|Black Stone Cherry: John Fred Young|
Photos BY Johnnie Vrana
Shockwave: What drummers influence you as far as technical ability and performance?
John: Probably the most influential drummer for me is my uncle Fred from Kentucky Head Hunters. Yeah Fred's just an awesome drummer. Growing up he basically taught me, from when I was five years old, you know, he would teach me rudiments and how to keep time, and it was awesome having a great teacher like that. You know also he's a great uncle too, so he's a double whammy. But yeah Fred turned me on to the obvious drummers like John Bonham and Mitch Mitchel from the Jimmy Hendrix Experience. And I liked those guys a lot, but there's a lot of other cats to you know like Bernard Purdy, who is obviously is a really incredible session drummer, he's one of the most important drummers of all time. Very known for the Purdy shuffle that he created. I love that guy. You know the classics, Gene Kruppa, Buddy Rich, there are so many drummers. I remember Fred got me a vhs tape of Tommy Aldridge when he was doing the hot licks tapes, so that was cool. I listen to anybody though man, I listen to a lot of stuff on you tube, you know that's a great place to learn stuff. Obviously with the web you can find out anything. Last night I was looking at this guy, I can't remember his name; I'll look him up real quick. I was looking up Buddy Rich rolls or something like that and I found this guy, I guess it was back in the day. But dang, Buddy Rich has this single stroke roll that was just incredible, he could do it slow all the way to the rooftop and back down, I guess this cat was one of the only guys that could do it as fast as Buddy. But I like that stuff too, like single stroke rolls, and I love jazz music but I'm not a jazz drummer by any means. I take inspiration from a lot of places.
How much do you contribute to the writing in the band?
Actually all the guys in Black Stone Cherry we all write music and lyrics so yeah, pretty cool. It's easy that way, we started in 2004, me and the singer Chris went to school together, you know we lived in the same town went to elementary school and middle school together. In 8th grade I did a talent show, I brought my drum set up, I don't remember what I did like, boom pah boom boom pah, and I remember right after Chris came up to me right after and said hey man I asked my dad for a guitar, we should put a band together and I was like yeah dude we should do that. We went down to my aunt and uncles house, we call it the practice house, on my grandparents farm and we went down he had this epiphone tele style guitar, and I'll never forget we would just sit down there and jam and we had a buddy from school jam with us. John our bass player actually moved up from West Palm Beach Florida, actually from Jacksonville. He was a freshman we were in 8th grade, and we were in drumline together. You know we needed a bass player but John played guitar so Chris is like hey man my dad's got a bass guitar, I know you've never played bass but its two strings less it will be even easier. He took the sacrifice and he sold his strat and he got just a crap bass and we jammed. Finally then we had a buddy, good friend of ours, David that I used to act with in plays and stuff he came up to the practice house and said hey you have to get this buddy of mine Ben in the band because he's out of a band and he's looking to play so he came down and jammed. The next day June 4th 2004 Chris's birthday we started our band. And for the writing question, we've actually all four of us started writing together and that's how we kept it. Like someone might have drum part and they'll get back there and play it or I might have a bases melody and we all write music and lyrics so it's really different how we work together. We were fortunate enough to all grow up together so, it's cool.
You said you were in drumline?
Yeah in High School.
What did you play?
Actually I went snare, snare, got demoted to bass drum cause I missed camp one year cause I went to New York with my dad, I was like I'm out of here, the Chris went to snare, John played tenors. Our band wasn't very big. We were like 1A maybe 60 kids. Our drumline was snare, 3 basses, Tenor, and the pit we had concert bass drum. John actually played it first year, he hit it hard. Our drumline was killer, we were good, but its hard man when you have a school that doesn't have the funding, and I think that's really something that's disappearing, but they should try to keep school bands together. And everybody's like ah band nerds, but band teaches you a lot, but I tell you what standing there at attention for hours not moving, it's hard, people don't think it's hard but it is, it's a lesser form of what guys go through standing at attention in the service. But man deer hunting season came around and I was stealthy man, I didn't breath. I was like this band stuff might have paid off. Yeah I had a lot of fun in band. I think school band taught me a lot of rudiments. I think as a drummer that's just so important to learn rudiments and time. So much of our music today is geared around samples, and I love it I think it's cool as heck man but even rock music has been influenced by keeping things perfectly in time, I mean when you get done with when a track 95% of the time its edited to death. By the time a pro tools editor gets to it it's chopped up and the air is sucked out of every 8th note. And I mean they're just cleaning it up and that's cool but I think it makes it a little generic and homogenized. But I'm a big supporter of things going in perfect time. I can't stand things to drag, or you know speeding up is one thing it gets goofy but man if something drags it's just bad. We've got some songs we don't play to a click and it just drives me crazy. I play to a click live now, but we don't use tracks. Everything you hear on stage is us.