Monday, March 21, 2016

Volume 16 - Opus

Volume 16 - Christian F. Lawrence (OPUS)

Alright my TC family, 
listen up! it's about to get LOUD...
Bringing some of the heavy stuff your way this week.
It's good and the kat holding down, knows what he's doing. There's no fakin' the funk (i know..he's not playing funk know what I mean.)
Make no mistake, this isn't just some bash and crash player. He understands his role and what it means to be a musician in this world. Full of life and personality and also a guy who is trying to help other drummers, through technology. This is the kinda guy, who is the reason why I chose to do this blog. You just don't hear a lot about players in this genre. There is always something to learn from everyone and every style. Ladies and Gentleman, OPUS is in the building and he is Talkin' Chop.

Name or Stage Name: OPUS

Where are you from? Originally Rome,Italy now considered from New Haven, CT.

How long have you been playing? I've been playing since I was 11 years old so close to or around 3 decades. 

What is or are your main genre of playing? Heavy Metal / Rock but pretty much anything... I started in a punk band like mostly everyone I think who starts playing drums, lol... But I love it all. I'm a hard hitter though & like challenges. 

How did you get where you are now? A lot of hard work, persistence, & determination. Practice! Practice!! Practice!!! I still need more practice! Lol.. Also by being personable & networking with people, unfortunately a lot of the music business is very true when they say "it's who you know." Talent is one thing but you need the know how to push talent. 

What are your goals, short & long term? 
My goals have always been to just be respected as an artist & do what is in my heart & what I love to do which is entertain. Long term of course everyone says to take over the world or be famous because honestly anyone who is in this biz & says they don't want to be in just being silly, realistically I'll gladly take it if it comes but really it's all about the music! Do what you love because you love doing it or don't do it at all. I don't know anything else, this has consumed me since I was very young. It's either in your blood or not. I couldn't flip burgers or cut hair, I am a drummer but also a song writer & a musician as well. 

Artists you would like to play for? 
Black Sabbath & Metallica because I know literally every single song by both bands & could easily just step in & play a full set tomorrow with out any practice, lol... But besides that I've always loved some newer bands from our area like Hatebreed, I could kill that shit. Also Overkill... Soulfly... I actually fill in on drums once and a while for Marc Rizzo (guitarist of Soulfly) for his solo band so it would make sense.
List some of your accomplishments: I played Woodstock '99 on the emerging artist stage right before Limp Bizkit, won the 1st annual John Lennon Song Writing Contest, performed live on USA networks Farmclub TV show, was in a movie with James FrancoGene Simmons on VH1 called "At any cost", played as touring drummer for platinum selling 80's LA hair rockers Bullet Boys, opened for Rage Against The Machine at my hometown coliseum, toured the US relentlessly, & much more! 

Tell us about you band, Dead By Wednesday... 
DEAD BY WEDNESDAY's fourth release in 2014 and newest CD is a short but sweet five song powerhouse EP entitled "Death of the Rockstar" that leaves you wanting more. It's in one sense, the death of one long chapter of the band's history due to the loss of long-time guitarist Ross Ragusa (who is still playing on this CD), but is also the rebirth of a hardworking, independent metal band that has morphed into a "real" unstoppable international act. A band that can be put up on the same stages with any of the top metal contenders "of the now." Throughout the years they have toured relentlessly, and in doing so have found their own sound and style, creating a fierce loyal fan base along the way. Now, with all the right members in place, they have all the pistons of this metal turbo engine running full throttle, and are without a doubt a serious force to be reckoned with. The Death of the Rockstar is also a metaphor for the dying music industry of today. This is not in regards to the art or creation of music by our fellow musicians, (even though we do feel it’s slightly over saturated), but rather the negative impact that the corporate politics involved has had on the current world affairs.

How would you describe the dynamics of being in Dead By Wednesday? It's very cool, we all want the same thing & have a common goal so it works well. There isn't a lot of arguing. Give and take & willingness to take advice is key in a team. Control freaks & egos have to go out the window for bands to really succeed. 

"THE DARKEST OF ANGELS" Avail. Summer 2016

Do you play any other instruments? Yes, I play guitar & sing & actually write for a lot of the bands I play for as well as do a solo acoustic project on my own as well sort of like a singer-song writer type thing. I dabble in piano as well. 

What are your touring experiences, if any? I travel & tour all the time. 

Describe your current set up & gear - heads and sticks included and why you choose these items? I have a standard sized 4 piece hand crafted custom flat black drum set called HM drums (short for heavy metal drums) which is a small indie drum company from CT. who endorsed me (, I use & endorse Sabian cymbals, Vic Firth 55A sticks, & crime limited edition Iron Cobra / demon speed hybrid pedals, I like & play AquarianEvans heads usually, only. 

