Fueled By Death Cast Ep. 23 - JOHN LONGSTRETH
ORIGIN DRUMMER - JOHN LONGSTRETH
“It’s my favorite thing in the world to do. A lot of times it feels like the same thing over and over again, but I know I can push a little bit harder and get more out of it” - John Longstreth, drummer, ORIGIN, Crator
ON EPISODE 23:
A new theory about Jupiter's orbit and some exciting news about it's weather patterns are some of the first bits of data from the Juno spacecraft, and the hosts talk all about it on the Science segment. The ability to make even the most mundane situations more engaging starts off What Fuels You, and you don't want to miss some interesting reveals from the World's Strongest Coffee.
ABOUT JOHN LONGSTRETH:
John Longstreth is widely considered one of the fastest drummers in the world and has worked hard to get to that point. On the show, John talks about writing and recording the new Origin album, Unparalleled Universe, how death metal drumming mirrors martial arts training, and his newest project, Crator.
Interviewer: Can you talk a little bit about your influences, and how you got into drumming? Not only drumming, but specifically metal drumming?
John: Well, metal drumming came from Iron Maiden. Iron Maiden and Metallica. What any musician between the ages of 30 and 50 is going to say. I was playing drums. I heard Iron Maiden, or I heard Slayer, or I heard that. It's not a very exciting story, but yeah, Iron Maiden man, because I was a big Kiss fan at the time and I was listening to all these hair bands, and none of the drummers were really doing that much. I just heard the kick drum. You never heard the bass drum.
Interviewer: Were you already drumming at the time?
John: Yeah. I got into playing, my father was a jazz musician, so it was always in the house, so there was always jazz musicians in the house playing, and their cigarettes smelled different than mom's. Why is the cigarette smelling like bizarre beef jerky? They keep coughing. They all smoked much, vastly different than my mom did. My mom would just be like, and they're like ...
Yeah, so I got into playing music from that. Basically, just listening to the albums and listening to all these jazz records, and then eventually pop music came. I started to understand pop music. Got the Thriller record. Some Michael Jackson records, and also got into Van Halen.
All this stuff, and it wasn't until I was preteen, and I'm listening to all these Kiss records. I'm listening to Cinderella and all these other bands. The drummer just isn't doing much. The guitar players are ripping, but the drummer's just, and so I heard Iron Maiden and I'm like that guy's got some ripping double bass chops, doesn't he? Wait a minute. He's got one bass drum. He's doing that with one foot.
Interviewer: Right. Yeah.
John: Interesting, so I started paying attention to that. I'm like wow! This guy's really involved. He's doing all these cool patterns between his right foot and his right cymbal. He's got toms all the way around. He smiles while he's playing. Super crazy, and he's got this ridiculous look on his face. He smiles, all that shit. That guy is fucking cool, and then that gave way to Slayer, because as much as I love Metallica, as much as I love-
Interviewer: Metallica's pretty simple too.
John: Much as I loved Lars, the thing I always loved about Lars was how wrong he was. He was just weird and slippery. He's rollerskate on an ice rink playing drums, and then that gives way to Slayer, and then you're listening to Slayer records. My buddy comes up and shows me a Napalm Death record. I'm like gross, no. Hated it at first.
I hated it, so I think what really clenched it was when I finally heard a band called Cynic, because they were doing these demos in 1990 and 1991, and these guys were really fucking tech. They were using these clean passages, these really noodle-y clean passages, and then they go in to be heavy again. The drummer is doing all this insane drumming. Then I was into Death, got into Gene Hoglan and all that stuff, and that's the chronological order. Oh, sorry.
Interviewer: No, you're good. That's cool, so you got into Gene Hoglan, and I know now he was your pathway into your drum instructional video, right?
Interviewer: That's really cool. How was that, meeting your idol? That must have been wild.
John: I had met him a couple of times before, and that's just how you always want it to go. Dude just comes up. Hey, how you doing man? Hi John. I'm like you know my name? I was out. The first time I actually met him, met him I was out. I was filling in for a band called Dying Fetus and we were touring [inaudible 00:03:49] in 2000-
Interviewer: Four I think.
Interviewer: I think it was 2004 you were drumming for Dying Fetus.
John: Yeah, and we played at that Saratoga Winners.
Interviewer: Saratoga Winners, yeah. I saw that.
John: We were in-
Interviewer: Miss that place.
Interviewer: Me too.
John: We were in Vancouver, and at the time Gene was living in Vancouver, because he was in Strapping Young Lad, and he just comes up out of nowhere. Hey, how you doing? I was like hi, and he stood on the side of the stage and watched me play.
Interviewer: Was that nerve racking?
John: No. It was comforting, because he was so cool. Just a nice dude. I'm like this guy's awesome. I'm going to do my best. That's one of the things. Is you get dudes that get nervous when they're around. Like oh man. I just want to quit playing when so and so gets on stage. No, that's not right. You can't do it that way.
Interviewer: No. I don't think that's ever the right way to think about it. You should see that as an aspiration, to strive to be better. That's why I like to work with people that are better than me, because it just gives you a target, almost.
John: That's how you learn, and that was one of those things, but a lot of dudes probably meet people that they're really into that are really good, and they might talk with them for a minute, and they might get the impression that guy's a jerk, or he's not interested in talking to them, whether it's real or not, and that might drive a person to be like I don't want to play anymore.
Interviewer: I see.
John: That was not the case with Gene. No. Every time I met that guy he's been super nice and awesome.
Interviewer: That's cool, so you got into metal, you got into metal drumming. What was your first metal drumming gig?
