Gary Wiseman Interview – by Zel Kaute and Travis Marc – 2012.
Gary, let’s start at the beginning, tell us a bit about how your interest in drumming began and how old you were when you decided that drumming/music is what you wanted to do as your career?
I was 13 and my best friend and I decided we were going to start a band with one of us on guitar and one on drums – he had a guitar he could borrow so I had to play drums! I started begging my mum to get me a drumset, but she wouldn’t until I joined the school band. I relented and she bought me a drumkit for Christmas, I ended up being in bands all throughout high-school, symphonic band, marching band, jazz band, and obviously alongside this I was also in punk rock bands. My friend and I actually stayed in a band together until we were 21 then when we went off to college we weren’t really doing much (I was also only going to college because I kinda had to and didn’t know what else I wanted to do), so when my friends in Bowling for Soup asked me to play drums after their drummer quit I said yes. I dropped out of school for a semester thinking that maybe it would only be for a few months but here we are, luckily the band took off and I didn’t have to go back to school.
Are you self taught or did you have any lessons, in addition what is your opinion on drum tuition?
I’m pretty much self taught. In school bands we’d have stuff like rudiments lessons but I never had actual drum-set lessons, I just learned it by watching people and trying to figure it out. I’m a bit rusty on rudiments now, but it’s definitely a good foundation in drumming. You use them even when you’re not thinking about it -they just fit naturally into playing.
And practice, do you have any particular practice routine and do you find anytime to practice while on the road?
I’m really bad about that, other than tapping on my legs or whatever! I don’t really warm up either. We’re kind of a band that is all fun and not taking anything to serious. Instead of having a proper warm up, we just get in the mood by having a drink and joking around with each other.
Have you got any type of warm up routines that you like to do before a show?
I used to in marching band, I know the benefits of it, but I just don’t do it. It’s like eating your greens or working out – I don’t do that everyday either.
Who are your influences?
I grew up listening to punk rock bands. Everyone else was all about drummers like Tommy Lee but I was into Bill Stevenson from The Descendents and George Hurley from Fire Hose – they are two of my biggest heroes. At the time everyone was playing massive 15 piece drumkits, but these guys were playing a four-piece drumkit and it still sounded awesome. I think if you can do more with less, that’s a big idea for me.
How does the writing process within BFS work?
Usually Jaret comes in and has an idea of a verse or a chorus, then we all just add to the idea. We’ve being doing this for years now (13 years for me) so we have a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen once the basics are there. The song-writing process (apart from maybe lyrics) typically takes about 5 minutes- we work pretty fast. Sometimes he’ll have lyrics written but no guitar, so we’ll just start messing around to see if we come up with something cool. There’s not really any formulated process, we’re not reinventing the wheel or anything but our sound is our sound.
Are you interested in other musical ventures with your drumming?
I’m definitely happy where I am. My other band in school was more musical and less straight up rock and roll and I do kind of miss that sometimes, but I’m getting to play drums for a living so I cant really complain. Bowling for Soup keeps us completely busy, and when we go home we want to see our families. At the same time there is a creative side then still drives you, I’m thinking about starting up a local band in my hometown to have some fun.
How did the UK October tour go and what were the highlights?
Manchester is always one of the best shows of our tour. Glasgow was incredible. We always tend to get sick over here, maybe coz we tour in October or whatever, but during that hour and a half on stage the adrenaline kicks in and you just don’t feel it anymore.
What has been the most important piece of advice you have ever received in regards to your drumming?
Have fun. You’re not going to get to do this forever. I’ve seen guys get into fights about a little mistake made onstage because they take themselves too seriously, but no one else has noticed apart from them. Just make fun of each other and enjoy it,
Be in a band with people that you like, because if the band gets busy and successful you are going to be in very awkward situations in small and confined places and its not going to last if you don’t like each other.
For more information on Gary or ‘Bowling For Soup’ please visit – www.bowlingforsoup.com