Extreme Drum Legend GENE HOGLAN - Getting Schooled By The Atomic Clock

August 25, 2010, 9 years ago

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Gene Hoglan is easily one of extreme metal’s most storied drummers. Playing with bands that range from thrash legends DARK ANGEL to industrial metal kingpins FEAR FACTORY to, uh, cartoon metal band DETHKLOK, the man is known for his one-of-a-kind drumming abilities. And now aspiring drummers can get a closer look at those abilities with The Atomic Clock, a new instructional DVD from Hoglan.

But it’s not just drummers who will enjoy the DVD, or so Hoglan hopes, anyway.

“It’s two hours of super-duper fun,” says Hoglan. “I tried to make it entertaining for all. I wanted to make it something that was for more than just drummers and musicians. It’s for anybody who wants to spend a couple hours in front of the tube checking something cool out; that’s what I designed it for. It’s pretty darn entertaining, and it is chock full of information.”

And Hoglan is a good guy to go to for information on drumming. The DVD (available at Hoglanindustries.com or Reversedrecords.com in Canada) will reveal many of the man’s unusual quirks and attitudes towards bashing the skins – something he’s been doing as a career since 1989, so he knows his stuff.

“I have some unorthodox approaches and philosophies to drumming,” says Hoglan, “so there’s a lot of stuff on there you’ll probably be hearing for the very first time.”

These boots are made for kicking your face in.

Unlike a lot of instructional DVDs, The Atomic Clock is extremely user-friendly. Hoglan didn’t want to create a DVD that made people feel uncomfortable in any way, as he feels a lot of instructional DVDs actually end up alienating the viewer.

“Absolutely,” he says. “You’ve got this guy with great chops, he’s a killer player, and he has absolutely no personality. It kinda feels like he’s talking down to you, like you’re receiving instructions from a high-school teacher. Who hates you.”

And like his unorthodox playing style, his style for filming a DVD was pretty off the beaten path. For example, with the exception of songs that Hoglan plays along to, all of it is improvised, and the same goes for the “script.”

“All of it is ad libbed, all of it is off the top of my head,” says Hoglan. “Even the drumming on it is completely ad libbed. Except for the songs that I play to a pre-recorded track, every lick on there is pretty much me coming up with it on the spot.”

Foto by my fiffer, Lisa Hoglan. She's more famous than me.

And coming up with things on the spot is something that a guy who’s been in this many bands (have we mentioned STRAPPING YOUNG LAD and the mighty DEATH yet?) is probably pretty good at. After all, with so many years of playing in so many bands, surely he’s had a few moments on stage where he forgets what song he’s playing… or what band he’s playing with. Right?

“Well, yeah (laughs). Every once in a while. Usually that’s one of the earlier shows with a new band. Especially when it’s something where you have one day to learn a gig’s worth of material, then you have to join a band, that gets a little confusing.”

Hoglan, who is currently in eight to 10 working bands, admits there were times during the early shows of the current Fear Factory tour where, after only three days of rehearsals, he experienced some mid-song panics.

“There have been times where we’re coming up to a part and, you can probably see it on YouTube if there’s a close-up on my eyes, they’re all bugged out, and I’m thinking, ‘Holy shit, I know something’s coming up but I’m not quite sure what it is. I’m just going to fly around here for a second.’ A couple of moments like that. (laughs) But it has been a while since I’ve been truly confused on stage. But I tell ya, I get confused every morning when we wake up in some strange town and I don’t know where we are.”

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