///Rickie Mazzotta///mewithoutYou///kicksnarehat interview///
So, how did you end up here? What made you want to become a drummer? Give me a brief history of your drumming career from beginning to present.
How did I get here, well, that is a great start to this interview, I wonder that all the time; basically a lot of luck and support from my family and friends. Without the combination of those three things and our amazing fans, I would still be in a garage, rocking no doubt, hopefully enjoying myself. What started as a teenage love affair blossomed into some amazing life moments for me. I got Nirvana’s “In Utero” and Smashing Pumpkins “Siamese Dream” in the same weekend with my precious birthday cash. After playing those two records on repeat on my new cd birthday boom box, that was it for me, it’s what I knew I wanted to do. Luckily I had a friend who got a guitar that Christmas so drums seemed obvious to me, after begging and snow shoveling to save up, Dad takes me to buy a crappy drum kit,for one hundred and twenty five dollars, we wrangle an all inclusive TKO set complete with trashcan lid cymbals. I was secretly disappointed, my young mind wanted a Pearl kit, it seemed like the appropriate thing to be playing on. I take what I can get and began to play LPS and tap along and basically teach myself how to keep time and stay in rhythm. My dad had bins of sixties and seventies and eighties records, so one day it would be Cream’s “Disraeli Gears”, the next the “Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack”, Blondie’s “Eat the Beat”, “Thriller”, just tons of different types of music. To save energy, I would just play a whole side of a record, try to keep up with whatever was on next, I am sure it was noise pollution to most but me, it was class. After a few years and my father realizing I might be half decent, he made a move to buy a Premier drum kit which he got a lead on from one of his clients (all sorts of information gets passed during barbershop sessions, this being among the most crucial), I was instantly reluctant. The thought of spending a thousand dollars on drums didn’t sit to well with me…oh how father knows best. His purchase pushed me to want to get better. After countless jam sessions with different people, dozens of Grandpa gift bonds cashed in, new gear purchased, eventually skipping over all the pretend groups(the Rigmas, the Nasties, the Constipated Monkeys), I find myself linked up with the crew I am in now. There was a vast pool of dudes in this circle of friends and all of em played instruments and worked on music and it really inspired me to want to be more professional and be the best I could be(in no way am I saying I am the best, let’s get that straight). We trade members, try different musical outlets, make funny names, pull cliched stunts and eventually morph into mewithoutYou, it was all trial by fire at that point. This is where the luck happened and a label got us the producer and studio we wanted, then the touring recurred and all the glory and heartbreak that comes along with being a band ensued, dropping me off in my room on this warm June afternoon, sweat dripping down my nose and all. All the details are clear, we probably played about twenty times before we got offered a record deal, we were rather fortunate. A lot of it came from believing in ourselves and wanting to take on the challenge.
Lets speak a little bit about your set up…give me your specs, little things that you do to make yourself comfortable and anything really you think people might be interested in?
Right now, I am playing a C&C kit with Meinl Cymbals. It is a pretty large kit to me, for years I played with two toms, your standard rack and floor. I started admiring Stewart Copeland’s set up and Bill over at C&C took a likeness to my likeness and presented me with a little ten inch boy (tom) that I have flanked to the left of my 13” inch rack, right below the cymbal, that makes two across my front side. Easy access for nice extended fills and dubby kind of hits. We talked about even dropping an eight incher to the left of the high hats. The kick is 22x20, the snare is 14x10, the floor tom a standard 16x16. I have hand hammered Bzyance Dark hi hats that just seem to be indestructible, an 18” Bzyance Crash and a heavy 21” hand hammered ride, all so durable and amazing. I have made inquiries about something softer, more jazzy, ideally 22” with rivets, thin, just to get a little sizzle, Meinl always comes through. If you are a heavy hitter, I highly recommend strong high hats like the ones I play, I used to be a Bosphorus kind of guy but these changed my mind. Have had the same set for years taking all kinds of punishment on tours and I am not just talking about the playing, wink wink, ahhh lame I know but whatever, gotta rep for these two companies because they both only produce quality products that I believe in. No one told me to say this so don’t get that in your brain.
Hello all. I have recently been thinking and discussing some ideas with my friends. I’ve been reading a bit of both the Old and New Testaments, and I’m studying with some people in class titled “Understanding the Scriptures from Cover to Cover”. Basically, through all of this, I’ve come to see the humans in the Scriptures in a different way.
When Abram left Ur, he couldn’t read a few chapters ahead to find out where he was going.
When Joseph was sold into slavery, he never saw that he’d be second in power in Egypt someday.
When Moses was told to ask Pharaoh to let Israel go, he had no idea how Pharaoh would respond.
These men were real people who lived in real-life situations, just like you and I. Yet, their faith opened the door for them to be used by God in stunning fashions.
So, I’ve been deliberating for quite some time now over what to post as my first entry in this blog. I mean, the first post sets an important precedent, right? After giving it much thought, I decided to post this poem I wrote a few weeks ago. Most of these thoughts came from a conversation with Catherine Bules about some happenings in our hometown of Canton, Ohio.
Please give this a read, realize it’s a work in progress, and leave some feedback if you feel so inclined. For now, it’s titled “Forest and Field”.
There is danger in the woods, son,
so you cannot go out and play.
Just stay inside,
shut tight your eyes,
and everything will be ok.
Bright and early in the morning,
the sun shines through deep, regal branches.
But the house in the clearing
does not notice this beauty:
the people there only know
they can’t see as far in the forest as they can in the field.
Thick rays of light
brush across the rough tree bark.
There is always work to do in the woods.
Forward and back,
up and down:
there is glory in these trees,
but the people here don’t see it.
They only feel their feet on the ground.
These two groups of people never really cross paths.
The forestmen are fastest on their woodland trails;
the field folk are most comfortable in their swaying grass.
And the clothes they wear are so different:
the forestmen always look a bit too rugged;
the field folk typically make theirs a bit too fine.
Neither have ever realized their bodies are the same on the inside.
And what is so sad
is that neither group ever weeps -
They always think
the other is worse off than them.
There will be no change
until the forestmen become forest folk
and the field folk become fieldmen.
There will be no change
until they sway through the woods
and make trails through their tall grass.
Again, this is a preliminary draft. I still want to play with point of view, and with solidifying some of the ideas presented here. Nonetheless, thanks for reading.