Any decent drummer can play a basic beat, but not all can throw down a groove. There’s a dichotomy between the two that sometimes is painfully obvious. One rocks, the other not so much. In this collection, Rival Sons’ sticksman Michael Miley shows that his drumming undoubtedly belongs in the category that rocks. His sense of timing, feel, musicality and overall ability to play rudimentary drum grooves that just scream for a bass, a guitar and a vocal is second-to-none.
In Michael Miley’s Hard Rock Grooves, we give you basic drum grooves and fills that are meant to serve as the linchpin in your next batch of hard rock songs. No unnecessary frills or uncalled-for prowess, just great drums that need your music.
Works with EZdrummer, EZdrummer 2, EZdrummer 3, Superior Drummer 2 and Superior Drummer 3 (optimized for 1 kick, 1 snare, 3 rack toms, 1 floor tom, 4 crash cymbals, 1 ride cymbal).
When and how did you realize you had a passion for music?
Growing up, my dad played music constantly. He exposed me to all the great drummers of the ’60s and ’70s; from the drummers of Steely Dan to Bonham and Baker. I was about four when I learned the “Billy Jean” beat.
…and how come you ended up behind the drums?
I just always heard the beat, I guess. My parents said I banged on everything, then when I heard “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins, I began begging them for drums. My wish was their command on my ninth birthday.
What is your connection to the hard rock scene, growing up and now?
I remember going to see my cousin who was about eight-nine years older. He was into everything from Iron Maiden to Motley Crüe. The first album I bought with my own money was “Shout at the Devil”. Then in junior high I began skateboarding and got into some punk and metal as well. Metallica of course was a big influence.
What drummers were some of your heroes and biggest motivators?
Bonham and Porcaro. They played single pedal. I never got into double kick because of them. They both, in their own right, had sweet right feet. I tried to develop the speed and finesse with one foot as well. Keith Moon really opened me up to making something feel great without a click – raw, visceral, and primal.
With Rival Sons, you’ve had quote a journey since your debut album came out in 2009. You’ve toured the world, played stadium shows with Black Sabbath, shared stages with Deep Purple and much, much more. What are some of the highlights looking back on these years?
For me, being able to sit behind Ian Paice and Tommy Clufetos every night. Watching from behind the stage. It’s more real when you’re that close. From our own perspective, having to go out every night and play to 95% of the crowd who doesn’t know you who doesn’t care, and trying to convert them. We always took on the challenge.
What was the general train of thought behind this collection of grooves and what do you hope the end-user takes away from it?
We wanted to give a wide sample of rock feels, inspired by some of the great rock grooves of the last 30-40 years. Something for everyone. And we wanted to make them feel natural, like your in the room. It’s amazing what Toontrack has done.
What’s the worst thing that ever happened to you on stage?
I got food poisoning once before a show, and about five songs in to the set, well, let’s just say my drum tech had a big mess to clean up!
If you weren’t a member of Rival Sons or a professional musician, what career do you think you’d pursue?
I’d probably be in the health and wellness industry. Or, I was a math major before I was a music major, so maybe some kind of engineering.
Single or double bass drums? Single.
Hole or no hole in the front head of the bass drum? No hole.
Click track or no click track in your headphones on stage? No click.
Best-ever hard rock album? Iron Maiden “Piece of Mind”.
Best-ever non-hard rock album? Beatles “Revolver”
Best-ever rock drummer? John Bonham
Best ever non-rock drummer? Jeff Porcaro
Dream-team hard rock band (with you on the drums!): Me, Marco Mendoza (or Steve Harris) on bass, Don Airey on keys, Kirk Hammet and Josh Homme on guitars and Miles Kennedy on the vox.
Black Sabbath “Black Sabbath”
Deep Purple “Machine Head”
Iron Maiden “Piece of Mind”
Metallica “Master of Puppets”
AC/DC “Back in Black”
Name: Michael Miley
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