For better or worse, I have been a drummer for almost twenty years. Through the phases of my life, drumming has been a hobby, an amateur career, an old passion needing to be rediscovered and during my most formative years, a way of life. In junior high and high school years, the other “serious,” drummers and I worshiped at the altar of Bonham, Peart, Moon and Baker. The drummers who were in the popular clique idolized Travis Barker, Andy Hurley and Blake Richardson. Regardless of what particular teenage culture you found yourself in, if you couldn’t talk about your favorite solo by Buddy Rich or Gene Krupa, you weren’t a real drummer. We judged each other on what Zeppelin and Rush songs we could play all the way through. The single kick players trash-talked the double kick players.We compared each other's set ups and stick choices.The drummers in my small suburban town took their craft very seriously, and we judged harshly. Far from being immune to the culture of ridicule and elitism, I had some of the most intense opinions of my day. I swore by Vic Firth and thought Pro Mark was “trendy and too breakable.” I called Mapex a fake brand (Ironically, I now sit on a Mapex throne when I play. It has held up for over five years and was very reasonably priced). I laughed behind the backs of rock drummers who didn’t incorporate rudiments into their fills. I will readily admit that I was the textbook pretentious musician. Then, one day the unthinkable happened: I fell in love with Punk Rock, and began writing my own songs. Of course, this didn’t sit well with my fellow musicians who saw this genre as a joke, a style one defaulted to when they couldn’t play their instrument. Because of this disdain, I couldn’t find any punk bands to play drums for, and I committed yet another atrocity: I learned a few chords on the guitar and set out to start and front my own band. This left me with a task that would go on to change my attitude toward my main instrument forever: finding a drummer that was good enough for my band.