Thursday, December 19, 2013

Exorcism Number Sixteen: Steve Gennarelli

Hi! This interview is with Steve Gennarelli the drummer from brick mower! Steve is an all around rad person and an awesome, weird drummer to boot. He just got accepted to the Institute of Culinary Education (or...ICE!!!!) to become a baker/pastry chef. So... obvious bonus points because who the hell doesnt want cake and cookies in their life??

Anyway here is his interview. Enjoy! And thanks for reading. <3

1-When did you start playing drums? What made you pick drums? Do you play any other instruments?
I started playing in my elementary school band, but I don't think I actually touched a drum set until I was a teenager. It’s weird because I didn’t exactly pick drums, my dad had played them when he was a kid and my parents thought it would help me with school. It paid off because all my siblings had to do sports in high school, I got away with marching band. To be honest I wasn’t into it at first and complained a lot... I wanted to learn guitar but they thought that would only lead to me doing irresponsible things like playing in bands and living out of a car for weeks at a time instead of getting a career.

2-Talk about any other early bands that you were in before brick mower.
My first band was in 8th grade we just covered a couple blink-182 songs- still think that was my best one. After that I basically ran the gamut of suburban kid band genres - punk, ska, hardcore, weezer covers. I played in a reggae/punk band for a few years during college, probably not the best precursor to a band like brick mower, but luckily I loved enough of the same bands as Eric and Kristin that I could get it together.

3-How did you meet Eric and Kristin and what was it like joining a band that had already been in progress?
I had stupid luck and found Eric and Kristin on craigslist. I remember Eric sending me a link to their Myspace page and listening to Until It Hurts My Arm. Joining a band in progress was exactly what I wanted, I hadn't really been playing for the past year and I wanted to get right back into playing shows and start finally touring. 

4-What is the songwriting process like with mower?

We have a pretty simple dynamic. Eric and Kristin usually bring a song- or part of one- to practice and I come up with a drum part. Once we all kind of know what we're doing, we just play the song over and over again until it all falls into place. Then usually I’ll screw up some part of it and it’ll sound a lot better than what I came up with so I’ll just start doing that instead. It’s pretty much foolproof.

5- What is the recording process like with mower?

Almost all the songs we’ve done were live tracked. There’s one track on the new album we just recorded which was the first time we tracked everything separately. Otherwise we mainly stick to the 3 tries rule: if we cant get it in 3 tries, we put the song aside and try again later. It only takes a day or two for us to track most of an album. I know Eric and Kristin went really hard on the new tracks with mixing and over dubs. I haven’t gotten to hear any of it yet but even they’re psyched with the way it sounds.

6-What is you dream drum kit? Do you have any pet peeves with other drummers?
My dream drum kit weighs five pounds and folds up to fit in a backpack. Holy crap that would be awesome. No, I don’t really have any gear preferences, in fact if I had to buy a new kit tomorrow I have no idea what I’d look for. I put my drums through so much abuse anyway, I’d feel odd buying a nice one. So many pet peeves, I’d sound like a spazz if I listed all of them. The definite worst though is when drummers twirl their sticks between hits. I cringe every time I see it.

7-How do you feel touring affects a band musically and personally?
It definitely changed the way I looked at my function in a band. I try to look at whatever I come up with and make sure it’s what will compliment the band as a whole. It doesn’t pay to pull of a more complex fill or weird beat if it doesn’t match the rest of the song. Kind of like no one part should be pulling at too much of the attention.
And maybe it has to do with having to sit together in a car for hours upon hours, but you also learn how to get along with people. You put up with their bad days because they put up with yours - one of the best lessons I think someone can learn growing up. I honestly have no idea how people transition to adulthood without touring in a band. It became such a common thing to do so fast. My normal is weird.


8- What are your parents like? Do you have any siblings? Whats the deal with them?

My parents are your average conservative baby-boomer types. We disagree on a lot of stuff but we find ways to get along. I have an older brother and two older sisters, they all have their own families so that means I have a wealth of nieces and nephews to play Legos with on holidays. Their ages, names, and nicknames are as follows:
(6) Ryan “Hambone”
(5) Malena “Malenasaur”
(3) Nathan “Nasty Nate”
(2) Molly “Molly Kong”
(2) Izzy “Izzy”
(1) Lucy “Worm”

9-What made you want to be a musician instead of being a fan/spectator?

I’ve always had this thing where when I see people doing something cool, I’m never ok with just watching. Even now my apartment is filled with a bunch of unfinished projects, like the half chapter of the novel I’ve been writing for two years or the stand up act I never had the guts to try. I don’t know if it’s the best quality, but it definitely paid off with music. I remember going to my first shows at the Middletown Knights of Columbus and watching local bands for the first time. For a short, anti-social nerd with no friends, getting on that five inch high stage and playing to a bunch of awkward high school kids looked like the coolest thing in the world! I wanted nothing more than to play a show, then after that it was playing a basement, then playing out of state, going on tour, seeing the west coast, now I just really want to play another country. (Canada counts)

10-You just made the decision to start studying at a culinary institute for baking? How did that come about?

Well it was more like something I couldn’t avoid. I’ve always loved baking since I was a little kid and it just seemed like the right thing to pursue now. I’m really sick of working construction which I’ve been doing for the past year and a half, so I started looking at schools and everything just kind of fell into place, kind of like it was meant to be. So yeah, by this time next year I’ll be a pastry chef. It’s pretty cool to think about.

11-Any ghost stories?

Just one, I’m pretty sure you know it already too. One of our tours we were staying at this kind of creepy house. The friend putting us up said there were two empty bedrooms, one we could use and another one we should leave alone. Through a weird confusion involving a bunch of cats and people switching up their spots sleeping, I ended up sleeping in what I thought was the bedroom we were allowed to use. I ignored all creepy feelings and staring cats until I fell asleep.
I woke up to the bed shaking underneath me. It scared me awake and when I told everyone no one was as surprised because apparently everyone knew that room was haunted but me.
That’s the best I got. Kristin’s are so much better.

Thanks Steve! Also, I do remember that ghost story. (gulp)  
Check out the brick mower bandcamp here.

Happy holidays everyone. <3

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