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12 drummers share the first song they learned to play

December 27 2016, 12:00 PM EST By AltPress


Everyone has to start somewhere and keep up maintenance on their craft. We asked 12 of the biggest drummers in the scene to share the first song they learned to play on drums and what they do to get in the zone before rocking out onstage. From Green Day to AC/DC to the Beatles, here are the songs that started it all.

JAY WEINBERG, SLIPKNOT

[Photo by Shaun Vaughn]
First song you learned to play?
The Ramones
’ “Rockaway Beach.” I started learning to play drums by trying to play along to their live record; they open with that and so that would have been the first song I [learned] on drums.
What's your warmup routine?
I actually have a pretty disciplined one. I’m playing for anywhere up to three-and-a-half hours throughout the day. That mostly consists of shaking off the rust from the night before, as our show is so physically demanding to play. I like to get sticks in my hands by the early afternoon, and once it gets to an hour-and-a-half before being onstage, I’m on the kit going through our set—I pretty much play an entire set before our set even starts. For me, that is about getting loose, getting familiar with the parts and getting in the right headspace to go out and do what we do.

SHAWN “CLOWN” CRAHAN, SLIPKNOT

[Photo by Shaun Vaughn]
First song you learned to play?
As a kid, I would go into my mom’s room on the weekends and we’d wrestle and hang out. She’d always play the Beatles’ “Come Together,” and it’s got one of the best beats ever. I remember as a kid, I’m probably 7 or 8, but I remember the dynamics of the fill to this day. I remember being moved and that some drums were being played at different volumes at the same time, all working for the same result. That song was a catalyst for me.
What's your warmup routine?
Night and day is the only way to describe the difference between my warmup routines now and what I did back when the band were starting out. When we started I was a soldier; now I’m a general, so it’s all different and I approach it from that perspective. Each night is harder for my body, so I have to do more to be ready for what’s coming.

CHRIS FEHN, SLIPKNOT

[Photo by Shaun Vaughn]
First song you learned to play?
The first song I played all the way through was “Hells Bells” by AC/DC. It’s a really solid song. If you can play along to AC/DC as a young drummer and not rush, then you’re onto something.
What's your warmup routine?
A lot of stretching nowadays. It’s easy to think you feel good during the day, but it’s very important to stretch all day long, especially the neck. But saying that, it’s Slipknot, so there’s no routine workout for me that I follow every day. I just have to make sure I’m ready to go physically and ready for whatever may happen out onstage that night.

NIA LOVELIS, HEY VIOLET

[Photo by Jack Gorlin]
First song you learned to play?
The first song I ever learned to play on drums was “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes. I remember how hard I thought it was at the time. I was pretty proud of myself after I learned the entire thing.
What's your warmup routine?
I usually do an entire body warmup, mostly focusing on my wrists, arms and legs. I do shoulder rolls, wrist stretches, lunges, toe touches, etc. I also practice paradiddles and rolls on a pillow.

DANI WASHINGTON, NECK DEEP

[Photo by Ashley Osborn]
First song you learned to play?
“Writing On The Walls” by Underoath.
What's your warmup routine?
I normally have a piss, jump about a bit and then, with a pair of sticks, just hit anything I can in the room—banisters, sofa cushions and tables—usually get a rudiment or two on them!

MAXX DANZIGER, SET IT OFF

[Photo by Andrew Cramb]
First song you learned to play?
The first songs I can remember playing fully were AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell” and “What’s My Age Again?” by Blink-182. I remember being so excited when I finally nailed the fill in the chorus of that song.
What's your warmup routine?
Usually I start off by looking up pictures of tiny animals in people clothes. Then, I watch Back To The Future one and two in their entirety. After that, I listen to the 1999 hit “That’s The Way It Is” by recording artist Celine Dion twice—and then I go out there and play a rock ’n’ roll show!

AARON STECHAUNER, RINGS OF SATURN

[Photo by Nathan Brookes]
First song you learned to play?
I don't really remember the first one I actually got down, to be honest. When I first started playing, I always wanted and tried to play Dream Theater songs because of my dad—that was totally over my head at the time. Now that I think about it, it may have been "Whatsername" by Green Day.
What's your warmup routine?
Number one: Lots of stretching. As far as playing goes, I'll start off with two minutes of eighth notes at around 180 to 200 beats per minute on each limb. After that, I listen to music at varying tempos and practice rudiments to it consisting of a lot of flam, paradiddle and six-stroke variations, along with alternating eighth- and 16th-note single strokes. When playing along to songs with a variety of tempos, you start to do your exercises in either triplets or straight rhythms; that ends up being really good for your coordination and drumming brain when you're consistently playing the same patterns, but in different meter feels. Right before the set, I'll also jump up and down to get a little more blood flowing.

JESS BOWEN, THE SUMMER SET

[Photo by Bryce Hall]
First song you learned to play?
The first two songs I learned to play were when I was in my middle school jazz band. I had to learn "25 Or 6 To 4" by Chicago and "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" by Buddy Rich.
What's your warmup routine?
I do a combination of stretches and rudiments to loosen up while listening to a playlist I have made on Spotify.

TONY PALERMO, PAPA ROACH

[Photo by Bryson Roatch]
First song you learned to play?
The first song I learned was the Scorpions "No One Like You." I remember sitting in my grandparents living room watching MTV and drumming on their coffee table. I was so excited when my kick foot went off on its own. I was 12, and I'll never forget that moment.
What's your warmup routine?
My warmup routine consists of rudiments on the pad and full-body stretching.

ANDY HURLEY, FALL OUT BOY

[Photo by Justin Segura]
First song you learned to play?
“One” by Metallica. The double bass part in the middle of the song is just the coolest part. Growing up, that’s one of those parts in a song that made me want to play drums.
What's your warmup routine?
It changes all the time. Usually, when I’m starting a tour, it’s like, a half hour to an hour of cutting myself off and going into the dressing room and just warming up with a pad with, you know, rudiments and singles and doubles, just doing that for 15 minutes and kind of clearing my mind. And then a lot of stretching, which is more important as I’m getting older. And as the tour goes on, I spend less and less time doing that as we settle into the tour and I’m more comfortable with the shows every night, the setlist and getting into tour fitness.  

MATT MINGUS, DANCE GAVIN DANCE

[Photo by Rex Carbonell]
First song you learned to play?
It’s hard to say, because I started in band when I was 10 and learned all sorts of concert, jazz pieces. But when I started jamming with my friends and playing rock music, it was probably “Letters To You” by Finch.  
What's your warmup routine?
I do a variety of wrist stretches and some very basic rudiments such as paradiddles, double stroke rolls, nine stroke rolls and a few others. I like to take an hour before our set to do all these things and get in the zone before the show.  

FRANK ZUMMO, SUM 41

[Photo by Ashley Osborn]
First song you learned to play?
It was more of these three records that I learned to play drums to: Led Zeppelin IV, Motley Crüe’s Shout At The Devil and Ozzy Osbourne’s Bark At The Moon.
What's your warmup routine?
Seventy-five minutes before the show, I'll stretch, do some cardio and warm up on a pad.

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