Brooks Wackerman: Drums In The Family

“They’re already doing Mama-Daddas on the snare drum, so look out,” Wackerman warns with a laugh, referring to his sons’ command of the double-stroke roll. “I’m trying to raise Alex and Eddie Van Halen, because two drummers in one band is just not going to work,” he added.

“The great drummers, it’s not just technique – it’s instinct for a song,” Gurewitz notes. “Brooks is a great combination of both.”

That keen instinct inspired a surprise during soundcheck with Tenacious D last year. While warming up between songs, Wackerman began to improvise, jazz-style, worlds apart from his brand of speed. His bandmates watched, and followed his lead. They realized they had something, “a new direction for The D,” as Black called it. Soon the band took this experiment to the stage, unleashing jazz breaks and Black’s scatting vocals on an unsuspecting crowd. They booed. But The D played on, provoked by the absurdity of their own live tangent. “And then we made the Jazz album,” Black said. “And it’s really all because of Brooks and his weird sense of humor and incredible talent.”


Current Release True North (Bad Religion)
Birthplace Long Beach, California
Age 36
Influences Terry Bozzio, Josh Freese, Stewart Copeland, Tony Williams, Matt Chamberlain, Dave Lombardo

Drums DW VLT Mahogany/Maple
Cymbals Zildjian
Hardware DW 9000
Heads Evans
Sticks Zildjian Brooks Wackerman Signature
Cases Protection Racket

brooks wackerman

Inside Tracks

Bad Religion
True North
Fueled by Brooks Wackerman’s pithy drumming, True North is Bad Religion’s most blistering and succinct offering since the band’s 1989 masterpiece, No Control. While the one-time wunderkind could easily have made chop suey out of his parts, Wackerman faithfully adheres to the austere template established by BR beat keepers of old – meaning the bulk of the record is flush with evenly meted single-stroke rolls, abrupt stops, and bouncy, syncopated kick patterns. Such is the case with the terse title cut, as well as the debut single, “F__k You,” which builds tension with foreboding tribal tom work in both intro and bridge. Thankfully for us drum nerds, Wackerman does embellish a bit more than his forebears (e.g., monster fills to kick off and conclude “Robin Hood In Reverse” and double bass beat downs in the impossibly fast “Vanity” and “In Their Heart Is Right”), making the listen that much more enjoyable for those who prefer a bit of panache with their revolution.

Quick Licks

“Robin Hood In Reverse”
Brooks Wackerman comes from a great drumming family, and if older brother Chad’s approach is more brainy, Brooks’ style is definitely more brawny. His opening fill is particularly tasty, with a nice bass drum triplet to lead things off followed by an unexpected open hi-hat bark. His punk groove is busy for this tempo and he makes it even more challenging by adding fast bass drum double strokes and single-stroke fills to keep it all amped up.

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