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Interview - John Longstreth (Gorguts / Origin)

Interview with John Longstreth from
by Emily Coulter at 21 December 2013, 8:54 PM

If you ask any Metal drummers about who are an inspiration to them, there is no doubt that John Longstreth will appear in a long list of names. Drumming for bands such as GORGUTS, ORIGIN, DIMMAK and his new project CRATOR he is a drumming legend in his own right. John Longstreth talks to Emily Coulter about his touring plans, drum tutorial DVD and his inspirations. 

How old were you when you started playing the drums?

I think I was about 5.

Can you play any other instruments?

I played guitar for a very short amount of time, but it didn't turn out well.

What kind of guitar was it?

I can't really remember, I was in high school and I had this old Kramer electric guitar which was black.

Who are your top 5 drummers?

Dave Lombardo/Paul Bostaph, Gene Hoglan, Nico McBrain, Terry Bozzio and Shaun Reinert.

Why did you decide to make an instructional DVD?

People kept asking about techniques and what goes into writing ORIGINS / GORGUTS songs, when I signed with management the first thing that came out of his mouth was ''let's make a DVD!'' so now we have a DVD coming out.

What kind of drummer is the DVD aimed at?

It is aimed at anybody who is interested in what I do and how I do it. A lot of people ask about one handed rolls, double bass, blast beats and all that, it's also a DVD for people who want casual and fun, it's not going to be serious and academic.

When will the DVD be available?

Can't confirm the date yet as it depends on how quickly we get the funds and record the DVD but hopefully at the beginning of the new year but February or March latest.

You have been funding the DVD with an Indigogo campaign, how has it been going so far?

It's going really well and we're nearly half way there!

A lot of other bands have been using that way of fund raising to produce new albums, how do you feel about that?

I think it's a great idea because it gets the fans in direct contact with the band. I personally buy the albums at shows from the band as it gives them money to get to the next show and the money gets put in their pocket. If you start an Indigogo kick starter campaign, say you need $20,000 dollars and you go through with that you have no choice but to produce great music, you can't pull out a piece of crap! You're supplying the fans with what they want, selling it directly to them instead of a large corporation who then sell it on. I think it's great for any independent artist.

What drum kit/hardware do you currently use?

Pearl! Everything is Pearl as far as the drums are concerned.

What makes a good drummer?

They have to recognize that they are there for the rest of the band members, the drummer will look at the guitarist and say ''What do you want for this guitar riff''. Whoever is the writing the song will have an idea of how they want the drums doing and the drummer needs to say ''Hey buddy, what do you like?'' and the guitarist or writer will say ''I want a blast beat'' and then the guitarist can take it from there. The drummer needs to realise he is there to set the stage and keep everyone in time with the other members.

Where is your favourite place to play when you are on tour?

I love Camden Underworld in London, I could go on forever about amazing places but New York and Czech Republic are both great.

What are your plans for 2014?

There will be a new ORIGIN record so lot's of touring for the band, it's going to be a big deal as it's our first album with the new vocalist Jason Keyser. The DVD will be released so hopefully set up some drum clinics around that to support it. Both are at the top of my mind right now, to push the ORIGIN album which will be released in spring as far as it can and the same with the DVD, maybe do some solo shows and teaching too.

What other plans do you have for other projects apart from ORIGIN and the DVD?

In December I will be going out on tour with ORIGIN and GORGUTS doing both sets each night which will be happening for about two weeks and then after that I'm going into the studio with ORIGIN then doing clinics.

You just released an album with GORGUT's which as been your first time working with them, how has that been for you?
It was completely different than ORIGIN but at the same time so much fun. It was very mentally challenging, a lot more than it is for ORIGIN. I've been writing songs with the band since 1998 and I know how to do that so when I sat down with Luc Lemay and Colin Marston it was very different but I learnt a lot from it. There was so much passion in the project, it shows on the album and that's why it's done so well. I can't wait to get out on tour with them!

What other projects are you in?

I'm working on a project right now with a couple of friends called CRATOR. Jason who is in ORIGIN with me is doing vocals, we have an albums worth of material but we are just looking for the right time to record it. There is going to be three songs from the new project on the DVD and hopefully raise a little awareness for the project on that. Hopefully people will love it who watches the DVD and then we can start releasing stuff! I've been involved with DIMMAK in the past but I have no information with what's happening with that.

What has been the proudest moment of your drumming career?

Sitting down and having a talk with Gene Hoglan and he had so many nice things to say which was a huge confidence booster for me especially having him involved with the DVD. Meeting Nico from IRON MAIDEN was great, just being able to get out on tour and not be broke has been amazing!

What's the best thing about playing metal on drums rather than any other genre?

The freedom, you can play what you want! What metal heads want out of a musician is honesty above anything else. They don't want you playing something you hate, I love playing blast beats and playing fast.

Apart from metal, what do you like to play on the drums?

I listen to a lot of jazz and Frank Zappa outside of metal, I was a huge KISS fan when I was younger. I love progressive and rock& roll too.

What is more important, technique or speed?

Technique! Because speed is a product of control and that is how you develop your technique. You have to walk before you can run. If you push speed before technique you will hurt yourself, I have done in the past and now I have permanent limb damage in my wrists so it's really important that your practice, keep hydrated and stretch.

Are there any memorable moments whilst you've been on tour?

John: When we played Times Square in New York, it was a Friday night and one of our first shows in the area. It was 2002 I think.

Thank you very much for the interview John

Thanks a lot 


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