What do you say to a drummer in a three-piece suit? “Will the defendant please rise?”
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.
Today, we give praise to Dug “The Mouth,” drummer for one of the best party hardcore bands to ever grace the stage, Murphy’s Law! In between beers, BBQ’s, and nonstop debauchery, Dug also occasionally runs the rhythm section for these NYHC legends, so it’s only fitting that we pay homage. It’s a fun read!
G- How long have you been playing drums and when did you get started?
D- If you ask my mom, she says 2 years old. I grew up with my dad doing live sound for Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. I had a little plastic drum I banged on all day long. The reason they got it is because I guess I was fucking up her iron skillets and my mother the hippy was not ok with that.
But I was classically trained. (I took) lessons from the age of around 6 through college (and) learned how to read and write music for a year before I was allowed to play with the actual drums. It’s cool though, because my uncle had sold my father a 1960’s Rogers pit kit (he played in pit orchestras,) so I still got bang things. My mother said the first years were “tough,” but when I moved out she said she missed the sound of that “awful fucking noise. At least you got good quick!”
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- I’d like to think when I graduated High School and got a full ride to SUNY Purchase. I was the “loser skater kid” and I went to go skate at the college, and ended up having an audition. Before my senior year ended (and without even filling out paperwork) I was accepted. I thought that was hilarious. Everyone was so jealous! I was stoked I could go to school where I had my favorite skate spot!!! I never wanted to go, but I guess…
When I was 18-19, I was playing in a local CT Punk band called The Board Lords and a guy came up to me at this little dive bar and handed me a sheet of paper that said “Europe Dates” and asked if I wanted to go. I don’t even know if I realized I’d be playing with a member of one of my favorite bands, Agnostic Front’s Jimmy Colletti. Before I was 21, I traveled all over Europe with a side project of his called Loved and Hated. Right Place, Right Time I guess. That’s as far as the stories go, except this is when I got to see my first soccer riot and in front of a few thousand people somewhere in Germany, all of a sudden “BANG BANG,” and all these fucking fireworks went off. And I felt like I was in Kiss! I almost fucked up because no one even warned me about shit like that.
Now, thanks to Jimmy G., I’m prepared for everything in Murphy’s Law. Although him lighting fire works would be a frightful site. The man can aim a gun, so I would assume a huge fire cannon wouldn’t be a problem. There’s always the New Years Show!
G- Are you working on any releases right now? When will you be heading back to the studio or on the road? Can you tell us about the projects you currently have in the works?
D- I could…. but Murphy’s Law fans have patiently waited 10 years. Some bands feel the need to just do an album. We don’t. However, things have come together and it’s time. My favorite quote was one of my first shows with the band for Lou Di Bella’s 40th birthday. We were totally having a blast and some guy heckles Jimmy G. “Why don’t you have new shit?!?!?” to which we said “Because the song you just heard that you danced your ass off too? I wrote that one (“Beer.”) Why do you need “Beer” #2? I already wrote hit songs… YOU go write one, it ain’t easy!”
At the time, I had joined the band as a bass player (which I’d never done before,) but I had passed an opportunity to play with ML 10 years earlier and always wondered. Anyways, a Friday rolled around and they threw me on the drums and (lets just say) told me “You don’t need to pick up a guitar again, seriously put it down…. You don’t need that” It’s become a big joke.
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- To be honest, I went to look at kits a few years back and was like “Are these real these wood names? I can’t pronounce bubinga!”
I’m simple. I have a kit that was made for me by Tama, the 2nd Free Floating Drum Set (Limp Bizkit’s drummer got the first”) And stuff to a 19 year old kid didn’t get “custom” like I got to pick everything. And I’ve never taken a kit into the studio live or anything and had someone say anything other than “You hit hard, why is your kick mic’d?” It never was. I still play those same Star Classic Maple 4-piece today (18×20 kick 12×13 rack and 16×18 floor.) However, I may have to change as for years I had an extra floor tom and all sorts of great Zildjian cymbals, because I literally would break sticks by the box weekly, cymbals monthly, and 3 Iron Cobra pedals. Now, I will only use my DW 9000 pedal ever again. I’ve mixed and matched but, to be honest, I just would take whatever the companies were willing to give me because (as we know) I needed to save up for that new Court Suit!