John: That was the first band that I joined. That was just going to be, I was in Kansas City, Missouri in 1994/95, and I was already in a little local band called Malicious Intent. I'd already been in a few local bands around the area, and this guy just calls me up. Hey. He's from Minnesota. Just like that, and he's like, "We're over here on State Line. Do you want to come over and try out for this band we have?" I'm like, "What kind of music is it?" He goes, "Total death metal."
Interviewer: Total death metal?
John: Total death metal. I had no idea what that was. I knew what death metal was, because at that time I'm like yeah. I really like Dismembered, and Doomed, and Death, and Morbid Angel. He's like, "Come on over." I'd go over there and practice with those guys, and next thing you know a week later we had four songs together. We recorded a demo [inaudible 00:06:27] four track. All the lines were way too high. Everything cranks, so just ...
Interviewer: Yeah, just toilet noises.
John: We sent that out, they sent that around in this record label called Osmose Productions, out of France. Liked it and signed us. Three months later I'm in the recording studio doing a full length, and then they're talking about the first tour, so that's the beginning, so that's just-
Interviewer: What was that first tour like?
John: It was in Europe, with Impaled Nazarene and Gehenna from Sweden, so Gehenna sounds like Motörhead, for your more obscure, I don't know. I had never toured before, but they took me to Europe, so that was before the European Union had fully cemented, so we had to ... There were a lot of border checks. I had a lot of passport stamps, going into Italy, going into France, Spain, and we were switching money around the entire time.
Interviewer: How long was that tour?
John: It was roughly a month. I'd say it was about four weeks, and it's all pre internet at this point, because this is '96. It's all pre internet.
Interviewer: How old were you in '96?
Interviewer: 20, so you're this 20 year old kid on a month long tour in Europe.
John: I still, at that point in time, had never even drank alcohol. Never drank alcohol, never done-
Interviewer: Did you start there?
John: No. I started when I was 21. Yeah.
Interviewer: Wasted opportunity.
John: You're going to be 21, do you want to have a beer? No, so I turned 21 and a couple of months into being 21 my buddy had this beer called Pete's Wicked Maple Porter. That was like pancake beer, and then I tasted it. I'm like that tastes wonderful.
Interviewer: Yeah, so you're 20 years old, touring around Europe. Does it seem like it came out of nowhere?
John: It totally came out of nowhere. It was crazy.
Interviewer: Were you scared at any point? Was it nerve racking, just being in this other world and young on this journey?
John: I wasn't scared, because I was too busy being a baby. I had this girlfriend. I didn't want to leave my girlfriend behind. I sat and I wrote in my journal every night. I miss you ... Boo! Actually, I was really mad at myself after that tour, because I go home and I hang out with her, and all this stuff. Obviously, this relationship's not going to work, so that relationship is over, and I'm like that's it. I thought I was going to, I thought this is terrible. I don't want to tour, and then I go home and realize that ...
It was interesting, because I was in and out of that band pretty quickly, because I was out of that band. We did that tour in, I want to say December of '96. I was out of that band basically a year later. In '97. February of '97, and that was also when that relationship was falling apart, so I had a taste of it with a bunch of people I didn't quite get a long with.
The guys in the band, we didn't quite see eye to eye, and they, for all the right reasons, let me go, because I was not being a mature person. Striving to be a death metal musician at that point in time. I was being a punk kid, and they had their right. "We're going to let you go. We're going to hire this other guy here, Tony."
Interviewer: What's the move after that?
John: Move after that, just played around in a couple of other local bands, and eventually met Paul and Jeremy from Origin.
John: They're like, "You're the Angelcorpse guy." I was.
Interviewer: Right, and Origin had already been going at that point, right?
John: Origin started in '97, and I met those guys in '98.
Interviewer: Okay, so right at the beginning.
John: I was scrambling around, going through some lineup changes, and cementing. I got into the band and brought in a bass player with me named Doug, and that's just where it went from there.
Interviewer: How long have you been with Origin now?
John: I was in there in '98, and then I was out in 2002. In the end of 2002. Wait a minute, right?
Interviewer: I think so.
John: Yeah, I was out. My intention wasn't to be out in 2002. My intention was to take a break, because we had some rough shit happen and I'm like I'm going to go up to upstate New York, and help Skinless record the record.
Interviewer: You got tied up with Skinless?
John: Basically, yeah. That's what went down, and so the idea was I was going to come up, hang out for a month, record the record and then shoot back down to Kansas, and try and get back in, but one thing leads to another. They start looking for drummers, and I'm getting along real well with the Skinless dudes. Then it's like fuck it. Go ahead. I don't need to be in Kansas anymore.
Interviewer: Yeah, right. Cool.
John: The interesting thing was my mom was just like, "You could always come back home, but I had the chance to travel when I was young and I didn't, so you should go."
Interviewer: That's cool.
John: That's 2003. Come up here. Get the job at Uncommon Grounds.
Interviewer: Yeah. You know your way around some coffee.
John: Those guys are 90% responsible for me having a music career anyway.
Interviewer: Well, shout out to Uncommon Grounds then.
John: Well, if you have a solid enough employee, that has the chance to travel and do some cool stuff, let them come back.
John: If you can, of course. If you can.
Interviewer: I've been lucky enough to have, I did have a job at a dental laboratory, that was like if you leave you're done, and I was like well, then I guess I'm done. I found another job that did, at Esperanto. That was like, "You can go do what you want, and when you come back we'll take you back on." It's always good to have that support.
John: Some companies can, some companies cannot. You can judge either way, but when you've got a company-
Interviewer: You can. You're allowed to judge. I think you're allowed to at that point. It's like I don't need to be here, if you're not going to ... I think it's important to support employees, no matter what they decide to do.
