… Brooks Wackerman. Does that name ring a bell? If you’re a drummer, it might. The official announcement was made on Chris Jericho’s Talk is Jericho podcast earlier today, when frontman M. Shadows and Wackerman appeared on the podcast to officialy announce it. Wackerman has been drumming professionally since 1991, when he was a 14 year-old in all-teen band Bad4Good (fronted by Sam from Diff’rent Strokes!). His longest gig was as a member of Bad Religion. According to Shadows, they’ve known of him since The Rev’s passing, and were introduced to his drumming by the late skinsman:
“To be honest, Brooks’ name has always been in the mix. It was one of the names we were throwing around when Jimmy passed away in terms of who was going to step up for Nightmare. We felt Mike [Portnoy] was the right choice and we still feel that way. Mike just destroyed on the record. He was perfect. But at the time, our tour manager brought up Brooks’ name as well. But at the time he was also busy with Bad Religion and it was also … people were going to look at it differently because he was a punk drummer at this point.”
Wackerman was in Bad Religion from 2001 until last week, when he left the band. He said they were pretty surprised by his choice:
“There was no lead up to it and no one knew. Initially it was shock to everyone,” said the drummer. “I spoke with every band member individually on a day off on tour right before our last show. There’s just a lot of history there, but they understood. They get it. I mean the band has been around for 35 years so they’ve gone through this before.”
Shadows also spoke about the decision to get rid of their prior drummer, Arin Ilejay:
“It just became increasingly difficult to be on the same page, not only touring, but with writing and just where we want to take things,” said Shadows. “We’re just a bunch of guys who are all over the place and we have a bunch of different influences and we need somebody who can instantly … who can sit there and say, ‘Yeah, I’ve got that influence too or I understand why we’re gonna go here. I understand why we’re going to do that.’
It just got to the point where after Mayhem Festival last year, we had just decided to fire on all cylinders the way we want to, we needed to make a change. And we all had our little talk. We said, ‘Listen, we can ride this thing out the way it is right now and we’ll be fine or we can shake the nest a little bit and we want to fire on all cylinders again. We want to be the baddest band on the planet. We want to just dominate onstage. And I came up with the idea that I really want to talk to Brooks and see if there’s any chance and see where he’s at in his life right now.”
It totally makes sense that they might want to go with a more seasoned drummer this time, especially since they had to give Ilejay albums by Pantera and Metallica that he’d never heard before. It seems like Wackerman, who’s also toured with Tenacious D, played with Suicidal Tendencies side project Infectious Grooves, and even appeared on a Korn album, is the perfect combination of seasoned vet, but not so much that his ego stands in the way of things, like Mike Portnoy’s might have. You can catch the whole interview below.