Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Drummers of Next Big Nashville: Joe Stickney of Bear In Heaven

To New York we go...lovely electronic band that goes by the name of Bear in Heaven...You can grab their CD here...

How long has the band been around, how long have you been with them, and how did you get the gig?

We've been playing together for six years now. Adam and I went to school together and he was playing with these guys who needed a drummer. Bingo.

What's your background with the drums?

I was lucky enough to have parents who let me take up the drums and noisy up the house from my early teens. I did all of the school band stuff from middleschool through highschool. Marching band was particularly helpful and formed my ideas about rhythm in a substantial way.

Traditional or Matched grip?

Traditional. Unless I'm getting freaky.

Favorite drummer?

Tough. I really like Jaki Liebezeit. A lot. But there are too many others that I love equally or almost equally to really narrow it down to just him.

Favorite band?


Do you have a consistent practice time outside of rehearsals?

I don't. My good drummer friend Dan Menke is always telling me about his practice routines and it makes me feel lazy. I gotta get on it.

Do you have any other projects that you're involved with at this time?

I have a metal band called Dark Vibe. It's new and unrecorded at the time but keep an eye out for us up in New York. Also I play sometimes with Helado Negro, an amazingly excellent group.

Do you have any endorsements?

No endorsements yet, but that's only because I'm holding out for a Spizzichino cymbal deal.

Do you have a day job?

Bartending pays my bills. It's a pretty decent way to make money. At least in New York, the land of good tippers. It also supplies me with plenty of free beer to fuel my creativity, and plenty of flexibility in my schedule to go on tour when I need to. The downside is that it makes me a total Brooklyn stereotype.

Is your band/artist signed?

I've never been signed to a major record label but our indie label is run by two great friends, Adam and Sara Heathcott, who are totally major dudes. Does that count? I think so. They have great aesthetic vision and work their asses off for us very day.

When you're on the road, what do you travel in?

15 passenger Ford. It's falling apart.

Best part about being on tour?

The road.

Worst part about being on tour?

Fast Food.

What is your band doing to think outside of the box when it comes to attracting new fans?

We've got a kinda sweet tour blog going right now at Also, Sara sent us a bunch of cool stuff for our merch. table., I think that's made a big difference in our sales on the road. Gotta get that diesel.

What sets your live show apart from others?


What's the biggest challenge you face as a band?

Just getting heard, really. It seems like if you're able to get a little attention from a big blog or other print source then it can all sort of start to snowball, but until that happens you're just playing for your friends. Sometimes for years. We've been playing for ours for almost 6 now.

With the major labels struggling, do you feel it's more important for a band to focus on getting signed or focus on getting a significant buzz within a given group of people?

Hard to say. I think there are still bands being built by major labels and they seem to start off huge before anyone's even heard them. I guess if you're in a band like that and there's a hundred grand going into a p.r. machine to hype you up before your record even drops then you don't need to worry about building buzz. Most of us though benefit more from the buzz than the labels nowadays though.

How much does chance play a part in the success of your band and how much of the success comes from sheer blood, sweat, and tears?

You know that Blood Sweat and Tears song Spinning Wheel? I love that song. Back to your question though, I think working your a$* off is a necessary prerequisite, chance just dictates how difficult the rest will be.

If you had a fifteen year old sitting in front of you and could tell him/her anything about the music business, being in a band, or drumming, what would it be?

I'd probably try to change the subject.


zachsierke said...

joe, that is so you. i smiled the whole way through.

also, those cymbals look amazing!

Philip said...

Great interview! I wish I could have made it to NBN.

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