Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Volume 72 - Yannick Sastre

Yannick Sastre


 Still hanging out in the beautiful country of France..via the internet, lol. This time choppin' it up with a kat who is doing some pretty wild stuff, on top of teaching and keeping busy as an A&R for a cymbal company and drumstick company. An avid promoter of drummers as well. It's always a good thing when you meet players who really enjoy their drum life.
I urge you to view the video from his project Orlando Furioso at the link the below. It is a very interesting collaboration. But before we get there let's Talk Chop with  Yannick Sastre.

Where are you from?
Bordeaux, France

How long have you been playing?
I play since 1981

What made you want to play drums?
The sound!! The look of a drum kit!

What are your main genres of playing?
Rock'n Roll, Hard Rock, Funky Music and Latin

What are your touring experiences, if any?
Yes..I did tour a lot with the baroque Opera named Orlando Furioso from 1996 to 2004 (8 to 10 to 12 drummers) and also with bands like Bad to the Bone (1993-1996), Barry Lyndon(1982-1987) and Sonic Temple (2001-2005).

So, did you enjoy touring?
Yes I did as it was not really some big tours very far and, so on, it was not over tiring.. We went on all borders states here and a little bit North. But, basically it was all around South West and deeper South around Spain. It was with really great audiences...and a great bunch of friends.

Describe your current set up & gear - heads and sticks...ect? 

I'm currently using a Custom Ludwig Classic Maple kit in 26"13"16" sizes and Vintage White Marine Pearl finish. All die cast hoops and custom teflon isolated screws inside shells for maximum resonance. I have more than 50 snares including Ludwig (of course), Pork Pie, Oriollo (from Serbia here) and Sonor. I also have a 2nd kit 3ply Walnut/Poplar/Walnut at recording Studio Chagneau (owned by Philippe Vian). I mod a lot of kits for drummers here. Currently I will receive some White Coated Attack drumheads from Cardinal Percussion (Mark Tirabassi is a REAL Pro) as I find these heads are the very top ( and the closest to Ludwig Weather Master models in fact). 

So, you are the A&R for Soultone Cymbals in Europe. How did get involved with the company to begin with?

Yes I was signed to Soultone Cymbals as an Endorser 3 years ago and then,step by step, I did purpose them (Europe & USA) to work with them. 

They accepted I am. It's a wonderful company with superb sounding cymbals. They help a LOT of drummer worldwide. 

I have a lot of Soultone cymbals here. My preference goes to Vintage '64s, Old K's Protos and Extreme models. I do my best and they are absolutely awesome with me and all French Artists here. I just opened Soultone France on Instagram.

I also distributed Pork Pie thru drumshop Inforythmie (1991-2001) and Ludwig (2001-2003) for France.

You also are working with Solobeat Drumsticks. What made you choose their sticks?
Yes that's right: I also work for Solobeat Drumsticks in Indonesia . They can custom make ANYTHING you can think about in terms of drumsticks. I got my own model with signature and logo. Balance and feel are amazing.

What do you look for in a new artists joining Soultone or Solobeat? and what are your responsibilities?
As for Soultone I have to make a first selection as of all inquiries I receive. The artist has to be really professional in his approach and he/she must have some pro filmed YT videos with pro sound as well as pro audio files to send and a very good exposure on social medias. Soultone's philosophy is to help all these up and coming drummers that are totally ignored by most others well known cymbals brands. As long as they present themselves in a professional way and gig/record regularly with Pro image and sound, that's good for us (Europe and USA). This is the original Iki Levy (Soultone founder and CEO) mantra. I like that. And, very important : nothing is free at Soultone Cymbals. Of course well seasoned Pros comes also and everybody gets the same price. No difference. This really did attract me. I like drummers and to help drummers be more professionals in their musical life/career.

About Solobeat it's the same. Soultone Artist Jim Marchuck introduced me to the brand. I asked Iwa Sumanto for some modified 2B's at the neck, a custom colour and lettering for my YT name (MrYann33) and my signature. They did it right away and sent. That was absolutely perfect. Design, balance and sound was exactly what I wanted so I went on with them. All was included, including shipping to my door, in the $7.50/$8 a pair. Unbeatable ! We have 3 woods choice: Acrazz Zapota (Indonesian Hickory), Maple and Oak at same price. Design possibilities are endless. 