Do you have multiple kits and snares? I have a small turquoise Pork Pie jazz kit, a misty crime Tama 5 piece old school rock star & I'm in the process of buying a clear high end limited edition Tama set as well. 

Do you have a preference for shell types? I love birch shells for sure 

A number of players have a "Dream Kit" what about you? I am in the process of buying my dream kit now ;)

How do you describe your drumming style? Hard hitting & aggressive but also in the pocket & very groovy.

Why the drums? Because it was the only instrument my partners didn't want me to play. Haha... They're loud & bad ass! They picked me, I didn't pick them. 

If you weren’t playing drums, what would you be doing? I'd be a porn star but I think my dick isn't big enough for that. 

How has drumming impacted or changed your life? It gave me a goal early on in life and a path that I never strayed from so through out my youth I had a focus which allowed me to avoid a lot of stuff that life throws at you that can distract and take you down. A lot of my friends got hooked on drugs & some have even passes because of it. Even though drugs sometimes come along with the whole idea of rock n roll, it actually worked opposite for me. I always say it sort of "saved my life" because while others where trying crack, pills, heroin, etc in my town, I was in my room addicted to practicing my instrument. 

What's it like being a "Drummer Dad"?
It's amazing to be a new dad. It's probably one of the best things in the world honestly. Everyone always says you don't know life or true love until you have a child and I never fully understood that until now. It's very true. I'd do anything for him & he can do whatever he wants for a living. He's already messing around on the drum kit. I even built him a small set up with some left over Pork Pie drum parts I had but I will fully support him in any field even if it's not music unlike what I had as a kid. It used to be music 1st everything 2nd, now music is still up there but it flip flopped & he is first & music is second even though I'm very active and still tour and stuff. I just either take him with me or keep it to tours or fests that are worth while to be away from him. Anything that isn't worth while I just don't do. And by worth while I just mean either playing in front of a lot of people, opening for bigger bands or getting paid well. I've played every shit hole across the country for $50. I don't need to do that any longer really though I would if I had too still if I was already out on the road & had a choice of playing for something or a night off, feel me?? 
Opus & Orion 

Is the music business your career? Yes, the music business is my career. But the days of just being super successful in just one major band are pretty much gone. 
There will never be another Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath, super groups are a thing of the past due to the music industry changing, downloading, social media, etc which waters down, diluted, & over saturated music & musicians. Everyone thinks they can just pick up a home recording system & become a "producer" or whatever. You have to learn how to hustle now a days & work many different angles with in the music business. So like for instance for me... I play drums in DBW as my main original band but I also moon light sometimes as a touring drummer when not busy with projects like Marc Rizzo of Soulfly & his solo band, a Black Sabbath tribute called Earth, etc. and like I said, I also do the whole singer songwriter cover/original thing too that can play anywhere even happy hours for decent pay. Plus I also help promote & book shows, work with a rock n roll clothing line, sometimes help out an indie record label with some work, etc etc. but all with in the music business still. Just all different stuff which ads up. 

Are you involved in the local music scene in your hometown? Yes, I'm very heavily involved in the local music scene back home. In fact, for years & years on & off, I've been running shows & showcases at various places that allows bands to play & get noticed by others & more importantly all come together & have some fun! We have a thriving music scene in CT., though small very cool. A lot of great talent & bands from CT. 

How would you characterize the current state of the local music scene in New Haven? I think I pretty much touched on this above but basically New Haven is small but a very thriving city & music scene. There are a lot of very talented musicians & people here who get over looked a lot by the two major cities that we are between being Boston & NYC. It's getting more recognition lately being that a bunch of artists & bands are starting to pop for CT. finally. We stick together & support each other & that's how it works.

Name 5 of your drumming influences? why? John Bohnam for his ever steady back beat pocket groove, Stewart Copeland for his unique approach to playing & cymbal work, Dave Lombardo for his natural feet speed & finesse, Vinnie Paul for his groove & power, Tommy Lee for his flashy attitude & showmanship. 

Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding? All concerts make me want to immediately play, haha.. But probably KISS back in the late 80's or even early Van Halen too!

How much time do you practice? Not enough. I should def practice way more but honestly probably about three long times a week & sometimes I get on a kick where I do at least an hour to two a day for a bit then fall off because I have so much other crap to do as well to bring my drumming into the light of others which also takes time. I wish I had someone doing all that other shit for me so I can just focus on playing drums & bettering myself actually. 

