerman: In the show I’m playing Colonel Sanders. I’m 100% serious! Basically this is how the show goes: Jack and Kyle come out by themselves and do about four or five songs acoustically. Then something happens where – I’m not going to give the whole show away – but Kyle somehow gets electrocuted and the stage goes pitch black. The stage turns into Hell and then this movie screen comes down and there are skits of all of us in Hell, which is where we’re introduced as our ‘characters.’ I’m Colonel Sanders, and they come to me and ask, ‘Why are you in Hell?’ I tell them, in my Kentucky accent, ‘I’m in Hell because I killed over a billion Chickens.’ Our bassist, John Spiker of Kyle’s other band, Train Wreck is Charlie Chaplin. They ask him the same question and the reason he is in Hell is because he’s gay. It goes on from there, but it’s much funnier when Jack and Kyle do it. But I’m in full costume wearing a nice cream-colored white suit with the Colonel Sander’s horn-rimmed glasses and facial hair. The whole show really is like musical theater.

Metal Edge: Is it uncomfortable to play drums in that outfit?

Brooks Wackerman: No, luckily the wardrobe stylist gave me enough room in my jacket so I have some flexibility. I do maybe the first three songs in the jacket and then I take it off. I’m a team player here (laughs).

Metal Edge: Dave Grohl played drums on the Pick of Destiny album and I hear he brought a bit more of a metal feel to the songs.

Brooks Wackerman: The new record is catered more towards being played by a band and it’s definitely more metal oriented, so there’s more room for me to express myself. As a matter of fact, I think this is the first record on which Grohl played a double kick, so he actually has some double kick parts that I’m emulating. At the end of the show I have a drum solo, so I get to incorporate the double kicks and shine somewhat during that part.

Metal Edge: Have you played on any other records since the last Bad Religion CD?

Brooks Wackerman: I played drums on the soundtrack and the score of the film Team America. My friend Warren, who plays guitar in The Vandals, and I do a lot of movie soundtracks together, so he got me that gig. We worked with a scratch vocal and we had a hard time getting through the songs, because we were just dying of laughter. People are way more impressed by that than by me playing drums with Bad Religion or Tenacious D (laughs). I played on all of the funny songs in the film and I’m proud to say that I played on a song like “Everyone has AIDS.” Even if that was the only thing on my resume, I think I would die a happy man.

Metal Edge: What’s next for Bad Religion?

Brooks Wackerman: Everyone is kind of doing their own thing for the next three or four months. When I come off this tour, we’ll go into the studio to record an album that should be out in June, because we just got confirmed to do the summer Warped Tour. We’re writing for that album now and kind of cutting it tight, but I think we do our best work under pressure.

Brooks Gear:
Drums: DW
Sizes: (2) 18”x22” kicks plus (1) 16”x26” kick, 7 ½” x 14” snare, 8”x10,” 10” x 12”, and 9” x 13” Rack Toms, 14” and 16” Floor Toms
Cymbals: Zildjian
Sticks: Vater
Heads: Evans

Official Website:

Note: Brooks Currently Plays with Avenged Sevenfold

Brooks Wackerman

This article was originally written for Metal Edge Magazine as part of a monthly column by Gail Worley (under the pen name Jayne Rollins). With the magazines’ dissolution, the article has been added to the content base of The Worley Gig for our readers’ enjoyment.

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