Ex-drummer of Victims Family, Personal Assistant to Primus
The first concert I ever saw was Victims Family, February 15, 1992. And here’s how I found out about Victims Family… I bought the first Faith No More tape, We Care A Lot, and I noticed it was really lo-fi and released on Mordam Records. I was intrigued. I wrote a little letter to the address, asking if they still existed. They sent me a catalog, and on the back was written, “Exist? You bet!” Inside, there were some really crazy band names, Rhythm Pigs, Victims Family, and Plaid Retina, I think. There was a really cool hands-on but high-quality vibe to the whole catalog. So I ordered VF White Bread Blues on cassette. I got it several weeks later and totally loved it.
Several other people ended up liking them, as well. Then someone found out they were playing soon. A bunch of us idiots from Venice, Florida drove up there piled into three cars. Like a completely green concert newbie, I grabbed a stool and walked to the front of the stage and sat there and watched. IMA opened for them. I still say IMA was the best Florida band ever. Anyway, by the time VF got on stage, the place was getting pretty crazy, and at one point I noticed the stool wasn’t under me anymore. It was, in fact, flying around somewhere above the whirlwind of punk rockers smashing into each other behind me. I found some really huge guy with long hair and a leather jacket and hid between him and the stage most of the time. I remember my pelvis being crushed really hard at one point. The snare drum was deafening, even without the help of the mains. It hurt REALLY bad every time he hit it. My friend Gura was smart enough to just climb up on the stage and sit next to Ralph’s monitor. Wait a minute, this isn’t a Victims Family live review. Let me just say that this is one of the coolest, tightest, grooviest bands I have ever seen live, and I miss them very much. So then one day I’m on primussucks.com and I see that VF drummer Tim Soya has his own little section on the page. God damn. So I emailed him some questions.
Ever read any Ayn Rand books? Know anybody who has?
Ayn Rand? Isn’t that some Neil Peart shit? I read Big Brother, BMXPlus!, and Golf Digest, all periodicals.
Now that we have that cleared up… is it true that guys in bands get lots of action?
OK, then. Well… What’s a typical day in the life of working with Primus? What’s your job?
On tour, a typical day consists of a good meal, usually Taco Bell, followed by piling in the rental car and zooming off to a golf course for 5 hours. Every few days we opt for browsing all the local pawnshops, looking for nothing in particular. Once we arrive at the gig, we usually sit around and wait for show time. I spend a lot of time running around and getting stage drinks and set lists together. Les likes to watch the opening bands a lot, especially when they shred, like the Aquabats or Limp Bizkit. After the set, we all pile on the bus and head out for the next city.
How’d you end up getting your job with Primus?
Around 1988, I started setting up their gear as a fan, and eventually worked with them about a year until I joined VF. After VF broke up the second time in 1994, Les and I started hanging out again, since he moved close to me, which eventually led to me working on some Sausage gigs, and then, of course, the Punchbowl album and on to the personal assistant job on the road.
Did you take drum lessons?
I have actually never taken any drum lessons. I played snare drum in the high school marching band, that’s where I learned to bust the super fast rolls. And mostly sitting behind Devon VrMeer was my biggest lesson.
Do you still communicate with the VF’s?
I see Larry occasionally. He comes to see my new band every once in awhile. I talk to Ralph on the phone once in a while. They are doing good with their new band, and I go to see them whenever possible.
Doing any band stuff lately?
My new band is called Wingnut. Clee on guitar, Eric Lee on bass, who incidentally, is the first bass player I ever played with, back in our high school metal band. And Scott Adrian sings, younger guy.
What type of snare did you use on the final VF tour?
All VF tours, sans maybe the first 2 US and the first Europe tour, I used Joe Montineri custom snares. He has made me 3 different ones. All are one of a kind. I have a 14″ X 4,” a 14″ X 5,” and a super trick 14″ X 7″ with super cool custom lugs with 3 fastening points to strengthen the top head support. There was a tour where the lugs were actually pulling apart from the top head being tightened so tight and being hit so hard. On the Headache Remedy album, I also used a crazy solid iron Montineri that was12″ X 6,” it is the one in Zoo, ripping tone. It couldn’t stand up to the beating I would dish it, and the stiffness of the shell would literally rip the heads seats out of the metal retaining hoop. Traded it in for the 14″ X5,” which is a really cool anniversary model with a flame top maple shell.
What’s your method for tuning snare drums?
My tuning method is basically pressing the rim down to max finger tightening on each rod, then slowly taking each rod up to get a pitch. Then just cranking it until it goes CRACK!
Where did Craig (VF) learn how to mix?
Craig Bougie is/was the sound man for NoMeansNo, and he in fact gave Josh Ray, our soundman, a few tips at the start of a tour and basically let Josh just figure it out. I felt Josh Ray got pretty damn good. I’ve never asked him to do sound for Wingnut, he’s out of the loop of doing gigs.
Whoops. So… what’s with Prawnsong?
Prawnsong is now a computer graphics company. Les ditched the record label thing about 4 years ago. It demanded too much attention for him to keep it going.
Are you a good dancer?
I do not dance, period.
What are your hobbies?
My hobbies are mostly drinking beer. I snowboard and work with Mr. Black at the Boardriders Brotherhood (surf, skate, snow) in Luma. I would say Wingnut is pretty much a hobby too.
Do you recommend San Francisco?
SF (never call it Frisco) is a great city. I like living close to it. I would never live in the city, but after travelling the world, I can say it is a great city with a cool vibe.
What’s the coolest city you’ve been to?
Coolest city. Hmmm. That’s a very hard one to answer. I like lots of cities. Amsterdam is a home away from home. Scandinavia is cool all over. New Orleans. I could say something good about just about every city.
What is the ABSOLUTE worst thing about being a musician?
Cops. Fuck ’em!
The Jesus Lizard, Slayer, Frank Sinatra, Julie London, Helmet, I dig the Roni Size Reprazent shit. I could go on for days on this question, too. Slayer is definitely my all time, the new album is unbelievable.
Do you have a laptop or something?
Mac PowerBook. I’m getting ready to get a newer one. Its a 190cs and very slow.
What are your plans for the future?
Keep working with music. I’m looking forward to the touring season next spring. My motto is “rock and roll pays my bills.” I enjoy working with the kids at the board shop. I would love for Wingnut to be able to play more and tour. That would be fun, though touring on the bus is by far more amazing! Whatever, van, bus, car, I would love to play for people again.