Sympathy for the (Seattle) Drummer, Part 3

Posted: August 17, 2011 in Sympathy for the (Seattle) Drummer

Scott Schickler, who played guitar in the noise/rock Limp Richerds, realized the value that drummers possess.  Following his stint with the Limps, he taught himself to play drums and assumed that role with the Thrown Ups and Swallow.

 “I was a barely passable mediocre guitar player,” says Schickler.  “Now I’m a mediocre drummer.  And it’s just supply and demand.  As a mediocre guitar player, you have to hustle like a motherfucker to get a band together.  You know, because guitar players are a dime a dozen.  If you’re a mediocre drummer, you can do as I’ve done–and you can record and tour.  You know, the phone rings and rings.

“You can [practice] guitar at 3 am on a couch in an apartment,” Schickler continues.  “For drums, you need a…bomb shelter.  You need a bunker.”

Drummers expend an inordinate amount of energy.  While guitar players and singers prance around the stage, the drummer is busy working his whole body–often for hours at a time–night after night.

“To me, the drummers put out the most energy when playing and stuff.  I mean, it’s a full-body effort to put together,” says Nirvana’s Chad Channing.

“The judge of a really, really kick-ass show…[is] when the sweat soaks your jeans all the way down–below the knees,” says Popdefect’s Nick Scott (originally with the Showbox-era Psychopop.)

“You’re just, you know–soaked.  You’re wearing a water suit,” Scott adds.  “It’s ridiculous.”

Drummers don’t just expend more energy during a show.  They also have the added burden of setting up and breaking down their drum kit before and after each performance.  Although drummers with major label bands usually have roadies to perform those tasks, smaller bands often have to do all the work themselves.  Guitar players, by contrast, merely bring their guitars and amps on stage, plug in, tune their instruments, and they’re done.  After the show, they unplug, pack up their guitars and amps in the van, and get to socialize with women (yes, that’s a sexist statement, but since nearly all the drummers we’re dealing with here are straight men, it’s women they want to meet.)

Tad Doyle sang and played guitar with TAD.  Prior to TAD, however, he was a gifted drummer with H-Hour.  His switch from drums to guitar reflects a frustration common with percussionists.

“I was really tired of playing drums,” Doyle recalls.  “It was kind of like I was–the Marines, you know, I was the first guy in and the last guy out, and always dealing with gear.  While the rest of the band is like, smoking cigarettes and having a beer and talking to girls, I was always messing with my gear.  So, I got tired of that.  And I said, ‘You know what, I’m gonna play guitar.  It’s a lot easier.  Move an amp, show up with a guitar—quick–plug in.’”


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