John: Well, it depends on the company, I guess.
John: When you've got someone like Dan Murphy and [inaudible 00:12:23], who that's what Dan Murphy is about, from what I understood. He's all about being able to have people work. He takes you in, he puts you to work, he expects you to work, and as long as you work you've got a job, and that's how it felt there. That's always how it felt with the main people behind that company. It was like as long as I stay here and kick ass as much as possible, give them the notice. They know what I'm doing. It's always going to be cool with them, and it always was, so props to them for bending over backwards for me.
Interviewer: Yeah, that's cool.
John: Travel and have a fucking career.
Interviewer: That was around the time that actually I met you, and it was funny, because you were bouncing around bands at that time. You're doing Skinless, like we had talked. You were doing Dying Fetus, and you were doing all this other stuff, and it would always be ... It was very hard to find out exactly where and what John would be doing, but you knew either John's in town making you coffee, or he's out on the road.
John: He's in Europe.
Interviewer: I haven't seen John in a while. That's because he's out on tour. He's doing something.
John: Probably wasn't being very friendly.
Interviewer: You're always friendly to me man.
John: Good, because it's funny. That was a bizarre time too. That three year period between, was it three years? Between 2002 and 2005. It was when I was doing a lot of bouncing around, because I did a year with Skinless, and then it was Exhumed, Red Chord, Dying Fetus.
Interviewer: Yeah, all in a row pretty much. You skipped from band to band.
John: It was almost [inaudible 00:13:59] for a minute.
Interviewer: Almost, yeah.
John: I remember talking to Hakeem about that. He was in that band at the time.
Interviewer: Yeah, that was when they were going over to Europe too, and touring. Is that ... You've done both. You've been in a band for years and years, and done albums and toured on that kind of material, and then you've also skipped around. Is it almost like a culture shock, to have to be in one band, learn the material, get out of that band, get into another band, learn the material? How much of a process is that for you, as a drummer?
John: I think it's just like anything else. It's terrible and awful when you haven't done it that often, but as you do this more often you develop techniques and you develop abilities. I now know that what I can do is I can listen to a song. Have it, my little notepad, my little pen. I can write down A, B, A, B, C. Count the parts of the song. Go in there, make little noodle notes about what the drummer's doing. I know that as long as I can sit there and listen to that song, my practice pad, my little notes, tap that thing out, I can probably have the song done within an hour.
Interviewer: Nice, as far as you're setting it?
John: Then I've got to take it to the kit and actually program [inaudible 00:15:14], but it all comes together pretty easily these days. It was a mess for a while, and I'd both songs live on stage with Exhumed.
Interviewer: Your constant times of being placed in positions to being forced to adapt has made you quite a good at adapting.
John: It's jujitsu buddy.
Interviewer: There it is. Okay, so we'll go on this topic a bit.
John: It's about being just flexible, and being able to anticipate the next move. See between the raindrops.
Interviewer: Yeah, and also being calm in the moment to be able to anticipate the next move, because if you're not calm you're thinking about what's going to happen next. When you shouldn't be thinking about that. You should be thinking about what's happening now.
Interviewer: I had a personal question now. For those who don't know, I met ... Well, I met you before, but we became friends through jujitsu, and we trained under Eddie, who was our first guest, and trained with [inaudible 00:16:14]-
John: Congratulations Eddie.
Interviewer: One of our latest guests. Yeah. Congratulations, even though this will come out way later.
John: Congratulations three months ago Eddie.
Interviewer: Three months. How much have you felt jujitsu helped your drumming?
John: You know what's funny about that? Is I would actually talk about this with a lot of the dudes at the jujitsu school, and I would just be like yeah. It's like that, and they're just like that ...
Interviewer: Just blinking at you.
John: It's cool, because when jujitsu, when you're having a really good roll in jujitsu, and you're really in the moment, and things are going good. Doesn't matter if you're getting your ass kicked. When it's all firing, and this is going to be really corny, and I apologize, but I look at it as seeing between the seconds. You just see in such a much more molecular level, or something like that. You see so many details. Little things happening. It's really hard to explain.
I've always read about meditation. I've always read about being in the moment and not overthinking, and it never made sense to me. It was always something that was really hard to understand, until you're actually doing something like that, and I usually don't remember what happens on stage. It takes a thing. It takes something.
If something's going really good, my guitar player turns around with a big grin on his face, I'll remember that, but a lot of times I won't remember the second to second normal stuff. Same thing with jujitsu. No, did that front flip, and transition to so and so, and blah blah blah. Grab the wrist.
Interviewer: You're not thinking about it, right.
John: I did that, and then-
Interviewer: It's almost like accessing, it's the same thing with driving. You're accessing the lizard brain. If you were to think I have to turn left before you turn left it'd be too late. You'd get in a car accident, so instead, you're accessing this lizard brain, which is pretty much based on reactions without thinking about it.
Interviewer: Which is why road rage is such a big thing, because when you're driving you're accessing that lizard brain in anger. Does not go through a filter, and you usually just spit out whatever you're thinking. Did you feel that maybe jujitsu helped you access that lizard brain mentality a little bit more? Maybe had a little bit more control in that state?
John: The parallels between jujitsu and me playing drums are going to be, I think, a lot less when I'm on stage. I credit that to jujitsu, because everything is really fast. Also, you have, and then going backwards, from music into jujitsu, you have modes, don't you?
John: You have a whole scale, that you don't think about the individual notes. You just go, right?
John: That's your triangle choke. You don't think push the head, bring the knee up, pull the arm over. Maybe you do. I do, because I'm terrible at triangles at this point.
