Warped Tour Part Three: Sean Sellers

Playing On The Warped Tour: Part Three

By Eric Kamm Published October 17, 2009

One Drum Set, Twenty Drummers

I’m going to take a step back, and travel back over a decade earlier, plunging into my special little punk rock memory bank. I can still remember purchasing the Good Riddance record Ballads Of The Revolution while I was in high school. I bought the album at a record store called Go Boy in my neighboring town, Hermosa Beach (an independent record shop went out of business about 10 seconds after I-Tunes was launched). Whenever I popped in that disk and the opening track “Fertile Fields” came on, I could hardly believe it was possible to play a double pedal as fast as Sean Sellers did on that tune. In college, someone finally let me know that Sellers was, in fact, only using a single pedal. I didn’t believe it at first. Luckily, I was going to UC Santa Cruz, which afforded me many opportunities to catch Good Riddance in their hometown (they usually played Palookaville, which also went out of business). The first time I caught the band, sure enough, there sat a solitary single pedal behind Sean’s bass drum.

Now step forward eight years later after those Palookaville shows. Just like an Aborigine praying for rain in the desert, I finally came to my senses in Seattle, focused my eyes 50 feet in front of me, and found one Sean Sellers walking with one Brooks Wackerman. Sellers was playing with The Real McKenzies (and was wearing a kilt to prove it [really!]), and Wackerman was, of course, was throwing down behind Bad Religion. I ran up to them and asked for interviews. Brooks agrees to do the interview that day, Sean said that he was pretty busy, and asked me to find him over the next couple days.

About an hour later Setoff was to be one of the first groups to perform on the Kevin Says Stage that day (they change show times every day). They asked all of the drummers to share a drum kit (minus cymbals and snare) that traveled with the stage, which every drummer, of course, agreed to do (in hindsight it was more of a rhetorical question). They proceeded to take out this thrashed kit that looked like it had just been dragged through the mud, and asked me to tune it. When I finally got the lug nuts partially tightened and hit the drum, I was expecting the worst. I was blown away by how huge and amazing the toms and bass drum sounded. This was my introduction to Shine Drums, as I would tell the company owner, Sean, many times later. On this tour, his drums had taken a violent beating from the last two months on the road, and they still sounded incredible. (Believe it or not, they’re not paying me to write this--his drums just sounded that good!)

As our group started performing there were very few people watching us, but my heart was racing regardless (I had been waiting three months for these shows). Two songs later, there was a big enough group of about 20 or 30 people dancing around in a circle pit. But…we made the mistake of playing a mid tempo song when the small audience was feeling more on the rambunctious side of things. They stopped moving, and half of them took off. A couple songs later as I finally came to my senses, we were told our 25-minute time slot was done. I get off the stage and start rushing back to the publicity booth for my second or third interview of the day.

Eric Kamm is a former DRUM! staffer and drummer for the band Setoff. You can reach him here.

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