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June 4th, 2010

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW!: Steve Moore A.K.A. The “Drummer At The Wrong Gig” Guy

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By now, you’re probably one of the millions around the globe who’ve watched the above video, featuring one of the more entertaining drummers we’ve ever seen (if not, drop everything and watch it now!). The band tackling ZZ Top’s “Sharp-Dressed Man” is the perennially touring covers act Rick K. and the Allnighters (”America’s Most Exciting Show Band”), and the drummer — who’s become an Internet sensation this week thanks to the power of YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter — is Steve Moore. Since the video (which was shot nearly two years ago at Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, PA — about two hours NW of Philly) went viral last weekend, Moore’s been getting thousands of e-mails and Facebook friend requests a day. But this morning — on virtually no sleep — he got on the phone with us from the Menominee Casino in Wisconsin, where the Allnighters played last night, for his first official interview since becoming an online phenom:

How does it feel to be known as “the viral drummer”?
[laughs] Well, I’ll be honest with ya — I got up this morning and I rolled out of bed and the first thing that went through my mind, I thought, “Oh man, what if this thing goes to the moon? I really gotta grab that name!” So www.viraldrummer.com is already mine. It’s set up to do the forwarding to my site, www.themaddrummer.com. I thought, “It’s 10-15 bucks, why not?”

So I started seeing links to the video pop up on Facebook last weekend — is that when this all started?
Yeah, roughly about five, six days ago, something like that. All these people kept e-mailing me these different links to the video. To be honest with you, I’m just not one to search like that. I go on YouTube once in a while to watch old Buddy Rich videos and drum stuff and things like that. But all these people were sending me these links, and each one of them had hundreds of thousands of views. I guess every couple months or so I’d jump on YouTube and there’s our “Sharp-Dressed Man” and it’d have maybe 5,000 hits and I dunno, about eight comments. So people started sending me the links and I was like “Well, big deal, the damn thing’s been up there a year and a half and I don’t wanna watch it again!” But then people started throwing that term “viral” around — they were like, “Man, you’re gonna go viral!”– and honestly I didn’t know what that term meant. I spend all my time practicing and reading drum books. So I Googled “going viral” and I went, “Oh shit, that’s pretty cool!” So I jumped on and I was like, “Does that really say 100,000 views?!” And then right after that my computer started going ding, ding, ding, ding. One e-mail after another. It’s been crazy.

Is it kind of like winning the lottery?
It really is, and I’ll tell you this — and this isn’t a load of shit to make me sound like a nice guy or anything, this is just honestly the truth: In the past 60 hours or so I’ve literally slept about two hours because, you know, whenever someone sends you a Facebook request, a lot of times they’ll send you a short little message like, “My brother Denny played drums and he died in a car accident last year and I wish he coulda saw ya…” I felt like a putz just going “accept” without writing anything back. And I didn’t just wanna write back “Thanks – Steve,” so…it wouldn’t be long but I at least wanted the person to know that I read the damn thing and it wasn’t a cut-and-paste response. I just wrote, like, “Dear Jim, tell your son I said hey.” So it’s been pretty intense, and they’re just coming in too fast now. Part of me hates that because…it sounds silly, but the reason you are where you’re at is because of people, and I’d rather basically not sleep for two weeks and get everything out of it that I can and thank every person and make them feel good, and then sleep two weeks from now versus “Yeah, I’ll get to that…” It’s really important to me.

You might be the most famous drummer in the world at the moment.
I dunno about that! I will tell you the absolute highlight for me: Mike Portnoy, the drummer from Dream Theater — I’ve looked up to Portnoy, I have everything he’s ever recorded. He’s like my Neil Peart, my Tommy Lee. Those guys are great, too, but Portnoy…man. Anyway, someone dropped me a quick e-mail a couple days ago when this first started and said “Dude, I don’t know if you know this but Mike Portnoy just Twittered about you.” So he sent me the link and the only thing it said was, like, “You’re insane, I have a new hero.” And then I thought, well, I’ll go to Portnoy’s Facebook and drop him a note real quickly and I figured he’d never even get the thing. Basically just said, “My name is Steve Moore, you said some really nice things about me on your Twitter page and you had the opportunity in your position to rip me to shreds but yet you showed mercy and I wanted to thank you for that.” That was it. And literally 10 minutes later he e-mailed me back. I don’t care about money and all that, but to get that sort of respect, you know what I mean, on that level? That guy doesn’t look at me and go, “Oh, that guy’s a joke.” That’s huge to me, man!

