Friday, 02 October 2009 00:00
“Skeletons in the Closet Tour 2009” - October 2nd, Calgary, AB
By: Derrick Nau of Skeletonwitch
Today we are playing a venue that is smack in the middle of the sprawling campus of the Unversity of Calgary, The MacEwan Hall Ballroom. 1700 or so presales I’ve been told, and I believe it, this place is huge. Nate (our red haired bear of a guitar player) commented “they could build airplanes in here,” and I think he is right. Tonight was a lot of fun is what I’m getting at.
There was a pretty good party in the Black Dahlia Murder dressing room which was cool. Some people from Prosthetic Records and Metal Blade made the trek up to hang out. Dave Ellefson happened to be there too which is fucking cool. We had a bunch of Budweiser, Vodka, and some Canadian beer called Kokanee. Kokanee kind of tastes like swill and that’s why I like it.
So I’ve spent a pretty good amount of time talking about drinking. Maybe I should elaborate that catching a buzz isn’t the only thing I do on tour. I never drink before I play and I always spend about an hour before we go on warming up. I warm up my hands and feet for about thirty minutes each if I can. I have some of the Vic Firth Corpsmaster practice sticks (you know, the ones with the rubber practice pad material tips). I think they are cool and are really good for getting that burn going in your fore-arms, but, I prefer to warm up with the sticks that I am going to use onstage. I think a lot of drummers are pretty superstitious about what makes them play well, and I am definitely one of these. I worry if I warm up with different sticks it will give me a false sense of security and then when I get up there to play it’s as though I hadn’t ever hit a drum before.
I usually start my hands on the practice pad and do 8’s, 12’s, 16’s, 32’s …etc. I’ll run through paradiddles (doubles and triples too), single stroke rolls, and doubles. I try to keep my stick height to full strokes through all of this to really get stretched out. You want to hit your drums, not tap them after all! I will then remove my practice pad from the equation and try to find something like a couch cushion or a padded chair to pound on. Eliminating the stick’s ‘return bounce’ in your warm up I think really builds control and finger strength. Sometimes if I can’t find anything to bash on I will just swing my sticks in the air, propelling them with my fingers only and I think this works pretty well. Maybe this stuff is all common knowledge but I’ve never been much of an instructional dvd watcher or magazine reader so I just come up with stuff on my own that makes sense or borrow ideas from other drummers on tour.
I don’t want to bore you readers too much so I’ll get to my feet exercises tomorrow. Plus, there is a fridge full of beer eyeing me right now and I think I need to make sure it knows who is boss.