Jonathan Haessler made a great demo here in France for us:

Those sticks are really really great. USA guys includes many drummers: Jim Marchuck (thanks !!), Scott Baughn, Kareem Hazeleyes Williams, Lucrecia T Doyle, Carlos Velasquez, Meech Dadrumma Cross, Rick Ayala, Robbie Hajdasz, Phil Galante, Donn Miller, Jason Jones, Charles Vaught, Terry Mc Gowan, Matt Bo many...

We have also in Mexico, Brasil, UK (Cats in Space drummer Steevi Bacon for example), Norway, Russia, Spain...
As of French guys we have: Geoffrey "Jock" Molas, Stephane HK, Recording Studio Chagneau, Jonathan Haessler, Oscar Horgue, Yves André Morelli, Francis Swing, Silas Bru Gaulot, Denis Cusmano, Calice Le Fèvre, Gerald "gdrumz" Darden.....I don't remember them all as too many here too.

Lots more to come as we got inquiries every day. Solobeat makes also stunning Deluxe premium leather black or two tone sticks bags and cymbals bags as well as multi coloured guitar straps. Great designed Cajons too.

How do you describe your drumming style?
I try to be very musical + efficient and "less is more" when needed (particularly in studio with Vian). Or very wild and out of control with Orlando Furioso. Tempo and sound are very very important for me. Technical side must be mastered. Also you need to really listen to what's going around you on instead of just listening to your drums. Try to be a composer on the drumkit not just a drummer.

Tell us about Orlando Furioso Experimental Opera:
Orlando Furioso was created around 1995 by Roland Bourbon,Michel Lecoeur and I. It's an organic crazy show including 8 to 10 to 12 drummers, 4 guitars, 4 basses, horns, saxes, classical singers, dancers, pneumatic hammers, saws, fires and everything you can imagine. Every show is rehearsed for about 15 days and won't be played again. I have a video demo that I will include here. That's totally crazy.

Orlando Furioso is a wild project. How did you guys put that together?
As I was heading Inforythmie Drums (1991-2001), Roland Bourbon came one day and bought a 18"12"14" used Sonor Phonic kit. Connection was very good with him. He came back around 8 months later -in 1995- a Tuesday morning, and did tell me : "You play with us on Saturday......wild show...1 rehearsal, because of drum battles and fires+grinders, on afternoon.....that's all...Orlando Furioso...6're in..bring your drumkit around 1pm."...WHAT ???? Well....I did go (had to be replaced at drumshop) was very impressive. I knew some of the players so...that was serious level. Lasted until 2006 I guess with some really incredible and unforgettable shows. Some were with/for disabled people and others with Classical dancers...Others with complete pipes players section from Bretagne... Amazing !! Here we are now as we first talked with Roland Bourbon about bringing it back on stage in April 2018. First signed (and paid) show is next September in Talence Peixotto Festival.

What projects are you working on now? Shows, Studio?
My actual serious project, beside the Orlano Furioso Opera, is Vian at recording Studio Chagneau with Philippe Vian (owner)
We make some "ungrounded in a good way & etheral music" (as Tommy Taylor would qualify it for "Ténèbres") that can also be melancholy (for "ABécédaire") and/or very upbeat as is Feletunken. The album project is well advanced as 5 to 6 tracks are recorded. Ph.Vian is on voices/words, synths, musical saw and mix, Pascal Rauzet on guitars, Yves Legharat is on bass and I'm on drums, background voices and mix. We'll have to decide as to go for a physical recorded support -as a CD- or simply digital high quality files in FLAC or Wave Audio to be available. Then, of course, we'll play those tracks live on stage.

How has drumming impacted or changed your life?
Drumming changed my whole life for sure. It's a real passion and I LOVE drummers, drums and drumming.

You are currently teaching drums, how is that going?
Teaching was a late experience for me as of 2001 and... I do it ever since on two schools here as well as in my own studio at home on Wednesday. I love to transmit knowledge in any form. Knowledge is intended to be shared.

How is the live music scene in your hometown?

Music scene is not bad here, we have a lot of bands and places to play. Unfortunately it's been run by a few corporate shitty guys that dictate their music tastes and I don't like that. I DON'T like that way of thinking. Everybody has the right to play their own music regardless of style. If it's Pro and serious then it's good for me.

With the corporate guys running the venues, is there a way for bands to work around it and get the exposure they deserve?
Yeah, there's still some as you can go your own way and organize your gigs. Plenty of other venues to be open for us/them with City Halls Cultural programs in so many places .

