“I actually started playing drums because my older brother did and I grew up always wanting to impress my big brothers so I got really good at soccer, I was really good at sports in general and I thought what would be cool is if I learned the drums, ’cos then they’ll think I’m awesome, right?
“So it’s more to impress my older brothers. When I auditioned for Skillet they asked me to play Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and the lead singer [John Cooper] was like, ‘The harder you hit and the more passionate you are, and the more you’re like Dave Grohl the more I will like you. He’d already told me I had less than a five percent chance of getting the gig and his wife [Corey Cooper, guitar] wanted to audition me and she made it happen. And I really took that to heart and I love the way Dave Grohl plays because he’s flashy but he can groove and he’s so passionate that it feels awesome. And I love it when people are really passionate and they’re true to who they are and they just feel what they’re doing. And it changed everything for me, I never hit that hard until that audition. It changed my whole style. From being in Skillet I’ve discovered a whole new side to my playing and it really freed me up from a lot of those things.
“Before Skillet I was really scared, like I’m terrible! I got nervous playing at church in front of 200 people, and then my first show with Skillet was in an arena, maybe it was 5-10,000 people, first show, and it was, well… new season – play like Dave Grohl! Feel it. And from then on I’ve really changed the way I play, and that’s when I sort of threw up, ‘Don’t do things you can’t do, do what you enjoy doing, and really enjoy it too.’ And I attribute that to Dave Grohl because he inspired me and kind of opened my eyes to that whole new way of playing.
“I also had to play [Rush's] 'Tom Sawyer' [for the audition], and that did not inspire me. I was like this is so, so hard. I was the only drummer [John] made [play it], I think it’s ’cos, she’s a girl, she’s not going to be any good so he gave me the challenge of trying to play ‘Tom Sawyer’. I made my way almost the whole way through it and I botched up the end. But it won him over pretty good. It was like, ‘I can do it. I just really don’t want to!’”