ALEXISONFIRE recently hit the UK on a headline tour, the last here for their current album Old Crows / Young Cardinals, so we took the opportunity to grab 15 mins with drummer Jordan Hastings before they headed back towards their native Canada, to find out a little more about what makes him tick and his drumming career for the latest in our Gear Nerd series.
Roadrunner: Where drums the first instrument you ever played?
Jordan Hastings: No, I started playing guitar actually. Funny story- my guitar teacher hit on my mum, so I quit! [Laughs]
RR: [Laughs] How old were you?
JH: Probably like eight, eight or nine… He hit on my mum and I was like “I’m not going back to him! Fuck that guy!” and a year later my mum had a friend of hers who as a drum teacher so I just went to him- I guess I was about ten or eleven when I started that- and after that I was like “AH! This is way better than guitar!” Guitar is easy, I think… Drums are more fun.
RR: So when did you get your first kit?
JH: I guess I was probably thirteen, yeah I would’ve been about thirteen. I got it for my birthday; my thirteenth birthday I’m pretty sure. It was a shitty old Tama Swing Star from like the eighties. It was a piece of crap but it got the job done for a long time!
RR: So you mentioned you had lessons. Did you have lessons for a long time?
JH: Yeah, I took lessons for probably… I would say like seven of eight years, yeah.
RR: Do you think that really helped?
JH: Yeah, it defiantly helped. There are certain things that I use now and certain things that I don’t from the lessons- like I don’t write music anymore. Its one of those thing like I’m not gonna sit there and write an entire drum score ‘cause its pointless but figuring out certain things, it still helps ‘cause I can still read it, but learning rudiments and things like that defiantly helped.
RR: So when you were at home and you were practicing, what bands were you trying to mimic; which drummers were inspiring you?
JH: Erm, I would say Dave Abbruzzese from Pearl Jam- he was on the ‘Verses’ record- he was a big one. Sean Kinney from Alice In Chains is really good too and obviously John Bonham… yeah probably missing somebody… Oh I really like Jimmy Chamberlin formerly of the Smashing Pumpkins, he’s a really good drummer.
RR: You a bit of a grunge freak then?
JH: Oh yeah! As soon as I got to high school, that’s when I started to get into the heavy stuff.
RR: Were there any other styles of music other than grunge and the heavy side of things that you feel have influenced your drumming?
JH: I was in a jazz band in high school and that defiantly did influence some of my drumming for sure. I did that for like two years and then it got really boring, and we started playing these horrible songs that I just didn’t wanna play [Laughs] like Kenny Rogers and stuff like that and I was like “Alright, this is not a jazz band anymore! I’m done” [Laughs]
RR: Are there any contemporary drummers whom you’re really admiring at the moment? Or any new drummers coming through in new bands who are impressing you?
JH: You know who’s really good- the drummer from The Bronx. I really like him. He’s got some cool like syncopated things that he throws in here and there; I really like that. Then there’s the obvious ones like- well for me it would be obvious- George Rebelo from Hot Water Music who plays for Against Me now. I used to listen to his shit back in High School and lose my mind ‘cause he was such a technical, cool, drummer. He’s a nice guy too; I’ve met him and he’s pretty cool.
RR: So when you think back to when you’re a kid, you playing at home and you’re having lessons, what was the first band that you played in? What did they sound like? How old were you?
JH: It was called [Laughs] The band was called “Gr