20 QUESTIONS WITH…
TUFF / FASTBACK / drum whore extraordinaire TOD "T" BURR!
We’ve admittedly done some big ass interviews this year. As you may be aware, we’re guilty of harassing huge names like Geezer Butler, Henry Rollins, and even Pauly Shore! And if you thought those were huge, then hold on to your headbands, because nothing’s bigger than this week’s 20 Questions! Yep. It’s the one and only Tod "T" Burr.
Tod’s about to hit the road as part of our MSX II – Midwest Tour, playing not in one but two bands! You can see him in both TUFF and Fastback. He’s also a "band whore extraordinaire" and plays in like 200 other bands too. But before you start slagging on him, please know that Tod is also a hard core Sludgeaholic, and has been a fan and friend of Metal Sludge for several decades.
Anyhow, enough of this silly intro. Let’s get going with this week’s 20 Questions! Enjoy.
1. Please plug your shit, and tell the Sludge faithful who you are and why they should care?
I?m a professional drummer and drum tech making my living in sunny Los Angeles. Some of the bands I?m currently playing in are TUFF, Fastback (with Michael Thomas and Brian Saunders), The Druts (with Chuck Garric from Alice Cooper?s band), Freedom Under X-Ray, King Con, The Groovy Fish Hedz (my cover band), Motley Priest (80?s metal tribute band) and Third Wish. I?ve played in the past with Substance D (with Todd Chase and Michael Parnin), The Glory Bayonette (with Mark Christian from Berlin and The Big F), Some Angry Angel with Todd Miller (from Bang Gang) and Phil Buckman (from those McDonald?s commercials and Married With Children/Drexel?s Class TV shows). Plus, band I was working with just broke up last week after over 3 years together. We were one of the largest drawing local bands who got to open for many national acts. They just couldn?t get it together. My day job is running one of the largest drum rental departments in the world. We build drum sets and percussion for the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Later With Craig Fergerson and the Jimmy Kimmell show plus many others, as well as for music videos. Plus, I?m playing drums with both TUFF and Fastback on the Metal Sludge Tour which starts this week. Oh, and I post on the gossip board as ?Larsmcbrain666?.
Tod as Motley Priest’s "Lars McBrain!"
2. We are officially naming you the ?drum whore extraordinaire? since you are playing in upwards of 10 bands at a time? How is that possible with schedules, work, sex, drugs and all the other fun stuff in life? Also, you are doing double duty on the MSX-II tour with 2 bands as well. Do you ever sleep?
Well most bands don?t, can?t or won?t rehearse every night so it?s usually just finding time to fit every band in. I love to play everyday. Obviously when there is a big show, a tour or recording sessions coming up, those would take precedence. I play over 100 shows a year, sometimes two a night so I?m making money and my chops are always up. I get around 6-7 hours of sleep a night. I try to take one afternoon off a week and sleep until noon but it doesn?t always happen. I guess I?ll just sleep when I?m dead. Did I just quote Bon Jovi? Regarding the fun stuff? playing gigs, traveling the world and recording albums ARE the fun stuff!
3. You also have an extensive back ground as a pro technician. What companies do you work for, who are you endorsed by and who have you tech?d for over the years?
I run the drum rental department for a major backline company. I?ve worked with and built kits for Radford/Lit, Jimmy Chamberlain of the Smashing Pumpkins, Tricky, Sugar Ros, The Used, Tommy Lee, Good Charlotte, Gwen Stefani, KISS, Alter Bridge, Coachella festival and basically every band who comes through Los Angeles and needs a drum kit. I play and endorse the following companies: Yamaha drums, Paiste cymbals, Regal Tip drumsticks, Meinl percussion, Randy May internal drums mics and Remo and Evans drumheads. I also have a great relationship with Goat sunglasses, Vestal watches and C & D Visionary Merchandise Company. And thanks to DIRTBAG clothing and TEAM SATAN clothing who have given me free stuff!
Tod in "Freedom Under X-Ray"
4. Let?s get personal. You are a strict vegetarian and an animal lover. How and when did this all come about and why don?t you like Hamburgers?