Do you concentrate on Chops or Grooves? I think it's best to be well rounded at everything so I concentrate on both & even more. 

Describe your current gig(s): I play in Dead By Wednesday, Marc Rizzo of Soulfly (solo band), Opus (of DBW acoustic), Earth (Tribute to Black Sabbath), & that's pretty much it for now.

Do you record drum videos of yourself? why? how has it helped you? I have not as much as I should. I have  would like to actually record a few play through videos of some of the songs for our new album coming out May 20th. It does help to watch yourself though. Kind of like what football players do with three games. 

You have a New App out, tell us more about it: EZTrigger is a one of a kind, user friendly app that turns your iOS device (iPhone models 4, 5, 6 or iPad) into a single-channel drum module, allowing you to trigger a high definition bass drum sample from an acoustic kit in real time. No more bulky brains or expensive rack systems needed! EZTrigger is a great way to give your bass drum a boost in the mix without the hassle of micing or a setting up other hardware. Just plug a standard drum trigger into the phone through a guitar interface such as IK Multimedia's iRig 2 and play through a PA, choosing from over 30 great bass drum samples.
* Made for live performance
* Works with standard piezo drum triggers
* Made especially for the iRig 2 guitar interface (works with original iRig as well)
* High quality 44.1khz bass drum samples for a range of rock and other styles
* Simple setup in seconds
This revolutionary app for drummers is already out and available now for download via the iTunes App store for just $9.99. Watch a demo at

What was your reason for creating this? It was literally created out of the want & need for myself. I'm not a super "techy" person & don't like traveling with a ton of bulky gear as it is being a drummer with a ton of stuff so I wanted to create something completely easy for drummers to use if you wanted to ever try triggering your bass drum. 

Have there been any challenges as an Tech Entrepreneur?  Well, it's my idea but my partner Ralph Seaman is the actual programmer. I'm the mouth & face of the product. A good way to put it is my name is on the marquee & he is the man behind the curtain per say. The most challenge is getting it out there & spreading the word. The visibility & marketing is the toughest part now that it's done, out & available.

Do you prefer studio sessions, local live gigs or touring? I love it  but probably my favorite part of playing music is the creation process & recording. I love to hear what the final product sounds like. Of course, playing live to a good active crowd is always a good rush too! 

Do you prefer being in a band as an artist? Yeah, I always liked the brotherhood of being in a band. It can be a pain in the ass sometimes because your sort of married to a few dudes in a weird sense but it's always good to have others with the same goal in mind rocking out. I will say though from sometimes performing solo that there is a lot more space in the vehicle & money to go around when there's less mouths to feed though, haha... 

Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us? Well playing Woodstock '99 in my underwear in front of 50K people was pretty interesting I would say, lol... There's plenty of others but too many to list. My heavy metal band played a fan/friends wedding once. I got double teamed at a show in Flint, MI. once too, haha... The list goes on & on!! 

What do you want your legacy to be?
As far as my legacy, I keep it pretty simple... I just want to be known as a talented & respected artist not only for my music but for my personality & work ethic. I don't need to be famous, though I would take it if it happened and anyone in the music biz who claims other wise is a liar, haha.. But really I'm very happy and content with being a house hold name or very popular (instead of famous), & more respected then anything else. I don't need to be rich, I just want to continue to make an honest living for my family playing & involved in music. Let's keep it simple. Less is more. No stress either. But again, I won't turn anything away that happens. I would like to leave a legacy more so for Orion. Orion is my sons name. Yes, named after Metallica's song which was blasted during his birth in the hospital for real but also for the astrological meaning of Orion's Belt. 

What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there? Never give up, never give in, stay with it if this is what you think you want to do but never do it for any reason but for yourself & the love of it. There is no golden nugget at the end of the road. It's a long hard road to get to any significant point in the music business but it can be accomplished with a lot of perseverance & time & practice. 

Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s??? Yoda has it right... "Do or do not, there is not try!" Music is either in your blood or it's not. If you aren't sure just stop so you can make room for the kid who is dead set on becoming a rock star. There are already too many crappy artists out there. But if you have that itch to do it for real... I say go for it and never look back! 


Heavy huh? But good.
Big Thanks 2 OPUS for giving us a glimpse in to his world. I expect to see more from this kat in his career. 
So make sure you support him and his band Dead By Wednesday #IndieMusicMatters #DrummersSupportDrummers
drop by his Soc. Media and say "Hello", he won't bite.

If you would like to be interviewed by Talkin' Chop
please contact DeHaven: 
Thank you again for taking the time to read my blog!

I'm Out!

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