Interview With New ApologetiX Drummer Jimmy Tanner
Tue., Jan. 31. 2006 12:46am EST
We're pleased to introduce to you the new official ApologetiX drummer, Jimmy Tanner. Jimmy replaces Bill "Moose" Rieger, who retired this past Sunday after playing 396 concerts and five albums in five years. Like his predecessor, Jimmy started as a fill-in drummer for ApologetiX. We first met him through our keyboardist, Bill Hubauer, who played with Jimmy in the progressive Christian rock band Ten point Ten.
Jimmy began filling in for us in late October 2005, when Moose first took a leave of absence, and literally hasn't missed a beat until this past weekend's "Farewell Moose" mini-tour. Consequently, Jimmy starts his tenure as our official drummer having already played 21 concerts in a dozen states with us! He's even appeared on one of our CDs (the last three tracks on "ApologetiX Hits: The Road.")
In the legendary comedy film "This is Spinal Tap," the British heavy-metal band Spinal Tap achieves notoriety for having a long line of drummers, all who perished under mysterious circumstances, including "a bizarre gardening accident," and spontaneous combustion. Unlike Spinal Tap, all of our former drummers are alive and well, but we do have a list almost as long as theirs.
Believe it or not, Jimmy is the sixth ApologetiX official drummer, following Jeff Pakula (June 1990-September 1993), Rick Servocky (November 1993-April 1995), Bob Flaherty (May 1995-September 1998), Fred Behanna (February 1999-January 2001), and Bill "Moose" Rieger (March 2001-January 2005).
Furthermore, there have been three other drummers who have played on our CDs: our longtime fill-in drummer, Keith Harrold (who played on "Isn't Wasn't Ain't" plus three tracks on "Keep the Change"), David McKee (who played on "Jesus Christ Morningstar" plus two concerts in 1998), and Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz, who played seven tracks on "Biblical Graffiti." Others who have filled in at one time or another include Ron Zanski (two shows in 1993) and Allen Muckle (three shows in 2001). That's 11 drummers in all!
Thankfully, Jimmy has a great sense of humor to go along with his formidable drumming abilities, so we decided to play a game of 20 questions with him. Here are his responses:
1. How and when did you first get started playing drums?
I started to play drums at age 8. I originally was going to take guitar lessons first, but the music store said that I was a bit too small and that reading drum music would be easier for me to understand. My first drum lesson was to see if I had any timing. I was to play single strokes with my instructor, Jim Pasquale, at the same time, starting slowly then building up to a fast tempo. He was surprised that I was able to play with him at the same time perfectly. I studied snare drum, rock and jazz. I took lessons from Jim P. for 8 years when he finally told me "I taught you everything I know."
2. How has your experience been playing the past three months with ApologetiX?
Playing with the ApologetiX has enabled me to do what I love best - playing drums while serving the Lord. I have met so many great people on the road with the band. I have really enjoyed the experience.
3. You first met ApologetiX through their keyboardist, Bill Hubauer. How did you first meet Bill Hubauer?
In 1995, I joined a church and was introduced by a member to Bill Hubauer, who at that time was forming a new contemporary worship band at different church, Christ United Methodist. Bill was looking for a drummer for the band and asked me to audition. I passed on it, not ready to commit. That band was Ten point Ten (TpT). It so happened that things didn't work out at the church, and spiritually speaking, I set out on my own once again for quite some time.
During one of my darkest times, I found myself once more seeking out the Lord. A friend had recommended that I try a Sunday-night service at Christ United Methodist Church, and I went. When I arrived at the service, I noticed that Bill Hubauer was playing with the band. That very night it was announced that the drummer was leaving TpT, and I knew that this was a sign from God. The same band I was invited to join five years earlier, that I walked away from, now seemed to be "calling" me. Other drummers auditioned, but my calling was true and I landed the job as keeper of time and have recorded several CD's with them.
4. Is it true that you actually threw your hat into the ring the last time ApologetiX was looking for a drummer, way back in early 2001?
Yes, I did speak to Karl back in 2001. I remember Karl saying to me on the phone that the ApologetiX was looking for a new drummer and that Bill Hubauer had recommended me for the gig. I had been with TpT for only a year at the time and was not ready to commit to any other projects. Plus the job that I had at the time would not let me go out on the road, which is what Karl was talking about doing a lot more of.
