Today, May 16th, is the birthday of one of the most entertaining people I’ve ever met, Jon Schnepp, who directs Metalocalypse, and works on a bunch of other awesome shows for the Adult Swim Network. Back in April, at least I think that’s when it was, I was lucky enough to hang out with Jon while we waited in line to get into Tara McPherson’s Cotton Candy Machine store for the Tiny Trifecta art sale. Jon is completely hilarious and had Geoffrey and I almost peeing our pants for the three hours it took us to get into the store. Jon, I hope you have a wonderful birthday and thank you for the laughs and the cool TV programs! If you’d like to learn more about Jon, and perhaps also wet your pants from laughter, you can read my February 2010 interview with him at This Link.
Someone with a sense of humor, a slight artistic bent and a love of Metalocalypse drew the face of Dr. Rockso, the Rock & Roll Clown (he does Cocaine) on a dollar bill. So, it gets to be on my blog. Because it is awesome.
The Hamburger Time(r): So You Always Know When It’s Hamburger Time!
A snowy day (like we are having right now in NYC) provides a great opportunity to just sit at home and read shit on your computer. For starters, check out my metalriffic new interview with Jon Schnepp, director of everyone’s favorite Adult Swim series Metalocalypse, which is up now for your reading pleasure at Ink 19 Dot Com! Please enjoy, and Death to False Metal!
Last Week was certainly quite far from being the best week of my very long life. Between the stress of my father being on death’s door out in California, the thundering re-occurrence of my chronic jaw pain and the continually-evolving myriad of daily problems afflicting Worley gig.com, resulting apparently from
1. Moving host servers
2. Updating to the latest version of WordPress (Recommendation: Avoid if possible)
It occurred to me off and on during the week how awesome it would be to just go to sleep and never wake up. But of course, I had trouble sleeping as well, compounded by having to get up at 6 AM for my day job. Also, I lost two and a half hours of my life that I’ll never get back watching a completely terrible movie, The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford (I should have guessed from the overlong, pretentious title that it would suck ass). It was just a shitty week in general.
Fortunately, I was distracted from shuffling off this moral coil by a few of life’s simple pleasures.
Tracy and I spent an evening polishing off a bottle of wine and a large bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos. And that was fun.
Seeing Dethklok at the Nokia Theater and having a table upstairs so I didn’t get killed by all the moshing idiots.
Drinking a “Balloon Dog” Martini while enjoying the Jeff Koons sculptures and stellar views of Central Park from the roof of The Met.
Eating a steak with my friend Christine.
Spending a couple of hours on the phone with my BFF Sue always readjusts my perspective.
This new CD by LA metal band Blacklist Union, Breakin’ Bread with the Devil, really takes me back to the good old days of lost weekends and dressing up like Nikki Sixx for Halloween!
I enjoyed spending Saturday cleaning The Chickpad.
The sun is out at the moment, and my plan for today includes picking up Geoffrey, heading back uptown to the Met to see the Superhero exhibit, getting delicious Cuban food for dinner and then going to my friend Larry’s birthday party. I don’t think you could ask for a better day than that.
Perfectly timed to hit the newsstands concurrently with the Dethklok tour, the August issue of Modern Drummer magazine has my update on drummer Gene “The Machine” Hoglan somewhere in the front of the book. Gene Rules!
I don’t usually get too riled up about going to see a band play live, but tonight I am going to see Dethklok. I am excited.
The Blackest of the Black
Move over Dethklok, there’s a new Black Metal in town that is blacker than the blackest of black. Boston College Physicist Willie J. Padilla and a team from Boston College and Duke Univ. have nanoengineered a material that absorbs all the light that strikes it. How much more black could it be? None more black. Check it out right here.
