By Jason Wellwood
First off, I’m not a drummer. Never aspired to be, never even had ‘drummer dreams’ where I’m playing the drums and people are cheering me. I have, however, been seriously guilty of air drumming on a regular basis knowing full well that what I’m doing couldn’t possibly translate into actual drumming. So, why is a no talent hack like me watching an instructional DVD about drumming? Seriously? It’s Gene Frickin’ Hoglan for cryin’ out loud! It’s interesting that Gene has been drumming professionally for over 25 years and is just recently becoming a (metal) household name. Having lent his talents to Dark Angel, Death, Strapping Young Lad, Testament and Meldrum, it seems that his stint in the cartoon-brought-to-life-band Dethklok is what has started the big man’s rise to fame. Now, on top of all his other projects Gene has become the new drummer for Fear Factory and played on their latest album Mechanize. It seems odd, in light of this, that the majority of the music played on the DVD focuses on Gene’s project at time of filming (2008-2009) “Mechanism”. Coincidence? Probably.
In any case, a background on Gene may not be necessary for most of you so we’ll skip that and just get in to the meat of the DVD. Regardless of whether you are a drummer or not, this is a pretty good watch. Gene is a funny, nice guy and it really shines through on this DVD. Filmed in an almost ‘documentary’ style, it shows Gene playing songs (mostly from Mechanism’s debut album Inspired Horrific) with commentary over top. This allows non-drummers to understand what is going on and not feel lost at all. It also keeps them interested, for non-musicians watching an instructional DVD can be deadly boring but Gene’s stories and his sense of humour captures your interest. It’s as much his stories about who he stole his style from as it is his explanation of how he plays that is interesting, in fact I’d almost say his stories were more interesting.
The DVD extras are a great treat as well, a look inside the ‘Chop Shop’ that Strapping Young Lad and Zimmer’s Hole practice in; some insight into bar stools; pedals, cymbals and hardware. Everything is done with Gene’s sense of humour and the thought that it might not be just drummers watching.
What the DVD does is allow the viewer to get to know Gene Hoglan, the drummer and the man. It’s an entertaining watch and I’d recommend it to non-drummers who still have an interest in Gene or Gene’s bands.