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Percussion - Finger Eleven
   Exclusive Interview

Rich Beddoe


Rich Beddoe

DMN – What are your current projects?

RB – Well, we are still out on tour with our current album, ‘Them vs. You vs. Me’.  Down in America, we are still on our 3rd single and we still have a long way to go on this album, probably into next year.  So, we’re riding on the road right now and hopefully will have another album out next year but this sucker’s only halfway through right now. June 1st, we’re heading over to Switzerland with Seether and do a run over Europe with them.  In September we’re heading to Australia; so it never ends!

DMN – What is your favorite song to perform?

RB – It changes nightly.  Some nights if you’re a little tired or under the weather the slower songs are better because they are a little laid back.  I don’t think I have a favorite.  I’m sort of attached to all of them in different ways.  Listening to them on the record and playing them live are two different animals.  Right now we pulled out a song off the Grey to Blue Skies album called Stand Ground; the last song on the album.  It has been a good twist.  You see the people in the audience react because they remember that record.  It was never a single off that record but it was kind of a weird psycodelic song that is getting a great response and it is a fun song to play.  So right now that song, ‘Stand Ground’, would be my favorite to perform.

DMN – Describe yourself and the band.

RB – Well, we’re a rock band.  I’d like to think of us as a band with many colors.  I don’t think that we fit in any one category.  When the song ‘One Thing’ came out, I think people thought that we were a ballad type one hit wonder kind of band.  ‘Paralizer’ came out and threw everyone off because it has kind of a dance vibe to it.  We are all big fans of Led Zeppelin, like any musician is, and what I really like about that band is that you couldn’t really define what they were except for Rock N Roll because they had country songs, psycodelic songs, heavier songs and ballads.  Every record they made, they experimented with their sounds and they weren’t afraid to take chances.  The public seemed to grow with them over the years.  Now I’m not comparing Finger Eleven to Led Zeppelin by any means but as far as wanting to create songs and what we want to be known for is a band that you can’t put your finger on.  We love music and there is no telling what we might do.  We just want to write songs that are fun and fun to listen to and we don’t want to be pigeon holed into one category. 

DMN – What are your 3 favorite drummers and why?

RB – I’d say my favorite is Phil Collins just because the way he makes ultra complicated drum beats work and sound musical.  I used to listen to Genesis records and it would make me think of carnivals and put me in a wacky mood.  When I was younger I didn’t really know what prog-rock was.  Phil’s playing always kind of stuck out as odd to me and he is a lefty as well just like me.  John Bonham would also be in my top three because of his thunder playing but also for his finesse.  He knew how to hit and when to hit.  And my third would be kind of obscure.  Scott Rockenfield from Queensryche taught me when I was a kid how bass players and drummers lock in together.  They were always one of those bands that the bass and drums always knew where they were and where each other was going and for me that has led me all the way up to where this band is.  It is how our bass player and I lock in our rhythms.  Although I can’t really say that I listen to a whole lot of Queensryche anymore, I just what I learned from him fundamentally as a kid it was important. 

DMN – Was there any one song when you were young that you listened to and thought ‘That’s what I want to do for a living?’

RB – Probably ‘Eyes of a Stranger’ by Queensryche.  Then there was ‘One’ by Metallica. I think that double bass part in that song just taught the world about double bass.  Drummers and non drummers alike all got into that part.  The songs are endless.  I was born in Wales and we always had The Beatles around and all that Ringo Starr stuff intrigued me as a kid. 

DMN – What was your first concert attended?

RB – My first concert attended was Rick Springfield!  It was pretty crazy but I don’t remember too much about it. 

DMN – What are some of your hobbies?

RB – I am a big skier although I don’t get to do it a lot but when I do, I really enjoy it.  I have been doing it my whole life so I can’t kill myself doing it.  I know what I’m doing.  All the guys in the band and me are big on video games.  We are all big gamers.  When I’m home, I enjoy working around the house whether it is a renovation or just getting in there and cleaning the whole damn house!  If I’m there for three days, I just like to get the house as clean as I can get it.  I know it’s not a hobby but there’s just something therapeutic about it.  It’s something that I definitely do when I’m not on the road. 

DMN – What was the first song that you played fluently on the drums?

RB – I think it was ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ by Metallica. 

Rich Beddoe

DMN – Do you have any pre-show routines?

