Keep up with Hannes here:
Johannes Tim Vincent Grossmann was born 1982 in Bayreuth, Germany. Being raised in a musical family he started playing the drums at the age of ten. Inspired by bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple or Traffic, he started developing his skills from a “Classic Rock point of view”. Soon Hannes started to listen to Fusion players like Dave Weckl or Dennis Chambers, which had a great impact on his style. At the same time he discovered his preference for Heavy Metal and Progressive Rock/Metal, naturally he started mixing up a lot of syncopated funk/fusion techniques with extreme Metal music.
In 2003 he joined the technical Death Metal Band Necrophagist and recorded the album “Epitaph”, an album highly recommanded by both, Death Metal fans and Fusion fans. Huge amount of touring followed after the release of “Epitaph”. Necrophagist supported Bolt Thrower and Malevolent Creation on their European Tour in early 2006, which was a great success. A headlining tour in the US followed, supported by Arsis, Neuraxis and Alarum. In late 2006, Necrophagist supported Cannibal Corpse on their tour in the US. In early 2007, Hannes played his last tour with Necrophagist in Europe, supported by Origin and Misery Index. For the future, Hannes has planned several projects to be released soon…
Hannes Grossmann Interview:
SD.com: What was your favorite part about touring with Necrophagist?
HG: I really liked meeting some interesting persons I didn’t know before, most of the people from the other bands we toured with were really nice and cool to talk to. I’m more interested in people’s characters than in their playing at first, so I didn’t really talk about drums all the time. I had a lot of fun, especially with the guys in Unmerciful, Arsis, Alarum, Origin, Malevolent Creation and Neuraxis, I wouldn’t want to miss that. Playing soccer in Virginia Beach with some guys from the US Army was awesome, too. We kicked their asses big time!
SD.com: Who are some of your favorite young drummers today?
HG: Young drummers? I’m 24, so I still look up to my favorite drummers, which are OLD. Older than me at least. I care more for bands in general than for their drummers in particular, but I think there are awesome drummers in extreme metal bands which are pretty young, for example Navene of Animosity or KC of Odious Mortem/Decripit Birth. Adam Jarvis for example is very young too. The overall level of musicianship in extreme metal has increased very much, it’s very common to play technical and/or fast stuff at a young age, especially in the US, which is very good.
SD.com: When did you start playing drums?
HG: I started at the age of ten. I already played the piano but I wanted to play the drums so badly. My parents bought a cheap drum set and I was totally happy!
SD.com: Did you ever play in a school band or any drum corps?
HG: Yes, I played in a Dixi-Jazz band when I was 12. We played traditional New Orleans Jazz, a music teacher at school organized it. Recently I found a video of a school fest where I played with that band. I was surprised how good we played. The other musicians were much older than me, something that never changed until today. The role of school bands/drum corps in Germany isn’t as important as in the US, musical education in a German school is very poor compared to the US or Sweden.
SD.com: Have you ever taken any lessons?
HG: I received lessons from the best drum teacher in my area, his name was Donnie Mac Kay, a Canadian guy who lives in my hometown. He really tought me a lot and I learned so much from him. I definately would play much worse if I didn’t receive his lessons. I learned rudiments, odd meters, Rock, Funk, Fusion, some Jazz and Latin, and the most important thing, he made me curious about other players and styles. He really made me to be amazed by music! That’s important for being a good teacher.
SD.com: Who are your top 5 influences?
HG: Steven Segal, Sean-Claude VanDamme, Dolph Lundgren, Ralph Macchio and Chuck Norris! These are my top five of actors from classic action movies, that totally sucked. If you watched “High Fidelity” you would now that you can make a top five list out of everything! my top five influences of Black Metal posing are – in order of their cruelness
5. Galder from Dimmu B.
4. Atilla of Mayhem
3. All guys in Gorgoroth
2. Horgh, and
1. Abbath of Immortal
Seriously, the drummers that influenced me most are John Bonham, Mike Portnoy, Neil Peart, Dave Weckl, Simon Phillips and Marco Minnemann. I mean, one should have a little sense of humor, otherwise nobody comes to his funeral!
SD.com: Assuming that influences doesn’t mean favorites, who are your favorites?
HG: That’s easy: Dave Weckl, Steve Smith, Marco Minnemann, Gavin Harrison, Dennis Chambers and of course the ones I already told you, and Sean Reinert, Steve Gadd, Mike Mangini, Bobby Jarzombek and Virgil Donati and and and….
SD.com: Let us know 3 CD’s that are in your current rotation
HG: The new Symphony X album, Alarum, the new Porcupine Tree. From the extreme metal sector I think that the new Odious Mortem record is awesome. I always listen to a lot of CDs, it depends on my mood. There are some bands I can always listen to.
SD.com: Do you practice any specific rudiments or combo’s regularly?
HG: I practise stick control from time to time and I use to practise single strokes to remain fast.
SD.com: What is your favorite part of your drum kit?
HG: My snare drum. My whole kit is focused on it and it’s the only part of my kit that I couldn’t replace at all. I also like my ride cymbal and use it very often. Drummers should use the ride cymbal more often, it has an “open” sound.
SD.com: If you could give one piece of advice to younger drummers, it would be…
HG: To increase your playing skills, use a metronome and record your playing as often as you can. When you record yourself and listen to it critically you will see how aweful it sounds, haha. But it’s important to know your own weaknesses and how your playing sounds, because only when you know how your sound IS, you can tell how your sound WILL BE in some years. and another thing aside from drumming: don’t let you talk into things you don’t want to do. If someone wants to determine your playing or anything, give him a hard time. Stand up for yourself and your interests!
SD.com: Who gave the best live performance you’ve ever seen?
HG: Hm, hard to tell. Deep Purple in 1998. Great show, I knew all the songs they played that evening and was singing along the whole concert. Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree concerts are always great to watch too. Suffocation played the best Death Metal live concert I have seen so far.
SD.com: Aside from drumming, what else do you do with your life?
HG: I’m studying economics and business law at University, so I still have the opportunity to work in a business job later. I don’t want to be dependant on my music skills only.
I also try to get better at playing the guitar