John Longstreth is the longtime drummer of Origin and currently plays in Gorguts as well. He is and has been in many bands over the course of his career and has pulled double duty on Gorguts’ North American tour with Origin. Recently, I had a chance to ask him a few questions about his career, among other things.
You can also catch him with Gorguts on the upcoming Decibel Magazine Tour with Carcass and The Black Dahlia Murder. You’ll see he’s a cool guy and had some cool answers for me as well. Enjoy!
Sean Harris: Hey John, thanks for taking the time and answering a few questions for us. What I’d like to ask first is what made you feel that you should release an instructional drum DVD?
John Longstreth: My pleasure! It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but had no idea HOW. It was really Rob (Shallcross), my manager, that dragged me out (kicking and screaming) of my comfort zone. He has done this in the past and knows what’s up so the intelligent person in me said “Follow this guy” and, here we are. Now I have all kinds of ideas for the future, but I can’t get too ahead of myself…yet.
Harris: Now you have an upcoming instructional drumming DVD coming out soon. What does it have to offer as opposed to other instructionals?
Longstreth: I would say it offers a very casual approach to what i do behind the kit. We really wanted to keep this down to what a lesson with me would be like. At the end of the day, I hope people watch the DVD, learn a little and get interested in personal lessons. I don’t like to take myself too seriously, so we tried to keep it fun and low brow, but shoot at Warehouse Studios in Vancouver to keep the quality up.
Harris: It has received some good feedback for the Indiegogo campaign. You reached your goal in time. Did you think it would be this successful, this quickly?
Longstreth: Of course not. I can be an awful pessimist with absolutely zero confidence at times…but in this specific occasion it worked! It shows that people DO care about independent musicians and are willing to support the underground. That is very encouraging. Helps a lot when you’ve been in this part of the business for 20 years.
Harris: Now, you toured with both Gorguts and Origin recently. Is there any added pressure with pulling double duty nightly and if so, how do you deal with it?
Longstreth: There is added pressure, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for my entire career. I saw Infectious Grooves open up for Suicidal Tendencies when I was young. It was both cool and strange to see the same vocalist and bassist on stage for both bands. I’ll be fighting for sleep and diet. I’m in the best physical shape of my life and I’m very much looking forward to it.
Harris: You’ve toured with many bands in your career. What is one band that you’ve never stood behind the kit for, that you would like to?
Longstreth: Zappa Plays Zappa.
Harris: Any drummers you really looked up to growing up or any bands that stand out as major influences for your drumming?
Longstreth: Nicko McBrain, Gene Hoglan, Dave Lombardo, Paul Bostaph, Brandon Thomas, Sean Reinert, Derek Roddy, Terry Bozzio, Dave Witte and all the bands they were in. This could go on for ages!
Harris: A death metal super group forms and you’re on drums. Who would be singing, playing guitar and playing bass in that band?
Longstreth: Colin Marston on bass, Sylvain Houde on vocals and the guy from Deathspell Omega on guitar. So if anyone can make that happen, look me up!
Harris: Pearl Drums seem to be a brand that is used by many reputable drummers. How does it play in your hands and have any other companies come to you with endorsements? What makes Pearl stand out?
Longstreth: I was talking to a couple of independent drum companies before I talked to Pearl and they are all really amazing. However, I had owned a Pearl kit in the past, it was a great kit, and I was really into the new stuff they were putting out. Luckily they seemed into me enough and I’m thankful. What makes Pearl stand out is that they were my favorite company from the get go and still are.
Harris: What’s the craziest fan interaction you have encountered?
Longstreth: There’s been some strange autographs. A guy offered his girlfriend to me once. One guy kept asking for a “gift” after the show and was very let down that I didn’t have anything to give him. There’s been a few bizarre interactions.
Harris: What’s the weirdest thing that has happened to you on stage?
Longstreth: Phil from Revocation was eating while standing side stage and stepped behind me while I was playing and gave me a fork full of Lo Mein. That’s more silly than strange…but I’d say that suffices for now.
Harris: Finally, when all is said and done, what do you want to be best known for — ability or the bands you’ve been in?
Longstreth: How about the ability to be in multiple bands? (Laughs) Versatility would be nice. Being progressive, independent, consistent. All those things that make musicians interesting without the fiery plane accident, drunk driving or overdosing.
Harris: Thanks so much for your time, John. Looking forward to the tour and DVD!
Longstreth: Thank you very much. Hope to see you on tour soon!
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