RB – We have the front and back lounge on the bus and all the stoners are in the back doing their own thing; smoking something and listening to something.  Usually Scott and I are in the front of the bus listening to music.  Scott warms up by singing and I just sort of listen to him.  Some day’s I practice rudiments and some days I just relax with a vodka and cranberry.  I also love to go out and listen to the opening band, if there is one for us.  There is a band that is opening for us tonight called ‘Airborne’.  They are from Australia and they are amazing.  They sound just like AC/DC.  I can’t wait to watch them tonight.  If there is any way to pump you up, that band can do it.  It’s different for everyone.  Each guy will go into a quiet mode and do their own thing.  There’s no shots of Jagermeister being drank… well, sometime there is!  It’s pretty mellow.  We’ve been doing this a long time and we’ve got this thing down pretty well. 

DMN – How did you get the name Finger Eleven?

RB – The band was looking for a name.  In Canada, the band was called ‘The Rainbow Butt Monkeys’.  Kind of like a Red Hot Chili Peppers wacky type.  Then the time came when the band needed to get more serious about their song writing and image.  Coming up with a name is the hardest thing to do with the band.  We were working on a song from our first album called ‘Thin Spirits’ and while we were doing demos of the song Scott mentioned something about his finger eleven.  We all stopped and said ‘wait a minute, what’s a finger eleven?’  It was something that he made up and it was sort of an idea of a sixth sense or a third eye.  It was just sort of a consciousness.  Like if you are going down a path in life and something leads you in a different direction; that’s your finger eleven.  At the time, the band was changing its direction in music and it all came together and fit.  So, there it is. 

DMN – Go through some of your gear that you use on the road versus in the studio.

RB – When we go into the studio, I just bring a lot of drums.  I don’t have a specific set.  The last record that we made, I had 3 drum sets in the room.  I had a jazz kit, my big kind of ride type rock set and a weird collection of stuff that I can hit.  There are no rules in the studio.  I could play drums on cardboard boxes and like it and that could be the sound that we use.  The last album we started programming some sounds too.  We started using some loops, which was new for us.  When I play live, I try to get as much in without going over.  We don’t use the loops live because that is just for some background sounds for the record.  I think that when you play live, you don’t want to duplicate your record exactly.  With a song like ‘Paralizer’ there is 3 different drum sets on that song.  There is so much going on in the background.  When we play it live, unless we play with loops there is no way to do it.  We’re a rock band and we don’t want to play with loops while playing live.  We just do a skimmed down version of the song but it goes over very well live.  I’m not sure if anyone realizes that it’s scaled down, but we do.  A few things that I bring live that I didn’t before would be that I have a tambourine mounted on my kit now.  The new single, ‘Keep Your Memories There’ has a definitive tambourine intro and playing it live you want to have it there.  I also have this little plastic block made by Pearl that we used on the record.  I really didn’t need to incorporate it live but it’s one of my favorite sounds on the record.  On our second song on the record is called ‘Falling On’ there is this little click thing that I do and I just wanted to incorporate it live.  When I went into the studio for this last album, it was just amazing.  It looked as though I walked into a drum department but when we play live, it’s just a standard rock drum set. 

DMN – What would you say is the greatest invention for drums?

RB – I guess it would be the bass drum.  It’s the most fundamental part of the drums.  The whole world taps their foot.  If you put a pedal there and it makes a sound you have your bass drum.  It is sort of the essence of rhythm is what you can tap your foot to and that would be a bass drum.

DMN – How did you get together and form Finger Eleven?

RB – The band got together in High School playing cover tunes, like I said before, they were called ‘The Rainbow Butt Monkeys’.  We used to play local clubs and dress up silly and have fun.  We started to get this reputation of being this really fun live band.  We signed up for this battle of the bands competition where the winner received some studio time and we won.  We recorded and the next thing we knew we had a record deal.  The band wasn’t even out of High School yet and we had a record deal in place.  Besides the process of us changing the name, we’ve just always been there.  We’re one of those lucky bands that enjoy each others company.  We were poor, hurting and we were living with our parents for the first three records of our career.  None of us had too much pride and it was ok.  We were just happy to be in a van out touring America with the likes of Creed, Day’s of the New and all these other bands that don’t exist anymore, and we still are still here.  We never rushed things.  Back in the day when we could have gotten a tour bus, we didn’t.  We have one now, but back then we waited.  We just had fun touring and never expected a whole lot to happen.  It’s nice that things are going well now but we are also older and married with kids.  When we were kids, we didn’t have any rock star perceptions.  We were just guy’s that wanted to go out and play music together in any capacity or any form and we just stuck in there.  Over the years we started to gain respect from America and people started looking at us a as a hard working rock band that puts on a good show.  It has grown very slowly over the years and we have to keep growing if we want to be around for another ten years.  It’s been a pretty amazing journey. 

DMN – What were some of your first jobs?