Interviewer: You do. Sometimes when you get caught up and you're like what am I missing here?
John: However, if it comes to top side control, attack the arm, I'm not thinking. It's just there. Control sergeant, as a buddy of mine said. If you're on the bottom and I'm in side control you live there now, and there's no oxygen, and your arms mine. That's what I became.
John: After I left Eddie's and went down to [inaudible 00:19:51] and from a much more physical point of view, what I learnt to do in jujitsu and actually more in boxing almost, is how to engage your core.
John: That's a cool thing with drumming, because that allowed me to understand my physical, my body a little bit more while playing drums.
Interviewer: A little bit more balance.
John: I was able to understand that if I'm leaning back like this I am sitting too low. If I'm leaning forward like that I'm sitting too high, so I learnt how to adjust the seat a little bit better. I really, really rearranged my posture, and I started paying a lot more attention to my posture. Once I started understanding how that, how your core works. Engage your core, and you've got this. This is nice and tight. Rolling, but at the same time, your arms and legs aren't attached to it, so there's a lot of that. There's a lot of being able to distribute your muscles, right?
John: Being able to distribute your strength.
Interviewer: Very cool, and-
John: Things slow down. I'm sorry, but things slow down in jujitsu. That's what I was going for. Things slow way down. You start seeing between the seconds. It's like in the movie, when the samurai sends the sword forward. Goes through the fucking raindrop, right past his neck, and he counts the seconds. He counts the milliseconds during that shit, so that's what's happening in jujitsu, and that's what's happening in death metal drumming as well.
Interviewer: That's crazy, and so talking on both those respects, and more along the lines of drumming. Being a metal drummer, a death metal drummer, that is a very taxing thing to do, and you're going out on tours. You're playing every night, and for our listeners who might not even know this, you have been constantly referred to as one of, if not the most, the fastest drummer in the world. How do you prepare for long stints of playing like that? I've seen you play just one show in the audience, and I'm tired watching you.
Interviewer: To interject on this, you double headlined a tour with Gorguts and Origin, where you were drumming for both bands, and what was that, a month long tour?
John: That was about three weeks.
Interviewer: How do you prepare for that? How do you train to endure that?
John: Luckily, now, with the exception of the past month and a half, I've had either jujitsu, or kickboxing, or boxing, so that I keep myself in physical shape. In the past I didn't. I just beat my head against it until it worked, and enter my hands fall asleep every night. I've got all kinds of weird shit up in here that is going away, now that I actually do sit down with a practice pad, and three bottles of water, and a metronome, and earplugs.
John: Nowadays, what it is, is just taking care of your body. Taking care of my body doesn't mean that I abstain from alcohol, or tons of coffee, or a lack of sleep.
Interviewer: Still got to be a rockstar.
John: Still got to sleep for two hours, drive the van for eight hours, the entire day. Set up and play the show, and then drink 16 bars and go to bed.
Interviewer: The training just counterbalances that a little bit.
John: Yeah. What happened if I stopped drinking and actually was able to sleep eight hours a night? I don't even know. It'd be crazy.
Interviewer: It wouldn't be fun, that's what it would be.
John: What it really comes down to is, for me actually, this is going to be really dorky again, but-
Interviewer: I like dorky [crosstalk 00:23:44]
John: Actually, and I fight with my band members. No. I want to get there early. We're going to be there five hours early. Great, we'll go do something. I want to get there early. I want to get my drums set up in the corner. Get all my shit taken care of, so I can relax for the day, and then once I'm relaxed for the day, my mind is feeling clear, and then I know that as six o'clock I'm going to sit down with my practice pad, my three little bottles of water, my sticks. Warmup, practice pad. Do some stretching, do some pushes. Start drinking some-
John: Coffee at this point.
John: Dude, yeah, because, luckily, I am out of the Red Bulls now. I'm beyond the Red Bulls, I'm beyond [inaudible 00:24:30]
Interviewer: You don't need that sugar anyways.
John: That was a fucking habit for a while dude, and it was a habit where I thought I needed it more than I actually did.
Interviewer: Which habits usually do.
John: At one point in time it was pre work out. It was like MusclePharm Assault.
Interviewer: Pre work outs are weird too, man.
John: MusclePharm Assault was so good for the boxing. It's like, and I would just go home and-
Interviewer: Those were intense boxing classes though.
John: Shots classes, [inaudible 00:24:58] but that MusclePharm gave me the worst farts ever.
Interviewer: Yeah, that's probably not good for your system, I imagine.
John: No, it's not, and you're laying in bed, you're like ...
Interviewer: Yeah. I looked at my pre workout once and I was like eat 100 milligrams of caffeine per serving? No wonder why I want to itch my skin off. This is not the way to go.
John: You're putting butter and MCT in your Death Proof.
Interviewer: Do you still do that?
John: Death Wish.
Interviewer: Yeah, Death Proof ...
John: I had just gotten back into it, because that restaurant I was telling you about that I work at. I do these brunch shifts that go from 8:00 in the morning until 6:00 at night, and it's just full out. There's just not enough hours in the day, so yeah. It's nice to be able to roll out of bed at 7:00 in the morning, throw together my butter coffee, because I don't want to talk about those people.
Interviewer: Right. Exactly. It's okay.
John: It works.
Interviewer: Yeah, it does.
John: The thing is I can't. They tell you to do that, and then fast four hours.
Interviewer: No, I don't do that. I eat.
John: I cannot fast four hours.
Interviewer: No, I keep on eating.
John: Eat within at least two hours, and then I work at this restaurant, where we just serve all this breakfast, so hey. Eggs, protein, boom. Done. Let's run through concrete walls for the next six hours, with crazy violent happiness.
