We talked to Steve Moore, the viral YouTube drummer, about his fiery passion for the skins.
Whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably already seen the Mad Drummer, Steve Moore. The video, “This Drummer Is At The Wrong Gig” went viral, getting him over 26 million views on YouTube as well as a guest-starring role on NBC’s, The Office, headlining spots at major music conferences and a slew of endorsements. The video shows a band covering, “Sharp Dressed Man” by ZZ Top, but what stands out is the flamboyant drummer who sticks out like a sore thumb on steroids. He’s doing ridiculous stick tricks while somehow still playing a straight forward beat on his huge white kit with pink flames. It was equal amounts impressive as it was hilarious. The second it clicked with non musicians in the mainstream, it was a surefire success. After revisiting the video for what felt like the thousandth time, it clicked that I had to write an article about this. I emailed Steve and crossed my fingers waiting for a response.
It was only a day later when I got the email notification on my phone from the Mad Drummer himself. After high-fiving myself and bragging to my confused mother about my next article, I was ready to ask him some serious questions. Steve was not only helpful, but excited to talk about the road to his success. The wannabe journalist in me should have started with his origin story, but the drummer in me needed to know how he got so great at stick tricks. I assumed the showmanship came from the hair metal era, which turned out to be half-true. His true passion was with heavier bands like Pantera, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest. Over time, progressive music like Dream Theater and Racer X were his focus then unlike most drummers he went back to appreciate the greats like Keith Moon, John Bonham, and Ginger Baker. Playing music with intense, passionate drumming led to naturally doing some of the stick tricks. It wasn’t until he joined Rick K and the Allnighters, wearing a matching sequin jacket and still drumming like a complete psycho, that he would truly stick out.
If you’re a musician, you’ll find the next sentence as obvious and redundant as the sky being blue. Steve Moore, a drummer, was going through a financial crisis. Sleeping on the floor of a local producer’s studio, he was tapped to play drums on several demos which unfortunately never saw the light of day. He was losing weight at an unhealthy rate and working for scraps. A golden opportunity arose when a large scale cover band, Rick K and the Allnighters, brought Steve on board to be their touring drummer. Although it felt strange leaving the world of creating original music, Steve knew this was something he couldn’t pass up. With 150-200 tour dates a year, it was not only a solid job, but incredible exposure. He never would have imagined one day an unsuspecting person in the crowd would be so impressed with Steve’s over-the-top stick twirling abilities that he would post a video on YouTube and change the Mad Drummer’s life.
Steve Moore on The Office
As the video grew in popularity, drummers across the globe were reaching out and wanted a piece of, “The Drummer At The Wrong Gig.” Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, in a full-circle moment, was a huge fan and there are plenty of their performances and experiences together documented all over the internet. Other than the extensive list I was sent of every hero and drum god that he’s befriended, a story that sticks out took place at NAMM last year. Steve walked up to John Blackwell, the drummer for Prince and introduced himself. To his surprise, John was ecstatic to meet him and even called over Johnathan Moffet, the drummer for Michael Jackson, to introduce them. The video helped him bridge the gap from fan to friend which is something most people don’t get in their lifetime. Because of this ever-growing popularity, a new show called, “Rick K & The Mad Drummer” is in the works for 2015. A larger-scale show with over ten people on stage and a bit more spotlight on the drummer. Steve openly admits he hates playing solos, even though he loves watching them. He’s perfectly content being part of a cohesive unit for the rest of his career. When asked about who he’d love to work with, he wishes he could do a record with James Michael (singer of SIXX AM) and joked about “taking out” the drummer of Steel Panther and replacing him before anyone noticed. To be completely honest, I don’t think he was joking.
Laughs aside, the future seems extremely bright for Steve Moore. In addition to working on the next traveling show, he’s hoping to do a clinic tour and continue to spread the gospel of The Mad Drummer. It’s unfortunate how many people don’t take advantage of their viral video fame. This does not seem to be the case here. By moving up in the musician food chain, Steve is establishing himself and the Mad Drummer as a brand with his own site. Everything from merch to tour dates are included and the sky is the limit. Getting to do what you love for a career is an amazing feat, but being world renowned for it is another beast altogether. Even with all of the attention and notoriety, it seems this drummer is still searching for the right gig.
Jonathan Diener is the drummer for the Swellers but you hardly ever see him bust out stick twirls anymore. - @jonodiener
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