Roy Mayorga – Exclusive OnlineDrummer.com InterviewMartin Osborne
Visit Roy’s MySpace at www.myspace/royfilmscore.
Be sure to send him a thanks for the time spent on this interview!
Roy Mayorga has played with some of today’s metal giants, Sepultura and Stone Sour to name two. Yet, there is more to Roy Mayorga than just a rock drummer. He’s a talented musician whose background and influences go further beneath the surface than some might think. I caught up with Roy in London UK recently and managed to spend some time with him. He agreed to have a chat with me on behalf of OnlineDrummer.com, and I’ve included that chat below. Enjoy!
First off, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed on behalf of the members and frequent visitors from around the world to onlinedrummer.com
You’re welcome Martin
You choose to play your sticks by holding on to the tip end. Why?
I feel it lends a harder attack and more focused of a sound-especially on the toms. I started playing them that way after hearing people after shows saying”sounds great but can’t hear the toms”….so I thought “use the butt end and your toms will be heard” (worked for Mike Borden) and it worked out as loud as my snare-now for the kick i use a wood beater…..so now top end and bottom end of my kit is pretty equal in volume. That was my goal. before playing in Soulfly and Stone Sour, I used to play smaller clubs with not much of a PA so I had to come up with an idea that could work so every drum can be heard no matter what.
You’ve played with some varied rock and metal artists through your career so far, which collaboration did you really get a buzz out of?
If your talking about the past, I would have to say SOULFLY. That was a great experience-I got to collaborate with Max Cavalera and a group of amazing Brazilian musicians “NAÇAO ZUMBI”. They introduced the Northern Brazil rhythms to me (such as Maracatu/Samba).. I’ve heard it before but never played it with anyone till then. The whole thing opened up a whole other side to my drumming which lends a big hand into how I approach drums these days in that sense. These days I mix a bit of that style with a Moroccan influence.
Your resume is pretty much full of music, but you’ve done a spot of acting, too. Did you enjoy being an actor for a short period in the film Tromeo and Juliet?
I guess you can say i kinda acted in that…I was in the band during the club scene….that band was THORN.
You’ve just done a showcase at Drummer Live in London. Do you get nervous getting on stage with no other musicians and just playing drums by yourself?
Nervous? Sure. I’m not gonna lie about that. I mean, no band, my first drum clinic………
Honestly, I can’t wait to do it again. Next time, I’ll probably come with a whole set of original music to play instead of just playing songs people know, but I think it was a good way to start off for me. Though, I did play one original piece called DESERT SONG, which I wrote especially for the show. I forgot to mention during the show if anyone wants to have a copy of that song it can be downloaded from www.myspace.com/royfilmscore.
I feel in the future my clinic performances will be different themes every time. It’s a whole new world for me… very excited about that.
How did you become a drummer? Who inspired you? And, what urged you to pick up a pair of drumsticks?
I would say…….instinct. From the time I was born (according to my Mother) I was just relentlessly beating the shit out of everything in my path with pencils, spoons, Lincoln Logs, hammers (yeah…. Dad made the mistake once of leaving those out). Any rod like object I would just take it and continue, on and on, driving everyone absolutely mad.. But, but shortly after all that, when I saw Moon and Bonham on TV for the first time, is what set and focused my mind on what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Going back to the films, briefly, you are embarking on soundtrack writing. Is this something that you’ve wanted to do before? And, I take it that drums aren’t your only instrument credentials?
Yeah, I also play guitar, bass, piano, various analog synths, some orchestral percussion and other misc. instruments. I engineer and mix my own material, as well. I use Protools and Logic 8 together as my main platforms to write and work out my ideas.
On your myspace, you credit all the big band leaders such as Glen Miller, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Louie Armstrong. Do you think that these great people have given an influence over your playing? I’m a big fan, myself, of multi–influential sources. Could you explain your thoughts to OnlineDrummer.com’s members who segregate music that opposites can attract each other?