RB – I pumped gas at a gas station for a long time.  I tried to sell kitchen knives door to door.  I would have to go around and have people let me in their house to do a 45 minute demonstration in which I almost cut my finger off once!  I started bleeding all over a woman’s kitchen table.  I worked there for a few weeks and I made seven dollars.  I used to pick strawberries in the field.  I would pop some acid in the morning and pick strawberries all day like a stoner.  I’d be all tripping out in the strawberry field!  I would just end up playing with the strawberries all day and never made any money at that either! 

DMN – Any collaboration that you would like to do?

RB – We’ve done a couple.  We did a cover recently for the John Lennon song ‘Look at Me’ for a compilation that Yoko Ono put together and we worked with a band called The Alcoholics a couple years ago on a thing called Loud Rocks.  They are a hip-hop group from New York.  It was us, Ozzy, System of a Down, POD and a bunch of other great rock and rap bands.  We just sort of got together and collaborated on a pre existing Alcoholics song and put music to it and had them rerecord their vocals on it.  Scott sang on the chorus.  It turned into sort of a rock / rap song and that was a lot of fun.  We’ve done a lot of movie soundtracks which are really great opportunities for your band as far as getting exposure to different people.  We are always open for ideas.  We used to have Amy Lee of the band Evanescence come on stage and do a version of ‘One Thing’ with us which always got the audience going. 

DMN – Do you have an all time favorite group?

RB – I’d have to say ‘The Beatles’.  I know that’s just the stereotypical answer, but that’s the band that I grew up with. 

DMN – If we were to find you I Pod, what would we find on it?

RB – Man, I’ve have a 160GB I Pod, there’s everything on it; it’s massive!  It’s not full yet, but you’d find Sarah Silverman season 1 & 2, Dexter Season 1.  I’m trying to think of what I just put on it…Keagan and Sarah, Wintersleep, and a band called Yeahsayer.  I’m kind of a geek for that new song ‘Bleeding Love’ from Leona Lewis.  That would be my embarrassing one that is hidden in the I-Pod! 

DMN – How does Finger Eleven approach song writing?

RB – We usually will write the music first and because we have written so much together, we know how to arrange the song.  Our singer, Scott, usually doesn’t sit in on the music write.  Sometimes it will be just the 4 of us sitting in a room jamming on some idea that someone has had along the way.  I’ll usually start with some kind of interesting beat and they will follow in with whatever sounds good.  Another way we have written has been by file sharing.  We would get a real rough skeleton of an idea together then each of us would go home to our mini studios in our houses and record different parts.  I have a drum set with drum mics up and ready to go so I would record my part.  Shawn would record his bass part then we would send it to Scott.  So we aren’t in the same room when this is done.  I think it’s easier because you can play your own ideas without anyone’s ideas or opinions interrupting.  The song ‘One Thing’ was written with Scott and Jay and an acoustic guitar.  They went camping for a weekend and while sitting around a campfire the song came from a real organic place. If you listen to that song it’s really only two parts; the verse and chorus.  For whatever reason, people really attached themselves to that song.  Sometimes we will be sitting in a room and playing something real heavy but something is missing so we will get out the acoustic guitars and rip that song apart and get right to the meat of the song to bring out the melody.  A song on our new record called ‘Talking to Walls’ was like that.  We had written so many verses for that and played so many live demos of that but the chorus wasn’t coming out.  We took everything away and sat with a couple of acoustic guitars and our singer and we really dug into what the melody was.  We changed the strumming part some and in turn, the whole song changed into something that was more vocally driven instead of this musical part that was crushing over the vocal part.  We thought the vocal part was weak at the time because it wasn’t clicking with the music.  When we realized that the melody was much better than the music we let the melody speak louder and we strummed a whole new arrangement for the song. 

DMN – Where and when was the first time you heard Finger Eleven on the radio?

RB – I think it was Raleigh, North Carolina.  It was ‘Quick ____’, the first single off the first album.  We were on tour with Creed who was out supporting their first album, My Own Prison, and we had done a gig the night before.  We were on the way to the radio station for an interview and we were listening to the radio station when they said that Finger Eleven was on the way to the station and here is their new single.  Then they played it and everyone got a big boner!  It was great!

DMN – When you get online, what sites do you frequent?

RB – I usually go to Youtube, EBaums world, Parez Hilton.com I think is funny!  I find pictures of celebrities that crack me up!  I don’t have a My space or Face book.  I do have a program called Stumble.  You enter all your interests and it takes you to random websites that you might like.  I’m not a web surfing kind of guy unless there is pornography involved!  I’ll usually spend about an hour on Stumble after I check my hotmail.

DMN – Do you want to say anything to your fans or anyone who will read this interview?

RB – Yeah! ‘I’ll keep your Memories Vague’ is the new single.  I ask that you call up your radio station and ask them to play it.