Sugar High Podcast: Two Hours with The Best Drummer in the World, Frank Zummo

Atwood Magazine is excited to announce a new partnership series, Sugar High, formerly known as The Tour Manager’s Guide, a podcast by Danny Carissimi featuring various musicians and industry professionals as they talk about their life and career. The newest episode features “the best drummer in the world,” Frank Zummo of Sum 41.

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Frank Zummo is an energetic dude. Prior to meeting Frank, I didn’t know who he was. His PR agent hit me up and asked if I’d like to interview him. I’m not opposed to instrument-specific episodes, but the musician either needs to be a freak of nature or have an interesting story; Frank meets both requirements. In the drumming world, he’s a big deal. Whether you like the bands he plays in or not, it is impossible to deny the man’s insane devotion to hitting things with sticks. Seriously. Watch a video of him playing.

He’s a drum nerd without being a drum nerd. Many musicians with Frank’s talent frequently ruin songs with their chops. Drums are supposed to be a part of the song, not the song. For any musician, this is important to be aware of because it helps your employment prospects. You can’t show up the lead singer! I liked conducting this interview because we could not be from more different backgrounds. I’m from Texas and do not like pop punk or any sort of modern metal. Zummo is from Long island and not only enjoys the aforementioned, but they are his bread and butter.

Interviewing him was a challenge. He talks and moves at a breakneck pace. During the week this interview was conducted, I had an inside joke going on with cotton candy grapes. I’d become obsessed with them and was trying to get anyone and everyone to try them so I figured I’d apply that to my interview subjects. Every artist that came through the apt was immediately offered cotton candy grapes, or they were placed next to their microphone. Nobody, including Frank, bit. I was like, “Ever had cotton candy grapes?” And Frank was like, “No.” I moved on.

Due to the band’s record release and recent tour, Frank was in press mode. Most questions, like a seasoned vet, would come right back around to the band and their recent album. While this made the interview more challenging, I liked his focus.

I can’t imagine what Frank would do without drums. He has to move, he has to beat on something. What I really want to do is sit him in a room, turn on the hardest songs to drum, and see if he could keep up. I’m sure he could. Obviously, my favorite part of the whole interview was his run-in with Mötley Crüe. And although I know that he’s told that story 3 million times, I couldn’t help but make him tell it again. Can you imagine waking up to Tommy Lee begging you to fly to Boston to play a gig sans a soundcheck? I also couldn’t get over the fact that Tommy Lee had a chef make Frank’s mom a 5 course meal. Give me a break. I want Tommy Lee to be my best friend.

After taping this episode Frank won drummer of the year at the Alternative Press awards. Want to learn more? Listen to Frank tell the story of his career below, and learn how you, too, can become the best drummer in the world.

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