5. Can you tell us about your early influences (artists/groups) in music?
When I was eight, my older sister, Jodi, received a stereo for Christmas from my parents. It consisted of a record player, tuner, and an eight-track player (Wow!) My parents were not sure what type of music she would like so they bought a variety of albums for her. (Kids, do you know what albums are? No wait a minute ... better yet ... What about 8 tracks?) Jodi would look at the album, then put it down, and then I would check it out. One of the albums was KISS's "Rock and Roll Over" I had never heard of them before and when I looked at that album cover I instantly went nuts. It was like this beam of light shining down from the sky onto the album with a choir of angels singing in the background.
6. Who are some of your favorites/influences as a drummer?
Peter Criss (from KISS), Virgil Donati (from Planet X), Neil Peart (from Rush), and John Blackwell.
7. What have been your favorite things about playing with ApologetiX?
The music is great, but the really cool part is the lyrics. I have really enjoyed listening to the lyrics and learning more about the Bible and what's inside it. The lyrics really inspire me to read more. Traveling with ApologetiX has also been really fun. This experience has taken me all over the place in the last three months. I really like going to new places and meeting the fans.
8. How have the ApologetiX fans been treating you?
They are phenomenal. After the first week I started to get emails from fans I met on the road. It's great to have a fellowship with people from all over.
9. How and when did you you first become a Christian?
I was raised in a Christian home. My family is Methodist and provided me with a good start. There had been some times when I felt like I wasn't on the right path, times when I felt really low and lost. I "got saved" when I realized I wanted to commit to Christ with my time and talents, when God showed me over and over again that that was what He wanted me to do.
10. What's your home church?
Christ United Methodist Church in Bethel Park PA.
11. Tell us more about how long and where you were in the Sunday-night worship team?
I have been playing steady for six years as the drummer for the Sunday-night service (contemporary Christian worship service) at Christ Church. I have played in other churches during this time, but this one is my home.
12. Tell us a little more about how you first met your wife, Eve.
In January 1988 I went with some friends to see KISS perform at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh. Eve and her friend stood in front of us. When I saw her I instantly fell in love - for real. I wound up standing next to her and tried to talk to her. I wanted her phone number, but she said she wasn't "that kind of girl" - so she took mine and wrote it on a $20 bill. At that point I was afraid she'd spend the money and never call me.
After a couple weeks went by, I thought I was right about that. It was Super Bowl Sunday and the Steelers were not playing and my phone rang. It was her! That was how we got together. We've been married for 15 years now. At least I think that's still her. :-)
13. Tell us about your kids.
We have two children. Our daughter, Julie, is 14 and is an aspiring film director. Our son, Jimmy, is 10 and is an inventor. He wants to be a pyrotechnician. I really enjoy being their dad.
14. Was it hard to learn so many songs so quickly when you started filling in for Bill Rieger?
I had to constantly pray about being able to learn them all so quickly. I borrowed my wife's iPod for a couple weeks to listen to the songs. I literally had a book of notes that I took on the road for the first month. There are some specific starts and stops that the band included in the shows, so those were challenging at times. Working with the guys in the band made it easier. They would give me cues on stage that helped me learn as I went. There were no practice gigs; I learned it all as it happened on stage.
15. What other hobbies and outside interests do you have?
Drumming is my favorite, but I like building things. I custom built all my (drum) cases. I like to do the landscaping around the house myself, because it's fun. I also like bike riding and fishing.
16. How long have you been wearing that trademark hat when you drum?
That was part of my "look" in the soul band I had been playing with. People seemed to like the hat and Karl started calling me "Vegas." so I kept wearing it. It seems to be my trademark. It got a little crushed coming home from Alaska - but it was ALASKA!!!
17. Can you give us a list of the names of the bands you've been in before?
Cryer (1985-1988), Shocklin (1988-1991), Fair Warning (1993-2000). Between 1993 and 2000 - I also played with bands such as Emanon, Apple Schneider, Teaser, Wild Child, Stonehenge, Ipso Facto, Ten point Ten, Jam Nation. I should also mention that I am endorsed by Truth Custom Drums.
18. Where were you born and raised?
New Brighton, PA
19. Are you excited about playing full-time in a nationally touring band?
Are you kidding? This is the realization of my lifelong dream. This is even better than I dreamed because I am serving God in this ministry. It doesn't get any better than that.
20. What are your favorite foods?
I like authentic Mexican food and steak. I likes to eats me spinach too.