|Earl "Maddog" Zambella Talks About Brutality and Dark Disciple|
|Wednesday, 09 January 2013 15:53|
SDM: What method of the blast beat technique do you use and why? What influenced your technique?
MD: I like bomb blasting’s pure direct power and speed. I guess I picked it up from Paul Mazurkiewicz back in the day, but I have my trademark style arm sawing motion that gets my arm in this seasaw kind of action with my wrist and upper arm which keeps me blasting for long runs. For my upcoming work for Dark Disciple I want to challenge my mind and body and see what crazy patterns I can come up with.
SDM: How important are your kick pedals to your playing?
MD: Very important because they’re set at the right cam angle, the right spring tension, and the right beater height for my feet and style of playing. Pedals can make or break you when it comes to playing fast double bass. Try ripping out fast double bass or triplets with a sluggish, wimpy pedal.
SDM: How do you prepare yourself before a show and recording?
MD: I zone out and take myself away from the crowd to imagine myself playing the set song by song, break by break. I do the same thing before going into the studio as well. That way when I go to actually play the songs I feel more comfortable and loose. Helps prevent some mishaps when I’ve already played the set in my head.
SDM: What kind of routines do you perform when you practice by yourself?
MD: I practice on a 5 pc pad set at home and listen to the music through head phones. I’ll do speed drills or practice inverted blast beats on a pad. Sometimes I’ll hold a practice pad in front of me with one hand and with the other hand I do fast finger blast beats. I find it helps with my speed and endurance.
SDM: Did you ever take drum lessons?
MD: I tried when I was young but never would practice what the teacher wanted me to learn. At home I just played along to Black Sabbath, The Who, Iron Maiden, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Kiss, Alice Cooper, David Bowie, and Frank Zappa among others. I still laugh about the day the teacher said I should save my parents money since I couldn’t grasp how to read music.
SDM: What kind of gear do you use?
MD: I’ve been using the same Tama Iron Cobra power glide pedals for the last 14 years, but I just purchased myself a set of speed cobras. My cymbals are pretty much AA & AAX Sabian cymbals, and my china’s are Wuhans, which sound the best to me. I use Pro-mark hickory 747 rock nylon tip naturals. My hardware is a Gibraltar rack system, and a limited edition Ludwig birch kit with Evan drum heads.
SDM: Where did you record your latest album?
MD: Omnipotence was recorded at D.O.W studios in Tampa, Florida; the same place Morbid Angel recorded Heretic, and where Nile videos are mixed and edited for final viewing. It was the first time I had played to a click track; definitely a different experience for me. On the two Dark Disciple albums that I’ve recorded before, I would count time on my hi-hats. It gave it a raw, natural feeling.
SDM: Do you use triggers in the studio or live? What’s your opinion about using triggers and drum modules?
MD: In the studio I like to use both methods of recording. Triggers and microphones make for the best quality recording. Playing live I prefer a true natural drum sound. The bass drums produce a deep rumble that sounds straight outta hell. I’m against fake sounding drums in every sense. I never did understand that shit. I think you lose the feeling in the music when you hear R2D2 and 3CPO jerking each other off in the background.
SDM: What band or drummer might have influenced you on your latest recording?
MD: Playing a different style than I was accustomed too was difficult because in Dark Disciple I was a full blown death metal drummer. To familiarize myself with the black metal style, I started listening to other black metal bands on YouTube, no band in particular, but enough to get a feel for the music. I picked up on the different blast beats, different run downs, different fills and cymbal usage than what I was used to in death metal. I enjoyed doing it but my preference will always be playing brutal Death Metal music.
SDM: Who are some of your main drumming influences?
MD: So many drummers, but the ones that stick out for me are: the late Keith Moon (my all time favorite), Bill Bruford, Allen White, Billy Cobham, Dave Lombardo, Lars (when he could play drums), Commando Pete Sandoval, Steve Asheim, Stewart Copeland, Paul Mazurkiewicz, Steve Smith, Alex Van Halen, Terry Bozzio, Clive Burr, the late John
Bonham, Carmine Appice, Vinne Paul, Neil Peart, Gene Hoglan, Chester Thompson, Phil Ehart, Peter Criss, and the late Krzysztof "Doc" Raczkowski.
SDM: How did you get involved in being the drummer for the Brutality reunion show? What happened to their old drummer Jim Coker?
MD: A bass player in another band sent me a message and told me Brutality was looking for a drummer for their reunion show and that he felt that I was that drummer. I sent Brutality’s guitarist, Don Gates, a message asking for the songs they would be playing for the show, and as the saying goes, the rest is history. Coker, to my understanding, was asked to be part of the band’s reunion show, but declined the offer.
SDM: Why has Brutality gone through so many drummers such as Jim Coker, Donny Yanson, Kenny Karg, and Angelo Duca?
MD: I don’t have the answer to that one, only my honest opinion. I know a few of those guys and I think they’re damn good drummers. Everyone is different in their own way behind the kit and same goes from out behind the kit. My guess is that things just didn’t click, who knows, that’s a question for them.
SDM: Tell us about your current band “Dark Disciple”.
MD: It’s raw, brutal, hatred, death metal from Baltimore, Maryland. Century Media Records described Dark Disciple as being a Top-notch Priest-Chokin' death metal band. We put out two demos and two full length albums under Indie labels. Played in all the big metal fests in the United States and we even went overseas for a mini tour with Monstrosity. The band went on hiatus when I relocated down to Florida in 2005, but after some bullshitting with other bands, I finally decided to once again summon the hellish fury of Dark Disciple from its crypt and annihilate the living.
SDM: Tell us about your other band “Imperial Conquest”.
MD: It was a black metal band out of Tampa, Florida. They put out one EP with a drum machine before I joined the band. There are some drumming parts that I did for their second EP, Omnipotence, that are truly sick. I have some run downs that still blow my mind when I listen to it. In August of last year, unfortunately, I had to go get full rotator cuff surgery and the band thought it would be in their best interest that I step down as drummer. It wasn’t my loss; I believe that when one door closes, another door opens.
SDM: Do you have any new material written for a future Dark Disciple release? If so, can you tell us some titles?
MD: We’re currently working on three new ones: Rise from the Grave, The Devil, and Army of Death. Two lead guitarists shredding on 7 strings will produce a sound that is very thick and heavy as hell for sure. If fans thought Kill Everything Worship Nothing was a killer album, they haven’t heard a damn thing yet compared to this new line up. The new material will still flow from the same vein as traditional Dark Disciple, with the tempo changes and breakdowns, but with some very technical syncopated parts and some other surprises. The wait will be worth it, trust me.
SDM: How often do you guys practice?
MD: Once a week right now, but each one of us practices one or two more times a week at our own locations. We send MPEGs back and forth to each other which contribute a lot to the writing process.
SDM: How much of the older material will you play out with Dark Disciple?
MD: Probably 5 to 6 of the most popular tracks off the two CDs. We might even bring back our cover of Skull Full of Maggots by Cannibal Corpse.
SDM: Anything you like to say to the fans out there?
MD: Metal horns out to Noel and Sick Drummer Magazine for this killer interview. To all my fans and good friends I have made and met over the years and to my close metal brothers Twan Sibon, Rob Noxious, RJ Mawhiney, Asher Earache, Tom Stritty, Rory Talmon, Dorian Christicide and my new brothers in Dark Disciple, you’re the reasons I keep fighting the good fight. RIP Mat “Sicko”, I’ll show em’ all why I am the “Ric Flair of all Drummers.” Look out 2013, the year of “SICKO” is coming! https://www.facebook.com/DarkDisciple