I started phasing out red meat in 1996 and then went full vegetarian in 1998. I am a total animal lover and I was a card carrying member of PETA before I got sick of all their propaganda. Now I mainly do it for the health reasons (plus it helps keep me thin).
5. Rate a drummer 1-10. A 1 being a 1 armed hack and 10 being an Octopus freak of nature.
Vinnie Paul = 10. When I saw Pantera on MTV, back when they played videos, I went right out and bought ?Cowboys From Hell?. That record was instrumental in the beginning of Substance D?s direction into a harder sounding band. I?ve seen them play many times and Vinnie never fails to inspire me. Damn shame about his brother. My extreme condolences. I?m going to play at the Al Villa Rosa in a few days and I don?t know how I?m going to feel about that.
Alex Van Halen = 10. A huge influence on my playing. I saw Van Halen in concert before I?d even played drums and I loved his enormous kit with the black and white stripes.
Tommy Lee = 11. The man, the myth, the video. In the beginning it was Neil Peart who inspired me (isn?t it for every drummer?), but Tommy Lee is the biggest influence on my playing. In my first few years of playing, my set-up, stick spinning and cymbals catches were just like his. I loved the fact that the drummer could be as entertaining as the rest of the band. I dropped many sticks at many shows trying to do his tricks.
Rick Allen = 8. I saw Def Leppard play before he lost his arm and they were so energetic but not very good. However, I saw Rick play a regular drum kit at Guitar Center a few years ago and he was amazing. Huge props to him for re-learning how to play. Even huger props to his band for not giving up on him. In this day in age of bands replacing drummers at the drop of a hat I really respect the guys in Def Leppard.
Steven Riley = 8. Cool guy and a good solid meat and potatoes drummer. Props to him for keeping LA Guns going for so long. I actually sold him my Harley a few years ago.
Bobby Blotzer = 7. I never really got into RATT. Never seem him play live.
Neil Peart = 11. Another one of my biggest influences. I bought my first Tama kit because of him. Believe it or not, I actually thought I could play RUSH songs after only playing drums for about 6 months.
Tommy Aldridge = 10. I discovered Tommy Aldridge on the Ozzy tour. This is the guy
who Tommy Lee must have seen when he first started playing. I?ve met him on several occasions. and he’s a super nice guy. Hell of a hard hitter and a great showman.
Steven Adler = 7. I loved the first G&R album. I tried to get my snare to sound like Steven?s. I couldn?t. Damn you, Mike Clink.
Rikki Rockett = 7 for playing. 10 for singing. Believe it or not, I was at the show in Phoenix, Arizona when TUFF opened for Poison in 1986. This was pre Stevie Rachelle. Rikki?s back-ups were spot on. Little did I know years later I would play with both Todd Chase and Stevie Rachelle.
Jimmy Chamberlain and Tod!
6. Let?s go back to the Sunset Strip. You played in Rocknee during the hey day. Who else did you play with and do you have a cool Gazzarris memory or something similar?
Rocknee was the only ?strip band? I played with back in the day. Regarding cool Gazzarris stories, let?s just say back in the day there were quite a few girls who were very open minded as far as taking care of a guys needs. I played with a band called Ninja for a short time when I first moved to Los Angeles. The singer was a black belt and would do nun-chuck moves and throw rubber stars at the audience. It was a cool gimmick for a while but the singer developed a severe case of LSD (Lead Singer Disease). Seems to happen a lot.
7. Okay so there is a Kevin Bacon thing here?you played in Substance ?D? with Todd ?Chase? Chaisson after he left Tuff. Then a decade later you join Tuff after a fall out between you and Chase. Is that odd, was it odd, and how did that come to be?
Stanger, weirder things have happened. After Substance D broke up I had the summer of 2001 off and I mentioned to Brian Saunders how I can?t believe I have the summer off from touring. He was playing bass for TUFF at the time and said they had a live performance on KNAC.com the following Wednesday and needed a drummer. Stevie dropped off the newest CD and I learned the songs for the performance. I guess it went well because I?m still with TUFF! Chase had been my best friend, band mate and roommate for many years so I was very familiar with the TUFF catalog. The best way to get a gig in this town is word of mouth. I guess I have a pretty good reputation for being a dependable, hard working drummer. That?s the main reason I play in so many bands.
