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Gene Hoglan Interview

A Conversation With The Legendary Drummer

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Gene Hoglan

Gene Hoglan

Hoglan Industries
Updated August 28, 2013
There are a lot of great drummers in metal, and one person who is usually listed whenever the best in the business are mentioned is Gene Hoglan. He's currently in Testament and Dethklok and working on some other projects. There's also been talk of a Dark Angel reunion. Hoglan will be putting on a series of drum clinics called the Gene Hoglan Experience. He fills us in on that and everyhing else Hoglan related.

Chad Bowar: What inspired the Gene Hoglan Experience?
Gene Hoglan: I want to take the concept of a drum clinic and expand upon it, to reach everybody, not just drummers. My drum clinics have always had large elements of 'spoken word' to them, but they were, in essence, drum clinics. Now, to take the same basic concept and put in a venue, the night is now open to all metal fans or Gene fans. It will be extremely interactive, where I'll take questions all night, relate stories, as well as get behind the kit and pound along to tunes from my entire career.

What can fans that attend one expect to see?
A whole lotta personality! I've never done any preparation whatsoever for any clinic, and everything I do or say is completely off-the-cuff and ad-libbed. Hell, even any solo I do is pretty much made up on the spot. I definitely like to bring a ton of humor and lightheartedness to these things, so hopefully people will come away thoroughly entertained and satisfied. Or at least howling at that train wreck of a solo.

You recently played some festivals with Testament. What were some of the highlights for you?
I suppose we've played in front of a few hundred thousand people this summer, that's always neat. I think the Tuska Festival in Helsinki, Finland was a personal fave. I remember playing extremely well that night (which seemed like day, due to the location), and the crowd was super into it. I think Testament are pretty on fire at the moment, so that's always good, in front of so many folks.

Give us a preview of Testament's upcoming DVD/CD Dark Roots Of Thrash.
A couple hours of a great night of Testament music! I've seen very little of it so far, but it's looking killer from what I've seen. Pick that thing up when it comes out, yo!

Will you be involved in the next Testament album?
I would think so. I'm really enjoying my time with the guys, the touring has been awesome and fruitful. It's a pretty well-oiled machine, and we get out there and do our stuff every night. I'd absolutely dig to be a part of the writing of the next album and really bring it, y'know? Make an album that destroys all. I definitely think Testament has that in them.

What are you working on with guitarist Laura Christine?
A band of next-level metal. We both live and breathe the stuff, and we've got a couple of good heads on our shoulders when it comes to it, so I'm very stoked to get it off the ground. She is indeed a truly amazing talent, and the world needs to hear her, and what we have to offer. I can't wait for that to happen.

Any news on possible Dethklok tours or a new album?
I do know that there is something in the works with Dethklok, but I'd best let Brendon handle that when the time is right.

How did your appearance on the upcoming Viking reunion album come about?
Ron Daniel and I have been friends since '86. Viking and Dark Angel used to play many a show back in the day, and when Ron asked, I was delighted to do it. I dug the music he'd written for it, and it was a three day blast to record. No click tracks, no Pro-Tools, no fixing, just bare-bones, ripping metal. Definitely an old-school approach with a fresh sound. I'm looking forward to its release.

What's the latest on the Dark Angel reunion?
The latest is that we are talking about doing one. We will definitely keep everybody posted when there is something solid to talk about.

You've done some shows with the Death To All band. Is that something you think will continue in the future?
I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of it. To bring Chuck (Schuldiner)'s legacy back around and let some folks relive a part of their lives, or even catch the band for the first time, really meant a lot. Chuck is missed, and to be able to be a part of what the band was and what it's become will always be special. With DTA, my favorite part was seeing the smiles on everybody's faces at the end of the night, and jamming with Stevie D. and Bobby Koeble. Really, playing with all of the guys was stellar, believe me. My door is always open for another stint.

You released The Atomic Clock DVD a few years ago. I understand you're working on another one?
Indeed I am. I intend for it to be head and shoulders above the last one. I'm completely excited to put out the new one, and it's going to have a lot that the first didn't. I am about to unveil the title and artwork soon, too. Thanks for asking!

You've been in numerous bands and played on tons of albums as a "session guy" instead of being in one band for 30 years. Was that your goal as a young musician, or just how things turned out?
Y'know, I never really knew where I was going to go with my career when I was starting out in my teens. All I knew was that I was gonna stick around, like a cockroach or fungus, or a cockroach infested with fungus. I was thinking about it recently, about my career involving many bands, many players, and I thought about a lot of the guys I looked up to, like Tommy Aldridge, Cozy Powell, Steve Gadd, Terry Bozzio, and those guys did plenty of bouncing around themselves.

I'm sure there was some, "It's okay to do your thing with many different bands, just always try to be awesome and worth their time"-type of influence that rubbed off on me from watching their careers, and the fact that I always felt like Dark Angel was not going to be my last stop, well, I guess it's just natural that things have turned out this way. I've always liked expanding my boundaries by playing with as many cats as I have, and I know my playing has greatly improved due to it. I sure know that my sense of diplomacy has, indeed.

I tell ya, there sure isn't the downtime involved in jumping around that there is with being stationary. I don't get to receive the, "Okay, we're done with the touring cycle, everybody take a break, and we'll meet up in a few months to start the next album." I bounce!

Anything else you'd like to mention or promote?
Thank you for the platform to ramble, and if you'd like to keep in touch with all things Gene, hit up HoglanIndustries.com for the latest! I'm also on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Reverb Nation.

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