Drummer and all-around nice guy John Tempesta (Exodus, Testament, White Zombie, Helmet, The Cult etc.) is celebrating his 47th Birthday today! I’ve interviewed John a few times and he is always a great interview and completely hilarious to talk to. Happy Birthday, Johnny!
“I have this conversation with engineers all the time. A drummer comes in and says, ‘I want it to sound like “When the Levee Breaks.”’ And the engineer always says, ‘Really? Okay, here’s what I’m going to do…’ and he throws up a couple of mics and the drummer plays and it sounds like shit (laughs). Then the drummer asks, ‘Why doesn’t it sound like “When the Levee Breaks”? And the engineer says, ‘Because you don’t play like John Bonham!’ It’s true! It happens all the time. ‘You want to sound like James Brown? Okay!’”
“Now that we’ve stepped away from the smaller sub-genre that we were in, it shows me how narrow of a field of music it is that you consider yourself a fan of. There were really only a couple of bands or musicians that were actually thought of as [being] great musicians within this entire sub-genre of music. That’s something we became aware of as we got into bands like The Who or The Rolling Stones. There are key figures in these bands that people were fans of because they were just amazing musicians. Nowadays, a lot of times fans know the members of bands because they’re dating another celebrity, and nobody really knows how good they are at their instrument. That’s strange, so whenever I get asked about whom my influences were growing up I honestly get stumped. I was a fan of certain bands; therefore I just liked their drummers. Thinking about it now, a lot of these players weren’t any better than I am now (laughs).”
“When we talk about artistic freedom in this country, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that freedom is often dependent on adequate financing.”
Ben, Dan, Chris = Silverchair
“I guess I’ve become more aware of dynamics and having a bit more of a deft touch, though it’s nice to lay into them on occasion as well. In my early days I was a bit of a basher. I hit them really hard all the time and had really big drums and big sticks and everything was big. As I grew up I got much lighter sticks and the drums remained kind of big. I used to use Sabian AA cymbals and if I heard an AA cymbal now I’m sure it would just rip my head apart. I’ve become a lot gayer, I guess you could say. No, I’m just joking. But you can say that I’ve become much gayer.”
– Silverchair Drummer Ben Gillies, on how his approach to the kit has evolved from album to album