Behind The Seams is a Destroy A Drum exclusive that gives the reader a look into the world of drummers around the world that dedicate their passion and lives to more than just drums. We strive to interview drummers and percussionists that go beyond their commitment to playing drums and percussion. The reader is given a Behind The Seams look into their lives and is shown how they devote their passion into goals and aspirations beyond the world of drums. No matter what other passion you may have, we aim to find the most interesting and passion driven individuals.
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Destroy A Drum: How did you start playing drums and what influenced you to pick up the sticks?
C.S: I was lucky enough to attend a school that offered music classes starting in the fifth grade. I got to chose the instrument I wanted and something called me to the drums. Looking back when I was even younger (maybe 7 or 8) my friend had a toy snare drum that I used to play on - the kind with the cheap yellow sticks - and we'd go door to door with our "marching band," trying to get people to pay us for our music! I was lucky enough to have an amazing band teacher from 5th - 8th grade who really inspired me, was never easy on me and had a passion for teaching. I'd be somewhere completely different in my life today if it wasn't for him.
Destroy A Drum: Did you cook/have an interest in culinary art or started playing drums first?
C.S: I guess both. I just always wanted to be a performer. I loved Julia Child, and started cooking when I was really young. I would make scrambled eggs and pretend I was hosting a cooking show, trying to mimic her voice.
Destroy A Drum: How long have you played drums? How long have you cooked?
C.S: I officially started the drums when I was 10 and started cooking basic things when I was maybe around 8. I quit the drums at 15 and that's when I started considering cooking as a career and attended a culinary camp at the college I later attended to get my culinary degree. I switched cooking for drums again in my mid-20's.
Destroy A Drum: Out of the two which one came easier to grasp?
C.S: Probably drums. Cooking is such a subjective art, but I spent a lot of time in middle school competing in drum competitions. It's a lot easier to judge drums (at least when you are playing a written piece) than it is to judge if someone executed the perfect dish. Both stay with you forever though, like riding a bike.
Destroy A Drum: What made you pursue cooking and what exactly was your experience like in the culinary world?
C.S: I just love to create things with my hands. Both my great grandmother and grandmother were from Italy and were excellent cooks. In high school I dated a guy who's family loved to dine out at fancy restaurants and I loved seeing new dishes that I had never heard of. My experience was tough, but it also lasted through my late teens and early 20's, and I have a feeling anything I did during that time would have been difficult since I was more interested in partying than I was in working hard. It took me a while to grow up.
Destroy A Drum: As a woman, was playing drums and cooking more of challenge in either setting? How did you overcome those challenges and barriers?
C.S: By far, without a doubt, cooking was a bigger challenge as a woman. Nearly every job I had I was the only woman in the kitchen, and nearly every job I was sexually harassed. I would compare a kitchen environment to a locker room - dirty jokes and talking about women. I will say times have really changed for women in the kitchen in the past 10/15 years. When I started, the Food Network was unknown, and being a "celebrity chef" was unheard of. I think the industry has become much more mainstream, and now women seem to be more accepted and appreciated in the industry. I'm sure it's still a challenge, but it seems like there is more diversity now.
Destroy A Drum: Was there ever a time that you endured a challenged in either drums or cooking and wanted to quit?
C.S: Never have I ever wanted to quit playing the drums, but this occurred plenty of times in the kitchen. So, I did quit. Dozens of jobs. I knew there was high turnover in the industry, so if I saw a job as being the wrong fit, I had no problem walking away from a $9/ an hour paycheck. I think the most I ever had was something like 6 cooking jobs in one year.
Destroy A Drum: By choosing to pursue drums full time do you still try cooking as a hobby and if so would you say it has influenced you to play drums differently?
C.S: Yes - I still cook when I can! I like more to bake in my free time over cooking because it is just so much harder to cook at home versus a restaurant where every ingredient is at your disposal. I don't know if it has influenced the way I play the drums, but it has influenced my gratitude level for being able to play. Something I never forget is how challenging it was to cook professionally and you receive very little feedback as a line cook. You only hear feedback if you make a mistake. If you cook perfectly all night, you are just doing your job. As a drummer, I am no where near perfect. But people still applaud and tell me great job after every show. That will never be lost on my how lucky I am.