To the first part of the question….Absolutely a very big influence on my drumming. Its funny how I got into all the big band stuff. It was through watching Bugs Bunny cartoons as a kid….ha ha. Carl Stalling was one who did the score for all the Warner Bros cartoons at the time, during the 1930’s-50’s, and would incorporate Big Band style of music covering songs of the time by all the Band Leaders mentioned above, which caught my ear then and lead me to find out where those songs originally came from, which lead me to listen to drummers like Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Chick Webb, Louie Belson..etc. Those guys to me are untouchable. On another note…its good to put yourself out of your element for awhile sometimes……you wind up learning so much more, and then you’re able to bring back something new and different to the way you perform or write. It’s always good to keep an open mind. That’s one thing I notice people don’t do anymore.
Your kit setup has varied over the years. Do you still experiment with setups, such as double bass drums or a bass drum with a double pedal? Or have you found the perfect Roy Mayorga setup?
Perfect setup? Hmmm…Have you seen my drums? yeeeesh! I took a step back recently and took a look at it and went “what the hell is going on in my head”. Totally unorthodox to some, but you know what? It works for me. It has everything, sonically, I would want to hear…..from extremely different colors of sound with the type of cymbals I use, like the Sabian Radia Bells/small to big chinas such as the Radia, Hand Hammered and Paragon to a prototype signature 24″ heavy ride. Then you got Gong drums for extreme bottom end punch and Rata drums (aka Octobans) which produce this high crack (close to a darbouka like sound). My kit is always gonna change up a little here and there, but the core of my drums still consists of the drums I started on years ago, and that’s the classic four piece. That will never change.
How do you prepare for a tour?
Usually, we (Stone Sour) take a week or so to rehearse and go over a set of songs. Work out what songs work best with each other side by side, and then hit the road. We don’t have like a huge stage rehearsal or anything. We’re pretty raw and simple with just straight backline……….ROCK AND ROLL!!!
Thanks Roy, now I have 10 quick fire questions for you……………
Sure, fire away
What is the most played album on your iPod?
Tibetan Gyuto Monk chants and MASTERS OF JAJOUKA……..lately.
What is your proudest achievement in music?
Recording my first ever record in one of the very first bands i was a part of….that being NAUSEA.
Who would you most like to have a one on one drum-off with?
I wouldn’t want to put it as a drum off….because I’m not really into the idea of competion….to me drums are not about that, it’s more about expressing one’s feelings and emotions…Passion. It’s like a form of communication from one soul to another. That being said: Terry Bozzio
Which other drummers do you chill out with?
The one drummer I hang with the most and I hold very dear to my heart is Yael. We’ve been friends for years and is one of the best drummers out there. Everything I mentioned in the answer above…..that’s her.
If you’re stuck in a lift for one hour with the person of your choice, alive or dead, who would that person be?
My wife……hee hee hee.
You’re pretty much an artist who has the deepest respect for your fans, and they are truly dedicated to you, too. Have you ever had a fan that’s freaked you out by asking you to sign something “different?” If so, where did you sign?
I was asked once to sign somebody’s tooth…….That one is a bit off don’t you think?
What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
Have a go to the bathroom, brush the fangs, look up to the mirror and think “OH GOD!”…..soon after that…. Coffee…….yaaay! All good then.
What type of car do you drive?
1973 Plymouth Roadrunner, black and chrome. Big old muscle car. It looks like something out of Road Warrior….. so I’ve been told.
When not drumming or writing, what else do you get up to?
Spending time with my Wife.
What would you best like to be remembered for?
I think someone else should answer that question later down the road. >=)
Roy, many thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Have you any final words of wisdom to say to the OnlineDrummer community?
Peace Martin….onlinedrummer.com is amazing. So much info on drum technique and what not and great video footage of great drummers. A top site in my book for sure.
Roy is working with two new bands as well as his commitments to Stone Sour and his session work. And in his own words……………..
Black President is a new band I just recorded a new CD with coming out in August 2008 and playing some shows coming up on WARPED TOUR here in the states in August….here’s some info on that..
And not forgetting my own myspace…..
Check that out….