stevemoore

How do you feel when you see the video characterized as “drummer goes to the wrong gig”? It seems like a swipe at Rick K. and the Allnighters, you know?
I have mixed feelings about it because part of me…everybody in the Rick K. organization, they’re great people. You can love the band and think they’re great, or you can hate the band. You know what I mean? Everybody’s different. It’s like spinach — not everybody likes it. I get that. But at the same time it’s really hard, to a degree, when you see everyone else in the band get ripped to shreds, because they’re nice guys. However, removing that element from it, I can clearly see why people think that. If you just jump on the website and you read “drummer goes to wrong gig” and then about a minute into it you’re like, “Good Lord!” — I can clearly see where it would look like Tommy Lee or Keith Moon playing for Wayne Newton. I get it. And I gotta be honest with you, man — a lot of the comments on YouTube, man, they’re funnier than hell! I mean, I can laugh at ‘em, it doesn’t offend me because they’re funny, man. Some people really come up with some good stuff.

Are your bandmates taking it well?
They seem to be. They’re only human. I’ll put it this way — if they’re upset, they’re certainly not saying anything to me about it. But even though they may not say it, I feel like, “I know this is hurting you, man…,” and I hate that.

How long have you been in the band?
I’ve been with Rick for about 10 years now.

Obviously they have to know that something like this, you don’t really have any control over it.
Yeah, and that is the point. It’s not like I sought this out, I just started getting e-mails from people. I haven’t posted a thing or done anything, it’s just a phenomenon.

But you’ve definitely become the focal point of the band now.
Well, the thing is, I do that same sort of thing most of the show. Not all of the show — I try to have some taste, if that’s possible [laughs]. But still, a lot of people aren’t catching the fact that Rick K., he’s not even in the video. That’s the guitar player singing. So it’s really not a good representation of the entire show. It’s just one song. Rick announces it, and a lot of people say, “What’s up with the announcer guy?” Well, that’s the singer! But unless you watch two or three videos, you don’t put that together. Most people will watch “Sharp-Dressed Man,” and then they’ll see we do “Wipeout,” and maybe they’ll watch that. And that’s usually where their attention drops off and they run along to the pissing cat or whatever else it is. By then you’re competing with the farting dog or something. So unfortunately, Rick gets the bad end of the stick because people never realize that it’s his organization and he’s the singer and all of that.

What do you think of your performance when you watch the video?
Oh, I rip myself to shreds [laughs]. If you’re a really good figure skater and you watch a tape, you probably go, “Oh, I dipped my ankle right there” even if nobody else notices. It’s hard for me not to analyze it. It’s very difficult for me to just watch it and giggle and get a kick out of it. I’m like, “Man, I swung too big and it shoulda been tighter and I raised my arm too high….” That kinda thing.

stevemoore2

How long have you played drums, and how did you hone your style?
I started when I was about six years old and pretty much what happened, I was always into guys like Keith Moon and Gene Krupa and that sort of player, the visual kind of players. But it didn’t do me any good — even though I could play drums I was totally unable to access any of that. Until I first saw Tommy Lee with Mötley Crüe — he’s a great drummer, don’t get me wrong, but he did spins and twirls that I could do. I couldn’t do them as good as Tommy Lee and I still can’t, but as far as making an attempt at it, it was like, I could do that! So I watched a lot of Tommy Lee and then went out on a gig one day and when I finally worked it up I twirled my drumstick and a bunch of people in the audience pointed at me. So at the age of 12 or 13, whatever it was, I literally just went, “Ah ok, I get it!” And I started doing silly things, things that weren’t necessarily difficult — like if you lift your foot in the air or make a funny face, that’s not technically challenging but it would make people point. So a quote I’ve used for the last 20 or 30 years, “People hear with their eyes.” They really do.

