Brooks Wackerman says that his current stint as the drummer in AVENGED SEVENFOLD is “very fulfilling,” explaining that he “couldn’t ask for a better gig to express” himself.
In 2015, Wackerman officially replaced Arin Ilejay, who was the group’s first full-time drummer after the death of founding member Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan in 2009.
During an October 19 event at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, Wackerman said that AVENGED SEVENFOLD‘s musical diversity was one of the things that initially drew him to the band.
“Growing up in a musical family where I was exposed to jazz, reggae, rock, metal, I really gravitated toward what these guys were doing,” he said. “I appreciated the musicality and just where they would go. The deeper I went into their catalog, the more appreciative I became, because I was very familiar with the band, but once I started doing my homework, I’m like, ‘Okay, wow, I want to be a part of this.’ As a drummer, you couldn’t ask for a better gig to express yourself. Everything that I studied growing up, I’m now able to apply in this band, which is very fulfilling as a musician.”
Asked if he feels like part of the band, Brooks responded: “Yes. Not only they were trying to find a drummer, but also a songwriter as well, which was another attraction. And just how democratic this band is. I mean, I’ve worked with amazing songwriters and musicians in my past, but never have I been part of an alliance like this where everyone has your back, and [is] just very encouraging. We would do take after take on [AVENGED SEVENFOLD‘s latest album] ‘The Stage’, and Matt [singer M. Shadows] or Brian [guitarist Synyster Gates] would say, You know, let’s think outside the box. Do something better. You can do better.’ I’ve never been pushed that way before, and that was amazing.”
Gates also praised Wackerman‘s contributions to AVENGED SEVENFOLD, saying: “It’s incredible — it’s so multi-dimensional, what involves ‘success’ in a band. It’s not just being able to write a successful song for that point in time, or that place in time; it’s not about just getting along; it’s about making the right decisions; it’s about family, it’s extended family — we love his wife and his twin boys. Everybody gets along; it’s truly a family. We really did get unbelievably lucky.
“You can say everything has to be perfect across the board, but it never really works out that way, and it actually did for us, so we really lucked out,” he continued. “There’s proof of concept on the record — I mean, what this fucking guy does, from actual pace to the type of groove he’s going to lay down. It’s not just about playing fast and fucking crazy; it’s about complementing the song; it’s about playing the classic Ringo Starr orchestral approach to playing, as well as well as being able to fucking go off when the energy calls for it, and the man can do that and more.”
M. Shadows concurred, saying: “We were very aware of his past records, and we would watch him every day on Warped Tour when we were on the Kevin Says stage and BAD RELIGION was playing. We were so excited that BAD RELIGION had picked up Brooks, because we were big fans of his INFECTIOUS GROOVES records.
“When we made the decision that we needed to move on from Arin, our previous drummer, we had a long talk about it, because we knew it would be hard on the fans, and you know how that kind of stuff goes out into the world: ‘Oh, they can’t keep a drummer; they must be impossible to deal with.’ But we just knew musically it was the right choice. And we’d known him for a long time in passing — through bands, and seeing him at shows — and we knew that the palette he was going to be able to pull from, everything he had grown up doing, we knew we wanted. And we knew that if we brought him in the band, and he wanted to be in the band, that we weren’t going to bring him in and tell him what to do. It was going to be more like, ‘Hey, are we excited about doing something crazy? Let’s do something crazy.’ He was there every day writing with us, and yeah, we were pushing him, because we wanted him to know, like, ‘Do what you do. Be Brooks Wackerman. Be the greatest drummer that we feel [he is] on the planet.’ He’s an amazing drummer; he’s an amazing person; an amazing songwriter. So, we made the right choice. Maybe it was lucky, but it took a long time for us to finally pull the trigger and do it, but [we are] so glad we did.”
AVENGED SEVENFOLD will release a “deluxe edition” of “The Stage” on December 15.
The band’s 2018 North American arena headlining tour will kick off January 12 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville with special guests BREAKING BENJAMIN and BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE. The trek will be North America’s introduction to the electrifying “Stage” spectacle that drew rave reviews in Europe.