Joe Musial has been pounding drums in the Buffalo metal scene since his debut with metalcore act, Death Is Promised in 2004. Since then, we’ve seen him blasting with such sick acts as Amputecht, The Mariana’s Embrace, Prepare for the Mindscan, and Winski (among others). You’d be hard-pressed to find a metal drummer with better work ethic and more versatility than Joe in this city (though such individuals DO exist), which is why we had to include the man behind the kit(s) for speedy, powerviolence infused, grindcore kings, Prepare for the Mindscan, and (yes, I’m about to say it) pop punk aficionados, Winski!
1. Are you still a part of Winski? Follow-up: Talk about the differences in how you approach songs, grindcore vs. pop punk.
Winski is still going strong! We’re actually going to be recording new material in early September 2021, and I couldn’t be more excited to be in a studio setting again with those dudes!
My approach has definitely evolved over the years. In pop punk applications I try to sit in the pocket and play “for the song”, and every fill is pretty calculated. I like to leave lots of room for the vocals to be the main focus. With grindcore, the feel is super important, and at those speeds the fills need to be as ridiculous as possible, while also constantly pushing the song forward. I’ve dropped my ego in recent years, I used to try to fit in fills because I liked them, and now I have a better understanding for what a song needs to come to life.
2. When you first decided to start playing drums, who was your biggest supporter? Follow-up: Who was your favorite drummer at that time?
My father was, and is always my biggest supporter. I started playing drums when I was 11, and he bought me my first drum kit. At that time I had just gotten my first KoRn album, so David Silvera was my favorite drummer!
3. List 5-10 drummers who mean a lot to you and are your touchstones when writing material for your bands.
1. Blake Richardson
2. Joey Jordison
3. Mike Mangini
4. The Rev
5. John Otto
6. Matt Halpern
7. Tomas Haake
8. Chris Adler
9. Dave Lombardo
10. Terry Bozzio
4. Talk about a specific drumming style or technique you are working on perfecting or at least improving at this time.
I’m always working on making my blast-beats stronger and faster. Specifically I’ve been working on very high tempo European blasts for a new PFTMS song!
5. If you can recall, describe the way the idea for Prepare for the Mindscan was initially pitched to you. As a follow-up: How did you first come to join Winski?
I was 19 at the time, so it was well over a decade ago. Originally we had 4 songs that were put together before Jay moved to Hong Kong. 3 years later he came back and we just kind of picked up where we left off and the rest is history.
As for Winski, I was originally supposed to be filling in for a 3-week tour, but it became something more, and 3 years and a few tours later I’m still in the band. I truly enjoy making music with those guys, and it’s a different world from what I’m used to with the metal community.
6. Who are your favorite (current) nonmetal artists these days?
All of Griselda, but especially Westside Gunn. I’ve been listening to a lot of hip-hop. Goretech is a cool DnB artist I like to listen to when I’m gaming.
7. Are you still giving drum lessons?
8. Talk about a groove or section in any of your original songs on drums that you are most proud of and why.
There’s a trading solo between bass and drums on “An Emotional Game of Tennis” that I’m pretty proud of. Nailing that section in the studio without punch-ins was an absolutely mammoth task. I think about 12-15 takes later I finally had something that I was happy with (laughs).
9. How has your taste in equipment (brands, etc.) changed over the years?
I’ve really liked seeing more variety in cymbal makers. For the longest time it was really a choice between the 2 big companies and not a lot else. I’m still a big fan of Tama drums, so I’ve always been pretty loyal to that brand. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!
10. What is the best advice you think you can give to a brand-new metal drummer trying to learn long-term endurance when it comes to essential extreme metal techniques? (blasts, double bass, fills, etc.)
Practice, practice, practice! Some of the techniques I use in my drumming took me YEARS to grasp, so don’t get discouraged if it takes time to learn a certain beat or technique. Start slow, use a metronome, record yourself practicing, and seek out some lessons!