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INTERVIEW: Drummer Frank Zummo (Sum 41/Street Drum Corps)

Song River: There almost seems to be this brotherhood amongst drummers that is intriguing. Would you say Frank that this brotherhood of sorts is prevalent between drummers and if so, can you describe it?

A: It’s so funny because I was literally saying the same thing the other day at Pinkpop Festival. You always see all the drummers hanging together at Festivals and on tour. It’s a total brotherhood and it was one of the main reasons we started Street Drum Corps. It’s just a natural thing and drummers gravitate towards each other.

SR: So your pop was a drummer, and the spawned prodigy took hold of dad’s sticks and started this passion around the age of 3 I understand? Who did your dad play with and how did both of you having this connection work between you at times? Was it a mutual respect for what each could accomplish at an early age, and did it ever spill over into a competition between you two?

A: Yes, that’s the story. My Father was in a cover band with my Mother, who was the singer. They were playing shows literally up until I was born. Once I started playing he gave me his kit, record collection, headphones and let me discover and learn it all on my own. He really never played again after I started. When I was 6, he enrolled me in a drum school where I studied and competed for years. I do wish we could of jammed together more.

SR: As a kid playing the drums and gaining early recognition for your talents- did you ever stop along the way and wonder what the fuss was all about or were you one of those people that are just singularly focused on what is your passion and you don’t notice the peripheral much?

A: Yeah, it’s still the same as early days for me. Tunnel vision, focus and hustle!

SR: Time goes on, you now have your own little one. What if they came to you Frank and said, “Dad I don’t like the drums. I want to bake cakes and decorate them instead.” What would your parental reaction be? 

A: Whatever my son chooses as his passion and love, I will be thrilled and support 100%. But based on the past year and a half of his life, the drums have been the one thing that really drives and lights him up. I can see the passion already in him and it’s really inspiring!

SR: There are numerous TV shows you have played in your bio, countless bands you have played with and been a part of their award winning albums. Of all my musician friends it is the drummers that seem to be the most diversified and involved in multiple projects simultaneously. It would seem in order to play the drums exceptionally you have to be able to multi-task… would that possibly explain how drummers handle several projects in a gathered time slot easily? 

A: Absolutely! I always knew that I wanted to do music full time and I made sure to well round myself in all styles & learn to read, so I could always work and not be a 1 genre type of artist. Instead of college, I studied at the Drummers Collective in NYC with Afro-Cuban & Broadway musical drummers. I then took gigs all over and played in Cruise Ship Orchestras, Theme Parks, Cover Bands, etc. All of those experiences really played a big role in my career and development.

SR: In your exceptionally busy life schedule as now the drummer of Sum 41, founder of Street Drum Corps, drummer for Krewella and the list goes on- plus family- how do you Frank find yourself balancing it all and still maintaining the elements of your life that are important to you?

A: My Grandfather had me work as a stage manager at his Theatre throughout elementary & middle school. I had so many responsibilities and it really trained me how to balance & handle a lot. There is time for everything and it’s all about great time management, planning and making time to be there for everyone, family and also having time for yourself. It’s always come natural to me with being able to balance everything and it’s something I don’t really have to think about.

SR: Your recent partnership with SJC Family and working with American Street Artist Shepard Fairey, has a custom drum kit come together that you will be using to play with Sum 41 in the fall. How did this union come together Frank and it must be a mad rush to have not only the best sound possible but to also have a work of art?!

A: This is something that I’m really proud of. Shepard has been a great friend for years and has painted many kick drumheads for me. We always had a goal to do a kit one day. I was out on the Warped Tour last summer with Sum 41 and was seeing all of these horrible events happening around the world on the news. I called Shepard and told him how I was feeling and wanted to express it trough my drums. He sent me over his “Rise Above” piece and I was blown away. The art looks so beautiful. If you look closely the flowers are actually tons of guns and it’s a very powerful & moving piece with a great message & cause. I then met with SJC and they found a way to etch his artwork into the drum shells. This kit sounds amazing and it’s an honor to play this work of art nightly! We will be sending this kit off to the Hard Rock Vegas once I’m done touring to display. Wait till you see what we have planned for the AP awards!

SR: Congratulations on being in the voting run for Alt Press Best Drummer. As the contest closes come June 30th let’s take this question from both sides. 1) You won 2) Someone else did. Does either way change anything about who Frank Zummo is and what Frank Zummo does and will accomplish in the future?

A: Thank you so much! To be nominated is beyond and honor and I’m grateful for that. I played my first show with Sum 41 two years ago at the AP Awards. To be coming back to perform and have 3 nominations is completely mind blowing! To take home the award or not will not change my outlook at all, as I’m still on my journey regardless. I will say thought that I really want to take this award home for my Father, as he passed away earlier this year and I wouldn’t be nominated for this award without him!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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