Machine Head's Dave McClain.
Having spent fifteen years behind the kit for Californian metal icons Machine Head, there are few better people out there to quiz on the ins-and-outs of metal drumming than Dave McClain.
Evidently, it's not just us who thinks so. Our good friends at Roadrunner Records recently set up a rendezvous between McClain and Jack Pritchard, drummer with fast-rising Welsh rockers Revoker - who released their debut album on Roadrunner earlier this year.
Jack took the opportunity to pick-up some drumming tips from a veteran metal sticksman, and you can read the whole conversation below.
In related news, both bands have upcoming UK tours - check out a full list of dates after the interview. Also, our friends at Metal Hammer have just released an exclusive special-edition fanpack version of Machine Head's brand new album Unto The Locust. Check out full details and order the fanpack here.
Revoker's Jack Pritchard meets Machine Head's Dave McCain:
Jack: What drum equipment are you currently using?
Dave: Yamaha Oak Custom drums and Yamaha hardware and pedals. 2-22 kicks 14x7 snare 8x6 tom 10x6 tom 12x7 tom 16x16 floor 18x16 floor. All cymbals Zildjian. 2 sets 14-inch new beat hihats. 2-19" Z3 crashes. 1-18" Z3 crash. 6"&10" splash. 21"Mega Bell Ride. 2-19" Z3 chinas.
Jack: How do you prepare before a show?
Dave: Not a whole lot. I have an electronic kit backstage, but it's more of just something to have fun with, like playing along to my iPod. But I really don't have a warm up regiment that I do.
Jack: Do you use different stick techniques when playing? If so, which?
Dave: Just matched grip.
Jack: Do you play double kick with your heel down or up off the floor? Do you have a technique?
Dave: I play heel up. I always have as far as I can remember.
Jack: As you didn't play to a 'click' on the album; what are your tips for keeping good time and not getting carried away with the adrenaline rush when playing?
Dave: We don't use a click on recordings or live, but I think it's really important for drummers, or any musician, to be able to play along with a metronome. It's a good way to see when you're speeding up or slowing down on parts.
Also, just listening to live recordings of your band helps. It's hard to tell when you're doing a show and the adrenaline kicks in and you start speeding things up. So, listening back will show you the parts that you need to concentrate a little more on your tempos.
Jack: How hard is the drumming on the new album?
Dave: There is some stuff that was pretty challenging to do. I feel like, in the last 8 years or so, I've really come into my own as far as drumming. I feel like I finally 'get it' after playing for 35 years. So, pushing myself has been challenging and really fun.
Jack: When you're not on the road, how often do you practice?
Dave: I usually go play about 4 times a week. I'd say 1-3 hours when I go.
Jack: Who are your drumming idols?
Dave: Neil Peart, Tommy Aldridge, Peter Criss
Jack: Which recent metal bands have impressed you? (You don't have to say Revoker!)
Dave: Haha! I'm loving the Times of Grace album. Trivium - In Waves is in heavy rotation. And Ghost. Love this band!
Jack: Achieving all you have with Machine Head, what are your remaining ambitions?
Dave: My dream is to play music my whole life. It's always been and always will. There are so many more things for MH to achieve. I know this after touring with Metallica for a year!
Revoker and Machine Head's upcoming UK tour dates:
Machine Head tour dates:
03 December - Wembley Arena, London
04 December - NIA, Birmingham
05 December - SECC, Glasgow
06 December - Central, Manchester
Revoker tour dates:
28 October - Battersea Power Station, London
31 October - Rock City, Nottingham
01 November - Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
02 November - Roadhouse, Manchester
03 November - Cathouse, Glasgow
04 November - O2 Academy 2, Birmingham
05 November - Underworld, London