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Samantha Maloney and Stefanie Eulinberg: The Interview

  • Originally published in DRUM! Magazine's December 2000 issue

DRUM! Magazine thought it would be cool if we got two of the hardest-hitting female drummers in the world — Samantha Maloney and Stefanie Eulinberg — to sit down and interview each other. It wasn’t easy. Both of them were busy beating up drum kits on the road. Maloney, the drummer for Hole, was asked to sit in with Motley Crue on the Maximum Rock 2000 tour while regular drummer Randy Castillo recovered from stomach surgery. Eulinberg, who plays with Kid Rock, had also been on tour this summer with Summer Sanitarium 2000.

When we finally did get these two friends together, though, they weren’t at a loss for words. Here’s their take on double bass, babies, beer, motorcycles, and playin’ with the boys.

Eulinberg: Oh, Lord have mercy, here we go!

Maloney: So Stefanie, what’s going on?

Eulinberg Nothing. I just came from the garden, where I picked some banana supreme peppers, and I’m excited about having my salad today. Anyway, we should probably talk about stuff that this magazine wants to hear.

Maloney: Yeah.

Eulinberg: Well, I’m just finishing the first leg of a Kid Rock tour with Korn, Metallica, System of a Down, and Powerman 5000 — drums galore. Man, everyone is a super-fresh drummer. So I had to keep my chops up.

Maloney: Did you get a chance to watch each drummer every night?

Eulinberg: I got to meet most of the drummers and see everybody play. And usually when Korn played I had to jump up onstage because Mike is so unbelievable. [Mike Bordin from Faith No More temporarily took the place of Korn’s regular drummer, Dave Silveria, who was out with wrist problems.] I’m thinking, “Mike, how do you play that kit?”

Maloney: It’s a strange setup that he has there. He plays the ride with his left hand, and the toms are basically flat. They’re basically floor toms mounted on the kick! [laughs]

Eulinberg: And they’re about — I swear — 14" from the snare drum. How does he make that reach?

Maloney: He’s like Animal from the Muppets, right?

Eulinberg: No, that’s me. [laughs] That’s what I do. Anyway, I know it was breaking Dave’s heart, even though he’ll never admit it ’cause he’s a guy and all. But it has to hurt to watch your band going on without you. I feel bad for the guy. I hope they fix him.

Maloney: That’s like the situation I’m in, where Randy [Castillo] comes to the show and is bummed out because he can’t be onstage playing with his band. So I’m bummed out when he’s there because I’m thinking, “Oh, man, I’m playing his gig right now.” But he’s been so supportive.

Eulinberg: I kind of know how you feel, ’cause when Lars [Ulrich] played Leno without me the other day I felt it.

Maloney: Which I saw last night at 2:30 in the morning. It wasn’t the same without you. I missed you up there.

Eulinberg: Thank you. Nicely said!

Maloney: Anyway, here’s another question for you. What was it like playing a bill full of testosterone-filled bands?

Eulinberg: I’m a veteran at it. This is my second Metallica tour, and I’ve never been on a tour with a girl. So why don’t I ask you that question, since this is all new to you?

Maloney: Well, it’s a nice change, actually, hanging out with the boys all the time. But I’m fortunate that I have the Crue Sluts with me, who are the two backup singers. We get to spend every night together before the show in their dressing room, putting on makeup and talking about makeup tips. Then I get to go to the Motley Crue dressing room.

Eulinberg: So you get the best of both worlds. I’ve never had that privilege.

Maloney I can’t imagine being in your place, where you’re surrounded by testosterone and strippers all night. I would go insane.

Eulinberg: It makes you evil. But what doesn’t kill you is going to make you stronger. I can honestly say that I am no longer the wussy person I used to be.

Maloney: “Girl” doesn’t equal “wuss,” though.

Eulinberg: But I was a wuss. I let people take advantage of me for many years. That’s why it took me so long to get where I wanted to be in this industry — because I didn’t have any balls. Now I stick up for myself. I learned that from the guys. But if I do get in a situation where we actually have permanent girls on the road with us, I’ll probably freak out. I won’t know how to act.

Maloney: Did you forget how to be a girl?