Name 5 of your drumming influences? why?

Only 5 is impossible..My drumming can be defined as many influences from Ron Tutt to Ian Paice to Buddy Rich to Alex Van Halen to Christain Vander. And to more contemporary guys like Vinnie Colaiuta, Manu KatchéBill Gibson, Max Weinberg, or Gergo Borlai.. I love all these guys' playing. They're technical, musical and play with lot of fire ..

Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding?

I must say Manu Katché and Vinnie Colaiuta on two phenomenal gigs here.. But also when I see Buddy or Christian or Tony or any great drummer on YT, I just GO and practice immediately.

How much time do you practice?

I try to practice every day at least 1 hour. When I can I do practice 2 or 2.5 hour. I divide one hour in 4x15mns and work only on things that I know can not play well. Always one hour on the pad. Lately I've been a lot in Afro Cuban drumming. I find it very difficult but amazingly interesting.

What types of things do you work on, in those sessions?

Rudiments, bass drum, musical fills related to a song and Jazz drive on cymbal. Also lots of metronome training.

Do you record drum videos of yourself? if so, how has it helped you?
I did some but not that much as I don't have the gear for. But now that Studio Chagneau has been appointed official Soultone Studio by Jereon Vandelft' Soultone Europe, we will do a lot! I have a YT channel.

Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us?
Yes..It was with Orlando Furioso at Les Sarabande de Boucau Fest. around 2003 or 2004. We did install all gear and stage in the forest and there was the audience transported by wood wagons (so there was a lot)...The stage was hidden in forest and you can imagine when all lights came in and drums battles :0) :0)) ...It was astounding and so funny to see their reactions!!!

What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there?
Words of wisdom are: There is NO secret(s). You have to practice and work hard on your musical skills and play a lot and meet different people. EVERY day. Be positive and then, things will start to look (very) good one day or another.

Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You's???

Yeah: thanks so much 200% to Soultone USA : Iki Levy, Laura and Tomer. Soultone Europe : Jeroen Vandelft. Solobeat Indonesia: Iwa Sumanto. Groove Juice as I'm also an Endorser of the Best cymbal cleaner available: Dave Stirewalt. Ludwig Europe: Guillaume F. Rochat for his help. Uli Salazar from Ludwig. Philippe Vian for the Vian project (Studio de Chagneau). Mark Tirabassi for Attack Drumheads (Cardinal Percussion). Vukan Karadzic (Oriollo Drums). Joe Perfito for the amazing quality cables (Tributaries Cables). Steevi Bacon (Cats on Space drummer. UK) Tommy Taylor (C.Cross, Eric Johnson) for all his advice and live chats.
Last but not least: I would like to point the great help from Ludwig Drums & Terry Bissette. This concerns the elaborating of a huge power kit in 28"14"18", and maybe 20" FT added, as for the Orlando Furioso Opera live on stage. These sizes (14x28" bass and 20" FTom) are not available as of Classic Maple regular production at Ludwig Factory. And the answer has been "No..sorry Yannick..That bass drum size is a Concert Bass Drum for us, it's not for drumset application and we don't produce a 20" Floor Tom as it's a Bass Drum". I was very disappointed and a friend adviced me to call Gretsch ....I did... But..... Terry did chime in and messaged me : "Okay Yannick, I saw that Orlando Furioso video... I'll work with you on this one...please let me know precise details and finish please"... Thanks so much to him for considering me. Thanks so much Ludwig Drums. Roland Bourbon and production staff were in heaven ;0)

And very important too: all French, Europe and USA drummers that trust and follow me.

#soultone #soultoneeurope #soultonefrance #solobeat #ludwig #oriollo #tributaries #mryann33 

Soultone France IG: 

Orlando Furioso will air live again in 2019. Ancien clip here: 

My YT channel with lots of snares tests and drums:

Well, there you have it. Yannick is doing some kool work in France I hope he continues in all of his endeavors. He's got a full plate but we drummers know how to multitask.
It's good to know that drummers in Europe have a good guy on their side. So, if you're looking for cymbals or sticks, contact Yannick.
Make sure everyone hooks up with Yannick on soc med. Let's keep these connections strong.
Thank You Yannick for sharing your drum life with us!

