How can you tell when a drummer’s at the door?
He doesn’t know when to come in
Drummers always get a bum rap. Why is that? Ever seen a good band with a shitty drummer? No. Know why? BECAUSE THEY DON’T EXIST.
Drummers rule! We hit stuff, get peoples’ butts shaking, and ultimately determine whether or not the band is going to perform well. You CANNOT have a solid band without a solid drummer, so this column is for the hitters.
On June 16, 2013, I caught up with Danny Schuler, drummer/pounder for legendary NYHC band Biohazard at Mac’s Bad Art Bar in Syracuse, NY. Danny is a guy who’s seen a lot, done a lot, and played even more, so catching up with him is not only a welcome addition to our Drummer Spotlights, but should also give us a look into what it takes to keep bashing after more than 20 years in the underground.
G- How long have you been playing drums and when did you get started?
D- I started when I was around 4-5 yrs old. I’m 43 now, so I guess about 38-39 years.
G- How long have you been playing professionally and what was your first project?? Do you remember the moment that you really felt that drum performance was your calling?
D- My first time on stage was around ‘83 or ‘84, at a culture center in Brooklyn. I was realLY nervous before the show, but as soon as we started playing the nerves went away and I felt totally comfortable. That band was a bunch of older guys from Brooklyn, called Krystal T.
G- Let’s talk gear for a second… What is your current rig looking like? What kind of drums and cymbals are you using primarily, what configurations, and what companies are backing you up at this time?
D- I play Pearl drums, Sabian cymbals, and Vater drumsticks. I’ve been with Vater a very long time. They make the best sticks in the world, no doubt. Before I joined Pearl, I played whatever I wanted, usually some old kit that I liked. Pearl makes great drums, and I love my kit. And of course Sabian rules. I play a relatively simple kit, just 4 drums, big sizes though. 3 cymbals and a pair of hats. That’s it.
G- How often do you find yourself practicing independent from your performances? Any warm up tips or advice you can offer for our readers?
D- These days I practice all the time. I really enjoy playing, and I enjoy the pre-show warm up. The other guys in Biohazard (aside from Scott Roberts) don’t live on the east coast, so I practice alone all the time. And I never used to warm at all, but these days, I gotta. Getting old I guess, haha!
G- What is the worst drum-related injury you’ve sustained from playing? What happened and what was the injury?
D- I hurt myself all the time. Both shoulders have torn rotator cuffs. My right knee is shot, sounds like sandpaper when I walk. Hands are always sore. I suppose all the years of training didn’t help, haha!
G- How does international performance compare with your performances stateside, both in terms of how you play and the audience reaction?
D- I play the same. No difference. Audience reaction is way better overseas,
G- What is the craziest or most memorable show that you have played to date? Where was it and what was it like?
D- Too many to list. I can tell you about a few shows we did where no one showed up, or the time we headlined a festival in Holland for 150000 people. We’ve played it all, from punk rock squats and youth centers, to stadiums in brazil and arens in the usa. Done it all.
G- Lastly, what advice can you give some of the young, up and coming drummers everywhere who want to make it in music, on the road, and as a professional drummer?
D- Be real. Speak the truth no matter what. Stick to your guns. Stay away from drugs, drugs are a bad idea, trust me. And don’t be shy about displaying your talents, ever. Being shy won’t help you.
Wear Today Hear Tomorrow Question:
Do you wear hearing protection when you perform? Why or why not? Do you think it is important for your fans to protect their ears?
D- I have never played a biohazard show without earplugs in my ears. In the early days, I wore earplugs because we were always so loud on stage. I’m glad I did.