Adam Zemanek

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

Missouri classic rockers Shaman’s Harvest are about to embark on a massive tour supporting Nickelback, which as you can imagine calls for some pretty big beats and a massive, stadium-filling sound. Their latest album, Red Hands Black Deeds, is bluesy, combining a classic, hard-edged rock sound with huge beats from drummer Adam Zemanek – and on the strength of this they’ll certainly be giving Daniel Adair and co a run for their money.

The album’s guitars were recorded using old analogue gear and vintage amps, and Adam complements the old-school feel appropriately with a Big Rock Drums set-up. Check out ‘Soulcrusher’, the hooky ‘Off The Tracks’ and anthemic ‘Come Up’ for proof that these Mid-West rockers can deliver great rock tunes.

What was your introduction to drumming?
“You know, to be honest, from the day I came into this world, I’ve always followed in the footsteps of my father.

“I came into this life with music evolving all around me, but the funny thing is, my dad played guitar and I just wanted to beat on s**t! I mean, he tried teaching me his ways, but I had a different vision.

“From pots and pans, to a full size kit at the age of four that I received from my pappy as a Christmas gift. So ever since then, I’ve been hittin’ skins.”

Which Shaman’s Harvest song perfectly captures your sound and style?
“I feel that my style moulds with the energy from my other brothers in the band. Each song is different, so we capture every moment together. That’s what make us whole. One band with multiple flavours to throw at you.”

The album was recorded with a lot of classic guitar gear, but what about your drum choices for the recording – did you go for vintage gear? Vintage rock drum sizes?
“I used a Gretsch USA Custom Maple drum kit. 14″x8″ steel drum snare, 13″ rack tom, 16″ and 18″ floor toms with a 24″ kick. I wanted the vintage size and sound.”

Do you work off the guitar or bass in creating parts and grooves?
“We just keep it Zeppelin, man – old-school – and get together and jam. Someone starts playing and it
comes together. My backbeat has always involved both guitar and bass; it’s naked without one or the other.”

You toured with Nickelback. Was that the band’s biggest audiences to date?
“It’s crazy with the road we have all seen in the past, and have gone through, to be on such an epic tour. The Feed The Machine tour was no doubt massive, and what a blessing it was to be a part of the act, but I would like to see our band reach the same goals that Nickelback has achieved – all or nothing, that’s how we roll.”

What’s the key to a great live performance?
“Practice. Practice, practice, practice. Lots of rehearsals and preproduction. Practice makes perfect, but at the same time you have to make it fun.”

How does your approach differ when you’re playing to stadium audiences? Do you have to dial back some of the chops in favour of bigger beats?
“I play the same for every venue we gig at – I don’t care if there’s only one person at the venue we play at, I’ll still perform like we have a packed-out stadium.”

Who are your drumming heroes?
“John Bonham, John Fred Young, Dennis Chambers, Vinnie Colaiuta, Matt Halpern, Tommy Lee, Ian Paice, Keith Moon, Travis Barker, Buddy Rich, Ringo Starr, etc. There’s so many good players out there, the list is endless with me.”

What’s the best drumming advice you have been given?
“Play as much as you can; don’t be afraid to learn different techniques and styles, that’s what makes you versatile… but don’t stress yourself when something doesn’t fall into place.

“Practice makes you good, not perfect. You don’t have to be the very best – just be the best player that you can be.”

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