By Radim McCue Published October 13, 2009
Band(s): The All-Girl Boys Choir, Gore Gore Girls, Kelly Osbourne, Miley Cyrus, Lillix, Uh Huh Her, Selena Gomez
Gear Ludwig Custom Maple: 18x22, 16x16, 10x12, 6.5x14 Hammered Bronze Snare Drums: Ludwig
Sticks: Vic Firth 3A
Pedals: Ludwig Rocker w/ Plate
Other: daBeat Djembe & Hand Drums, Stick Gripps and Phatfoot
Tell us about The All-Girl Boy's Choir. How did it form?
Last year, I toured with Detroit's, Gore Gore Girls (Bloodshot Records). They have an amazing guitar / harmonica slinger named, Marlene "The Hammer" Hammerle. The two of us really clicked on stage and off. Marlene ended up moving to L.A. (where I live) after the tour and we started collaborating on this project, which turned into The AGBC.
Things were going so well with just the two of us that, we really didn't want to go through the process of finding the right people to work with and dealing with other personalities so, we decided to make it a duo.
What has been the best thing about touring as a duo?
Well, we shall see!?! We just released our debut E.P. "Walking Miracles" this week (Oct. 2009) so, we haven't begun touring for the promotion of this record, as of yet. Marlene and I are planning some warm-up dates in the next couple of months, a few trips up the west coast, with the serious touring starting in the Spring. I can't wait to get back on the road.
I'm definitely noticing a lot more work as a duo but, it feels more rewarding. We're doing everything independently.
You have a guitar background as well as drums. How is it to tackle those instruments in the group?
It's really different. You know, I actually started off on guitar but for me it's always been more of a hidden thing. I've always used it to write while I wasn't touring and whatnot, but drums have always been the passion for me.
Like I said, we haven't taken (AGBC) to the road yet but, I have to admit that I'm a little nervous about the debut on guitar and vocals. Haha. Everything will be fine, I'm sure, I'm just going to be out of my comfort zone. Live, I will be splitting my time between drums and guitar. I prefer the back of the stage ... the backbone area.
What are your recording plans?
We just spent the last 4 months recording a six-song E.P. called "Walking Miracles". We tracked everything at my home and in my rehearsal studio. I engineered, produced and arranged the music. Both of us wrote and played all of the instruments. It was a lot of fun to take everything in our hands, not worry about if it's cool enough, if the record label is going to approve the material ... because there isn't one! Haha. This is D.I.Y.
With the digital age, it's so much easier to take out the middle man and just release music that makes YOU happy. Obviously, when you put out a record, you want it to reach and attract as many people as possible. You can achieve that sooner with a label but, if you don't sell a million copies, you're going to be dropped.
Marlene and I didn't start The All-Girl Boys Choir to produce watered-down, soul-less music and be an overnight success. We play the music that makes us happy. We use harmonicas and banjos, even if popular radio doesn't think that's cool, you know? We're doing our thing and hopefully, people will dig it. We're really excited about the new recording and getting it out there.
How do you create your drum parts for a project like this? What comes first? Words? Melody? Bass?
I usually start with a guitar and end with lyrics...everything else comes somewhere in between. Marlene and I play guitar very differently but, our styles compliment eachother well.
I really like to sit with the parts by myself and record the drums differently on a few takes. Drums really create and change the direction and mood of a song so, I like to record and listen to new songs over and over. The drums usually change a couple of times before I'm completely happy with the song as a whole.
Do you record with a click track?
Yes. I actually prefer it. With this project, it was a necessity because I played 4 instruments.
Do you use the same setup in the studio as you do on the road?
No, I have a few different sets and various pieces. My road kit always changes accordingly. The last couple of years, I've been traveling with a 4-piece kit. My drum setup in my studio usually has many more cymbals and a couple of added percussion and Djembe pieces.
How far do you stray from the recording when you're playing live?
In terms of the hired gun work, I've always been a pretty precise drummer as far as playing it (close to the recording). I do a lot of hired work and I'm not always given direction from the artist on how far I can stray from the original recording. In those situations, I usually just feel it out. If I try different things or add extras and I don't get a "look" from the artist, then I know it's ok to be creative and add a little flavor.
Do you prefer touring or recording?
Hands down, touring. I love to travel, meet the fans and be on a new stage, in a new city every night. I feel at home in a tour bus or RV, living out of the suit case, for sure. I'm starting to get restless now because I've been home for too many months in a row!
It's always rewarding to hear the finished product after the long writing and recording process but - taking it to the road is where it lives.
Are the Gore Gore Girls on hold while you do other projects. Or do you and Marlene multitask gigs and careers?
Multi-tasking gigs has been my career for the past 7 years so, that's nothing new for me. I find joy in playing and performing with different musicians and groups. I just love music and drumming and I try to stay as active in that as possible.
As far as Gore Gore Girls, the group is on a hiatus. Amy and Lianna Gore are working on a new project back in Detroit, called Gorevette. Marlene and I have The All-Girl Boys Choir and I have my session work. I believe we will all join forces again when new GGG's material is written and recorded.