Rather than writing a story about myself (which is something I just can’t do!), I figured I make a list of actual questions I get when I meet musicians and fans.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I was born and raised in The Netherlands, in a small town just outside of a major city called Leiden. I moved to New York City in 2004. I currently live in a small town in New Jersey, just minutes outside of Manhattan.
Q: How long have you been playing drums?
A: I started playing the drum set when I was 13 years old in 1992 (22 years). Before that, I played snare drum in a marching band for about four years.
Q: Who have you worked with?
A: I’ve played with hundreds of musicians. Some famous, some somewhat known, some unknown. Some I played with for years, both touring and recording, some only a few shows, some only a session. Some of the more known artists and bands I’ve toured with or have been an official member of (most also recorded with) include Lita Ford, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses), Ted Poley (Danger Danger), Within Temptation and Epica. I’ve done recording collaborations with more artists than I can possibly list, but some of the more known ones include Tiffany Giardina (Disney), Shane Gibson (KorN), Chris Poland (Megadeth, Ohm), Milan Polak (Falco), Kip Winger (Winger) and Anneke van Giersbergen (The Gathering, Devin Townsend). Some of the more known producers I’ve worked with include P.J. Bianco (Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato), Nick Sansano (Sonic Youth, Ice Cube, John Spencer Blues Explosion, Galactic) and Easy Mo Bee (Miles Davis, Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Wu-Tang Clan).
Q: Are you a metal/hard rock drummer?
A: No! I’ve always played all kinds of music ranging from singer-songwriter to R&B, blues to hard rock, and funk to jazz. It’s simply by chance and totally randomly that I’ve built a name in the hard rock genre and some of the most known acts I’ve played with are hard rock acts. I have always been equally active in pop and especially the singer-songwriter genre.
Q: What’s your favorite music to play?
A: Good, honest music. I love playing heart-felt song-oriented music that can range anywhere from singer-songwriter acoustic stuff, up to high-energy pop and rock. I love a mellow singer-songwriter gig as much as a balls-out Foo Fighters type rock gig. I just really love the challenge of laying down a solid groove with just the right feel and sound, and play for the song. Nothing makes me happier than driving a well-written pop/rock tune “right to the bank” where both the band and the audience can’t help but at least tap their foot!
Q: Who are your favorite drummers?
A: In no particular order: Jeff Porcaro, Steve Jordan, JR Robinson, Chad Smith, Stewart Copeland, Bernard Purdie, Phil Collins, Dave Grohl, Steven Adler, Matt Sorum, Clive Burr, Nicko McBrain, Tim Alexander, Dave Abbruzzese, Josh Freese, Cozy Powell, Hans Eijkenaar, Cesar Zuiderwijk, Simon Phillips, Phil Rudd, Keith Moon, John Bonham, Ian Paice, Tico Torres… To name but a few!
Q: What kind of music do you listen to?
A: All kinds. And I mean ALL. Anything from Motown to obscure death metal. Important to point out is that the genres of music I listen to and the genres of music I enjoy playing are two entirely different things. There’s music I enjoy listening to that I’d never play, and there are genres of music I play that I wouldn’t necessarily listen to. Some of my favorite bands/artists include (in no particular order): Iron Maiden, John Mayer, Toto, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, Sting, The Police, Primus, Michael Jackson, Muse, ELO, The Who, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Tim Christensen & Dizzy Mizz Lizzy, ABBA, Rush, Whitesnake, Deep Purple, Prince, Gavin DeGraw, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana, Death, Slayer, Pantera, A Perfect Circle, Mats & Morgan, Joe Satriani, Queen, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne… This list could go on all day…!
Q: Will you join my metal/instrumental/shred band?
A: Unlikely… I used to play a lot of “shred” music, 10-12 years ago. Over the years I’ve grown to feel like technical music is something I’d play to impress an audience, rather than satisfy my own internal musical cravings. One day I found myself realizing I lost interest in playing a 20-piece kit in front of an audience of other musicians with their arms crossed. There are exceptions, though. Bumblefoot is the obvious example. When the artist writes technically challenging parts to 100% serve the music, and not to show off a shallow circus trick, I definitely don’t shy away from a technical challenge. Bumblefoot is a whole different story by itself. He is not trying to be anything. His brain simply works on a frequency most other musicians can’t even tune into. It’s a rare but amazing musical situation that is truly awesome to be a part of.
Q: Will you play on my metal/instrumental/shred record?
A: I’ll occasionally do a session in these genres if the musicians involved are friends and the music is mature and composed well. “Metal” is a bit of a big umbrella, though. I definitely enjoy doing old-school Black Sabbath style groove stuff, but death metal… I’ve done it in the past but I’ve never really enjoyed it. Just not my cup o’ tea :-)
Q: What are your criteria for joining a band?
A: For me to accept a gig, three out of these four things have to be present: Good music, good people/fun hang, forward momentum (gigs, industry interest, growing fan base) and decent money. Money is really only a deal-breaking factor for me to accept a gig when any of the other three aren’t present. Ideally all four are present!
Q: What are your rates for recordings?
A: This depends on a few things. First of all, the answer to the previous question partly applies here as well. If I know the people and I know it’s going to be a fun hang and great music, money becomes less important. Ditto when the band/artist is on a tight budget (completely indie) but has a lot of exposure, which means my playing will get exposure as well, possibly leading to more work. Secondly, it depends on whether the session will take place at my studio or a studio of your choice (and how far I’d have to travel), the number of songs, etc. Lastly, I do have my preferences as far as genres go. To keep an even spread of genres in my portfolio, I might do certain genres cheaper than others. If I’ve been doing a lot of sessions in a particular genre for a while, I might jump on a session in a different genre at a lower rate just because I’ll be happy to have some variation.
I generally don’t really set a fixed rate. Contact me, let me know what your budget is, and we’ll work something out. The vibe I get from a producer/artist when contacting me can also be an important factor. An email going “I can pay you $50 per song and if you can’t do that I already have another drummer lined up this band is going to be big i am an amazing singer our guitarist can play faster than John Petrucci we have industry contacts” (including absence of punctuation) isn’t going to excite me very much. I will recommend hiring the other drummer (which we both know doesn’t exist). And not because of the $50 budget. Humility, empathy and respect are virtues that tend to automatically result in big discounts ;-)
I do have to make a living, but I’m also a supporter of independent music. Art comes first, money comes second.
Q: What gear do you play?
A: I am extremely fortunate to be endorsed by the following companies: Paiste cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, Q Drum Co., Ahead Armor Cases, Cymbag, Hansenfutz practice pedals, Carmichael Throne, Drumtacs and HD Custom Drums. For detailed information, see the Gear page.