Keep up with Bodo here:
I started playing drums at the age of 12 after banging away on pots, pans and pillows. Pretty much how most drummers started out I guess. Soon after I formed a band with some of my friends in school. We mostly played Jazz and Fusion covers and eventually started writing our own material.
It wasn’t until much later that I got turned onto heavier music when I first heard Primus, Alice In Chains, Faith no more, etc. I joined a trio named “Absurt” where we played Primus covers and wrote our own songs in that style of music. After getting in touch with heavier stuff like Meshuggah and Slipknot and some other bands of the Nu-Metal era, I played in various bands like “Pranklab” and “Two Dollar Haircut”.
A couple years later I went back to my jazz roots and joined an experimental band called “Final Virus” where we would play Zappa influenced material. We even played at the famous “Zappanale”, a Frank Zappa Tribute Festival and toured China for 3 weeks. That was also the time where I started doing studio work and workshops and trade shows and music store.
I eventually quit “Final Virus” and turned back to heavy music by forming the Metal outfit “Last One Dying” and joining the band “DRYLL” with Jeff “Mantas” Dunn, the founder and ex-guitarst of Venom. In early 2008, I also joined “Callejon” and soon after, we signed a deal with Nuclear Blast records and recorded our label debut “Zombieactionhauptquartier” which will see a European release on Nov. 21st. I will pretty much spend the rest of 2008 on the road with Callejon and Last One Dying.
Bodo Stricker Interview:
SD.com: How old were you when you started playing?
Bodo: I think I first picked up the sticks when I was 12. Was banging on pots and pans, pillows etc. before..I guess the usual story. Apparently my parents thought I had some talent, so they were really supportive of my decision to play drums.
SD.com: Did you play in a school band or any drum corps?
Bodo: No, I never did. But I formed a band with some people from my school back then and we always played at the school activities. We didn’t have a school band/drum corps actually..
SD.com: Who are your top 5 influences?
Bodo: It’s hard to name a top 5 because there are a lot of drummers and non-drummers that influenced me in my playing. If I had to point out 5 drummers, they would probably be Vinnie Colaiuta, Tomas Haake, Virgil Donati, Tim Alexander and Morgan Rose. Very different styles and approaches but each one of them played a big role in my development as a drummer and a musician. Haake and Donati impressed me with their technique and polyrhythmic stuff, while Rose and Alexander taught me a lot about grooves and feelings…Vinnie is just all out genius in everything..
SD.com: Assuming that influences doesn’t mean favorites, who are your favorites?
Bodo: Actually, they almost match. Definitely Colaiuta, Haake and Rose. Some of my other favorites are Gavin Harrison from Porcupine Tree, Chris Houck from Nothingface, Will Hunt from Dark New Day, John Longstreth from Origin, Dirk Verbeuren from Soilwork and Chad Szeliga from Sw1tched.
SD.com: Let us know 5 CD’s that are in your current rotation
Bodo: All Shall Perish – Awaken The Dreamers
Sevendust – Chapter VII
All That Remains – The Fall Of Ideals
Last One Dying – The Hour Of Lead
Diana Krall – The Girl In The Other Room
SD.com: What do you do to warm up before a show?
Bodo: I sit down with a practice pad to warm up my hands. Just basic stuff, singles, doubles, paradiddles and combinations of those. Same with my feet. I hook up my spare pedal to a pad and go through the routines. I also do a little stretching right before I go on. Nothing special really, just to get a little warmed up. I try not to eat too much before we go on, but sometimes it’s hard to get any food after the show because the rest of the guys already ate everything 😉
SD.com: Can you remember a night you think was your best playing ever? If yes, when and where?
Bodo: I usually only remember when I fucked something up *LOL*.. but honestly, if I thought of a particular show, that this was the best I have ever played, wouldn’t that mean I was completely satisfied with my performance? I hope I never reach that point because I always want to have the feeling that I can improve and play things even better. If I felt I have already reached the point where I am great, I wouldn’t have any reason to practice and learn new things. I always try to expand my horizon and skills. Sure, there where nights where I thought I did really well, but I can almost always think of things I could’ve done better. I am a perfectionist..sometimes I might be too hard on myself but it keeps me going in terms of always trying to learn new things.
SD.com: Do you have a favorite brand of drums or cymbals?
Bodo: I am endorsed by DW drums and Zildjian cymbals and I truly couldn’t be happier. I love their products and their support is amazing. With Zildjian, I get to pick out all my cymbals from a huge collection at the European headquarters, what a treat! 😉 DW built my drums to the exact specs that I want in terms of wood, shell construction, color, you name it.. They are just amazing people and really make you feel like family. John Good, the “wood whisperer” and Vice President of DW drums was actually the witness at my wedding. I just love these guys.
SD.com: If you could give one piece of advice to young drummers, it would be…
Bodo: Always believe in yourself! Set your goals and try to achieve them, one at a time. Eventually your hard work will pay off! Listen to a lot of different music and try out different styles, don’t be a one dimensional one trick pony…and also, speed isn’t everything!
SD.com: Who gave the best live performance you’ve ever seen?
Bodo: Definitely Porcupine Tree with Gavin Harrison on drums. A truly inspiring concert. Perfect sound with great video installation and progressive music that simply has you standing there with your eyes closed, drifting away. The amount of talent, taste and musical genius was just mindblowing. Meshuggah is always very impressive as well, close to perfection.
SD.com: If you had to stop drumming, what would you want to do with your life?
Bodo: I would probably learn a different instrument or become a producer. I’ve played piano for 12 years, so I am a decent songwriter as well. Whatever it would be, it would definitely have to do with music