Destroy A Drum: Like in the style of how you would prepare a dish by adding different flavors and spices in order to create the perfect dish; would you say you hold back on some parts more for the beauty of “less is more” or more in the style of going full throttle and having an explosion of a performance?
C.S: Yes! Knowing exactly how much to add or not add is key. In cooking, a lot comes down to simple seasoning. Salt and Pepper. Like beats and fills!
Destroy A Drum: Whats your favorite dish to cook?
C.S: I love making homemade pasta. It's great to start with simple, affordable, raw ingredients and end up with something that can be so filling and can last a really long time if you dry it.
Destroy A Drum: What advice can you give out there to all the female drummers?
C.S: Play how you want. Don't worry about what anyone else thinks, just be yourself and you'll be unique.
Skating: 12 Years
Performance On Drums: 9 Years
Destroy A Drum: How did you start playing drums and what influenced you to pick up the sticks?
C.S: "I grew up surrounded by drummers in the house, my father is a drummer and my older sister had started playing and I immediately felt like I needed to pick up on it. Since both my father and sister played, it was always something that I felt was in my blood and it came naturally. So when my sister, who is 2 years older than me started playing in the school band and I got into it we both had drumming as a great way to bond. I started playing drums during middle school and did drum-line and concert band throughout high school as well."
Destroy A Drum: What influenced you to skate and integrate both skating and drumming as something that drives your passion for two completely opposite entities?
C.S: "I would say as a kid I played a lot of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 and that made me want to pick up a board and rip it up, but I was very far from ripping it up in terms of tricks because I ripped more jeans from falling than anything back then. I fell more times than I could count before I could get the hang of actually skating and figuring out my own style on the board. The first few years I kept hitting the ground and jumping into the bowl only to slip so hard and land in the most painful ways. It was definitely something that I didn't pick up like drums. Since I started skating first before drumming I was already into a passion driven entity that really drove my devotion for perfection in what I was doing and I found skating to be an outlet of expression that I could really connect to. Skating was something I did first and it will always be something that I have a passion for and do to the best of my ability. Drumming came afterwards and I slowly but surely dove into that with just as much passion because I felt real connected with marching and concert band."
Destroy A Drum: What would you say makes you devote your time to one more than the other now and how did marching drums influence you more than the usual drum-set route?
C.S: "I would say that since I've graduated high school I've skated a lot more than drum because I wasn't really into drums for playing drum-set but much more for the marching and concert band aspects. Having both drumming and skating to express my passion was something that influenced me to push the envelope and fully express myself. I definitely strived to perfect both with just as much effort towards either one, and I balanced them both when I was in high school. I'd come back from a late night skate sesh just to wake up at 6am for marching band practice and I really enjoyed it. That just goes to show much you can do for something you are passionate about. I recently just got back from the DCI (Drum Corps International) event and was blown away by the performance of so many drum corps. As a structure you have to hit your mark on the field while playing so it's not only crucial to know your part and play it to perfection but if your stepping is off then it doesn't even matter if the parts are flawless. You have a lot more going on with integrating the marching aspect and are always having to improve your performance as a unit to play and march at the same level of precision and accuracy as the person next to you. To most people marching sounds pretty easy but is the farthest thing from it once you get on the field and realize you not only need to have your entire drum performance memorized but also your movements. If there was something like that here in Corpus I'd be in it right away because that's where my passion for drums is."
Destroy A Drum: Since skating is your main focus right now and driving your passion, are you doing anything more than what you did in the past when drums were involved?
C.S: "Right now me and some friends are in the process of filming a dvd that is a couple of years in the making. We have been working on that for a long time and now that I have more time to skate we are skating in places out of town and building up a huge log of film and shots from different areas of the state that we have skated. That is something I am really proud to put out once we have perfected some big moves and capture them at the best angles. I've invested a lot of time and money into gear like boards and cameras so I have the equipment to not only skate to the best of my ability but film it professionally. Most of the time you'll see big companies like Volcom releasing these home skate dvd's and that's pretty much what we have coming out in more of a professional view with the equipment we have. The biggest opportunity I have right now is to perfect my style of skating which is more of a vert style. I'm constantly trying to improve and gravitate towards constructing my own style within getting air and grabs."
