lessons

Drum Parts: John Boecklin Of DevilDriver

john boecklin

“I think on this sixth album I kind of did what I always wanted to do, which was a nice cross between speed and groove,” John Boecklin explains about DevilDriver’s most recent release, Winter Kills, his group’s most diverse and rhythmically challenging effort to date. He was able to accomplish this feat by changing his approach to crafting his drum parts. “I really didn’t want to focus on speed with this album, even though there’s fast stuff on it. A lot of my drumming is single strokes, so I did more stuff that was groove-oriented with double strokes, paradiddles, and that kind of stuff.”

A creation process that ended in producer Mark Lewis’ recording studio in Sanford, Florida, actually began for DevilDriver in their practice space in Torrance, California, as all the bandmembers brought their melodic ideas to the table. In addition to Boecklin’s impressive drumming skills, it turns out that he also plays guitar and bass. He frequently writes songs for DevilDriver, and will often record the parts he’s written in the studio. In fact, on almost half the new record Boecklin is playing guitar, bass, and drums throughout the entirety of the tracks – everything except the guitar solos. But while it’s not uncommon for the bandmembers to bring completed song ideas to their group, collaboration between all the members happens just as frequently. Take the title track “Winter Kills” for example.

DevilDriver was about to leave their practice space when guitarist Jeff Kendrick asked his bandmates if he could just get down one more idea he had for a chorus before they called it a day. After playing the riff, inspiration took over, and each member threw in his two cents. The song was all but completed on the spot. And so they programmed the song and the drum part into a computer, and Boecklin took the tune home to start sanding down the edges of the grooves.

While the general song structure for “Winter kills” came together effortlessly, the drumming parts were some of the most challenging that Boecklin has ever written. Frequently he’ll need to step away from his drum set and plant himself behind a practice pad in order to gain perspective on what he’s trying to do. Boecklin explains: “Once I got these patterns down with my feet and hands connecting all at once, I found it easier to listen to myself just on pads, to make sure that I’m playing precise. Sometimes when you’re in a loud room and you’re playing your drums, you think your hands, your left foot, and snare are meeting up, but you’re not quite there. I do this stuff on my own with a practice pad and stick on a wood floor. That’s where I can tell where I need to be. On this song in particular, that how I mastered it before I got on the kit.”

john boecklin

Band: DevilDriver
Song: “Winter Kills”
Album: Winter Kills

john boecklin

Boecklin's Kit

Drums Mapex Saturn (Tobacco Burst)
1. 22" x 18" Bass
2. 14" x 6.5" Black Panther Machete Snare
3. 12" x 10" Tom
4. 14" x 12" Tom
5. 18" x 18" Floor Tom

Cymbals Meinl
A. 13" Soundcaster Custom Hats (right-hand pair played closed)
B. 16" Mb20 Heavy Crash
C. 10" Mb20 Splashes
D. 18" Mb20 Heavy Crash
E. 22" Soundcaster MegaBell Ride
F. 18" Mb20 Rock China

Please log in to comment.

Commenting is currently only available to the DRUM! community. Sign up today!.