Is your performance pretty much routine, or is some of it spontaneous?
A lot of it’s routine. It really is. A lot of drummers, especially young drummers, are really blown away by it and I always have to take a few minutes and explain to them that what I’m doing really isn’t that hard. It really, really isn’t. if you’re playing drums and you take your left arm and raise it above your head, well, anybody can do that. And if you take your right hand and throw it across your face, well, anyone can do that. It’s just a series of going A, B, C. A, B, C. It’s just a matter of having a lot of moves and being able to put them together in a formula that works smoothly. But each move on its own is really simplistic. I don’t think it’s possible to achieve perfection, but the thing I’ve always tried to do is, I never want people to hear me twirl a drumstick. You know what I mean? It’s not hard twirling sticks, anyone can do that, but to not let the beat go to hell, that’s what’s so hard. And especially the hi-hat — it’s just such a sensitive instrument and I do a lot of back-sticking, and to make those sound the same when it’s two different parts of the stick, that’s what’s difficult, trying to make it sound halfway decent. Anybody can go apeshit, but making it sound decent at the same time is hard! And that’s something I constantly work at.

What’s the band’s repertoire like these days?
That’s 100% Rick. He plays whatever he wants to play because it’s his band, so we never know. Most of the stuff is ’50s, ’60s, ’70s…he’s working up some ’80s stuff for next season. But it’s pretty much the standards. We have about 75 songs or so we can draw from.

How do you think all of this attention from the video will impact future gigs? Do you think it will bring out more people? And as a band do you plan to stick to what you’ve been doing?
I think Rick will probably keep things the way it’s been. As far as how it will affect things, I honestly don’t know. I mean, I would love to think it’s gonna affect things in a good way, and I know it will for me personally as far as endorsements and things like that. That’s already started — I’ve already gotten calls from two or three different companies as far as that kind of thing. But as far as “butts in seats,” I honestly don’t know. I’m hoping it has a positive impact but so many people watch it and they go, “Well that’s funny as hell! He looks like Chris Farley! Next….” You hope they remember your name, but whether they will or not, I honestly don’t know. Time will tell.

Rick K. and the Allnighters will return to Knoebels Amusement Park for a four-day engagement July 6th through July 9th, three shows a day (1:30 p.m., 6 p.m., and 8:30 p.m.). More information right here.

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  1. 45 Responses to “EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW!: Steve Moore A.K.A. The “Drummer At The Wrong Gig” Guy”

  2. By jesselun on Jun 4, 2010

    farting dog…

  3. By Michael Alan Goldberg on Jun 4, 2010

    is that not the best line ever?!

  4. By PK on Jun 4, 2010

    Steve, you are awesome. That is all.

  5. By Patrycja on Jun 4, 2010

    I saw the video and He’s really into it! All I could think of, while watching this, was Animal from the Muppets.

  6. By ALLurGroceries on Jun 4, 2010

    Mr Moore, I watched your videos for three hours nonstop… dude you are insanely amazing! If your band members could do some windmills and through-the-legs/behind-the-back guitar acrobatics you might not seem so out of place. Until then, keep showing off and stealing the show!

  7. By reneek on Jun 4, 2010

    Pure awesomeness.

  8. By Ken on Jun 4, 2010

    Great video! He actually does the robot at 2:22. Nice to also read he’s just a regular guy

  9. By Daryl on Jun 5, 2010

    Dear Steve,

    I accidentally stumbled across your youtube video, which set off a chain reaction that resulted in me staying up past midnight watching all your stuff. By midnight you’re probably just getting warmed up but at 58 I need my sleep! I gotta say it was well worth it, ..I never laughed so hard in all my life!
    I also read that interview in PW where you questioned whether anyone would even remember your name after watching the you tube video. If everyone else even feels remotely similar to what I felt after watching it, you don’t need to worry cause’ I have discovered a new hero!
    Not to try to tell you your business, but you guys could really ‘firm up’ your position if you’d come out here and play the west coast too. From your site it looks like you’re pretty much east coast guys, but we’re starved for your kind of stuff out here in Oregon.
    I did see you’re coming as far as Vegas in June, … so I’m making plans to be there with some friends.

    Best wishes,
    Daryl Dickerson

  10. By Pamela on Jun 5, 2010

    You rock….where can I see you play? My son wants to play drums now.

  11. By George Dellomo on Jun 5, 2010

    Steve Moore, playing for the music! Thats what drummers ‘possed to do.

