Keep up with Aaron here:
I've been playing drums for almost 15 years now.Â I started playing in my 1st year of highschool in probably the stupidest of circumstances. During lunch one day, a few of my friends and I were all just hanging around and talking about music.Â The one guy had been taking guitar lessons for a few months, and was interested in starting a band.Â Everyone seemed to get on board for the idea, and by the end of the conversation, all positions had been spoken for, accept drums.Â So, I reluctantly agreed to try my hand at being a drummer.
Fortunately, I had always enjoyed beats and percussion.Â I remember growing up as a kid, and my neighbor (who was about 4 years older than me) would always play me things like Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, and other classic rock favorites, and I'd always take note of the drum lines as I listened, and think "how would I play this if I were drumming".
My 1st kit was the most ghetto pile of crap you've ever seen, and it cost me $350, which, given the state of the kit, was probably way to much, but at the time I knew nothing of drum prices.Â A couple years after that, I upgraded to a used Pearl Export kit which became the kit I played for the next 12 years, adding pieces, a rack, and all sorts of cymbals.Â Recently, I decided it was time to spoil myself with the Cadillac of drums, and I bought the kit that will most likely be with me for the rest of my life.Â It is a 7 piece Carbon-ply Maple Pearl Masterworks kit, with a 4 sided Gibraltar rack, 11 cymbals, and 2 Pearl Remote Hi Hats.Â I love it.
I went through several bands over the years, starting of with a light rock band, then moving on to a more alternative "Nirvana-esque" band.Â Neither of those were very challenging, but provided a good foothold for the drumming basics, since I never took a lesson.Â Once I entered college, I teamed up with an old highschool friend, Steve Lancia, and we started a death metal band.Â This is when I started to carve myself out a niche and a style for myself.Â My largest influences during this time when I was learning the way of extreme drumming where Flo Mounier of Cryptopsy, and John Longstreth of Origin.Â To this day, I still hold both of these guys at the top of my list, and I try to incorporate elements of both of their styles in my own playing.
2 years ago I joined my current band, Starring Janet Leigh.Â This was probably what pushed me to realy push myself to the limits of what I could play, and beyond.Â After all, that's how you improve.Â To this day, SJL forces me to get better and better, and in turn I force the other guys to improve their skills.Â Its a mix of tech, hardcore, progressive, and jazz influenced tunes that are extreme, fast, and at times, incomprehensible.Â To this day, after 2 years of playing the older songs, I still cant play them perfectly due to all the time signature changes, tempo changes, and
syncopated rhythms.Â But that's what tech metal should be, and I love a challenge.Â If the songs aren't hard to play, and they don't push my skills to the limit, it's not worth doing.Â Hopefully, this has put me on track to being up there with Flo, and John, and all the rest of the drummers who have influenced me over the years.
Aaron Pozzer Interview:
SD.com: How old were you when you started playing?
Aaron: I was around 13 years old I think.Â It was my 1st year of high school, so... I guess whatever age kids are at that point in their lives.
SD.com: Did you play in a school band or any drum corps?
Aaron: No, I was not one for school bands, or drum corps, though, looking back, I'm sure drum corp could have taught my some pretty cool chops.Â I just wasn't that into the idea of music being so structured, more in reference to school bands/music classes.Â I would have rather just done my own thing, and that's why I'v always just played on my own with bands, inÂ a freely creative environment.
SD.com: Who are your top 5 influences?
Aaron: In order of their importance to my style...
1. Flo Mounier and John Longstreth (these 2 are so important that I cant put
1 above the other)
2. George Kollias
3. Alex "Grind" Pelletier
4. Jojo Mayer
5. Dave Grohl
SD.com: Assuming that influences doesn't mean favorites, who are your favorites?
Aaron: In this case, I think my influences are my favorites, at least for the most part.Â I've never been good with naming names, usually because I can't remember them.Â But after all, why would someone take influence from a player that they didn't realy enjoy?Â My favorite players became my influences as my playing advanced.Â However, some other great drummers I've always enjoyed are Derrek Roddey, Chris Pennie, and Navene Koperwies.Â Oh, and of course, all the classic drummers like Jean Kruppa, Buddy Rich, and John Bonham.
SD.com: Let us know 5 CD's that are in your current rotation
Aaron: It usually takes me a while to get new cd's, so new discs are few and far between for me.Â However, some discs I'v heard in the past few months that I realy enjoyed were...
1. I Hate Sally - "Don't Worry Lady"
2. Mastodon - "Blood Mountain"
3. Fuck The Facts - "Stigmata High-Five"
4. Skinless - "Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead"
5. Severed Savior - "Brutality is Law"
SD.com: Do you practice any particular rudiments or combos on a regular basis?
Aaron: Every morning I go to work on the train, which gives me an hour to sit there and either sleep, think explicit thoughts, or practice.Â I always have a pair of sticks with me, because lately I've been trying to improve my overall hand speed, as well as get my left hand on par with my right.Â Since I never took any lessons, I don't know many rudiments, but a friend of mine showed me some paradiddle variations, as well as ratamaque variations.Â I practice those, and also double, triple, and quadruple strokes while I'm sitting on the train.Â I've been doing it for about 6 months, and I've noticed an improvement, so I must be doing something right!
SD.com: Do you have a favorite brand of drums / cymbals?
Aaron: I have only realy ever played Pearl drums, so I'd say they've become my favorites out of necessity.Â I've heard very good things about the UDrum custom kits, thought I've never played one.Â But, having recently purchased a set of Pearl Masterworks drums, I have to say they sound amazing and are easily my favorites.Â As for cymbals, since I have no sponsorship (yet), I've never been bound to any particular brand.Â The majority of my cymbals, however, are Sabians.Â I usually find Zildjian cymbals a bit to pricey, which is why I usually stick with Sabian, but the deciding factor is always the sound im after.Â Whichever company has the cymbal that makes the sound I'm looking for is the company that gets my business.
SD.com: If you could give one piece of advice to young drummers, it would be...
Aaron: Start young, take lessons, and practice often.Â I'm sure I'd be light years ahead of where I currently am if I wasn't having to go back and learn basics now, so far into the game.
SD.com: Who gave the best live performance you've ever seen?
Aaron: The best live performance would probably be a toss up between the time I saw Dying Fetus, any of the Despised Icon sets (Alex is just way to fast, it's ridiculous), and any time I've seen Cryptopsy.Â A couple times I was lucky enough to open for them, and got a great side stage seat to watch Flo play.Â But, to go way back to when I started playing, there was a local Jazz bar, and 1 band that played there often, and the drummer's name was Raymone.Â I remember watching him while eating baskets of chicken wings, and thinking he was the best drummer I'd ever seen.
SD.com: If you had to stop drumming, what would you want to do with your life?
Aaron: Well, I have several other things I enjoy, as well as a good job in the Visual Effects industry.Â Chances are you've watched movies that I've worked on.Â I also do graphic design for bands (merch, branding, cd's, etc), so I suppose if I could make enough money at that, I would try and turn that into a business.Â Though, I can't realy see my life without drumming and music in there as part of the equation.Â Until now, I don't think I'd ever thought about the "what if" of never playing again.Â It's a scary thought.