8. Speaking of the Strip and the old days?what 3 bands had no right getting signed to a record deal and what 3 bands should?ve been huge?
I barely remember seeing a lot of bands back in the day. I didn’t normally go to see other bands unless they were my friends. I played almost every night and still do. A normal night out would have been to load in my drums, grab a beer, check out the chicks, play the set and go home (or go to another gig).
9. What rock star deserves a kick in the teeth and why?
I would have to say most ?rock stars? have been pretty cool to me. I?ve met plenty at my day job and gigs I?ve done. It?s either the ?up and coming? or the ?on-their-way-down? players who have the worst attitudes. I know many ?apartment rock stars? that play one show every three months and call themselves professional.
Tod with some hardcore fans in the U.K.!
10. Please take us on tour to 10 cities. Please name the city, the band, what year and tell us the good, the bad or the ugly? (ex: Sub D. Amsterdamn 1994, etc?)
1. Black/Substance D, Barcelona, Spain, 1998. We opened for Khonkra featuring members of Machinehead and Testament. Great show, free drinks and topless beaches. On the last night of the tour, we got really ripped with all the other bands.. During our last song all the guys in Khonkra and the crew came out on stage and held all of my cymbals so they wouldn?t make any noise. For Khonkra?s last song Chase, Michael and I grabbed a table and chairs and put it on the stage while they went backstage before their encore. When they came back out for their last song we were drinking and playing cards! Then I stage dove for the first time and hit my foot on the security rail. It hurt like a son of a bitch for the plane ride home. I?ll never stage dive again. Yeah right.
2. Tuff, Bradford, UK, 2002. We had Shameless with Steve Summers of Pretty Boy Floyd as support on that tour. Great shows, fun guys to tour with and great turn out. On the last night of the tour Michael, Brian and I tried Absinthe for the first time. The venue had it on tap! Next thing you know I lose my shirt and I?m dancing with a girl and her mother. They both kept trying to put their hands in my pants. And I don?t dance.
3. Lit/Radford, Houston, Texas, 2000. I was a drum tech for the tour and we played the Houston Buzzfest. I had an all access pass so I was allowed into the VIP tent for the whole day – free beer! Papa Roach, Third Eye Blind and Tonic were also on the bill. I got to hang with the guys from Papa Roach and since it was so damn hot we started drinking early. Dirge, a friend of mine (who now dates Vikki ?The Rack? from KNAC.com) in Houston and we proceeded to have fun at the local Spearmint Rhino after the show. Let?s just say the laminate around my neck got me some ?special? attention. Dirge, Vikki, give me a call!
4. Freedom Under X-Ray, Santa Ana, CA, 2003. I don?t know how it happened, but my metal/punk band was opening for Zak Wydle?s Black Label Society at the Galaxy Theater. Also on the bill was Nashville Pussy. The club was sold out with about 2000 bikers who want to hear METAL! We started our first song with middle fingers being pointed in our direction. We seriously thought the audience was going to kill us. Our last song is called ?Freedom? and we always start the song by praising the members of the armed forces and the good old USA. Eddie, our singer, had brought along an American flag and started waving it during the guitar solo. The whole place erupted into applause and the next thing we knew everyone was cheering for us to play another song. And Mike Inez, who was playing with Zak that night, was on the side of the stage giving us the thumbs up the whole show. All in all, very memorable.
5. Agrokulcher, Los Angeles, CA, 2003. Agrokulcher got to open the LA Music As A Weapon show at the Wiltern Theater with Disturbed, Chevelle, Taproot and Unloco. Disturbed came to our rehearsal room to hear us play about 3 months earlier. As it turns out Disturbed has an imprint record label and was interested in signing us. I rented a truck, hired a crew, put the band name on the bass drum heads, borrowed 2 Mesa-Boogie half stacks for the guitarist, hired a photographer, printed laminates for the band and crew and spent $800 of my own money on t-shirts, stickers, and 8X10?s. So want happens? The band kicks ass but the singer was freaking out and decides to drink about 6 red bulls before the show. He sings like crap, almost pukes on stage, blows the whole show and our chance at getting signed. Nice. Plus, his girlfriend is a total Yoko Ono.
