Keep up with George here:
Born in Korinthos-Greece in August 1977 George Kollias started playing drums at the age of 12. He formed his first band Extremity Obsession and he started playing local shows with them as well as with many other local bands as a session drummer. In 1995 George got a big part of Extremity Obsession’s song writing and the lead vocals, they record 2 demos, “Extremity Obsession” and “Everlasting” which were voted “Demo Of The Month” in many Magazine’s and E-zines in Greece and Worldwide. He took private lessons from Yannis Stavropoulos in 1999 and one year later he moved to Athens to start working as a professional musician. He joined Nightfall in 2001 taking a big part of the song arrangements and the backing vocals and he recorded “I Am Jesus” album with great reviews from the worldwide press. One year later George started working as a Session Drummer in many Athenian bands and he recorded several albums getting great studio experience. He also started giving drum lessons and work as a professional drum teacher in some Local Schools.
In 2003 George and 2 new friends of him formed Sickening Horror, an Extreme Death Metal band with many progressive elements. Sickening Horror is taking great reviews and comments about their music and musicianship level. He recorded Sickening Horror’s “Promo 2003” getting incredible reviews from the worldwide press as well as from many well known drummers. A year later he records Nightfall’s “Lyssa/Rural Gods And Astonish Punishments” album.
In 2004 George joins the US metallers Nile and he moved to the United States to work and record his first album with Nile, “Annihilation Of The Wicked” and they start the “Annihilation Of The Wicked World Tour”. He recorded Sickening Horror’s debut album “When Landscapes Bled Backwards” in 2005 and he started his first steps as a Clinician Drummer at the same time. The same year, Gabriel Drums launches the George Kollias Signature Snare Drum.
In 2006 George joins Modern Music School in Athens-Greece as a Drum Instructor on the Extreme Drumming Department.
Sick Drummer Magazine Contributing Columnist "George Kollias", has just finished work on his 2nd instructional DVD entitled "Intense Metal Drumming II". You can look forward to an instructional column from George in an upcoming issue of SDM! Until then, you need to check out his DVD. This DVD contains over 5 hours of instructional footage!
The DVD is available through Hudson Music here.
George Kollias Interview:
SDM: How old were you when you started playing?
George: I was 12 years old when I got my first drum kit but I was already playing for about 2 years on anything could make sound. I use to have a “custom” drum kit from buckets and other goodies which was sounding pretty good I would say, I made my first pair of sticks myself too! I got really young into rock/metal music, I remember myself sitting in our living room and listening to ACDC, Iron Maiden, Metallica etc all day long and tapping along the beat.
SDM: Did you play in a school band or any drum corps?
George: I was playing in my school’s band for a while, we had a “band” for our national celebrations only so for me it was a good opportunity to get there and make some noise. Each one of us was allowed to take the snare home for practice so I did just to add a tom on my kit, those snares were great “toms”, ha ha… Although, I already had my band to jam and play shows in my home town, it was pretty amazing for a 12 year old kid. Before I even start going out with my friends I was playing some kick ass shows covering songs from Sepultura, Slayer, Obituary, Death etc.
SDM: Did you ever take any lessons?
George: Yes, I did for about a year when I first started cause I felt like I wanted to do it right. My teacher was a great musician, he was a guitarist actually but he knew everything about drums and he helped me to learn how to read music. Other than that I am 100% self tough and I learn how to play by watching videos and especially listening to music, I am really glad I learned to work this way. Later on, I met Yannis Stavropoulos and I took some private lessons from him, I was already playing anything in metal but he helped me open my mind more in drumming and become a teacher of myself. Yannis is an incredible drummer and teacher, I own him a lot…
SDM: Who are your top 5 influences?
George: I got into drums because of Lars Ulrich like most of the drummers of my generation, although my influences start with Igor Cavalera of Sepultura and later on with Paul Bostaph of Slayer. Both of these guys are a big part of my sound and they did a lot to my playing. Especially Igor, I remember having his name written on my kicks…Paul actually won me when he joined Slayer; I still love his drumming in Forbidden, Slayer and now in Exodus. Then I got into Gene Hoglan and Sean Reinert very much which they turn my drumming into more technical forms until Richard Christy came up and totally blew me away, Richard is at the top if my influences ever! He mixed everything that the previous Death drummers had and I think he raised the bar a lot too. His drumming on Burning Inside’s albums is awesome too, so unique, true and tasteful. At this time I started getting too much into Vinnie Colaiuta and Dave Weckl back then as well as into Virgil Donati’s drumming, which I am still stuck with them and I love almost anything they’ve done. As far as Extreme Drumming goes, Derek Roddy influenced me so much, more than anybody in the scene. Derek is a great drummer and he is more than a great extreme drummer.
SDM: Assuming that influences doesn't mean favorites, who are your favorites?
