Jeb Wright of Classic Rock Revisited recently conducted an interview with ROB ZOMBIE/ex-ALICE COOPER drummer Tommy Clufetos. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:Classic Rock Revisited: Have you ever gotten philosophical about what makes you so special? Tommy: The only thing that makes me special is that I am a hard worker and I get the job done. Last summer I got off tour with Rob Zombie and Alice called me. I had to fly in the next day and learn a whole new set in four days. An Alice Cooper set is not the easiest thing to learn. There are a bunch of musical interludes and long medleys so you have to learn it note-for-note. You either stay up all night and you learn it like you have been playing the songs for ten years or you walk away. Alice and his band had been on tour for an entire year and I had to walk in and fill in. I put the work in for the job. I saturate myself with the music until it is second nature. Most guys are not willing to make the sacrifice and that is what sets me apart from them. I am willing to make the sacrifice in my personal life and my leisure life to make music possible and to be the best I can be in my craft. There are a lot of better drummers than me technically but they are not willing to put the work into it that I am. A lot of them are not willing to go to the gym seven days a week and eat right and not drink or drug. I am about doing everything possible to enhance my drumming. Classic Rock Revisited: Is there any desire to go from being a hired gun to having a spot in a band? Tommy: I have never worried about that. I have never planned anything that I have done in my career. People come up to me and ask me what it takes to be successful and the only advice I can give them is to tell them to play their ass off every time they get a chance to play. Ted [Nugent] saw me and he hired me. Alice saw me and he hired me. Zombie saw me and hired me. Each opportunity arose because I was playing and giving it my all. Things flourish out of that. When you ask me, "What are you going to be doing in ten years?" I can only say it will be more of the same. It could be with Sheryl Crow, Paul McCartney or Rod Stewart — if you want me to play drums then call me and I am there. I try not to complicate it. You can think too much and get too far away from just playing music and being a pro and it can get confusing. Classic Rock Revisited: Would you be a total hired gun — would you play music you didn't like for the money? Tommy: [pauses] I like all music as long as it is good music. I have never been put in that situation. I have been in every other situation you can think of. I have played barmitzphas and weddings and everything else. I have played music that I might not necessarily buy in a store but when I sit down and learn it then I find the technique and feel that it will take to play that style of music. I enjoy that type of challenge. If Christina Aguilera called and wanted me to play then I would admit that maybe I would never buy her record but I think I could find the good qualities in it and then encompass that and play my ass off. If it was playing with sub-par musicians and it was low quality music then I would not be into that but as long as they are great songs — even great pop songs — then I will be into it. Classic Rock Revisited: I hear nothing but positive things coming out of you. Do you realize how lucky you were at age six to know what you wanted to do with your life? And being able to go for it with a positive attitude.... Tommy: It goes back to the early upbringing of my folks. They never told me to be quiet or not to practice. You go through a lot of ups and downs and people try to bring you down but you just have to have your head on your shoulders right. I think I would have been the same if I had been a fireman. If you are not going to be all encompassing and do everything it takes to be successful then you're not going to be successful. I learned that lesson very early on. I learned the harder you work then the more you get out of it. Read the entire interview at www.classicrockrevisited.com.
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