Magazine: Rock Hard / Germany
Article: Gene Hoglan Mensch oder Maschine?

Written by: Michael Rensen
Published: November 2001








Since his days with Dark Angel and Death, GENE HOGLAN is known as one of the best high-speed drummers in the metal universe. His eyes aren't the best, neither is his back (since he lost weight from 180 to 120 kilograms, he uses a stick to support him when he needs to stand for a longer period) but as soon as the courteous Texan takes his position behind his kettles, an unbelievable sonic inferno breaks loose.

"I used to be a talented air drummer," Gene reports laughing from Melbourne, where he's completing a drum clinic following the recently completed Townsend-Australian-tour.

"As a little boy I already knew how to hit the imaginary pots and pans damned well. Exactly 20 years ago I got my first drumkit. Back then I already knew I wanted to be a musician. I worshiped guys like Tommy Aldrige, Terry Bozzio, Neal Peart, Rob Hunter from Raven and Anvils' Robb Reiner. At the time I also loved Stevie Wonder, who, not many people know, is an excellent drummer. I was most impressed by celebrities like Cozy Powell, who kicked damn good double bass."

Did you ever get lessons?

"No, never. I would like to have a few hours though, because I certainly can use some. From the beginning I taught myself everything, as well as all string instruments I'm fluent in. I listened very, very carefully to my favorite records and in a manner of speaking, merged with them, which brought me quite far."

But, God almighty, how could you develop that insane, speedy double bass technique?

"No idea," giggles the 34 year old, who currently, like Devin, resides in Vancouver. "I was just created for it I guess. With drumming it comes to the physical for about uhhh 10%, the other 90% is "between the ears". I keep telling myself: "Gene, you can do it, you can do it", and indeed then I actually can do it."

How do you look at your developement over the past two decades?

"I'm still learning. It's important to approach drumming from different angles. I mainly used to keep myself busy with that which technically appealed to me the most. In the meantime I also know to appreciate a very simple and solid playing style. Therefore it's important to me to participate in different projects. With Punchdrunk I played weird, cheerful grind core metal, with Just Cause ultra brutal and just mean material and on "Terria" it's at times even quite peaceful. It doesn't have to be full speed all the time. Nowadays I'm open to jazz-fusion drummers and I respect some young damn good drummers. With Cryptosy, 311 or Slipknot are guys who grew up with my records and have a lot of potential. I'm curious what will become of them in another 10 years, when they have perfected their own style."

When did you meet Devin, with whom you've been for 5 years now, for the first time?

"One of my high school buddies was at a guitar workshop, which was organized by Devin in the music school. He laughed his ass off when Devin poked fun at stringpickers; Devin at his best is one of the strongest shredders in the world. He appeared at the snazzy music school in the worst pink spandex pants imagenable, and showed everybody where matters stood. I thought this was very nice and because I also love his records with Steve Vai, I wanted to meet him at any cost. The first time we met was at an Iron Maiden show in Los Angeles. Shortly after we got together in all quiteness and there was magic in the air immediately."

What's so special about Devin?

"He's not only one of the most talented muscians I ever met, but he also takes his job very seriously. His life exists out of music 100%. Parties, alcohol, drugs and hot girls don't interest him. He can get carried away by new songs enormously and takes me with him regularly. It's great to work with him."

Lately you compose together as well?

"We started on the Australian tour. Traditionally the best Townsend songs arise Down Under. Many highlights of "Infinity" and "Terria" were created in Australia. At the moment Devin wants to make a brutal, chaotic album and therefore I'm exactly the right drummer, haha!"

During the last European tour more people were staring at your swinging drum kit than at Devin.

"Whatever lures people into our concerts can only be good, hehe! That's why I love to play those Strapping Young Lad classics. They really make most jaws drop."

In the past you put aside offers from top acts like Machine Head and Testament. Isn't it something to play in a more known band?

"Only when I can stand behind the music. To be in a band just for the money is just not my thing. I could as easily go work at the grocery store around the corner."

Are you still in contact with Death master mind Chuck Schuldiner, who's suffering from cancer at the moment?

"Not with him personally, I do with the people around him. Since a few days ago things are very bad with him. As soon as I have more time, I'm going to organize the next tribute concert for him in Vancouver."

And how about the line to your former Dark Angel band mates?

"I still call a lot with them, they still live in L.A.. A few years ago we even talked about a reunion gig at Wacken, but I didn't feel like it. I love Dark Angel, but to let the past rise again, just is nothing for me. If all cripled men of fourty, who nowadays reform their old bands, still could make good metal, then they would not need this reunion crap. Their formations split up for good reasons back then, because nobody wanted to hear them anymore. Dark Angel as well split up because the world couldn't stand us anymore. Why carry on now? Bullshit!"


to talks

Translated by KK/YK/MM for EmptyWords-Published on October 29 2001