MM: (Laughing) So the guy in the front row's reaction is‚ "Shit! What is this?"
GS: No‚ it was a chick...(Laughter) It doesn't matter if it's a guy or a girl‚ but it just tells you how specifically I remember that moment. Most of time for me being in back behind the drums I think most people can tell by the look on my face that I'm pretty much in a veggie state when I play - just out to lunch. So I usually don't see things like that‚ I'm just concentrating on the music and being on my toes for whatever spontaneous opportunity might come up in our music. Rarely am I looking out into the audience and taking a demographic analysis on what they might be into or not. I have my setlist‚ my monitor‚ and my ears.
MM: Well‚ that's good because I remember Chris talking about that a few times before…
GS: Yeah‚ because he's out in front of the stage. I'm in the back behind a wall of drums‚ so I have...
MM: The comfort of the drum set.
GS: Exactly‚ no matter where I am I have my comfort zone. I can see how those guys might be a little more affected by that sort of thing.
MM: So with drumming‚ as you mentioned being in a "veggie state‚" it's a rhythmic exercise...well‚ with playing any instrument it has that release‚ but with drumming you're almost moving your whole body. I guess what I'm getting at is the idea of playing the instrument is kind of like meditation...
GS: Man‚ you have no idea‚ it's just ridiculous. I know other drummers have said the same thing‚ but for me it's just ridiculous. The whole mental thing that goes on when you're playing is so intense - I think it's the ultimate form of meditation. That's why I don't like to pollute it or dilute it. All of this energy just rushes through your body and you reach a moment of total expression without thought. It's a brief moment where time stops and so many things are happening and it's automatically coming out. It's such a hard thing to describe to's just the higher power of music. Drumming is so great that way because you can totally relay emotion...and with any instrument that happens‚ but with drumming it's all about the beat and rhythm...I mean everything started with rhythm - like the human heart.
MM: Yeah exactly‚ the whole idea is completely natural.
GS: It's such a heavy duty thing; I completely love it. And I love the mathematical side of it as well‚ you know‚ when you start playing pieces that are more complicated and intricate your mind gets so stimulated. I think it's positive and it could be flashy‚ but what it comes down to for me is that inter-guidance I get from playing music and that level of self-expression through the instrument.
MM: Yeah‚ I know. I picked up a guitar and started playing with that idea and that's how I tried to learn how to play and I understood that before I could understand the instrument. It's that understanding of what it's capable of. On the other side of it as a listener‚ you're totally free to go. I think what you just said is so right on‚ and you're absolutely right that you sound completely out of your head trying to describe to someone about stopping time or having moments like that with music. At the same time I'm not really afraid to say that it is true and that it is really big. It's more than just four guys writing tunes and it's more than just rock music or whatever.
GS: Yeah‚ take my mom for example; she's a reborn Christian - you know heavy duty stuff. I know that my mom was always skeptical about religion and hesitant about it and didn't quite understand it. Then I come back from UVM one semester and my mom is in this reborn Christian faith. It blew my mind for a minute. In the beginning she would try to take me to church functions and I would be digging my fingernails into the ground kicking not wanting to go. I didn't want anything to do with it because I have that element that you can get through religion or other areas. I have my sense of being and my form of ritual and mediation. Playing music and drumming - that's who I am and that's what I do; that's my karma; that's my destiny and that's why I feel I'm here. So I completely understand the feeling my mom gets from religion because to a certain degree I get the same feeling. It's so powerful.
MM: Yeah‚ it's interesting because there is a religious aspect to it. I don't give a shit‚ (laughs) you know - I'll say it's a religion. It is my spiritual outlet. The funny thing with the stuff we're talking about it is that it is crazy talk to a lot of people. The idea that time can stop through meditation with music and that you can figure out...I mean‚ I've had revelations with music. How do you explain that to someone? I figured out a lot of things in my life and this profound understanding of what it means to be human. It's this recurring practice. I think it's really funny because you mentioned your mom being religious‚ but I was in a church recently - as you can tell I haven't been practicing any organized religion - and I heard the priest speaking and I thought to myself‚ "This is really bizarre." You have this guy in a robe and there's dry ice and...don't get me wrong‚ if it works for people I think that's great that people can take something positive from that and help their own spirituality. I thought it was really funny that what he was saying was acceptable. I'm listening to this guy‚ being ten years removed from this religion I grew up with‚ and then seeing this from a different perspective. What you stated with your mom‚ it is relevant because that's what I see twenty-thousand kids do with music. Well not all of them‚ but I see a lot of them getting off on this. And it's not like this is just good music‚ it's a lot more than that.
GS: Yeah‚ it's something special‚ definitely.
MM: Yeah‚ they're getting something positive out of this‚ and taking it back with them in their life. Of course there's baggage and clutter…
GS: As with anything.
MM: Yeah‚ and maybe this is naïve of me‚ but I'd like to think that people are genuinely getting off and taking something positive from the experience of seeing live music and through music. So yeah (pause and laughter)...I'm right there with you.
GS: Yeah‚ crazy and intense stuff we're dealing with.
MM: It's so strange because it is really crazy to describe this to someone who could never imagine that music has that potential.