Interviewer: Yeah, so you've been working on the Origin album in the last-
Interviewer: The brand new one.
Interviewer: The last month or so.
John: Unparalleled Universe.
Interviewer: That's awesome man. Can you talk about it a little bit? How that process has been going, the release day, what we should expect from that album.
John: Well, if anybody, if any Origin fans are actually listening-
Interviewer: [inaudible 00:26:50] Did I just start something?
John: Jasmine, you jerk. Okay, so Origin is a very bizarre band when it comes to writing records. The guitar player, Paul, he writes this amazing stuff, but he lords over it. I've got the material. Let's put out little bits and pieces, and we're like well ... When we start writing an Origin record it's usually a headache. Like how the fuck are we going to write one? We do it every time, so what we did this time was really cool. You know the band starts in Kansas, right?
John: That's where we all started, so we all ... Mike Flores, the bass player, is the only guy that still lives there, so we all shoot out to Topeka, Kansas, and we basically camp out at his house. Write the album, but what we did this time, which I thought was really interesting, was I sat in the back. I sat in this room with Paul, and I had my MacBook, I had my little click tracker, my phone, and he had a little mini amp. My Practice pad, and okay. Well, what's the first riff? He would play this riff and I'd be like ...
Interviewer: Just tap it out on your metronome, yeah.
John: Okay, so that's about 200 BPM. Write that down. How many times does it go? It goes four times. Okay. Great. Is it in four or three? One, two, three. Oh, so it's in three, so we're in triplet, so I write these down. What kind of drums do you want here? What do you think? He goes this is going to be blast-y. I'm like okay. Great. Blast-y. Move on to riff B, so we wrote everything done first.
John: I had the MacBook open, so I would build the click tracks, and then the next step was can we get through the song on practice pad and practice amp with the click going? That's how we would actually practice that at first. We would do that.
Interviewer: Just goes to show you don't need a whole drum set and a whole practice-
John: Then we'd go upstairs to the actual live room, and it was so cool how it worked, because then you go up there and you've got this song that you basically constructed that day. He's had it in his head for the past six months or whatever. I think he's got a song in there that ... Actually, I think his oldest guitar riff appears on this record from like '93.
Interviewer: Oh, wow! That's awesome.
John: You know how guitar players are.
Interviewer: Oh, yeah.
John: I wrote this in 2004.
Interviewer: Yeah. I've never been able to put this anywhere, but here we go.
John: The last Van Halen record was all shit from like '76.
Interviewer: Yeah, from the '70s. Totally.
John: Yeah, so we would write all these songs down, and we'd bang them out on the practice pad with the click track, and then we'd go upstairs to the room, and it'd take us three times through. We'd have the song front to back, and then you start getting to put, as [Zappa 00:29:39] would say, put the eyebrows on. Things start getting fun. That's when you start, there's going to be a drum solo in this part. I was like you son of a bitch. Now I've got to write a drum solo in a week. We basically wrote the entire album in 12 days.
Interviewer: How many tracks?
John: With a bonus track.
John: We did a [Brujería 00:30:01] song.
Interviewer: I don't know what that means, but I'm excited. You said it really cool.
John: You don't know [Brujería 00:30:05]?
Interviewer: I'll school you. It's some pretty good shit.
Interviewer: [Brujería1 00:30:10]?
Interviewer: There you go. You go it.
John: Most of the white kids call it [Brujería 00:30:15].
Interviewer: No, I like the way you said it. [Brujería 00:30:19].
John: I'm like yeah, we're doing a [Brujería 00:30:23] song. My buddy Carolina, she's from Colombia. She's like [Brujería 00:30:27] ... Yeah, so that. We did that with all the songs, basically. We had one song that we were actually playing around with live, so that one was just a drop in the bucket. Done, but we do that over the course of about 12 days.
We get the whole thing put together, and we'd go over to another friend's house. A buddy of mine named Clinton, who is a guitar player for a band called Unmerciful, who I recently worked with, and we'd take these click tracks, and Paul would play guitar to these click tracks. I would have these backing tracks, so we had a guitar and click. When we go into the studio, instead of Paul and I, Paul sitting in his iso booth and me in the drum room, we eliminate an entire human being's worth of mistakes.
John: Being that the guitar plays the same thing every damn time, because I track the entire album to prerecorded guitars, which is a very common thing these days, but it's just the way Origin moves. It took that long for that to happen, so drums were done in three days, bass was done in a day and a half. That's just indicative of three dudes. The three guys that play instruments in the band.
Interviewer: This is not like what people typically think of as a band, of these guys coming together in a practice room. Working out these songs day after day. This is you're coming up with the songs on the spot, and then you're getting the tracks done within a few days.
John: Like I said, he has the material. He's like a pressure cooker. The material just sits in is head for a long time, and he just spits it all at us. We're lik wow! All this material's coming at us, but instead of, because usually he sends MP3s of it. I sit there and listen to it, and play around with it, but at this point I was just like we've got all this extra time. We're going to have just under two weeks to actually really work on this, so for the most part no, but this time it was the closest to actually having being able to do that.
Interviewer: Yeah, which is really cool. How much of a difference do you think that made?
John: Well, it made a ton of difference. I think what made the most difference was sitting down and writing this stuff out first, because I've always made little notes and had a little sheet of paper on a little music stand that I would reference, but this time I actually wrote it out, and not writing in notation. It's like riff A, Morbid Angel type beat. Riff B.
Interviewer: Blasty, with a Y.
John: Whitesnake beat, Whitesnake idea.
