Brandon Barnes's Rise Against drum setup in pictures
It may have taken six albums and over a decade but Brandon Barnes and Rise Against are finally getting the worldwide recognition they so richly deserve.
The US punks have stood and watched as countless poppier exports lapped up the record sales this side of the Atlantic, but last year’s Endgame, the band’s sixth and most recent studio album, seems to have at last turned the tide.
Coming on the back of two hit US albums, the record cracked the UK’s top 30 for the first time in the band’s history - their previous highest chart entry over here was 68 - and a run of hugely successful, sold-out UK shows at the tail end of 2011 firmly rammed home that the Chicago-based punk band has finally courted the attention of the UK mainstream despite refusing to compromise, remaining unwavering in both their musical and political standpoints.
Rhythm spoke to Brandon last year ahead of that UK tour. Here we bring you pictures of his live drum kit, along with extracts from that interview, which you can read in full in Rhythm issue 200. Or you can subscribe to Rhythm Magazine to read interviews with the world’s top drummers each month.
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Next: The kit...
Tama StarClassic maple: 22x18-inch bass drum; 12x9-inch rack tom; 16x16-inch floor tom; 14x8-inch snare drum
Brandon Barnes: “I like to keep the kit stripped back with just one rack and one floor. My drum parts are not super-busy so we try to go for straight-ahead power, there’s not really a need for a lot of toms.
“With a four-piece I can get everything done that I need to. Also I like to have my ride right in front of me so if I only have one rack tom I can put the ride right over the kick drum there. A four-piece is what I’m comfortable with and it does the job.”
Sabian: 22-inch Paragon ride; 18 & 19-inch Virgil Donati Signature Saturation crash; 14-inch Paragon hi-hats
Brandon: “When I started in this band 10 or 11 years ago, I don’t think I was that good a drummer. The more you tour, the more you play, and as you get used to the studio you’re going to get better.
“I think I’m more of an experienced live drummer and I’ve realised certain things you do on a record may not be perfectly audible in a live setting. So you know certain fills you do on a record won’t translate on a big show.
“When I come up with drum parts I try to think of things that will serve the records but also work live because really we’re a live band. Listening to live recordings of us as well helps pick fills that are powerful and come across live.”
Evans drum heads; Tama hardware; Tama Iron Cobra bass pedal; Tama Iron Cobra hi-hat stand; Pro-Mark 5b drum sticks
Brandon: “In this band, endurance is half the name of the game - you don’t want to blow yourself out. Drummers learn that as they tour a lot. You want to pull everything off throughout the whole show. We play an hour and 45 minutes and by the end of it you still need to be playing well.
“You have to pace yourself and that’s just conditioning. That comes through locking yourself in the basement and practising before a tour to make sure that you can get through the songs.”
Now check out Rhythm’s current Issue 202 for an in-depth tribute to the incredible Buddy Rich. Or subscribe to Rhythm here for a monthly dose of new gear reviews, kit buying guides, pro drum lessons and all-star interviews.
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