G- Do you have any warm up tips or regiments that you do before playing? How about injuries you’ve sustained while playing drums?
D- I suffered a broken neck apparently while playing and since then, I’m very particular. I stretch in some gross corner for at least 20 minutes. If I forget the next day, my back could be thrown out for days. Everyone is replaceable… Have you seen the list of people I am following now?! It’s a map to Punk music from NYHC. I follow a lot of great names, so I’m trying to keep this back outta trouble.
G- And given the lengthy history and long list of drummers who’ve played with Murphy’s Law in the past, how did you get the gig?
D- I lost a bet to Jimmy G. which involved some stuff we don’t remember in San Diego, California and I had to get his name tattooed (which I did and I still don’t have any idea why I did it.) One day, I ran into his guitarist and we hit it off, sent Jimmy G. the picture and called me back going “Holy crap you actually did that! Ha! You’re an idiot!”
Next thing you know, I was playing bass for him 4 weeks later, and still going. It’s getting better. I guess an instrument you’ve played 3 months that you suck at plus one you’ve done for 25 years makes a band solid.
G- How does international performance compare with your performances stateside, both in terms of how you play and the audience reaction?
D- You never know. Japan was crazy but they never applaud; They’ll just go to 5 shows in a row. Poland, kids waited in poverty stricken towns to come see you for months and they hang from rafters and worship you. It’s humbling to me.
G- Are there any bands or artists that you hope to share a bill with in the future?
D- I’m pretty lucky. I got to play a Black Flag song with Murphy’s Law, a guy from the Misfits, and the guy that wrote the song “Six Pack.” That’s pretty rad, if you ask me. I get to play with my idols from growing up, watching all these bands as a kid at the Anthrax in Norwalk or The Globe Theater.
I’ve played with guys legendary in their work with Jamaican Reggae on literally 10 minutes notice (and I’d never even heard the dude’s music before.) I’ve been able to play with Wu-tang’s Raze up, to playing for Dave Mustaine who sat there telling me “I was amazing!” All I said was “You wrote Kill ‘Em All.”
I may not have the money, but I get to play with guys I grew up with. Every week. Pretty rad. Go ask a basketball player if he plays with Michael Jordan every week. Wait, I think you know what the answer is.
G- What is the craziest or most memorable show that you have played to date? Where was it and what was it like?
D- 3 People in some town in Germany and I had to play or we couldn’t get to the next town. Learned real quick it’s work too, not always a party. I’ve never cancelled a show since. We played during the hurricane last year too…. 3 people pay, you play.
G- Lastly, what advice can you give some of the young, up and coming bands everywhere who want to make it in music, on the road, and as a professional musician?
D- Don’t be a moron (like I can be.) Shut your mouth and watch people that are obviously better, or just the same, or worse. And shut up. I’m still working on the last part. I guess I’m forever Dug “The Mouth”. (I’m always wrong about something I thought I knew)
And seriously… Don’t wear earplugs. They don’t help. Just protect your eyes and your ass and do what you love. The day it isn’t fun, go home. Let someone who is still having fun do it.
This isn’t some Hollywood movie. I’m in a van with 8 guys running to Boston to play a club, and were speeding to make sure we get there. It doesn’t matter how many people are there waiting… I know that we’re going to have a great time, laugh, and hopefully I get to do it again. I wouldn’t trade being in Murphy’s Law (NYHC Legends) for anything. EVER!
Kids don’t recognize what history is until you live with it. I’m a lucky asshole. I still have my day job, but next week I get to play drums in Columbia… maybe. You gotta actually work hard, or you don’t get the gig.
Give me an old school Sunday Matinee at CBGB’s, and you can have your Hollywood Asses. (Sorry, Long Beach. You’re cool!)