Artist Interview: Will Hunt
(Black Label Society, Evanescence, Dark New Day)
Born in Gainesville, Florida, Will cut his teeth touring through the south; an experience that launched a career with some of the biggest names in Alternative Metal performing stadium tours world-wide.
Question: What was your first drum set?
My first kit was something unknown held together by shoestring and duck-tape- literally!!! But I was 6 so it’s understandable! Ha! BUT, my first real kit was a Pearl Export when I was 11. I played that kit right into my first pro gig at 17. AWESOME kit for the dough. After a year in my first pro gig I got a set of Black BLX drums that I still have to this day.
Question: Did you ever take private lessons?
Yes! Absolutely. I started tasking private lessons regularly when I was 7 all the way to 16. I can honestly say that my love of playing and skill started and was groomed with these teachers.
Question: Who is your favorite drummer and why?
I just can’t name one because it wouldn’t explain where my style comes from- there’s three main ones. John Bonham, Tommy Lee, and Stewart Copeland. All three of those guys have different styles that I really gravitate towards. Versatility is what makes playing fun!
Question: What makes the Pearl brand special?
It’s really simple to me. As I said earlier, my Export kit was an in-expensive kit with pro features and SOUND- the most important thing!! I still remember how that kick sounded so thick and punchy. Just because it was an entry level kit didn’t mean that Pearl didn’t put pride into it. Just like the Masterworks kit I’m playing stadiums with, my drums are SLAMMIN’ and there’s 89,000 people a night loving the way they sound – I know this because they’re all jumping up and down to beats they’re pumpin’ out!!!. The Pearl brand is synonymous with amazing sound, craftsmanship, and pushing the technology of what I love to do- PLAY DRUMS!!!
Question: What are your thoughts on the electronic elements so common in percussion these days?
I have FULLY embraced the electronic world. The possibilities are ENDLESS!! For the gig I’m in now the music goes from Korn heavy to Steely Dan slow groove. That requires different sounds………..I can go to my e-pro kit integrated into my acoustic kit and totally switch kit sounds from the big acoustic sounds to the smaller jazz kit, or even full blown EDM sounds to play those grooves live. Look at it this way- it’s like we as drummers are painters of rhythm and electronics allow us to hugely broaden our color palette.
Question: How did you make the transition from recreational drummer to professional drummer?
One month out of high school I joined a circuit (cover and originals) band with guys that were all 6-8 years older than me. We played 300 days/year all over the south and made a VERY small living doing so. We had a semi-truck, 120 par can light show, and huge P.A. I did that for 4 years- that was my “college of rock”. That experience was the transition for me and gave me the foundation for forming my own original bands, getting deals, touring the world, as well as being a hired gun.
Question: What inspires you to continue drumming?
I still love it like I did when I was a kid!!! I still learn new stuff every day from new cool beats and genres, or showmanship stuff. It’s fun to take those things and incorporate them into your own music- it still puts a grin on my face when I do! The business of music is a tough one, BUT it all comes back to why we do it- which is to play and enjoy making music!!! THAT part has not and will NEVER get old!!!!
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