Toothgrinder Playthrough: Wills Weller

Toothgrinder Playthrough: Wills Weller

Wills Weller from Toothgrinder just put out this gnarly instrumental playthrough of their song "The House (That Fear Built)" off the album Nocturnal Masquerade released earlier this year. Toothgrinder are based out of Asbury Park, New Jersey and are currently playing alongside Periphery, Sikth, and Chon for the Sonic Unrest Tour. In addition to touring, Wills works full time at a music store when he is home and continues to support the music community by giving lessons while on the road and via Skype. We asked Wills some brief questions about the sweet playthrough and what secrets lay within his Tama.

Drum! Really diggin' the track, I hear some percussion going on in the background, will that be replicated live or played as a backing track during live performances?

Wills We recorded the percussion tracks as a little added bonus for everyone's ears. It was just for the record we don't run samples or tracks live, so I guess we will just have to pull a Santana and get a bunch of percussionist to play live with us now.

Drum! Which Tama SLP snare are you using? How do you like it?

Wills It's the Dynamic Bronze SLP 14x5.5. It's such an incredible snare and it fits my playing style perfectly! I'm a big fan of metal snares and the bronze cuts through all the heavy distorted guitars but keeps a nice balanced tone when I'm playing ghost notes. The only snare I need now is the Tama Bell Brass!

Drum! Your cymbal setup is legit! How did you come up with that broken stack combo?

Wills I'm using a mixture of Sabian HHX and AAX models in my setup. The stack happened accidentally. I normally use a 12" AA Prototype Holy China on top of a 14" HHXplosion Crash. Of course about a week before our last tour with Killswitch Engage I completely shredded the 12" China. I've messed with different setups before regarding stacks but nothing seemed to sound like the 12"/14" combo. I randomly put this together one day and it just seemed to work. The stack consists of a 14" HHXplosion Crash (Brilliant) / 12" Prototype Holy China (broken) / 10" XS20 Splash (Brilliant)

Drum! Do you normally play to a click track during practices or live gigs?

Wills Yes both live and at practice. I love playing to a click, it's just a nice insurance policy that lets you know you're in the right spot!

Drum! What would you say is the most difficult section in this song to play?

Wills 1:19 in "The House (That Fear Built)" It's the groove on the bell of the ride. Only for the reason of sometimes when we play live I get so excited for that part since it's so much fun that I end up completely missing the bell for the first couple beats [Whoops]!

Drum! Do you leave room to improvise fills when playing "The House (That Fear Built)" live?

Wills I do with all of our songs. Sometimes I feel something else and just play it. Sometimes it works and sometimes I get that stare from the guitar players like "Dude what are you doing?"

Drum! What do you enjoy most about giving lessons while on the road or via Skype?

Wills The connection that I get with other drummers and musicians is an incredible feeling. I'm fortunate enough to be able to pass along knowledge while learning something new from someone else in return. I've also had bands approach me about group lessons. That opens up the opportunity for non drummers to talk about touring, the music industry, or just being in a band in general. Besides the performing aspect of drumming, the music industry is another huge part of it. I really enjoy just talking to other musicians about the passion they have for creating art, it's extremely inspiring.

Wills' Toothgrinder Tama Starclassic (Birch/Bubinga)
  • 10"x7" Rack Tom
  • 12"x8" Rack Tom
  • 14"x5.5" Tama Dynamic Bronze SLP
  • 16"x16" Floor Tom
  • 20"x18" Bass Drum
  • Shells are finished in Vintage White Marine Pearl
Wills uses Tama STAR hardware, Tama Speed Cobra Double Pedals (V2), and Vic Firth X5BN sticks.

Aquarian Drumheads Sabian Cymbals
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