6. Black/Substance D, Milwaukee, WI, 1994. Our 6th show ever with Todd Chase on lead vocals. Rob Jones, then of Singerman entertainment, now of KNAC.COM, was managing the band and scored us a slot on the Milwaukee Metalfest. We were originally scheduled for early afternoon but some bands cancelled and we actually went on at around 7:00pm, right before Morbid Angel. The place was packed. Chase, Michael and I played great and won over the crowd. Chase threw his bass into the air after the show but it didn?t break. And it looked cool!! After the show we got to hang out backstage (free drinks!) and see Slayer and Biohazard tear the place a new one. We got quite a bit ripped and Michael and I proceeded to pick up the only girls at the whole concert. Thank god they were kinda hot. Unfortunately, I had to spend the plane flight back puking my guts out?.damn tequila!
7. Tuff, Heffron, WI, 2001. Opened for Jackyl at the Rock On Heffron Festival. (See #14 for more about Jackyl!) There were about 5000 people and it was hot and humid. I remember doing a celebratory shot of jagermiester before the show with Michael and Brian but when I went for a second shot the bottle was empty. Everyone played great and I remember Brian and Stevie waltzing during ?I hate kissing you goodbye?. Everyone was singing along. There was a camp ground behind the stage and most people went there to party the rest of the night. We slept in tents next to a converted school bus with a booming stereo on the outside. Didn?t get much sleep that night.
8. Substance D, Kansas City, KS, 1998. We were on tour with Pissing Razors and we played the Capitol Theater. It was a good crowd and we really kicked ass that night. I was so pumped I broke both sticks in the last song and threw them into the audience. After the show we went out to the merch counter for the meet and greet. Standing there at our booth was a little boy about 10 years old holding one of my broken drumsticks for me to sign. I notice a bloody line next to his eye. My stick missed his eye by about ?? inch! And he still wanted me to sign it! I asked the little boy if he was OK and he said yes, thank god. He was with his dad and I asked if he was a lawyer. He wasn?t and the tour continued?
9. Substance D, San Antonio, TX 1999. Substance D played the San Antonio Metalfest, but I actually had a show the night before at BB Kings in LA at 10:00pm with my blues band King Con. Billy, the bassist in King Con, was going to the airport after the show so I hitched a ride to the airport and got on a plane to Texas. When I arrived in Texas, I found out the airline had sent my cymbals somewhere else but said they’d be back in a few hours. I called our road manager to find out Substance D?s set time and it turns out we are opening the San Antonio Metalfest in three hours. So I gave the airline the address of the venue and drove there immediately. I set up the rental kit (without cymbals, of course) and about 15 minutes before show time a driver arrives with my cymbals. Whew. The show rocked and we got to hang out with our bro?s from Pissing Razors, KNAC.com and friends from around the country. Man, was I tired though?
10. Ninja, Tucson, Az, 1986. We were on my first ever road gig and we played both Friday and Saturday night. After the first night the promoter took us to a party a few blocks away with some of the regulars. There were about 25 people there and tons of drinks. To make a long story short, about 4 in the morning the only people left were 2 girls, the singer and I. We were pretty wasted so we proceeded to crash in this huge waterbed. The lights weren?t out 30 seconds when I hear ?unzipppp?. Not to be outdone I grabbed the other girl, and headed to the living room and had some fun. They were nice enough to drive us back to our hotel in the morning. Sunday morning I was woken up to sound of my singer in the shower screaming ?that chick gave me crabs!? Good times.
11. Kill, Fuck, Merry. (Paris Hilton, Pauly Shore, Paula Abdul)
Marry Paris for her money.
Fuck Paula because I?ve never banged a cheerleader.
Kill Pauly because I?m not gay. Nothing personal against the weez.