Any drummers out there that need some publicity?
Maybe your band is releasing a project or tour?
Maybe you're a teacher or a studio guy and you just want to add to your profile?
Hit me up and let's get you going with an interview.
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Friday, February 22, 2019

Volume 71 - Denis Cusumano

Denis Cusumano 

Hello my people! It's time to take a ride and visit the beautiful country of France. That's where we find a veteran in the game, getting his Blues groove on.
It's always kool getting to know some of our family around the world. As a fan of the blues I was def. interested to see what is happening over there. What I found was a drummer and his band, already making strides on the circuit and growing their profile. A player with a passion for the blues and the drums and that's always a good thing. So, Let's Talk Chop with Denis Cusumano.

I was born in Casablanca (Morroco), but spent my whole life around Clermont Ferrand (center of France). 

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PLAYING? I became interested in music and drums around age of 13/14 and at 15 my parents offer me my first snare drum.  I will turn 58 in a couple of days (20th of February). 

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO PLAY DRUMS? First time I saw a drummer was on Saturday night TV french shows. I was impressed by the showing and looking of the drummer behind his instrument. 
Then, the day I heard "Made in Japan" of DEEP PURPLE started it all! 
The drumming, the sound and the technique of Ian Paice had blown my head forever,and it’s still the same feeling today. 
When I feel bad, I listen this album and I feel fine. 

I can play different sorts of music because I played for dancers for years, country rock, rock’n’roll etc.. but my main genre is and will be The Blues.


For me, the Blues is universal. Every musician, one day or another, will try playing this music.

Everyone is able to learn the rules of this genre and can join a band playing a twelve bars. You got the key, you play.
This music is a crossroad: soul, jazz, rock'n'roll comes and go with the Blues. You have the freedom to play what you want, with the feeling/vibes of the instant.
You never perform the same song as you have done before. Something is and has to be different every time.
You play with your heart and soul. It’s the meaning of the blues.

"Down In A Swamp"

Listening the others musicians, be able not to demonstrate, be simple as needed.

Heart and discipline to play the groove as it should be.


It’s a one year young band. We met Claire (female singer) in a Jam. She didn’t know anything about Blues. She learned quickly. 10 classics and she was wonderful.
Little Mouse and the Hungry Cats was born.


We quickly recorded a mini EP (5 songs) to help us to find gigs and blues contests.
We are now planning to create our own stuff to record an LP for 2020.

Great vibes in the band. Each one of us are creative in a positive way. Very busy with all this work we have to do. But it’s real fun.


Our first real gig was 1st of March 2018, then others and others . 

In September, we won several prizes in a huge festival in Nantes (France). It gave us the possibility to play on big french blues festivals and also in SWITZERLAND and BELGIUM this year.
30 gigs are still planned for this year. For a young band like us in our country, it’s very good. 
We hope more for the next year !

"Today's My Day"

I am a total Ludwig drummer. I love the sound, the look, the history of these drums. I have 3 kits. 

1)A Legacy Classic Maple 24-13-16-16 in WMP , custom order of 2010. My main kit. I am very excited because I am waiting for a 26 inch bass drum!!!! a longtime dream!!!!!! 

2)A Classic Maple kit in Silver Sparkle, custom order too of 2007. 
It’s my Ian Paice kit!!!! 24-10-12-13-16-18 . I love these drums so much too, always a great sound, great looking! 

3)A Club Date set in WMP smaller venues 20-12-14 , an amazing kit for low price but very effective! 

4)Black Beauty, my main snare but I use also a CopperPhonic (very warm)  and LM402 classic but so good, and woody Legacy Maple. 
Every one of them is 14X6.5 ! 

I still use Ludwig coated heads for the moment, they work very well IMO. 
Hardware is Ludwig too, new and some vintage . 

My sticks are the ProMark Ian Paice model for years.

My friend Yannick Sartre (artist relation for Soultone, Ludwig specialist, session drummer, teacher…) introduced me to Soultone in 2016. March 2017  my Vintage set was at home. And, last November, I proudly became an official member of the family. 
I love their warm tone, very precise and powerful. my set is 22" ride, 19"-20"-22" crash,15" HH, 10" splash 
I also use a NOA kit with my Club Date.

Mainly, as simple as possible to make room for vocals and top of the line players. My job is to make the whole thing smooth and groovy! 
I made mine: Less is more! 

Except my family, drumming is the passion of my life. It is one of the main reasons that I became the human being I am today. 
Playing drums in a band is not easy, you have to work a lot alone and together! 
It is like a football team, you have to work and work again to win the game! And I like this kind of way. 

