May 2011
By Sébastien Benoits

20 Questions with Steve Moore
(The Mad Drummer)

Can you introduce yourself for the French readers who don’t know you?
My name is Steve Moore, but most people know me as The Mad Drummer. On 6/1/10 someone uploaded a video of me on youtube entitled “This drummer is at the wrong gig.” The video went viral, and completely changed my life.

Where and when this video has been filmed?
The video was filmed at an amusement park in Pennsylvania called “Knoebels Grove,” on 7/14/08. However, it just sat there for nearly two years, along with a dozen other videos. Then someone titled it “This drummer is at the wrong gig,” and it went through the roof.

What had gone through your mind when you played this song, this day?
The funny thing is, I never really thought about it! It was just “another day.” The band performs almost 200 shows a year, so it was just another show.

How many times was watching the video in the world?
It has close to 10 million hits at the moment.

How much this video “This Drummer Is At The Wrong Gig” has changed your life?
My entire world has changed. I flew to Seattle a few months ago to play my first drum festival at Woodstick. And I’m flying to Belgium in a few days to play the Adams Drummers Festival. I was at NAMM in Anaheim CA in January signing autographs at the Ludwig Booth. I’ve been featured on Drummerworld, the Modern Drummer Blog, the front page of Yahoo two times, and had an ad featuring me in DRUM Magazine.

Thanks to this video, have you met your drum heros for example?
That’s been the best part. I’ve met practically EVERYONE. I’ve met Johnny Rabb, Thomas Lang, Marco Minnemann, Jason Bittner, Carmine Appice, Kenny Aronoff, Thomas Pridgen, Vinny Appice, Frankie Banali, Matt Sorum…on and on. It’s a dream come true. Meeting my idols is the best gift anyone could ever given me.

However, the top of the list is still Mike Portnoy. Mike reached out to me right before the video exploded. Words can’t describe the feeling of getting an email from your hero. I use to read every article with Portnoy in the drum magazines. I honestly feel Mike is responsible for most of this happening. Not only did he show the video to everyone he knew, but in doing so, he gave me back my “spirit.” That is something I could never repay him for!

How do you feel to become one of the most viewed drummers in the world?
Oddly enough, that’s something I never really think about. I’m always thinking about my “next move,” or whom I’m going to meet or what I’m going to do. I’m just grateful so many people seem to enjoy the video. I could NEVER lay claim to being someone like Thomas Lang, or Marco Minnemann. However, people really seem to get something out of that video, and that’s a very special feeling.

What do you think of your performance when you watch the vidéo?
That’s a tough one… I’m very hard on myself! It’s hard for me to watch, because I’m always finding flaws in my playing or my sound, and it’s drives me crazy. I guess you are your own worst critic.

Is it easier for you today, to work with drums companies, and find new gigs?
YES!!! Without question. YES!!!

Now, you have a lot of sponsors. Can you describe us your drum equipment?
Sure, I play Ludwig Drum, and the sizes are: (2) 24x14, 13x9, 16x18, 18x18, and usually a 14x8 maple snare. Ludwig is having two new kits built for me at the moment. One will be the new Keystone Line, and the other in Stainless Steel with brass hardware (same sizes). I play Evans Drumheads, mostly G2’s on tops and G1’s on bottoms. I rsually have a Emad on the kick batter. Sabian Cymbals: 22” ride, (2) 20” crashes, (2) 19” crashes, 15” and 14” hats Mostly HHX and Artisan. Pro-Mark sticks and Audix Microphones. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not grateful for the support of my companies. I’m SO lucky to have them.

Can you speak about this band, the AllNighters? Is it a cover band ?
I’ve toured with Rick K. & The Allnighters for several years. They do standards, but that’s what most people want to hear. They play almost 200 shows a year, so it’s keeps me very busy.

Do you know if the guys of ZZ Top have seen this video?
I hope not! I’m kidding. LOL I’m sure they’ve seen it by now, however I have no idea how they feel about it. I hope they’re able to enjoy it in someway. I’ve actually seen ZZ Top in concert twice. They’re a great band. I’d love to perform with them just once, even it is was just that one song.

How born this idea of making all these crazy things with your sticks?
All of my favorite drummers were “characters,” so to speak. I loved Gene Krupa, Keith Moon, Ginger Baker, Louie Bellson, Tommy Lee… on and on. All of them brought something different to the drums. It was more than just technique, it was the WAY they played, and the FEELING they had.

Have you been inspired by drummers in particulary to do that?
When it comes to the visual part of playing drums, my favorite drummer was Shannon Larkin. He plays drums for Godsmack now, but played for a band called Wrathchild before that. My old band opened for Wrathchild when I was around 17 years old. He was (is) a huge influence.

Do you practice all the time to find new tricks?
Not really. Most of my practice consists of double bass exercises. I love double bass monsters like Derek Roddy, Dave Lombardo, and Vinnie Paul. Most of the tricks come from just messing around on stage. A lot of it just “comes out” without me thinking about it.

Are you sometimes afraid that people consider you most as a funny entertainer than a talented musician?
Absolutely, who doesn’t want to be taken as a serious artist? On the other hand, the video made 10 million people smile. How could that ever be a bad thing? I’m just grateful people know my name now…period!

Who gave you the nickname of Mad Drummer?
Years ago, I started a website called “Mad Drummer Inc.” It was basically a directory of drummers, and we sold T-shirts and merchandise. Over the years, people just associated me with the website and started calling me The Mad Drummer.

Could you tell us about the fundations of your drum playing, about the drummers you have listened to, to build your own rhythmic universe?
I listen to everyone, and I enjoy all of them. I love the extreme guys like Marco Minnemann, and Derrek Roddy, but I also love guys like Steve Jordan, and Steve Gadd. I love the power of someone like John Bonham, but I also enjoy the touch of someone like Jeff Hamilton, or Billy Ward. Steve Smith was also a big influence. As mentioned earlier, Ginger Baker, and Keith Moon were huge influences as well. And I don’t know a single drummer that wasn’t influenced by Buddy Rich…even if they don’t “realize” they were influenced by him!

Could you summarize shortly your career?
I’ll give you the short version: Basically, I toured around the country playing in progressive metal bands my entire life. Those bands were great, and they had great albums. However, they just didn’t perform enough for me. I wanted to play my drums everyday, not just every week. So when Rick K & The Allnighters offered me a job, with a touring schedule of 200 shows a year, I jumped at it.

If you can make a wish for your carreer, what would it be?
I know most people say they just want to grow as a musician and continue to earn a living playing drums. However, I’m afraid I want a little more than that. I want to play Madison Square Garden in New York City! And I want to be able to pay to fly my friends and family out, so they can enjoy it with me. That’s not asking much… LOL

Who’s inspiring you at the moment?
Abe Laboriel Jr. Abe puts EVERYTHING into his playing! I saw him perform at NAMM a few months ago, and he killed the place. Abe is KING!

What are the next future things to happen in 2011 for you?
As I mentioned earlier, I’m flying to Belgium in a few days to perform at the Adams Drummer Festival. To share the stage with someone like Keith Carlock, or Thomas Lang is the biggest honor you could ask for. I’m also putting together material for a clinic tour as well. I haven’t done that many clinics, but I’m really excited to have the opportunity to do them. I love talking to people and sharing anything I can. There’s a few CD’s I might be appearing on as well. Most of that is just a scheduling thing. I’m also putting together a “Mad Drummer Show” that will begin touring in 2012. It’ll have the elements people enjoy about my playing, but on a much larger level. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

Oh yea…one more thing…I want to play Madison Square Garden. I almost forget that one!