100 Drummers #5: Starring Brandon Martin (The Snowy Owls)

Long have I had a thing for drummers. Something about the way they sit, mysterious and enigmatic, behind their varying configurations of drums and cymbals, keeping time in a myriad of drummerly ways. Oftentimes, too, it seems that drummers are the forgotten member of the band, garnering less press than perhaps their bandmates do. But those intrepid keepers of the beat need love, too. In this series I want to fix this egregious, yet probably accidental, oversight, and bring to your attention some of my favorite keepers of the beat. And so, inspired by a line in the Dylan classic “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall,” I present to you, friends, 100 Drummers.

Oh hey friends! Did you hear about this Fuzzily-sponsored show goin' on down in Richmond on Thursday? If you're within driving distance (let alone walking or biking distance), you should be there without a doubt. The Snowy Owls are representing Richmond in this DC/RVA double threat, and a great deal of that Snowy Owls sound can be credited to Mister Brandon Martin, better known as He Who Beats the Heck Out Of His Drums. Well, ok, perhaps not on the gentle-ish numbers, but when The Snowy Owls are in the midst of a full-tilt, fuzz-filled, careening sonic crash, there is some aggression being taken out on his skins. And it's splendid I say. Simply splendid. Below, Brandon talks timpani, Dave Grohl, and necessity being the mother of drumstick invention.

Fuzzy Logic: How old were you when you first picked up the drumsticks?
Brandon Martin: Drums were always my favorite part of a song to listen to. I remember, as a little kid, I'd play the radio in my room and I'd have a pair of chopsticks and I would set my pillows up as drums, and I'd play along to songs on the radio that I liked. I was probably 9 or 10. As for actually playing drums, that took a bit of time. I joined my first band when I was 13, but back then I played guitar and bass. I always watched the drummer though, and when there was a break in practice I'd jump behind the kit and try and replicate what I had seen him do. It was a perhaps tedious way to learn how to play, but it worked I suppose.

FL: Which drum is the best drum and why?
BM: I'm going to have to go with the kick drum. The kick drum is the thundering backbone of pretty much any song that utilizes a drum set. If we're talking non-standard drums, I might have to go and say the timpani drum is a personal favorite. They are so dramatic, it is insane.

FL: Who's your favorite drummer of all time?
BM: My favorite drummer of all time would have to be Mr. Dave Grohl. Probably not the most original answer to this question, but it is what it is. Listening to Dave Grohl play drums made me want to be a drummer, plain and simple. Matt Barrick os the Walkmen is another favorite.

FL: Singing drummers: On the cool side like Levon Helm or on the questionable side like Phil Collins?
BM: I find it a bit distracting when drummers sing, personally, just because I know that I can't do that, so I watch very intently trying to see if there is some trick to it. Haven't been able to find the trick yet though.

FL: Say you break a stick during a show and you have no spares. What do you do?
BM: Break the remaining stick in two and continue.

mp3: Actor Out of Work (St. Vincent Cover) (The Snowy Owls from Yr Eyes)

[photo by Matt Klimas]


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