Eulinberg: Totally. I haven’t filed my fingernails, my feet are a mess … all that frilly stuff is pretty much gone. And every time I do wear makeup and start looking pretty, the guys get mad. They’re like, “What do you need all that crap for? Just be yourself.” So I’m caught in a Catch-22. But they definitely have the “big brother” thing going on. My band is a family, and they’re very, very protective.

Maloney: What if a guy starts hitting on you?

Eulinberg: They’ve kicked people off the bus for less. They’ll say, “Who’s that guy? He’s just using you and you’d better not sleep with him,” and blah blah blah. And I’ll be like, “Dude, I know all that, but I don’t care. I’m trying to get laid here! Back off! Oh, well, I’ll just try again in the next city.”

Maloney: Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about groupies because I have a boyfriend, Vince [Neil] is married, Nikki [Sixx] is married, and Mick [Mars] has a steady girlfriend. So there are a bunch of girls who somehow find their way backstage, but there’s nothing going on except talking to them.

Eulinberg: Do you think it would have been different if you were in the Crue ten years ago?

Maloney: Oh, my God! I don’t know if I would have been able to handle it, with all the sex and drugs and drinking. I’m content with just going on the bus and listening to the stories from ten years ago. It’s nonstop fun with these guys. And they take care of me and make sure that everything is okay.

Eulinberg: Isn’t that a great feeling to know that someone’s got your back?

Maloney: Yeah, definitely. But I still get to go for drinks with them, or to a strip club, or just kick it and relax.

Eulinberg: You guys are in the chill factor of the groove. That’s awesome.

Maloney: Exactly.

Eulinberg: See, I think my band is still living in the “I can’t believe this is happening to us” groove. And, “We’d better suck everything up like they did back in the day.” [pauses] Hey, I bought a motorcycle, dude!

Maloney: That’s very cool. But there’s one thing I will not allow my boyfriend to do, which is get a motorcycle.

Eulinberg: They’re very dangerous. But they are so fun, dude, oh my God.

Maloney: So I guess we should actually talk about drumming.

Eulinberg: You know, I saw you play for ten minutes one time when we hadn’t even met yet. You were at the State Theater in Detroit with Hole. And I remember being amazed at your setup because people can see you very well. I was jealous, because my set is just the opposite. I’m buried in stuff, you know.

Maloney: [laughs] I saw you play at a small club in New York before Kid Rock got huge, and your hi-hat was falling all over the place, and your drums were falling apart.

Eulinberg: Yeah, I remember that show. I didn’t have a drum tech until six months ago. I was doing everything myself and doing a terrible job at it.

Maloney: Your setup is totally different from mine. Where my cymbals are close to me, your cymbals are practically ten feet up in the air, so you’re stretching to reach each cymbal every night. Which I can’t imagine because my arms would be falling off if I had to play my cymbals like that. And you’ve got a monster kit. I have a pretty big double-kick setup playing with Crue, but everything is symmetrical and even. I sit at a 90º angle and try to play everything almost ambidextrously with either my left or right hand.

Eulinberg: So you’re going back to the double bass, man. I knew you couldn’t take it much longer.

Maloney: I know. I think I’m going to have to incorporate some double bass into Hole, because the kit looks like such a monster. And if I’m going to use the double bass pedal, then I’m going to use two bass drums.

Eulinberg: Might as well just get it over with. You know, it takes a little while to get used to. But once you start doing it, you feel naked without it.

Maloney: Exactly.

Eulinberg: It just takes away from all the poser-ism of the double pedal. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it adds a different skill onto your repertoire. And I like my kick tones to be a half-step off from each other. You know, there are definitely notes involved with drumming, so you almost have to play another instrument to make your drumming complete. For example, the way I attack my hi-hat is mostly because I played trumpet in high school. All that staccato and articulation are why my hi-hat sticking is so crazy.

Maloney: So were you ever a fan of Tommy Lee?

Eulinberg: Oh, yeah! When it comes to rock and roll you can’t touch Tommy Lee.

Maloney: Definitely.

Eulinberg: It was great hanging out with you after you got this Crue gig, sitting in your car listening to those tunes and playing air drums and stuff.

Maloney: That was hilarious. I remember driving in L.A. with you, and I told you that I got the gig, and you were like, “No way!” So we put on some live Motley Crue, and people were looking at us in the car, and we’re both air drumming the exact same parts to “Dr. Feelgood” and “Live Wire.”