  12. By Richard on Jun 5, 2010

    Mr. Moore:

    I predict you’ll be on late night TV shows within the week and will be performing on much bigger stages in the next couple of months. I hope you keep the band together. It’s your antics combined with the rest of the band that made that video so damned amazing and funny. Can’t wait to see you guys live!!!!! Please come to Utah soon!!!!!’

  13. By Peter on Jun 7, 2010

    I see lots of comments where people want the rest of the band to go nuts too. In my opinion, the contrast is part of the whole thing. Meaning, the rest of the band should probably remain as it is.
    More (one o!) isn’t always better. :)

  14. By Jan on Jun 7, 2010

    Just saw your video for the first (and second, third and fourth) time.

    You’re a truly gifted performer, and I wish you and the band will experience great and longlasting success, courtesy of your newfound fame.

    Also, if the sentiment expressed in your interview is a true representation of how you feel about Rick K. and the Allnighters, I can only say: you’re a lucky man to have such great friends/ bandmates! I wish you all the best on the impending rollercoaster ride of fame ! :-) )

    … and be sure let me know if you’re ever on this side of the pond. I’d love to buy you all a beer, as a way of saying thanks for being hugely entertained today.

    Greetings from Denmark

  15. By Keith- UK. on Jun 7, 2010

    Steve, if you see this.. wonderful. Great to see such a performance. I thought.. `son of Keith Moon?` I had to laugh, but watching more on YouTube.. oh yes.. control.
    NO.. not wrong dummer with the band.. a real character I wanted to see more of. Entertainment and good luck.
    Keith..PHASEDK@aol.com

  16. By BassmanWillie on Jun 7, 2010

    Steve Moore…a name to be remembered… thats AWSOME DUDE!!! love your down to earth attitude and your ANIMALISTIC approach never forget where you came from… Just goes to show that for every musician that gets discovered there are thousands more just as good or better doing what theyre passionate about on the weekends for chump change and its not about the money although its always in the back of your mind just hoping for the day you can quit your day job…Break a leg … or atleast a stick…later bro… WARHOP bassist no site yet just FB…HOPE YOUR DREAMS BECOME REALITY

  17. By Laura on Jun 7, 2010

    no need to go without sleep to answer me. I’m old enough to be your mother, but I loved the video. I think you and the band are great. Since I’ve never really been into rock, most of the people you named I just know from my son or seeing them in the tabloids. The beatles were in my time, and I never liked them. I remember hearing of zz top way back when, and couldn’t be bothered. However, I loved the way you and your band performed the song. Sorry The lead singer wasn’t in it. I always have trouble remembering names, but I’m going to put Steve Moore, Rick, and the Allnighters in my prayers. Wish you the best. I enjoyed it, watched it 3 times! :-)

  18. By Bluesman on Jun 8, 2010

    Steve, very cool. I just reposted you to facebook. The act is super cheesy, but you are making up for it. Rock out you crazy bastard!

  19. By stingray59 on Jun 8, 2010

    ha-ha-ha-ha! tha’s rockin’ man, Rock & Roll will never die, things you do to keep rock alive! JUST KEEP ON ROCKING STEVE!…even when your group can’t, they can feel it. God Bless!

  20. By Martin on Jun 8, 2010

    I posted the SDM clip on Mike Portnoy’s FB page earlier this week. It’s one of my favourite clips because a) it’s funny as hell and b) Steve never loses the beat – he’s right on the money throughout and that’s all skill.

    Good luck to you, Steve!

  21. By Kevin Darbro on Jun 8, 2010

    Steve:

    You are an inspiration and obviously a level-headed, down-to-earth madman, and I was astounded by your performance. It was much, much more entertaining than this jaded online junkie could have expected.

    Rock on, brother.

    And where can we get T Shirts of the graphic above?

  22. By Isabel Eaton on Jun 8, 2010

    I just saw the video and I think its AWESOME!! I had to go and tell my 2 teen drummers to watch the video, so inspiring and fun.Keep inspiring all of us and making us smile:O)

  23. By Kurt on Jun 8, 2010

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading that interview… most of the time, people who are interviewed try to give the answer they think is most appropriate, versus what Steve’s doing which is answering the question with honesty and what’s in his heart.

    Steve, you sound like a guy who’s got his head on straight and with your great attitude, you’re definitely going to go far. Good luck to you!

