Dave Lynam – Lynam – Exclusive OnlineDrummer.com InterviewNate Brown
Dave Lynam, drummer for the rising rock band, Lynam, shares his thoughts and experiences.
What is life on the road as a drummer like?
I mean, it really depends on what day of the week you ask me. If I’ve got one of my techs out with me it’s a dream, no matter who you’re playing for. I quickly realized in this business that I picked the instrument with the most pieces. Some nights I wish I’d picked up a harmonica. But ya’ know, life on the road can best be summed up like this: when you’re on the road you miss home, and when you’re home you miss the road. The grass is always greener. Of all of the guys in my band I enjoy the road the most, by far.
How does life on the road compare to what you thought life on the road would be like?
It’s great. I spent a lifetime as a kid sitting in my bedroom wishing I was in a band that toured. I couldn’t bitch now even if I hated it because it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.
What do you like most about what you do?
Being my own boss for the most part. I mean, I’ve had tons of real jobs, dealing with the public and … though we have to deal with the public, we’re not forced to take the public’s shit … on top of your boss’. At least with being in a band you eliminate 50% of the shit you would have to deal with at a “real job.”
What do you like least about what you do?
The hangovers and trying to stay healthy and not have your body deteriorate at a rapid pace.
What two drumming skills do you think are most important to succeed as a working drummer on the road (i.e. rudiments, timing, showmanship, sound consistency, sticking)?
Showmanship and timing, and if I had to pick one of those two I’d definitely go with showmanship, which no one in my band will be surprised to read. The way I have it approximated is that most people listen with their eyes. If you’re putting on a show, who the hell cares if the drummer can even spell “rude-uh-mint,” which I obviously can’t. If you ever get a chance to see a drummer I emulate … go see Zoltan Chaney. The guy is a bad ass drummer and an absolute showman if I’ve ever seen one. He’s a really nice, approachable guy too.
What non-drumming skills do you think are necessary to survive on
the road as a drummer (i.e. social skills, people skills, etc.)?
Swallowing your pride. There are so many situations when you’re out there playing with tons of other bands where you have to remember, “We were these guys at one time” or just having to remember that you NEVER know what position the person you’re talking to might be in one day. You really do have to be nice to everybody in this business in this day and age even when the person deserves to have the shit slapped out of ’em at times. You can’t go out and be total pricks and piss on everybody you meet and expect to have any doors opened for you. We’ve seen a band completely blow off somebody who ended up having the position to sign them at a label or management company and pass on them because of one night, back in the day, when the band were pricks to ’em.
Many times, drummers don’t receive the “front-line” attention that a singer receives. How does this effect the band’s relationship with each other, and what kind of mentality do you think a drummer needs in order to prevent any problems in this area? In other words, what’s the best way to think about this situation as a drummer?
Hah, well I think it’s even more important for me to be seen simply because we’re a three piece band and there’s fewer people on stage. I find myself at a lot of shows going up and re-aiming lights towards me because the drum riser is dark from other bands’ light scenes. I’ve also always tried to get us to set up with my drum riser up at the front of the stage with the rest of the guys. That always gets laughed at by the rest of the guys, but I really think that would be different and neat looking.
Do you think it’s important for a drummer to get involved in the song writing process beyond simply laying the beats down, maybe contributing lyrics, melodies, chord progressions? Is this something you think aspiring drummers should study and practice along with their drumming?
It depends on the type of band that you are talking about. Slipknot? Yes, maybe. Lynam? Probably not. I mean, for the most part we’re just a four/four rock band. Writing the songs is not my strong suite in the band. I let Jacob do a lot of the song writing. He’s good about allowing fills that I like and ways to start and end songs. If I come up with something that I think fits the song, he usually has no problem with it. Our songs aren’t written around a drum beat so it’s hard to really be overly creative with the drumming. Which is fine for me because it leaves spaces for more stick tricks. Hah.
For an aspiring drummer that would like to do what you do, what advice would you give them that they could begin right now?
Playing all of the time, with as many people as you can. I mean, I wished I started when I was 12 or so. What I’ve learned is that nothing can replace hours on a stage. The more stage time you get, the better you get as a drummer.
Though I never have done it as often as I should, sitting down with a metronome daily is SUCH a great way to make yourself a good drummer. Bad meters are the hardest thing to listen to.
That and don’t overplay. It’s kinda like that situation where you see a drummer loading in roto-toms. You know right then and there that this guy’s either going to blow you away or make you want to stab your ear with a knife.
How do you come up with your drum parts?
Man, I’m a plagiarist at best. Everything you hear out of me is regurgitation of licks I’ve grown up listening to. I really get down on myself in the studio. I want other drummers to come in during pre-production and help me write creative licks to put in our songs but no one ever really steps up to the plate and does it when it comes time. Everyone’s always got something to do. Our producer frowns on that anyway. He bitches to me then about it not sounding like me. It’s a catch 22.
Do you memorize your drum parts and play them the same way for each show?
Yes. EEeeeeeeeeeevery now and then I’ll change up a little part here and there live because I fall in love with a certain fill or change but for the most part I play it like you hear it on the cd.
How do you prepare for a show?
I really don’t have a ritual I do before every show. I don’t even warm up really. I should. I stretch like I’m about to do aerobics but that’s pretty much it. Pathetic, huh?
What has been your greatest experience so far as a member of Lynam?
Meeting friends all over the country. I, personally, have met the coolest people while out on the road and touring with other bands.