It’s almost been 2 years since you joined Caligula’s Horse. You’ve already done great things in that time, played huge shows alongside well known international metal bands such as The Dillinger Escape Plan and you recorded drums for the very well received album “In Contact”. What have the last 2 years for you been like?
Complete and utter madness! Ha ha. In all seriousness, it's been incredible. If you told me 2 years ago that I would join Caligula's Horse and tour with Opeth, Pain Of Salvation, sleepmakeswaves and meet some of my musical heroes, I probably would've laughed it off. I really hit the ground running, learning the whole repertoire plus Sam and Jim had just finished Graves (the 16 minute monster that closes the album) so we through that in for my first tour! Then the Australian tour with Opeth.......when I start to list it all I just feel tired ha ha! It really helped that our fans were so welcoming when I joined, especially considering the size of the shoes I had to fill. You never forget your first time and they made every show on that tour a hell of a time!
Then once we released "In Contact" it was a whole new level. I had nothing else to hide behind. I was on every song. It was actually very relieving when people were really receptive to it. It also helped to have Mike Portnoy tell the world that he dug the album. I can die a happy man now!
What were you doing before you joined Caligula’s Horse? And how did you land the job as their drummer?
Funny thing is I was in and out of few original bands and making money as a cover musician before I kinda slowed down and got a regular job for a time. I actually met our bass player Dave while he worked at a music store as the metal guru, and we hit it off over a mutual love of Pain Of Salvation. Eventually, he recruited me to play drums for Holly Terrens who he was playing bass for as well. Once Geoff announced he was leaving C-Horse, Sam eventually came to one of Holly's shows and when it came time to audition, I got the call. What got me the job? The Purdie Shuffle ha ha. If anyone is unsure of what that is, listen to "Rosanna" by Toto. Then hit up Steely Dan. You'll be all set!
It was sad to hear that Vinnie Paul passed away recently, would you say he was a big influence for you as a drummer?
Man, I actually sat and had a little bit of a cry when I heard the news. Vinnie was definitely a major influence on my playing early on. I had already thoroughly explored Metallica so I had the metal part kind of down, but when I heard Vinnie's playing....*mind blown*. He taught me the importance of groove, even in metal. Which is something that can be missing in some cases. Groove and swagger. He will be sorely missed.
You’re about to embark on a massive tour in August starting with Australian capital cities then going over to Europe and the UK. Are you excited about the tour? How do you go about preparing for a tour this big? Is it stressful at times trying to organize a massive tour like this?
I am so keen to get back out on the road this year. We have a really special show planned for the Australian Tour. We're performing "In Contact" in full, plus we will be playing a short "fan request" set. It's been surprising the songs some of our fans have been voting for. All of the long ones! Ha Ha. And our European/UK tour is shaping up to be something really special. It's our first headline tour, so to celebrate that, we're bringing over 2 of our favorite fellow Australian bands along with us, Circles and I Built The Sky.
As far as preparation, I have no idea! This is my first tour of this length and size. Some of us are actually on a bit of a health kick at the moment, trying to get in shape for the shows. Basically we're all gonna be swole by the time we get there ha ha. It's actually something that we're taking very seriously, we want to be able to bring the same energy to our performances night after night. And lifting crazy heavy weights will help! But I think it's a mental game as well, its a long time away from home, stuck in a tour bus with a lot of people, so we're very aware of that and are formulating plans of how to deal with all of that. I'm also bringing my Switch, so I'm set!
It can definitely get stressful, but we are lucky that we have a team of people who actually know what they're doing. It's best I have nothing to do with logistics. Much safer!
Which bands would you say are your top 5 biggest musical influences?
Oh man, only 5? I'd have to start with Dream Theater, if it weren't for them, and more specially "Scenes From A Memory", I wouldn't be a prog drummer. Pantera always has a special place in my heart. Toto, don't laugh, they have so many great songs, even though some of them a so cheesy, Jeff Porcaro is a huge influence on my playing. More recently, Leprous have continued to surprise me with how innovative their sound has become, and their live show is quite simply the best in the world right now. And lucky last, Between The Buried And Me, like Leprous, these guys are fearless in how they are pushing the boundaries in prog and metal, each album shows how willing they are to explore and experiment with sound and structure.
Here's the tour dates for 2018
Australia - September/October
CALIGULA'S HORSE - Songs for No One (OFFICIAL VIDEO)