Have fun always, make my job the best I can, learn and discover new things. 

There is a lot of good bands,especially in the Blues field, but it was very difficult to find places to play and make a living with. You have to take the road if you want to play a little or have the chance to be in a well known band. 

In my area, drummers are like a little family. Everyone respects the others. We like to talk about gear (snares, cymbals, tuning, ect...) We don’t formally give advice but it’s mainly discussions etc... Everyone their own way of learning etc... But I like seeing my friends playing.

1- Ian Paice for its general expertise. His swing, his touch.
2- Buddy Rich is a monster! No one is able to do what he did with a basic kit. One of a kind! 
3- Tony Williams, one of a kind drummer too! Light and powerful, tasty and inventive. 
4- All the Blues Drummers for their feeling 
5- Every drummer because every one can give something you don’t have! 

In fact, every time I go to a concert. I love looking drummers at work. 

Not enough to my taste, but there is always a pair of sticks near me, in my car. 

Mainly rudiments and tempo. 

Yes,  I made one when I received my Soultone cymbals with my Silver Sparkle kit. It was mainly to work on how to miking a drumset. It takes me a lot of time but I learn a lot and I am pleased with the results.

RDV de l'Erdre 2018


Great question, I play drums since so long now. I can’t figure my life without.

Maybe I would have played Soccer much longer.. but I would always have a pair of sticks near me.

Oh yes, next June, with my band we will be part in a French Blues Contest. The winner will be invited in Memphis for the World Blues Challenge. Crossed fingers …….we have to work first! 

I wish Peace, Love to all of us. Our poor world is going more and more crazy and mad. I think it will be hard for our children. 

2019 first come to be a busy year with my current band LITTLE MOUSE AND THE HUNGRY CATS. Just a one year band but we are ready to be part of major Blues festivals in France, Switzerland and Belgium This long year trip begins next month. 2020 is already has interesting plans. 

And to finish, a special Thank You to my lovely wife who supports me and gives me the keys to live my passion.

Big Thanks to Denis for sharing his drum life with us. You can't stop a drummer with passion. His love for music, drums and the blues are going to take him to some wonderful places. Good luck my friend!


Do you want to be interviewed for Talkin' Chop? Maybe you know a drummer...
It doesn't matter where you're at in your career. 
This is for the Unknown, Up & Coming, Unsung and Underground players.
Hit me up:
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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Volume 70 - Stephen Bonilla

 Stephen Bonilla

They say speed kills. But in music, speed thrills. Now add hard and loud to the mixture and you've got a helluva drummer. I always marvel at these katz bcuz I can't do what they do, lol! It's nice to be able to get some Metal drummers in the mix and I was glad I came across Stephen. A man with a band, a dream and determination. Grab a hold of seats and pop in your ear plugs, we're taking a trip to the DFW area to Talk Chop with Stephen Bonilla.


Where are you from? 
I'm from Austin Texas, but live in Fort Worth, Texas. 

How long have you been playing? 
I've been playing since 2013, but my first year was just a practice pad and sticks. I got serious about practice in 2016. 

What made you want to play drums?
I was always fascinated with drums. My friend Sam played drums and turned me onto some new music. When I heard the self titled Slipknot album, I suddenly NEEDED to play. Haha. Sam pushes me to play and I haven't looked back since. 

I see you started off playing Sax. Do you still play on the side? 
Unfortunately, no. I haven't played in an ensemble since 2012. I pick it up every once in awhile, but never with a group. I do miss it sometimes. 

How much of that education do you use now as a drummer? 
I never really took any drum lessons. I'm self taught. However, I do use some of the music theory I took in college. Whenever the writing process gets stuck, I try to incorporate key changes or suggesting some metric modulation by keeping the subdivision but changing the "1". 

How would you describe your drumming style?
I like to think my drumming style is unique, but that's pretty presumptuous. Haha. 
I come from a background in metal but became engrossed in the "gospel chops" style of playing. So there's lots double bass and fast playing mixed with ghost notes and linear fills. I like to play with the music and vocals to add to it without throwing in unnecessary fills. 