Destroy A Drum: Would you say that by combining skating and drumming they both have influenced you to find better opportunities in life that you wouldn't have tried if not for those two huge factors in your life?
C.S: "I definitely would say that by playing drums and skating I've looked at life a bit differently and see that with devoting yourself to a passion you love will take you farther than anything. There is the typical route of going to school, getting a degree, and finding a lifelong job, and I understand that fully as a responsibility but skating and drumming for me have always been my go-to lifelong "jobs". I would love to skate in order to make a living and do it more professionally than just as a hobby. I believe that having the ability to skate and drum gives me the opportunity to be more artistic and express myself in a deeper meaning. I look at skating and drumming as two entities that I devote my all to and give everything I have within because they in return inspire me to find bigger opportunities in life and be overall happier with the life I live."
Cody "Surfin" Strong
Surfing: 6 Years
Performance On Drums: 13 Years
Destroy A Drum: Did you surf or start playing drums first?
C.S: "I started surfing around 3rd or 4th grade, I did it off and on over the years but it wasn't till after high school I took it more serious and caught the "bug". I definitely caught my first wave before I started drumming, and that kind've paved the road for drumming to come into play afterwards. Although I started surfing first it was very off and on so that's why I have been drumming longer. The biggest aspect of that would be how both passions collaborated within each other and when I wouldn't surf, drumming was always there. Having a passion for both was a very big factor and influenced me to strive to do either one as much as I possibly could."
Destroy A Drum: How did you start playing drums and what or who influenced you to start surfing?
C.S: "When I would watch my cousin play drums back in the day when I was about 12 or 13 that's when I knew playing drums was what I wanted to do. When he would sit behind the drums and play it gave me an incredible and indescribable feeling. When I would watch him play drums it was unlike anything I had done before then, and at that moment I knew I had to start playing drums. I also come from a family with a quite a few musicians and was always influenced with music in multiple ways. I've always been around music and it's one of the main reasons I picked up the sticks and got a feel for drums. My dad was a surfer and would take my sister and I out and taught us very early on. That's a main reason why surfing was my first passion and has stuck with me even when it's been off and on for me."
Destroy A Drum: Out of the two entities which one came easier to grasp?
C.S: "I'm not too sure which one came easier. They both had their challenges at first but it's like anything in life, you just have to put the time in. Especially with those two passions I have had to put in the time to understand them both in their different elements. I've come to understand the nature of playing drums by myself and then with a band, then when I'm on the board riding the waves it's a total different feeling and understanding of yourself and the elements at hand. You have to put yourself in each situation and learn from it, most of all the mistakes you make within those two entities can sometimes be very drastic. Things can go wrong within both like playing a live show and forgetting a part and the band turning around and giving you that look, then while surfing you could not be paying attention and one wrong move and you're eating it. I would say in both you have to constantly learn from your mistakes and grow as both a performer/drummer and surfer. Each is its own entity but both are passion driven to the best of my ability."
Destroy A Drum: How did your passion for drums influence your passion for surfing or even vice versa?
C.S: "I would say I was more passionate about drums and playing music, but now it's changed. I am very passionate about both and feel that I have a better understanding of both. I seriously love drumming and surfing, and having those two passions puts me into another world. Beyond the regular world of everyday things, drumming and surfing combined as my main passions in life have given me life in a lot of ways. There are so many things you can get from both and in a sense they can relieve a lot of frustration and at the same time give you the most peaceful frame of mind."
Destroy A Drum: What makes you devote your time to surfing or drumming and do you spend time on one more than the other?
C.S: "I love both just as equal! It's hard to describe the feeling I get from both, it just feels amazing. I'm always pretty busy playing shows around town, and I surf any chance I get depending on the forecast and if there are waves. I feel I keep it pretty balanced, and for the most part they both provide an out of this world feeling. That's the greatest thing about having passion for something like drums and combining it with surfing, I am able to draw a feeling from both that is indescribable and they completely put me in my own element. Having multiple entities to drive your passion is a very important factor, especially in the case that sometimes you can't do one or another because of certain circumstances."
