Stix Zadinia: I like drummers that play 'from the nuts up, not the brain down'



As drummer for hair metal jokers Steel Panther, Stix Zadinia's playing requires a little flash. As the band prepares for their forthcoming UK tour we sat down with Stix to ask him about his favourite drumming showmen.

What makes a great showman in your opinion?

"My favourite showmen, being the kind of drummer that I am, I'm not a Neil Peart/solo kind of drummer, I like watching drummers hit hard. I like when it's visceral and you can see him hit it and see the swing of their arms and you know that they're beating the s*** out of it because they love what they're doing."

How about the whole stick trick side of things?

"When I start seeing dudes flip, twist and twirl, doing all of that stuff, it's cool to be able to do that stuff but sometimes the drumming takes a backseat to the flippin'. It's cool, don't get me wrong, it's cool looking but I think there's a fine line between flipping all the time and just hitting hard. From a visual standpoint for me a guy like John Bonham, watching him you can tell he's in the groove, he's in the song, he's playing it from the balls. He's not playing from the brain. That's the kind of show that I personally like to watch a drummer play from the nuts up, not the brain down. Does that make sense?!"

You're happy with the tricks as long as they don't detract from the playing?

"I'm totally not opposed to stick twirls and there are times it looks cool but I'll get so into the song we're playing that I just want to beat the s*** outta stuff. That's what I do in Steel Panther - just push the whole thing. It's like pushing the band forward through the crowd and into their faces. Instead of being there like, 'Hey, look at me, just me out,' I just want to ram that s*** down people's throats."

You've mentioned Peart and Bonham, who else does it for you showmanship-wise?

"I'm an old school guy. You watch Stewart Copeland and Steve Smith, those guys are incredible. Nowadays, and I can call them kids because they're younger than me because I'm 62, the kids get caught up in what they're doing, the flashy s***. Dude, just f***in' play! And what about the faces they pull?! With Steel Panther we have a look as it's important for us to look bitchin', but when we're playing the song it's most important for us to look bitchin', and then sound good. I just want to watch a drummer that's into I, don't try to sell me with bulls*** moves, sell me on playing."

Rich Chamberlain

Rich is a teacher, one time Rhythm staff writer and experienced freelance journalist who has interviewed countless revered musicians, engineers, producers and stars for the our world-leading music making portfolio, including such titles as Rhythm, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, and MusicRadar. His victims include such luminaries as Ice T, Mark Guilani and Jamie Oliver (the drumming one).