Describe your current set up & gear - heads and sticks...ect? 
I currently have 2 Yamaha kits. 1 birch stage custom. 1 custom oak kit. 10", 12", 14" toms and 20" kick. 13" Pork Pie little squealer maple snare. I use the Axis longboard double pedal. My gig cymbals are Soultone. 14" extreme hats, 19" extreme crash, 8" custom splash, 18" explosion crash, 23" Custom AR crash/ride, and 18" explosion China. I'm still trying to find the right stick for me. I'm currently using 5B Promark sticks and trying out 5B Scorpion drum sticks. I use Evans drumheads. Genera HD dry snare batter head, hydraulic for the toms and heavyweight Emad for the kick. 

How were you introduced to Soultone Cymbals? I found out about Soultone cymbals through YouTube videos. I saw a video of Nick Smith playing a song called "Rebirth" and LOVED the sound. I finally got my hands on some with the help of Yannick Sastre. He has been a big help.

What is it about the cymbals that made you choose them over other brands? 

Soultone cymbals have had such an interesting sound to me since I heard them on YouTube. There's just something about them that appeals to me. The dark trashy sound, but still cuts through of the Gospel series is one of my favorites. Unfortunately they're a little too thin for my playing. The main reason I like them so much is that I have a unique sound with them. I love the sound and aesthetic of them, plus I get to add my personal logo to each one which really makes it my own. 

Your in a band called Bad Blood. What kind of band is this?

Bad Blood is a metal band that is heavily influenced by Slipknot, Sepultura, Marilyn Manson, and Gojira. We keep it simple with no sampling, fancy light shows, or anything. We just bring raw energy and intense music. Bad Blood wants the music and performance to be something you want to experience over and over again. 

How did it come about? 
The guitarist, Tony, and I worked at a warehouse together. As we started talking more, we noticed we had a lot in common and both played instruments. It took MULTIPLE attempts to bring him into the practice space but when he did get there we wrote two songs and new we had to start a band. The vocalist, Talmage, and I were in an indie band together and I knew he had a metal background so I asked him to join us for a practice and see if we had something. Similar to the time with Tony, Talmage came up with lyrics almost instantly and was happy to join. We've gone through a couple bassists, but had Dustin join us from a project Talmage and Tony were doing with him. The energy he brought instantly changed our live performances and we haven't looked back. 

You guys are working on a new project? 
YES! We have completed the first stages of pre-production. We have a couple studios in mind, but we are narrowing it down soon. It'll be a 5 song EP with some of the fastest and in aggressive music we've done. We are hoping to bring on a friend, Los Pulido from Born and Raised, to be featured on a song as well. 

Bad Blood - "Kill, Kill" (live at GMBG)

Has the band done any touring?
Unfortunately, no. We've done some excursions through Texas and played Oklahoma a couple times. We are looking to start expanding our reach this summer by branching out and playing different states. 

Being that you're playing fast a lot, what do you do to maintain your speed, accuracy and endurance? 
I practice almost every day. Haha. It's the only real way to maintain and improve upon the speed I have. I focus on playing consistently for long periods of time to maintain my endurance. 

How much time do you practice? 
I try to practice a minimum hour a day. I will usually practice 1-3 hours when I sit down and focus. I'm definitely not naturally gifted, so I have had to practice a lot to get where I am. Even still, I have SO MUCH more to grow. 

Is there a different approach to your playing from studio to live? 
Most definitely! Live, I try to make it more of a show by exaggerating hits, being organic by playing without a click, and playing things a certain way you'll only see live. Studio playing is something I'm still working on. I'm very particular when it comes to recording. I play to a click a month or more before we go to the studio to make sure tempos are right and that my hits line up. I like to make things uniform so each take is the same, minus mistakes, unlike live playing where I change fills each show. 

Bad Blood - "P.O.S." (Live)

Being an Indie band, do you guys feel like you've got a good plan for success? 
Talmage and I like to think so, Haha. We've got a plan for this upcoming EP to shop around to labels for distribution and are working to get on major festivals. We talk about things frequently to brain storm ideas for promo, who to reach out to, and what we need to work on as a band to help boost our performance and reach. It'll definitely be a lot of hard work, but I think we can do it with our current goals and plan.

How has drumming impacted or changed your life? 
It has! Both for good and bad. The main draw back is the amount of money it takes and playing gigs takes time away from my 3 children and wife. It has had a huge impact on my social life. I've gained some amazing friends and acquaintances. I've befriended some amazing drummers and musicians throughout this journey. Jerrin Castillo, from Renatus, and Joey Gonzalez, from Phil Anselmo's projects, are amazing drummers I've had the privilege of getting to know and help me progress. I was never social in high school and barely talked to anyone. Through the years of promoting and talking to people, I've finally started to be more personable.