Eulinberg: It was totally like Wayne’s World or something.

Maloney: It was! We did all the fills.

Eulinberg: Tommy had a way of taking the simplest grooves and just making them rock. This is something that I’m still trying to make work for me, ’cause I always want to add a million notes. But Tommy can take two or three notes and make them sing. There are only a few people who can do that. B.B. King can do it playing one note on a guitar.

Maloney: Did you ever have any female drummer role models?

Eulinberg: Well, you can answer that yourself. I mean, there were mostly men drummers in the world.

Maloney: I know. When I was growing up, there were no female drummers I could look up to. And that’s why I feel like not only do I love my job, but I’m also providing a service for females out there and showing the males — which are at least 80 percent of the audience at Motley Crue shows — that, “Look, girls can actually play drums.” It’s such a stereotypical thing to say, “Girls can’t play drums, it’s such a physical instrument, girls are wimpy.” Please, give me a break.

Eulinberg: When I was growing up, you were pretty much told that it wasn’t the thing to do. And if you fought the system and did it, you were the little outcast. I can’t remember anyone in my school saying, “Pick up the drums” and not, “Pick up the clarinet” or, “Play the flute.”

Maloney: Or when you go to the local music store to pick up some drum sticks, and the guy is like, “Oh, are you buying these for your boyfriend?” It happened to me a couple months ago, and I gave the guy a snide remark and said, “Why don’t you look up there right behind you?” There was my face on a box of Zildjian cymbals.

Eulinberg: You know, as far as female influences, I did think Sheila E was awesome. She’s the one who made me go out and buy my first set of Tamas — I loved those pink Grandstars. And then when she broke out with the whole family doing that Latin stuff, I thought, “Man, she’s tearing it up.” People were respecting her. If Prince gives you the thumbs up, you pretty much have no choice but to go, “Okay. She rocks.” I’m so proud of you and myself as well, because we are getting respect from men in this business who would normally not give us the time of day because we are girls.

Maloney: Well, now you’ve got to get some Versace ads.

Eulinberg: See, there’s Sam in all her fashion glory! Always the woman! Come on, Sam, trying to turn me into a girl no matter what. I used to be a girl, I remember.

Maloney: You’re still a girl, don’t worry.

Eulinberg: I’ve always been the girl in the backyard, in shorts and a T-shirt, “Come on over for a barbecue,” and all that other crap. That’s just me.

Maloney: Well, then, you can do a Budweiser commercial.

Eulinberg: Plus I couldn’t fit into the fashion stuff anyway, which probably has a lot to do with it.

Maloney: Oh, stop. So what would you tell a young girl who’s thinking about getting into drumming?

Eulinberg: Don’t give up. If it’s true to your heart, do it. You can’t listen to anyone else when they say, “Why don’t you just become a secretary and have some kids and a fence, like everyone else?”

Maloney: I would say, “Get a practice pad and play along to your favorite CDs.” That’s how I learned to keep time. Playing with a sterile metronome is so boring. I practiced to Motley Crue, John Bonham, Slayer, Madonna, Michael Jackson. That’s how my drumming became so diverse. If that’s your desire, and if you say it enough times, it’s going to come true. I’m telling you that my dream came true.

Eulinberg: And for anyone to even consider stepping in behind Tommy Lee, that alone is frickin’ worth … you can’t even touch that!

Maloney: Well, it’s a challenge for me every night, but the reviews have been great, and people are saying that I hit as hard as Tommy, if not even harder. I crack cymbals every couple of shows.

Eulinberg: Are you really? Holy cow, dude, I’ve got to see this show. Those are fun-assed songs, too, man.

Maloney: Hey, should I tell the story about when I thought I was having a heart attack from an overdose of prescription medicine on tour? I was in the hospital for eight hours with IVs and heart monitors, and I had severe dehydration and bronchitis. I really overdid it trying to cure my cold. So I was sitting in the hospital so sick, and my doctors are asking me, “What are you doing here in Albuquerque?” And I’m saying, “I’m playing drums for the Crue.” And they get all excited: “No way! We used to listen to the Crue when we were in high school! Oh my God!” So I gave them all backstage passes. But as I was in my hospital bed, I’m thinking, “Wow, how Crue is this?” I’m in the hospital, I thought I overdosed. It was almost inevitable.