Since Strapping Young Lad disbanded in 2007, Gene Hoglan hasn’t exactly sat on his drum throne waiting for the phone to ring. In the past year, the drummer of such revered thrash/death metal bands as Dark Angel and Death – who’s also sat in for the drummers in Slayer and Opeth – has continued to add impressive projects to his resume. Before the holidays, Hoglan played a handful of European dates with Swedish metal trio Meldrum and laid down two albums worth of drum tracks for the group. He’s also got his first instructional DVD, The Atomic Clock due for imminent release, which he managed to complete between recording with one of his new bands, Mechanism, and playing drums on the new album by comedic punk band, Mr. Plow. But perhaps the project Gene’s most proud of having been a part of is recording an album and touring with Dethklok, the fictional death metal band of the popular Adult Swim cartoon, Metalocalypse. The small-scale tour was a huge success, signaling that another tour may be on deck for this year. “The live show was pretty entertaining,” says Gene. “I would definitely suggest that all metal heads come and check it out. We play some pretty decent metal and rip the hell out of it!”
Metal Edge: As a drummer who uses triggers, do you think fans often assume that means you are not actually playing the parts?
Gene Hoglan: Yes. A lot of people rag on drummers who use triggers because they don’t understand what triggers actually do. Granted, you can set the sensitivity of your triggers to [the point] where you breathe on them and they make tones. But they also tend to double trigger when you do that. I back my triggers way off the sensitivity. I’m at about fifty percent now, because I want to kick the sh*t out of the drums to make them [perform]. Drummers who play live with triggers aren’t doing themselves any favors if they’re not tight. The kicks will be all over the place and people will be able to tell. If you have modern technology at your disposal you might as well use it; just don’t rely on it completely. I like a human feel, when not every single thing is so precise. But I appreciate a performance if a drummer is actually playing it.
Metal Edge: You are constantly in demand as a touring and session drummer. Why do people want to hire Gene Hoglan over some other drummer?
Gene Hoglan: It might be due to my background of not sticking to just one style. I’ve always tried to bring an identifiable sound to each band. On the Testament album I did, for instance, they weren’t looking for Death-type drums and Strapping needs to be way more precise, machine like, chaotic and crazy. Across the board with all those bands…I try to serve the song, really, and to bring an identifiable sound. Here’s a great example of that. I wish that I had seen more episodes of Dethklok when I recorded the album, because I really wanted to give Pickles his own drum personae. I think a lot of it came out a little too Gene Hoglan-esque.
Metal Edge: Tell me about the challenge of playing drum parts that Devin (Townsend, SYL) programs that initially sound as if they are “unplayable” by a human drummer.
Gene Hoglan: Devin always tries to program things that he thinks I can’t play. He’s always like, ‘Ah, you’ve foiled me again!’ (laughs). It’s fun to challenge yourself and go the extra step. You could do your version of it, which would probably not be as challenging and something you could pull off easier. But I say screw it; throw caution to the wind and play the super technical part that was programmed and try to do it just like the drum machine. Maybe you didn’t create it, but you played it, so you end up getting the credit anyway (laughs)! If you give me that kind of a part to go off on then, hell yeah, I’ll play it! If you’ve taken the brainwork to program something really nutty and psychotic sounding, then that must be your vision. It’s up to me to see your vision through.
Metal Edge: Many respected metal drummers often cite you as an influence. Do you consider yourself to be a pioneer on double bass or in the thrash/death metal genre?
Gene Hoglan: I just play drums. I’ve always tried to be as good as I could be, but I’ve never really set out to [be a pioneer]. It’s just been a matter of thinking that, ‘This drum part works here.’ If my playing is something that stands the test of time and people enjoy it, what can I tell you? I am so influenced by the guys that were my pioneers that you can step back a generation before me to find out where I take my influences from. So, do I consider myself to be a pioneer? Not really. If people think so, it’s very nice of them, but I just play drums.
Drums: Pearl SRX Series
Sizes: (2) 24” Kicks, 13” and 15” Rack Toms, 18” Floor Tom, 14” x 8” Brass Free-floating Snare.
Electronics: Alesis D5 Brain, Roland Triggers
Official Website: https://www.hoglanindustries.com/
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.