STEVE FLYNN (Gnostic/Atheist) – Repetition, repetition, repetition!!

STEVE FLYNN (Gnostic/Atheist) – Repetition, repetition, repetition!!

Trommeslageren i GNOSTIC heter Steve Flynn og han er også kjent som skinnpisker i ATHEIST. Det var der hans kjente karriere som trommis begynte i 1984. Han hoppet av Atheist-toget i 1991/1992 og deretter gikk det 12 år uten at man hørte noe fra mannen. Men så, i 2005 dukker Steve opp i et nytt band kalt Gnostic og et drøyt år senere starter han opp Atheist igjen sammen med Shaefer og Choy. Vi tok tak i Steve og lurte på hva hans bidrag til vår Blast Beast Series var. Les hans svar her.


What is the force behind you being a drummer, that is, what keeps you going?

Quite simply, it's the love of playing, the energy I feel when I play.  I simply LOVE to play drums.  There is nothing more to it than that!!

You are playing in a genre where both technique and speed, together with groove, are important ingredients. What do you think is the most important of these?

I think the most important is the right combination of all of those.  Specifically, the most important aspect of playing is originality.  Einstein was famous for saying that he was never the brightest/smartest physicist of his time; he was simply one of the most creative!  I think that says a lot about my playing.  I am, by far, not the fastest, most complex, most groove-acious (not a real word), and I never will be.  However, in the spirit of Einstein, I do try to be creative in my approach to writing/arranging songs and drum lines

Which drummer has inspired you the most throughout the years, and what would you have said to him/her if you had the chance to meet him/her in person?

Neil Peart!!  I would simply say thank you! You changed my life!  I did nothing but emulate what he did, but I put it to death metal.  Any talent or genius ascribed to me goes directly to him.

Which is best while rehearsing alone: systematic progress or full improvisation?

Ha…the simple answer is both.  Systematic progress is great for working out / working on one specific skill.  Full improvisation is great for developing new skills/riffs/techniques approaches.  You really should always be experimenting both ways.


Do you have any "core rehearsal tips" that have given you a lot of progress in your drumming?

Repetition, repetition, repetition!!  Practice as much as possible with the band!!

What is important for you while rehearsing new songs/riffs with your band? Is there something in particular you do or listen for?

I tend to write most of my drum lines in my head when I'm away from the drums – walking down the street, in the shower, driving the car, whatever.  But while writing a new song, it's important to have good, clear recordings so you can hear the song in context – instead of in parts/pieces, as it is when you are writing.

What is, in your opinion, the biggest challenges for extreme drummers (or, generally speaking, drummers), and what can you do to work them out?

Consistency and stamina!!  Both are elements that come with practice and time – lots of repetition and rehearsal and focus on being consistent at all times.

Wrists or fingers? Heel up or down? Why?

Wrists AND fingers – depends on what I'm doing.  Heel up, and heel down – again, depending on what I'm doing.  The faster I play the lower my heel gets, though it never touches.

You must have rehearsed for an insane amount of hours to be as good a drummer as you are. Do you think it is worth it, and have you ever thought about quitting?

First, thank you so much for the compliment!!  I have played and do play a LOT.  We rehearse multiple times per week going over and over the same songs.  That's critical, and I think it's worth it – if you want to continue to grow and develop as a musician.  I think artists of all types should never be happy with where they are.  They should always be working to get better and better.

I've never thought about quitting the drums.  I will NEVER quit playing.  I LOVE to play.  However, I have thought about quitting the music business – and have (see Atheist 1992).  The music business is mostly horrible – with a few intensely bright moments!

While playing at a concert: are you 100 % concentrated about what you are doing, or do you notice some of the mood and energy among the audience?

It's both actually.  I am 100% concentrated on what I'm doing, but having done it for so long enables me to also pay attention to what's going on around us, to see what the crowd is doing, to soak up the atmosphere.  The crowd has a big impact on the bands.  If they're really intense, loud, and excited the bands respond in kind.


Is it expensive to become a drummer, and what does it take outside all that can be bought for money to become a clever and good drummer in extreme metal?

It's not too expensive to be a drummer.  It is to start – have to buy drums, cymbals, etc.  Outside of equipment, it just takes practice and creativity to become a cleaver and great drummer!!!

And then some about your equipment:

Which snare drum and configuration do you like the best? 12", 13" or 14"? And which material? Wood, steel, brass or bronze?

I have a Mapex all-birch drum kit.  I have a single 22" bass drum. 8" 10" 12" and 16" floor toms.  I have a 14"X5.5" birch snare (wood).  I keep it tuned really tight.  I also have a set of LP Timbales, wood block, cowbell.  I have 3 crash, 1 splash, 1 china, 1 ride, and of course hi-hats.  ALL are Sabian!!

What kind of pedal(s) do you use? And which "settings" fits your style the best?

I play DW 9000 double pedal.  I use the factory setting.  I Just opened the box and start playing!!!

As always, we are rounding off with you picking the next drummer in these series. Pick a drummer, and explain why he/she deserves (!) to be one of our Blast Beasts.
Her valgte Steve å ikke svare noe.