John: Riff C, the happy birthday riff. This gets three tom hits. Boom, boom, boom, so it's all shorthand, but that was the best part about it. Was that we actually wrote it all out, worked it out on a practice pad. It was cool to be able to work that smart with those guys, finally. Actually have a path.
Interviewer: Do you think you've been, for lack of a better term, cheating yourselves until this moment, by not being able to do that?
John: Yeah, because we would always go in the studio, and the cool thing about the way we do the albums is that we go in like wow! With our asses on fire. We've got to get it done. Go, and when you're pushed like that you come up with some of your best stuff. Some of the best stuff I've ever written I've come up with in the studio, because this part isn't working. I've got to come up with something, and boom. Here we come with all this syncopated craziness, that I have to learn later.
Interviewer: The more I think about it, I think humans are meant to thrive under limitations.
Interviewer: I think being limited gives you the full view point of what you need to get done.
John: Yeah, so what I would ... It's a curse and a blessing at the same time. We would write this album, and we'd go out and we'd tour it, and people always noticed that A; the songs are three times faster, and B; you didn't play that one thing. I'm like no. I don't remember what it was, because I had to go out on tour, and the first tour is actually me completing the songs.
Interviewer: Yeah, weird.
John: It's really-
Interviewer: You're actually getting time on the snogs.
John: Right. Repetition on the songs now.
Interviewer: Yeah, for the first time. Wild.
Interviewer: When is this album going to be released?
John: End of August or something.
Interviewer: End of August?
John: They don't quite have a date yet.
Interviewer: Are you going to tour on the album at that point then?
John: Mm-hmm (affirmative). We're actually going to hit the road before that.
Interviewer: Oh, cool, so it'll actually come out while you're on the road?
John: I think so.
Interviewer: Cool. Where are you planning to go?
Interviewer: Where are you planning to go?
Interviewer: Europe or USA?
John: Both, but at this point the only thing scheduled is Mexico and South America in June.
John: Yeah, in June. We've got four days in Mexico, and then we go down to Bogota, Medellin and Santiago, Sao Paulo.
Interviewer: Very cool. Where's your favorite place to play, as far as country wise? Where do you like to go?
John: I like playing, it's totally different. You play the United States. It's great, because you've got convenient stations on every corner. This and that.
Interviewer: It's a comfort thing.
John: You got Denver, Colorado. You've got New York City, and you've got LA. You've got all these great places to play. You've got Seattle, but in my band's case we're driving ourselves, so that's a pain in the ass. Europe, those are vacation tours, because we're on a tour bus. Albeit with two other bands, but Europe's at a venue. You sleep for 12 hours a night in your bunk. In the bus, and the bus is moving, so it's like a cradle, and so you just clonk out and you wake up the next day, and you go and you play this venue, but man, if you are hungry and there's not a 7-Eleven around the corner a lot of times. Like Czech Republic is an amazing place to go and it's an amazing place to play, but I know I can't just pop over to the Stewart's and grab a microwave burrito. That's-
John: It is and it isn't. I don't know.
Interviewer: Are you staying healthy on tour?
John: Mexico is difficult for me.
Interviewer: Oh yeah?
John: I'm a baby, and I'm a drummer with very specific needs, and a lot of times it's like well, yeah. You're just going to show up to this venue with this, there's just going to be this drum kit. You're just going to get on this drum kit.
Interviewer: Oh, but that sucks.
John: I have my pedals, and my cymbals, and my electronics, but like the last time we played Mexico I played on a four piece.
John: It worked, but it was-
Interviewer: It's not-
John: This sucks, but it's fun.
Interviewer: Yeah, even with the local bands that I've played with, the drummers have always been like, "I play on my set," and that's all I get, so it doesn't seem like that much of a reach for you to want to play on your own kit as an internationally touring band.
John: [crosstalk 00:37:32] and that's you're a professional. Can't you just play?
Interviewer: Yeah, but it's not-
Interviewer: I'm a professional. Can't you just provide what I need?
Interviewer: You're so busy, with the new album coming out with Origin, and also, with the other projects that you do. I'm very exited about your new project, Crater.
John: Thank you. [inaudible 00:37:57]
Interviewer: All these other things, and you've had your ups and downs in your career at this point. We always ask this of our guests. What fuels you to keep getting out there, and keep putting out that next record, keep going on that next tour? What keeps you behind the kit?
John: It's my favorite thing in the world to do man.
Interviewer: That's awesome.
John: I'm never going to master it. I'm never going to be a master drummer. It's not going to happen. I'm never going to be a master musician.
Interviewer: That's a great mentality to have. It really is.
John: A lot of times it feels like the same thing over and over again, but even though it feels like the same thing over and over again, I know that I can always push a little bit harder and get a little bit out of it. A little more out of it, a little more out of it, a little more, and that's really what does it. I pulled all kinds of weird little shenanigans on the drums on this record, that I have not done on an Origin record yet.
Interviewer: That's exciting.
John: That made it a lot of fun right there, and it's just, hopefully, being able to get out there and just do it a little bit better this time. Every time, and also, I'm 41 years old. Am I going to start a new career now?
John: Some guys are. Some guys, whatever man.
Interviewer: You could always reinvent yourself.
John: Man gets his jujitsu black belt at 67 years of age.
Interviewer: That happens.
Interviewer: That does happen.
John: That does happen, but I don't know man. We'll see.
Interviewer: Well, I hope you just continue to drum forever.
John: I'm going to continue to drum forever.
John: I don't know if I'm going to be 60 years old, sleeping in the back of a 15 passenger van, but it'll be something. It'll probably be something aggressive, probably be something moderately offensive as well.