12. Is Stevie Rachelle a major dick head to deal with? And if not, why can?t he keep guitar and bass players in his band for more than 6 months?
Not to be a nutswinger, but Stevie is one of the most professional musicians I?ve ever dealt with. He allows his players to interpret his songs their way. He?s never been mad at me (that I know of!) and I hope to never disappoint him both musically and personally. He always finds these shredding guitarists who get picked up by other bands. Stevie should get a finders fee.
Tod "T" Burr front and center, Harry and Alexx Of Shameless and some jagoff in the background!
13. Pick your Poison..
Warrant or W.A.S.P. = I loved the first two wasp albums and I actually owned the 1986 WASP tour drumset at one time.
Slaughter or Slipknot = Anybody but Slaughter. Mark Slaughter?s voice gets on my nerves. Funny story, a friend of mine playing drums for Obituary opened for Slipknot at the Forum a few months ago and I got to drum tech the show. While helping carry his gear off the stage someone in the audience yelled out one of my band names!
7th Veil of Crazy Girls = The Star Garden, baby!!
1989 or 1999 = In 1989 I played my last Gazzarris show with Rocknee. In 1999 I played my last show with Substance D at the San Antonio Metalfest. I guess both years were turning points in my life. A tie.
Dj Ashba or Dj Will = Another tie.
Hair spray or Hair gel = Just a little spray to keep my angel thin hair out of my face.
Double bass or Single kick = Double bass, but most stages/risers aren?t large enough for my double bass kit. Also, some clubs don?t have two matching kick drum microphones so I end up having to use a double pedal.
Big fake tits or small real tits = I love them all.
2 Guitarists or 1 guitarist = Depends on the music. One guitarist works for Van Halen but Judas Priest shreds with two.
Playing live or Recording in studio = I love to play live, but if I had my way I?d love to tour supporting an album I recorded.
14. Of all the bands you played with who was the coolest and who were the biggest dicks to deal with?
Well, any band that says ?we are the best band in town", "we are gonna get signed and be huge" or "you should only play with us? have got to be number one on my shit list. How could anyone rehearse 7 or 10 times a month, have only 9 songs, play once every few months and think they are going somewhere? The last band I was in was given every chance. We got every big show, free or cheap recording time, a great manager and I even let the singer use my PA and my microphone and they still managed to screw up. They called themselves ?professional? musicians, but they broke bones snowboarding or getting drunk, couldn?t remember or play their parts correctly and were late to almost every rehearsal. And those were the rehearsals they came to. I can?t tell you how many times I drove to rehearsal and the guys had cancelled a scheduled rehearsal and didn?t call me. Yep, nice and professional. As far as bands I?ve opened for, Jackyl treated us kind of like crap in 2001. They set up in the center of the stage with more room behind than in front. Their drum riser was huge. We barely had room to walk in front of our drumkit. And we weren?t allowed backstage when they were onstage. Weird. Funny thing about karma, I saw them a few months ago at Club Vodka and there was nobody there. Disturbed was one of the coolest bands to open for. They let us have a soundcheck even though Chevelle and Taproot didn?t.
15. If you could play toilet seat for any celebrity who would it be and why?
Um, probably Carmen Electra. Sorry Dave. Oh, and maybe Shania Twain. I?ve got a thing for her.
Talk about "Exposed!" Tod (left) in Rocknee!
16. Memory Lane with Tod ?T? Burr:
1972 = Living in Yonkers, New York. I got a rusty bicycle seat thrown at my face during a fight. Tried to punch a kid through a plate glass window. Almost lost my arm. I was a bad little boy.
1976 = Living in Glen Rock, New Jersey. Rang that damn bell during the bicentennial.
1980 = Living in Oradell, New Jersey. Trying to get to third base.
1983 = Going to Arizona State University. Joined my first real band. Played all covers. We were not very good.
1987 = I Finally moved to Los Angeles. Had a little crummy studio apartment in Van Nuys. I was the only person in my complex who spoke English. I was already on my third band here in town. Had my first threesome.