George: My favorite drummers are my influences, today I also spend hours every day with Thomas Lang and Marco Minnemann, I watch their dvd’s no matter where I am and I am really impressed from their technique level. Also Virgil, I think he is at his best right now, I still can’t believe how good he became the last years, he is just incredible! Off course there are so many others which I am into these days or in the past, I try to get knowledge from anybody, I get things so fast and I always try to apply all my influences in my music.
SDM: Let us know 5 CD's that are in your current rotation
George: These days I am stuck with these:
1. Vinnie Colaiuta-Live At The Baked Potato
2. Slayer-Christ Illusion
3. Dave Weckl-Synergy
4. Dave Weckl-Master Plan
5. Sickening Horror-When Landscapes Bled Backwards
SDM: Do you practice any specific rudiments or combo's regularly?
George: I work on my hand technique a lot, it’s really hard to keep your chops while you are blasting every night. I have some of my teacher’s workouts and some of my own which I have checked on my students and they work great. Most of them are based on the first page of Stick Control with some additional dynamics, groupings etc. from Master Studies book. I also work a lot with Coordination exercises, mirroring double bass etc. I get what I think it’s best and mixed them up as well as I can. I try to work many things in one exercise and I called them Multi-Workouts.
SDM: What is your favorite part of your drum kit?
George: My Gabriel Signature snare. This snare is just the best drum I ever had and whoever played it he was blown away…It’s a mix of maple and birch and it has a great balance on sensitivity and loudness which allows you to play anything. Definitely one of the best snares today, and I was very lucky to get my signature on it which I am really proud about it.
SDM: Do you have any pre-show rituals?
George: I just warming up and play as much as I can, there are not many things to do before the show either way. When we tour America it’s really easy for me cause i bring a practice kit with me, just kicks and snare actually but works great, when we are in Europe I always look for the best spot so I can set there a practice kit by using chairs and anything.
As a Death Metal drummer, people might think I spend 1-2 hours doing singles on hands and feet but I don’t. I spend a lot of time doing coordination exercises mostly, I do that on my basic practice routine also but it works so great on tours. These exercises will bring the top and the bottom parts of my body in a great harmony, giving me great balance and you can convert some some of these exercises to Independence workouts. Then you can go faster to get in the mood for the show. Balance on the kit means anything for me.
SDM: If you could give one piece of advice to young drummers, it would be…
George: Love what you do and do it a lot.
SDM: Who gave the best live performance you've ever seen?
George: Definitely Virgil Donati’s show in Greece last year, after that show my life changed…It was really unbelievable……….
SDM: When was your best live performance?
George: Hmm, I don’t know…What usually happens is that when I have a really bad show I get the best reviews, I think that happens cause maybe I feel like I can’t play and I push more so people will hear me playing faster and more aggressive. In general, I am very critical to myself so I am never happy, I keep listening this from everybody and maybe I shall stop doing that, but it’s true, I am never happy…
SDM: Is there anything that you have learned about drumming, after joining Nile?
George: I learned how it is to tour and be able to play every night, that is a big school for anybody and actually that is the hard part in a band. As for drumming progress, playing with Nile does a lot to my speed and all these cruiser blast beats, double bass etc but on the other side, I play with Sickening Horror too which I get my technique better and better. What I am trying to say is that I get good things from playing a lot with my bands, that’s how it usually goes. And I glad that both of my bands are on the extreme side of the music so it’s like I keep playing on the edge…. What I feel for our new albums with both bands, the drumming will get a lot more technical for Nile and more cruiser for Sickening Horror.
SDM: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
George: That’s hard to tell…Well, I am thinking things about drums, like Clinics, Books, Videos etc. cause I am covered with my bands, so my plans for the future will be focused on some personal achievements. I am already up to something but my free time is very limited and I always have my bands coming first so I just work slow and careful. We’ll see, I believe I am in a good way right now.
SDM: You have a great website, with some great information, Is it updated by yourself? How can fans get in touch with you?
George: Thank you. My Webmaster is doing all the updates I give him and I write by myself. Well, I am trying to get as much as I can there, when we first launch the website we brought up 18 videos when you couldn’t find videos from metal drummers with close ups to see what’s happening so I think everybody liked that. I also have a Section which is called “Education” and I bring up many exercises and workouts that I have so anybody can get them for free. The best thing I really enjoy seeing is when people emailing me about my workouts and when they talk about their progress, that really makes me happy cause I did the website for this reason.
If anybody wants to contact me I have my email in there and I also have a forum there too.
SDM: If you had to stop drumming, what else would you want to do with your life?
George: I always used to work in my life and I would say a lot, so having a day job is no problem for me. I still work as a drum teacher which is fun and very easy for me so I never think of it as a job. I don’t know what I would do, propably I would stick with my last job which was really great and very good money but I would practice and play the same as now. Having a day job and a Touring band is almost impossible.
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