Interviewer: How do you feel about, you've gone and ... Now that you have the instructional video, you've gone into the teaching side of things. How do you feel about that?
John: It's moving slowly, because the DV is not out yet. The DVD got hung up on the editing table, so we've got some work to do on that, and it's moving slowly and I'm slowly just advertising, but the tough part about teaching music lessons, I think, these days, is that all the kids, it's a different musician these days.
John: A lot of the kids are rightfully getting on YouTube, and looking up the [inaudible 00:40:22], and mastering that for free, and they're getting that, but they're missing something. They're missing something with the person to person. I think they are, but then again, like I said, it's a different kind of musician. It's a different world these days. It's not ... As we go on, I think we'll like, oh wow! That actually sounds like a band in a room. Is not, it doesn't really draw as many people as it used to.
Interviewer: It really doesn't.
John: That's the best part about that Crater record. Is that it sounds like-
Interviewer: A band in a room.
John: A live band in a room. It's rough sounding and it's crazy sounding, but at the same time, it sounds like you're sitting in the room with those dudes.
Interviewer: It totally does, and let's plug that real quick. Can we just talk about who's a part of that band?
John: Yeah. Well, so that band started eight or nine years ago at this point, with this goofy kid named [inaudible 00:41:25].
Interviewer: I love Jeff.
Interviewer: Shout out to Jeff.
John: Jeff, I'm going to come have dinner with you tonight, actually.
Interviewer: I hope when this airs you just happen to be-
Interviewer: Having dinner with him again.
Interviewer: He's the guitarist?
John: Yeah. That was interesting, because I was out of Origin and I wanted to stay aggressive. I wanted to stay, because the thing about upstate New York is none of the music was really that fast.
Interviewer: Right. Not at all.
John: There's a lot of hardcore, and a lot of breakthrough stuff-
Interviewer: Yeah. NYHC.
John: That's cool, but it wasn't quite my wheelhouse, and as I was getting out of Skinless and starting, I've got to get back to what I was doing, because that was actually working for a minute.
John: Jeff's like, "I'll jam with you," so Jeff and I started going out to the Slaughterhouse. Do you remember the Slaughterhouse?
Interviewer: I used to practice at the Slaughterhouse.
Interviewer: We practiced in the Slaughterhouse, where the poop comes out of the ceiling, and it's always 20 degrees colder than it is outside.
John: Were you in the freezer, or were you in the-
Interviewer: In the freezer.
John: I have nightmares about that place.
Interviewer: Yeah. Me too.
Interviewer: Kerosene burner, and we were all just choking down that kerosene. Every Eric would be like, "Please, smoke a cigarette. It smells like poop in here."
John: Okay. Now I remember you guys being there.
Interviewer: Yeah. We were pretty much in there at the same time. We were sharing equipment.
John: We were, and Wasteform was in there and all that stuff. Dude, I hated going in there.
Interviewer: Dude, it was dreading. I remember the day when we finally drew the line ...Yeah. We drew the line when our strings started popping off of our instruments, because it was negative 40. No joke. It was negative 40 in that room.
John: Then in the summer it was a swamp.
Interviewer: Yeah, and it's 20 degrees hotter in the summer.
John: Jeff and I would just go in there, and just we didn't really write songs. He wanted to ... We both just wanted to work chops. That's really all we wanted to do, and so he would just drill and I would just, we just drilled. Eventually, it started taking shape, and eventually, here you go. We have almost these workout routines, and like wow!
Let's record this, and I had to go in the studio to do a project for a guy, and I just dragged Jeff with me. We're going to record this one song, but I want to get Jeff in here real quick. We just want to blow through these three demo songs we have, if we can do that.
My buddy Elliot was like cool. Do it, and so then we had this three song demo. The first three song demo, and at that point I contacted Jason Keyser, because I'd been watching him for a long time. Since the ... Damn.
John: No man. The band that he was in with Hakeem, way back when. It's totally slipped my mind at this point in time.
Interviewer: Oh, yeah. It's slipped my mind too.
Interviewer: No, I was thinking Straitjacket. That's not it.
John: No, it wasn't Straitjacket. It's right on the tip of my tongue. Sorry Jason. I'm a terrible friend.
Interviewer: Yeah. It's on record, that you're a terrible friend to Jason.
John: On record that I'm a terrible friend to Jason Keyser [inaudible 00:44:22] who's that wacko? Yeah, so I met that guy eventually, and had him come out, and there you go. Had the first three songs written. Gave him the demo, and he went and listened to it, wrote it, and it's just simmered since then, and here we go. We write more songs, write more songs, write more songs. Jeff and I just worked over these songs for a long time, and we tried a couple of different bass guys out. They didn't quite work. Detriment.
Interviewer: Detriment. That's it. That was it, yeah. You got it before me.
Interviewer: You're no longer a horrible friend. You're a good friend now that you've figured out Detriment.
John: I'm a good friend Jason Keyser. Don't you give me a lick of lip over that, and yeah, so that, and it wasn't until-
Interviewer: In the recording it's Colin Marston on the bass, right?
John: It's Colin on the bass in the album.
Interviewer: Who do you have playing with you live?
Interviewer: We're putting you off.
Interviewer: There you go.
John: It's Monty. Monty from Malignancy plays bass, and he plays fretless bass, because he was taxed with playing Colin Marston bass. Like can you do a Colin Marston on the bass? He's like, "Well, that's weird, but I can get close." Cool, just get close. He goes, "I think I'm going to play five string fretless. How does that sound?" I'm like, "Beautiful."
Interviewer: Yeah, sure does.
