ED WARBY (Hail of Bullets) – A lifelong desire to hit things
- by Rune Grande
- Posted on 13-03-2013
Ed Warby is the former drummer of Gorefest and Ayeron. He is currently in Hail of Bullets along with the former Pestilence vocalist Martin van Drunen. Ed has been involved in a number of other bands, and he has at least 25 releases to his credit. Here is Ed Warby and his contribution to The Beast Blast Series.
What is the force behind you being a drummer, that is, what keeps you going?
Passion, drive, and a lifelong desire to hit things!
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?
Groove, hands down. A drummer without groove is just playing dead notes, and unfortunately in modern metal there’s a lot of drummers that have insane technique but no groove. A notable exception is the brilliant Mario Duplantier of Gojira who has both chops and groove in abundance.
Of course you need a good technique and I love it when a drummer plays a relatively simple beat but you can hear he has more technical baggage.
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?
KISS’ Peter Criss is the reason I started drumming, but Cozy Powell had the biggest influence on my playing and set-up. I even tried playing with the same enormous sticks he used, although I was half his size… he is no longer with us, but if I had the chance I’d just want to say "thanks for showing the way". I did stop using the same sticks as I kept breaking all my cymbals, nowadays I use a "modest" 7B (which is still the size of a small tree)
Which is best while rehearsing alone: systematic progress or full improvisation?
I never rehearse alone due to lack of time and space. My drumkit is in storage with the rest of the HoB gear and I only play whenever we do a show or record an album. I did rehearse together with current 11th Hour drummer Dirk Bruinenberg for a few years when we had a rehearsal room together and back then we found systematic progress to be the best approach.
Do you have any "core rehearsal tips" that have given you a lot of progress in your drumming?
I’m afraid not, mostly I just sit and play although warming up has become more important to me as my bones and muscles get stiffer with age (I’m going on 45 and while I’m still in good shape I can feel like a gang of football hooligans beat me up after a show if I didn’t warm up properly)
What is important for you while rehearsing new songs/riffs with your band? Is there something in particular you do or listen for?
I write most of the riffs for Hail Of Bullets, so those are usually tailor made to play drums to already. Song structure is the most important to me as it tells me what to do where, when to be more flash or when to pull back to make room for the vocals, the song is king when it comes to arranging the drumparts.
What is, in your opinion, the biggest challenges for extreme drummers (or, generally speaking, drummers), and what can you do to work them out?
I don’t consider myself an extreme drummer, my values are decidedly old school and as such I don’t encounter the "I must be able to play 240 bpms" challenges that most modern drummers do. It doesn’t interest me enough to make it into a challenge for myself either.
For me the biggest challenge is to deliver a good quality performance in less than ideal circumstances at festivals or loaded multi-band bills. Getting a rental kit playable and sounding good in a 20 minute change-over can be quite a challenge in that respect.
Wrists or fingers? Heel up or down? Why?
Both, fingers on the right for the fast ride-patterns, wrist on the left for those deadly snare-blows (making a broad generalisation here). And absolutely heel up, I believe in kicking the bassdrum as hard as possible (no triggers, ever) and the only way you can get that power is heel up.
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?
When I started yes, although I didn’t really see it as rehearsing, or as hard work. I loved metal, I loved drumming, and I just taught myself how to play while having fun. Quitting has never been an option, although I did lose my enthusiasm for music in general after Gorefest broke up in 1998. Fortunately it came back with a vengeance after a few dry years.
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?
100% concentrated, and usually completely oblivious to what’s going on around me. Afterwards the other guys will go "did you see that girl on the left?" or something like that and I’ll be "errrr… no?". Of course when playing to an enthusiastic crowd the energy always comes across, and it makes me work harder subconsciously.
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?
Very expensive. A drumkit costs a small fortune of course, but then there’s also heads, cymbals, sticks… nowadays I’m fortunate enough to be endorsed in most of these areas, but when I started out it was difficult to keep buying new sticks every week while the guitarist maybe changed strings once a month. And breaking a cymbal meant quite a financial setback as well, provided it wasn’t covered by warranty.
Apart from the material requirements I think you need to be inventive and maybe a little crazy to be a good metal drummer, having a surplus of energy and willpower doesn’t hurt either.
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?
14", anything smaller throws me off completely. For recording I use a bronze snare, but it’s too heavy to take on the road so in live situations I tend to use a steel one. Not a big fan of wood for metal drumming.
What kind of pedal(s) do you use? And which "settings" fits your style the best?
I use a Pearl Eliminator twin pedal with the heel plate set to "light", black cam, medium spring tension, and the beater just a little closer than the default setting, otherwise pretty standard.
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.
How about Ronnie Bergerstål from Grave? Hard hitting, "real" drummer which is rare in these trigger-dominated times.