1991 = Dated an actress. Broke up with the actress. Started the ?Motherfolkers? with Todd Chase, Michael Parnin and Eric St. Michaels (form the german band ?China?). That turned into ?Criminal Minds?. Eric left and we became ?Black? in late ?92.
1996 = Got my cell phone and still have the same number. I got my dog.
1997 = Got my first record deal and toured the US twice with Black/Substance D. Went to Europe the following year. Played this huge show in Cleveland sponsored by WMMS and got to DJ the following night on the WMMS metal show. Fun.
2001 = Chase fired me from Substance D. I joined The Druts with Chuck Garric and then Chuck joined Alice Cooper and went on the road for the summer. I joined TUFF and played many shows over the summer. We opened for Vince Neil and Gilby Clarke but after 9/11 the fall tour was cancelled. Then I joined Agrokulcher in November.
2002 = Played my first Metal Sludge Extravaganza with Motley Priest and Bitter Things. Toured the UK with TUFF. Had a blast!
2004 = Played a million shows around Los Angeles and the southwest. Did a video shoot for a ?Girls Gone Wild? type of show on the river in Arizona which was a low rent disaster.
17. Name the 3 high points and the 3 low points of your music career to date?
1. Getting signed with Substance D and touring Europe in 1998
2. Opening for Disturbed, Taproot and Chevelle in 2003
3. Touring the UK with TUFF in 2002
I only have 2 low points?
1. Substance D breaking up and losing one of my best friends in 2001
2. Agrokulcher breaking up (badly) a few weeks ago.
18. What was your biggest musical related check for and what did you buy with it?
Substance D was featured in a Coke commercial that only aired in Europe. I think we made around a grand. I paid some bills.
19. The last of Tod ?T? Burr?
Last rock star you shook hands with = Abe Cunningham from the Deftones and Aaron Montgomery from Trapt. And my buds, Adrian Ost from Powerman 5000 and Michael Petrak from School of Fish.
Last drum God you tech?d for = Jimmy Chamberlain of the Smashing Pumpkins
Last time you did more than 3 rehearsals in a day = About a month ago. Very busy day for me.
Last time you ate red meat = 1998
Last time you signed an autograph = About a month ago a fan who had seen a Substance D show in Kansas City in 1998 was visiting and picked up a collection of cd?s that I played on. He came to a show and I signed all the j-cards for him.
Last time you broke a snare head live = hasn?t happened. Yet. (knocks on wood like crazy)
Last time you did not play your drums on any given day = I went to New York City last year for six days.
Last drum kit you set up = I built multiple kits for the drummer in Collective Soul
Last time you jacked your knuckle on a rim or cymbal = Not in years (knocks on wood again)
Last time you visited Metal Sludge = Probably in the past 30 minutes or so.
20. Word Association:
Rob Jones = Visionary. He gave Substance D (then called ?Black?) our first big show at the Milwaukee Metalfest opening for Slayer, Biohazard and Morbid Angel.
Todd ?Chase? Chaisson = Great singer/bassist and very stubborn. Damn shame about Substance D?miss ya as my bro.
Butch Walker = Don?t know him very well.
Michael Parnin = Amazing guitarist/producer and one of my oldest, dearest friends.
David Lee Roth = Get it together man. I want to see him sing with Van Halen one more time before I die.
Howard Stern = The king. I want to meet him one day.
Vince Neil = I was more into Tommy Lee than Vince. But Tuff did get to open for Vince’s solo band.
Steve Gomez = Huge thanks. Helped sign Substance D to Noise Records
Ozzy Osbourne = The man! Now, about your wife?.
Bill Gazzarri = Damn shame. Kind of glad he didn?t live to see the horrible state of live music in this town. He probably would have loved metal school, though. It?s very poetic that they play at the Key Club now.
Thanks for reading! A few last words:
Check out my girlfriend Sherry’s site (I met her on Metal Sludge!): http://www.sherryglobman.com
Check out my band sites:
And remember: The left lane is for passing only and always use your turn signals.
Tod plugged a shitload of sites, but he forgot to plug the link for our MSX II – Midwest Tour! So there — we just did it for him. He can thank us later.