John: Now he's in, and we did our first show a couple months back in Chicopee, Massachusetts.
Interviewer: Nice. Did it go well?
John: It went well man. It was about-
Interviewer: Chicopee's alright.
John: There was about 30 people watching, but we had never done anything live.
Interviewer: Yeah, you're a baby band.
John: Yeah, baby, and they knew that there was this thing happening with me and Jason from Origin, and Monty from Malignancy, and [inaudible 00:46:08] guitar player, who's supposed to be really good, and so we got up and did that. Jason did none of his normal banter.
John: I just had this backing track of samples that would go between these songs. He would just turn around. We just kept the lights low. We'd just blast. Just go through all these songs, because most of the bands were real American east coast death metal. We got up there and did this bizarre progressive black metal, death metal hodgepodge, and people, what is that? Everybody that seems to hear it really likes it.
Interviewer: That's really good man.
John: We'll see what happens. We're talking. It's all self funded. We put it out ourselves. We have this company called Clawhammer, from Topeka, Kansas, who's actually the PR company, who gets it out to the magazines and gets it into reviews, and all that. Does a great job, and it's slowly generating interest, but that's-
Interviewer: Yeah. We've seen it pop up everywhere. It's getting great reviews across the board.
John: That's how I want it to be. I want it to slowly develop, because I don't want it to be a flash in the pan, and I think that's if you can get a band, if a band can endure for a while, that's the most valuable thing.
Interviewer: That's awesome.
John: You can get popped with this hype, come and go super quick.
Interviewer: Right, and you're just gone, but that's really great.
Interviewer: If people want to find out more about John Longstreth, and want to ask John Longstreth questions, and keep up with John Longstreth news. How do they do that?
Interviewer: Jesus. We can't say penis on the podcast.
Interviewer: Just did. Obviously, I believe it's Origin Band, right?
John: Origin Band, Facebook.
Interviewer: You have an Instagram now?
John: I do have an Instagram now, but I don't know how, how do you get that information out?
Interviewer: Search for John Longstreth on Instagram, you might find him.
John: Yeah, you'll find me. I'm staring at a cup of coffee, which is funny.
Interviewer: More than likely Origin Band on Facebook.
John: Longstreth John.
Interviewer: There it is. Awesome.
Interviewer: Well, I'm assuming if somebody just Googles John Longstreth could easily-
John: Yeah. You can just google my name. I usually have the front page of google.
Interviewer: Yeah, you totally do.
John: I don't know if I still-
Interviewer: At all times, no matter what you search.
Interviewer: Yeah. Always. It doesn't matter what it is. You're there.
John: It's a funny thin, because where do I get your music, or how do I listen? A lot of people, you know what it's like when you're talking to people that don't really know what you do. What do you do? I'm in a band. I want to hear your music.
Interviewer: No you don't.
Interviewer: You guys like the Beatles?
John: Where do you guys play?
John: At places. Well, how can I hear your stuff? I guess you could just google my name. What? Did you just say that?
Interviewer: Well, it works.
Interviewer: When I'm looking to show people how crazy talented you are, because-
John: Oh, stop.
Interviewer: Well, you can't be humble about this.
Interviewer: It's the truth.
Interviewer: You're crazy talented. I just YouTube you, because there's a lot of drum magazine videos out there.
Interviewer: A lot of live video.
Interviewer: Yeah, and you can just, and it's usually behind the drum set. Just see you-
John: Sick Drummer. Check out Sick Drummer. Ian over at Sick Drummer has been very, very good to me. Ian and Antoine, and they've always been good about putting me up on their page and all that, so that's great. Check out any drummer actually. Go to Sick Drummer, because they're a great bunch of people, that just they want to push that. They want to show the world what these musicians are capable of.
Interviewer: That's awesome.
John: That's the thing. A lot of these guys, it's not easy stuff to say on any instrument, but you get a lot of people that sounds like a bunch of dogs barking. Obviously, they're really talented. Death metal's like porn. Kind of.
Interviewer: How so?
Interviewer: I like that. Please elaborate.
John: How so? Take a death metal musician, as good and as talented as he is, and as capable as he might be of playing in a rock band or a country band, and see if that rock band or country band want to take him on, just because of the fact that he's done death metal. You're aware it gets strange like that. You're skewed.
Interviewer: You're saying-
John: Does anybody really want to wash Sasha Gray on [SBU 00:50:28] or whatever?
Interviewer: Right. No. Of course. They just want to see her in porn.
Interviewer: I don't know. I'd like to see her in [SBU 00:50:34]. I'm curious [crosstalk 00:50:36]
John: I know that she was on some primetime TV.
Interviewer: I understand the parallel you're making.
Interviewer: You think death metal is this taint? A death metal drummer-
Interviewer: Yeah. There's a stigma to it.
John: [inaudible 00:50:49]
Interviewer: Interesting. Well, great. We'll end that on a high note [crosstalk 00:50:54] Cool man. Well, thanks for joining us.
John: Thanks for having me.
Interviewer: Can't wait for the new record.
Interviewer: Yeah. I'm looking forward to the new Origin album, I'm looking forward to everything that you're putting out in the future man, and thanks for coming to HQ, and joining us at our awesome facility.
John: Thanks for having me. It's awesome. What you guys are doing here is fucking great, and you made the Origin album. That was another thing I wanted to actually touch on, is that the albums are never fast as the live shows, but now the album is as fast as the live show, because we had so much Death Wish Coffee in the studio.
Interviewer: You hear it here. That's awesome.
Interviewer: There it is. You want to be death metal drummer drink Death Wish Coffee.
Interviewer: Thanks man.
John: Thank you guys.