Eulinberg: Something had to happen! If you can’t have the sex part you at least gotta have the drugs and rock and roll!

Maloney: Exactly. My next task is to get arrested, which Nikki is waiting to happen. He says it’s really easy to get arrested. And I said, “Well, yeah, it’s easy for you, but not for a nice young girl like me to get arrested.”

Eulinberg: I can’t tell you this enough, though. I love to tour. When we take time off, and my arms go to hell and it takes a week and a half to get back in the groove, and I’m all sore and I’ve got “headbang”-over, I can’t stand it. I don’t care how much you rehearse in the studio. It’s not the same as getting’ in front of 20,000 kids and doing your thing.

Maloney: I agree. And most of the time it sounds better live than it does on the record. There is that energy that you create live that can never be replicated on a studio album. Like, we’re doing this fun thing onstage where Vince says, “How about a little bass and drums?” And I actually play Nikki’s bass with my right stick and my drums with my left. On the other hand, on the road I don’t get the time to actually practice. Maybe five minutes before I go onstage I’ll practice my rudiments, but I stretch for at least ten or fifteen minutes before I go on.

Eulinberg: I just drink a couple of beers!

Maloney: I’m not like that. Being a drummer, you have to keep your body in the best of health and shape, so if I don’t stretch I’m going to be sore during that show or the next show. You must stretch before the show. I don’t advise having three or four beers, because I did that once …

Eulinberg: You’re right, but it comes down to whatever works. And I’m kidding a little bit. For me to say that I could go out there without stretching is a lie. You have to. Otherwise you’re going to be charley-horsed up like a son-of-a-gun the next day.

Maloney: Definitely.

Eulinberg: But a lot of drummers are health nuts. We’re just alcoholics. [laughs] So we have a slightly different groove on everything. I take my job very, very seriously, as does everyone in our band. But we try and just treat it as what it is. It’s just rock and roll.

Maloney: I remember the last show of the Hole/Manson tour, I was so happy that the tour was over that I started drinking before the show. And I was drinking during the show. So, by the end, I was so drunk I didn’t think I could play the last song. That really freaked me out because I realized, “I’m the one driving this train. And if I fall off the track, there’s going to be a total train wreck.” As the drummer, I’m the one who has to stay on time because if I don’t, then it’s going to be all over.

Eulinberg: Oh, you wuss. You know, what makes me crazy is frickin’ oxygen. If I do oxygen while I’m onstage, I’m as good as screwed.

Maloney: That’s what I do all the time. We have oxygen tanks.

Eulinberg: Anyway, after all of this, what are you going to do next?

Maloney: Sometimes I think that it can’t get any better than this. But you have to take risks, so my next endeavor is to do a dance album. I want to make house music and drum ’n’ bass techno music, like what Fatboy Slim did. He was a total punk-rock guy for years, and then he left that scene and went to dance music. So I think you just keep going to the next thing. I did a movie score for two films already. I want to do it all, basically.

Eulinberg: I guess I’m following right around those same lines. I love playing drums, but I also love playing guitar, playing bass, singing, sequencing, writing jingles, doing soundtracks. There are very few facets of the business that I wouldn’t enjoy making a living in. Challenge is what keeps me alive and moving forward.

Maloney: Well, let me ask you this. Since I’m playing my dream gig, what would your dream gig be?

Eulinberg: I don’t know, dude. You know, I would love to sit in with Sheryl Crow. I think she rocks!

Maloney: You talk about Sheryl all the time!

Eulinberg: It’s so different from what I’m doing right now, with the testosterone thing. Maybe that’s a part of it, because it shifts to the opposite side of the spectrum. Her stuff has always moved me. But I would love to score a movie, too.

Maloney: Really?

Eulinberg: That’s actually what I went to school for when I was living out in L.A. Anyway, dude, I should be going. I have rehearsal in an hour. We have a show with Uncle Kracker, our D.J. We’re trying to make this a family thing. And actually, his wife just had their second baby, and I’ve been going through baby envy lately. So keep your fingers crossed, and I’ll keep my legs crossed, and hopefully nothing will happen.

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