    Rorschach11@excite.com

  24. By Sharon on Jun 8, 2010

    wow wow wow !!!!!
    Steve, Loved It.
    You are just pure fun. Everyone is saying who it reminds them of, for me it’s Gary Busey. That’s what he would look like if he drummed!!!
    Are you kidding about looking at yourself and critizing your arms etc? You are perfect.
    Could’nt get any better or more entertaining.
    Don’t change a thing and keep on rockin.
    Sharon

  25. By BL on Jun 9, 2010

    WOWW… saw viral video yesterday! next thing i knew, 3 hrs & several videos of you & the band later (& i’m no spring chick, either!!)… and still WOWWWW!! NEVER missed a beat!! you are ultra-talented and entertaining to the max, my man!!! i sent links to everyone! then came back & watched several again! i really enjoyed this!!!
    today… back to read interviews, etc and of course, watch with my eyes AGAIN– can’t get enough of this… keeps me grinning the whole time!! what a great interview from an apparently nice guy! wishing you the best… made you a ‘fave’ so it’ll be easy revisiting alot in the future! thanks for your heart, man!

  26. By TopherStott.com on Jun 11, 2010

    Steve,

    You have a great pocket and really strong time. Well done.

    The rest of it is a blast, don;t let the haters get you down my friend!

  27. By CHIP THOMPSON on Jun 13, 2010

    I played with Steve for about 4 or 5 years and I can truly say that he is an honest, clean, drug free, and totally professional individual in every aspect. If I had a son, I would want him to be just like Steve. Steve is the real deal. Believe me, he has a lot more to show than what everyone has seen him do on Utube. If you’re amazed now, just wait

  28. By Robert Lightner on Jun 18, 2010

    I noticed that Chip Thompson, aka “The Big Bopper” posted a comment…so I thought I would as well. Like Chip, I was lucky enough to have had the privilege of playing with Steve for about 6 or 7 years. I spent 150+ days a year on the road with Rick K and The Allnighters as a Sound Engineer, then Guitarist. I admit, it took a while to adjust to Steve’s strict regimen of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Chocolate Milk, Pepsi, etc.; but it didn’t take long for Steve and I to become really good friends. Everything Chip said about Steve is true. He’s a stand up guy, and a blast to be around…both on and off the stage and totally deserves every bit of respect and fame that comes from this recent explosion. After several hours on the phone with him catching up on all that has happened recently…I keep thinking back to all of the life’s lessons we’ve learned from each other over the years and all of the great experiences…and most importantly…all of the hard work and sacrifice Steve has made to get to the point he is at today. You will forever have my respect, both as a musician…and as a friend. I wish you all of the success and happiness you deserve…and never forget that you have a lot of people that believe in you. (It was a little over 4 Million the last time I checked!!!)

  29. By Prashanta Shrestha on Jul 10, 2010

    Oh! Man. That’s what I call fun drumming. Being so much into it, loving it, feeling it & making moves like that. Simply great! YOU ROCK!!!

  30. By MP on Jul 16, 2010

    Awesome, The thing that cracked me up the most was the out of time clapping. Would love to see you in Australia at the AUDW!!

  31. By Fnord on Jul 19, 2010

    If you’re ever in town I’m going to make it a point to bring my friends to your concert. Your drumming antics always cheer me up.

  32. By S on Nov 9, 2010

    Rick K. and the rest of the crew are certainly competent musicians, but I don’t see any trace of the boundary-pushing or the sheer devotion to their musical craft which I observe in Steve Moore.

    For his sake I really hope he finds a more suitable outlet for his talents; he doesn’t need to consider himself “better” than they are to justify a potential decision to associate himself with more like-minded people who push themselves in the same way he does.

  33. By James on Aug 3, 2011

    Awesome. He sounds so real when he speaks. Always refreshing.

  34. By Herschel Capristo on Sep 7, 2011

    Ultimately I discovered this article. Been looking for that for a time, I couldn’t believe it is utilizing Google

  35. By keith on Jan 9, 2012

    just found steve while trawling music dump pcl,you are without doubt an amazzzing techniction,reminds me of dear old keith(the loon) moon. only other drummer i can recall from my past is eric delaney, used to play the big kettle drums like crazy.please letme know if you have any cds i can purchase,as a uk resident i am not sure if your recorded output is available.

    more power to your elbow***

    regards keith williams.

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