Destroy A Drum: Would you say surfing and drumming has influenced you to push for more superior life goals and strive to make your passion for either entity a lifelong "job"?
C.S: "Things have changed so much for me as for what I wanted to do as a career these past couple of years. Drumming and surfing have just given me different outlets to express myself and true passion. I'm totally fine as to just keeping both of them as something I enjoy and not a career. That's what makes it fun!"
John "Jazz" McIntyre
Performance On Bass: 9 Years
Performance On Drums: 14 Years
Destroy A Drum: What made you start playing drums and then pick up bass later on?
J.M: "My mom and dad gave me some sticks as a kid and I started banging away on anything I could find, then gradually started playing bass when a jazz band director showed me how to transfer over playing percussion to bass. From then on I took that bass home everyday and started playing it to the max. Jaco Pastorious, Geddy Lee, and Flea influenced me beyond anything I could imagine and made me determined to become the bass guitar emotionally and physically while I play."
Destroy A Drum: How did your dedication to playing drums transfer over to bass and do you practice one more than the other now?
J.M: "I put the same drive and motivation into finding another musical instrument with similar attributes of percussion and drum elements. In high school I was section leader of the entire drum-line and played quads. When I started playing in the jazz band I learned how playing bass in jazz opened up more of an ability to expand the creative and musical horizon of notes and tonal expression. Bass opened up notes and tones more than drums and showed me how to integrate a lot more feel without over playing as many drummers are well aware of the old saying 'Less Is More'. Drummers are often scolded for putting their all into the feel of playing and how that's not the 'right' thing to do in a lot of people's musical point of view. I understand playing to the music is great, but for me personally you have to throw your own sauce on it and have someone look at that piece of music and know that's you playing. Establishing your own feel and slapping your own taste on the music allows people to get an ear for what you bring to the table and it gives it that personal touch that a lot music nowadays does not have. When I play, I unleash any and every kind of fury and passion from my mind, body, and soul into the bass. You see that physically and in the sound when I perform, it's like I become the bass when I step onto a stage and into my own world. I would also say right now I devote more of my time to bass even though I started on drums first."
Destroy A Drum: What would you say makes you devote your time to playing bass and striving for perfection in your own playing?
J.M: "By seeing what the instrument could do for me as a person as I got better and better, I dove into the realms of another reality when getting lost in a groove and exploring different bass patterns. Playing an instrument in general is an out of this world feeling, but when I combined the two elements of percussion and bass I entered a new world of music and life. I explored a journey from being just a drummer, to being an All State Jazz bass player. My jazz instructor told me to pick it up and always told me to push the boundaries of learning the instrument in and out no matter if I was 'just a drummer'. That same year I made it all the way to All State for bass which blew my mind. I never imagined jumping from drums to transforming into a bass player and then taking it to the next level by making it past all these competitions and getting paid to play high end gigs with musicians that were well above me in age and experience."
Destroy A Drum: Would you say that devoting your time to bass and drums have influenced you to push your overall life goals further and strive to become a better person with overcoming boundaries you once saw as 'impossible'?
J.M: "I believe it goes to show that when you devote your life and passion to something, there is no limit as to how far you can go. I believe everyone should at least play one instrument and find themselves within the music they create. Everyone has a different story to tell within their own passion for music or anything in life. It's artists like Pink Floyd, Rush, and Tame Impala that really push me to explore different boundaries of sound and creativity. I stand behind a brand like Destroy A Drum that pushes people to find a passion of their own to help find happiness within themselves and anything they pursue in life. That's a very important factor in my life, no matter if it's my everyday job or picking up the bass and getting lost in the music, I personally strive to be successful in life doing the things I enjoy the most. Everyone needs an outlet for every kind of emotion, and to find a successful outlet to express that passion and emotion is all the better, and really makes living life a whole lot more interesting and rewarding. Playing bass to me is like breathing and picking it up everyday makes me feel alive and strive to try new things. Whether that be lifelong goals or smaller objectives that will help me push to be a better me and keep on keeping on."
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