Exclusive Interview With BLESSED BY A BURDEN’s Chris AlyxLauren Fearon
By Photographer Jerry Fill
Blessed By A Burden was formed in mid-2010 by guitarist/songwriter Josh Osborne. The group also includes vocalist Harrison, guitarist Mikey, and bassist Steven.
After winning the ‘Rock Yourself to Sleep Tour 2010’ contest, the band toured with We Came As Romans and For Today in January of this year. From this they gained a record deal with Standby Records, and are releasing a new track on the 13th of this month. A new music video, and album have also been set in the works, so look out for updates on those.
Their style has been described as a merge of symphonic composition with a post-hardcore feel. They have a very dynamic set up, and implement sampling to great effect. Having checked out some previous tracks, including Testament, I am more than looking forward to their forthcoming track, ADDICTION!
The band will be touring this Fall, check out the dates at the end of this interview, to see if they will be touring at a venue near you!
OLD: When did you know you wanted to be a drummer? Where did it all begin?
Chris: Funny story. It all started at the age of 14 for me. I actually woke up one morning and was watching MTV and I saw the band Blink 182 playing a set on the show T.R.L. All I can remember was being amazed of the energy Travis Barker had when he was drumming. I literally opened my door and yelled down the hall to my mom and said “Mom, I want a drum set,” and she replied “No, you don’t even know how to play drums”. A few months later on Christmas she surprised me with my first drum set. From that day forward I taught myself everything thing I know; from reading music to learning by ear. I’ve never had a lesson in my life.
OLD: What is it like playing in the band?
Chris: Playing in a band is awesome. I love being able to do something I love with my best friends. It’s what keeps me going and it never gets old because were always messing with each other, and just flat out having a good time… and rockin’ it!
OLD: You have done your fair share of carting gear around -Do you have any advice for drummers embarking upon a first tour?
Chris: Hard Cases. You never want to lug your drums around in a trailer without hard cases. While you’re driving to your next destination, you don’t really know what is going on in the trailer, it really just depends on how well you pack it. I had an Experience when I was on a tour and I didn’t have hard cases at the time, we were driving from Las Vegas to LA. In the trailer one of the guitar cabs slid into the front of my bass drum and punctured a huge hole in it. I was pretty upset but that could’ve been easily avoided if I had had hard drum cases.
OLD: How do you warm up for gigs?
Chris: How I warm up for gigs is pretty simple. I always stretch before a show so my muscles aren’t tense. I’m a really energetic drummer and I’ve learned from experience that if you don’t stretch, you’ll pay for it in the morning because your muscles will be sore and that’s no bueno especially if you’re on a tour and have a shows the next day. So my advice – always stretch, it does wonders. I also warm up by practicing rudiments on my legs. I feel playing on my legs helps me more than on a practice pad because it doesn’t rebound back to where as a practice pad does and it makes my muscles work a little harder and warms me up a little quicker.
OLD: What do you do to keep your nerves in check?
Chris: I just stay calm and don’t let little things stress me out. If you’re stressed out before a performance it sometimes affects your playing and you don’t ever want that to happen.
OLD: You play some very demanding drumming parts -how do you prepare for new material?
Chris: Practice, Practice, Practice! The more you practice the better you will become. Its as easy that.
OLD: What is the worst drumming experience you’ve ever had to date?
Chris: I can’t really think of a really bad time. But there was a time when I was on tour and I was playing a show at Chain Reaction in Anaheim. For some reason my bass drum wouldn’t stay in place. From the start of the set every time I hit the bass drum it would slide further and further away from me. My roadie at the time had to run out and literally sit in the middle of the stage and hold my bass drum in place for the whole set. It wasn’t really a bad experience, but it was an experience.
OLD: And your best?
Chris: My best experiences would have to be when I’m sharing the stage with some of the bands I’ve looked up to in my younger years.
OLD: Are there any songs/albums that have helped shape the way you play today?
Chris: Not really many songs/albums but more like different artists or bands. Ever since I first started drumming I’ve listened to a lot of Blink 182, Dave Matthews Band, The Police, Counting crows, New Found Glory, Underoath – the list goes on. But everything I listen to helps shape the way I play each and everyday.
OLD: Elvin Jones has been quoted as saying that if you couldn’t get at least 20 sounds out of your cymbal; there was either something wrong with it, or something wrong with you. Do you think you could get that many out of your cymbal?
Chris: Honestly, I’ve never heard of that saying. But if he can do it, I’m sure I can pull off at least 20 or more.
OLD: Tuning Drums, What do you think about that?
Chris: Tuning drums – Hate it. If I never had to tune another drum in my life I wouldn’t. The thing about that though is that everyone tunes their drums differently, and even if I paid a professional to tune my drums it probably still wouldn’t be to my liking. I would probably end up tuning them my way anyway. So it’s not my favorite thing to do, but you gotta do what you gotta do if you want them sounding right for you.
OLD: If you could sum up your drumming style in 5 words, what would they be?
Chris: Crazy, Energetic, Wild, Fun, and Awesome (:
Thanks to Chris for giving up some of his time for O.L.D.
Fall 2011 Tour Dates
The Yellow Brick Road Tour
Oct 21 Lexington, KY – TBA
Oct 22 Lebanon, OH – VENUE 42
Oct 23 Buffalo, NY – CLUB DIABLO
Oct 24 Rochester, NY – TBA
Oct 25 Poughkeepsie, NY – THE LOFT
Oct 26 Manchester, NH – ROCKO’S
Oct 27 Portland, ME – DEERING GRANGE
Oct 28 Providence, RI – FIREHOUSE 13
Oct 29 New London, CT – El ‘N’ GEE
Oct 30 Smithtown, NY – MASONIC TEMPLE
Oct 31 Middletwon, NY – SOUND ASYLUM
Nov 01 Allentown, PA – Crocodile Rock Cafe
Nov 02 Philadelphia, PA – UACA Hall
Nov 03 Fredericksburg, VA – KC’S Music ALLEY
Nov 04 Richmond, VA – KINGDOM
Nov 05 Virginia Beach, VA – GREARED UP ROCK BAR
Nov 06 Raleigh, NC – VOLUME 11
Nov 07 Marietta, GA – SWAYZE’S
Nov 08 Southaven, MS – THE CINEMA, SOUTHAVEN
Nov 09 St Louis, MO – FUBAR
Nov 10 Steger, IL – ANOTHER HOLE IN THE WALL