How do you balance being in a band and family life? 
This is still a struggle for me. I use to be in 2 bands and work on projects, but it left no time for my family. So, I cut down and focused on Bad Blood. We practice once a week and play 1-2 shows a month. With keeping gigs spread out, it gives us a chance to really promote and allows me to spend more weekends at home. It helps that when I practice on my own, I'm at home too. 

Do you have any specific goals for your drumming career? 
Other than making music my career, my main goal is to either open for Slipknot or play Knotfest the same day/stage as Slipknot. Haha

What's the live music scene like in your hometown? 
The DFW music scene is overflowing with talent. From jazz to R&B and Pop to Metal, there is always a good show close to you. In the metal scene it seems to be more metalcore/breakdown music or death/tech metal. So Bad Blood doesn't really fit in and tends to get overlooked. However, being the odd one out can have its benefits too. It's a little saturated but it only pushes others to make better music and perfect their craft to stand out. 

Name 5 of your drumming influences? why?
Mike Johnston-He is one of the best YouTube drum instructors I've seen. He's very musical and helps bring things into perspective. 
Gavin Harrison - the precision and subtlety he brings into his music is so crazy to me. I love the ghost notes and the way he "manipulates" time. 
Jerrin Castillo - while he's not well known, he should be, Jerrin in a crazy talented drummer. He's a humble guy who works hard and is talented. Since knowing him I've pushed myself to get to his level. 
Dan Presland - I came across Dan through Jerrin. Once I watched his playthrough videos, I couldn't stop. Haha. His playing looks so effortless and is so tasteful. It's a little busy but always suits the song so well. 
Eloy Casagrande - Eloy is a powerhouse drummer. The energy he brings to the stage blows me away. He's 100% all the time. I want to bring that kind of intensity to Bad Blood shows. 

Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding?
My first Slipknot concert on Halloween with Korn was so inspiring. It just made me want music as a career even more! The entire car ride home I just wanted to go to the practice space and play until I couldn't play anymore. 

Do you record drum videos of yourself? if so, how has it helped you? 
I record videos of myself all the time. I record practices, ideas, and gigs. It's helped quite a bit in pin pointing where I need to improve and helped me see some of my mistakes weren't as bad as I thought. Haha. I post things on my Instagram mainly, @sbonilla46, and ask for constructive criticism from anyone. 

Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us? 
I've had a few gigs that I'll never forget, but the one that surprised me the most was a show at Curtain Club in Deep Ellum. The venue was double booked with a pop show first and then a metal show afterwards. When I got there for load in, it was PACKED with teenage girls going crazy over this boy pop band with unbuttoned shirts and pandering lyrics. After they finished we got on stage and expected everyone to clear out. Curtains open and we see everyone has stayed. We open with our song "Chicken Nuggets" and these teenagers are "woo"ing and moshing. We get to "Kill Kill" and the crowd has grown. The moshing continued through our whole set. One of the best crowds we had and it was left over from a pop show. Haha 

What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there? 
I think the best advice I could give is the same I heard from Mike Johnston. Stop comparing yourself to all these amazing drummers out there. You see the final product of all their practices. They don't show you the struggle and the hard work. This plagued me for so long. We all struggle and we can all achieve the aptitude we desire. It just takes work. Lots of work. 

Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You's??? 
Be sure to follow my band Bad Blood on Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify. If you go to the band website you can get to all of the social media sites as well as download 2 covers, "Roots Bloody Roots" and "Surfacing". Thank you to my family for all the support. Especially my Mother, Vicki for everything she's done to help me get to where I am, and my wife, Tori for putting up with me and my crazy schedule. Thank you DeHaven for having me for this interview!

Band Instagram - @badbloodtx  

#badbloodband #areyoureadyforawar
Personal Instagram - @sbonilla46 


Yo Stephen, thx so much for sharing your drum life with us. It has been a pleasure getting to know you and your band Bad Blood. I wish you, your family and band success. Keep doing your thing.
I hope all of you reading this interview had a good time. Please make sure you stop by Stephen's soc med pages and say 'hello'. That's what we do here in the TC fam..Support.

If you or someone you know should be interviewed for Talkin' Chop. Please contact me and let's make it happen.

DeHaven -

I would like to thank all of my supporters and drum companies...

#TalkinChop #DrummersSupportDrummers #DrumLife