Wire Faces’ top five singing drummers
Shane Zweygardt climbs out from behind the kit to talk about his inspirations
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Rock history is cluttered with its great singers and amazing drummers, but the performers who can multitask and do both simultaneously are among the rarest rockers known to man. That didn’t discourage Wire Faces’ Shane Zweygardt from giving it a go, however, and he’s helped establish the Fort Collins trio as one of the best punk acts in the state. With the band set to unleash another batch of jagged post-punk calls to revolution (and the dance floor) with its Diamonds And Gold EP, Friday, March 11 (and a release show at Larimer Lounge), Zweygardt chatted with The A.V. Club about his favorite singer-drummers.
Levon Helm of The Band
Shane Zweygardt: I definitely think Levon Helm is the man. He’s pretty badass. He just has his own style. He has his own personality when he sits down and plays. In his style of playing, he’s able to make his drums shine in their own way, and also, you hear his voice very clearly. If you listen to the recordings, you wouldn’t even know that he’s singing. It’s like, “My God, really?” Then you see it, and it’s rad.
A.V. Club: Is it harder to do than singing while playing guitar?
SZ: It’s weird. Singing and drumming’s not meant to go together, really. I don’t know how to play guitar, so yeah, for me.
Grant Hart of Hüsker Dü
SZ: It’s funny, because it’s another band I didn’t really know he was singing when I heard the albums until I saw some live video, and then I was like, “Oh weird.” It kind of changes the dynamics of everything. Zen Arcade is one of my favorite albums. I also like Candy Apple Grey. Sometimes I can’t really tell which one he sings on until I see them in videos. He and Bob Mould sound the same. Their voices are very similar. I really don’t know until I see a live video and say, “Oh, he’s singing this one.”
SZ: Phil Collins is actually a pretty badass drummer-singer. As lame as he can get, when he was drumming and singing at the same time, it’s actually pretty impressive. I’m not super into Phil Collins, but I’m impressed by him, I guess. I’ve seen some videos of him actually drumming and singing, and he’s doing some pretty crazy off-beat shit. I was like, “Fuck! Oh, okay that’s pretty impressive.” Him as a singer, I’ve never been too into. As far as Genesis, I always liked Peter Gabriel way more. Phil Collins’ cheese factor went really far out there. When he was drumming, and he was just drumming, he was also really badass. When he was playing in Brand X, playing basically Billy Cobham-style stuff.
Christina the Hun
SZ: Before I started drumming and singing, I saw her a bunch of times. She just plays drums by herself. She doesn’t really sing; she just shouts. It’s her and the drum beat, and she yells out stuff, like crazy shit. She totally has her own thing going on. I saw that a couple times, and I was like, “That’s fucking rad!” I just loved how so much came from just her! You have a beat and vocals, so she’s like her own hip-hop thing, but she’s not hip-hop. It’s more like punk rock, in a way. She just yells out shit. It gets really aggressive, and she starts screaming. It’s pretty weird. A lot of people don’t like it, because it’s so unique and out there. That’s why I love it. She was kind of one of the inspirations for me to even attempt it. She just goes for it. I don’t know if she knows what she’s doing, but it doesn’t matter. She just kicks ass. I saw that, and it kind of gave me the courage to try it.
Karen Carpenter of The Carpenters
SZ: A lot of the drummer-singers who are famous, I’ve never seen in person. I’ve never seen The Band play. I’ve seen video of Karen Carpenter, and when she’s actually singing and playing drums, it’s pretty amazing.