Asphalt Valentine drummer Brian Jung recently signed an endorsement deal with Saluda Cymbals. We sat down with Brian for a Q&A session. Brian can be heard on new release ‘Twisted Road’ which was released on HighVolMusic February 28th.
Give us a little history on how you got in to music and what inspired to you to play drums.
Brian: I have always been in love with music. I was fascinated with live performances, the lights, the stage and I just fell in love with the drums. I got a little play drum kit when I was 5 years old. It’s part of me.
Did you have a drum teacher or are you self-taught? If self-taught, how did you teach yourself?
Brian: I am a self-taught drummer. I watched a lot of drummers in videos and concerts and tried to mimic what I was seeing and hearing. It all came naturally to me.
What were the things that you practiced that brought you the best results?
Brian: First off, I am always tapping my feet or hands to music. It drives my wife nuts sometimes! I can’t help it. I am always listening to music and visualizing what the drummer is playing. It gives me ideas when it comes to writing.
Let’s talk a bit about foot technique. What advice can you give readers about developing speed and accuracy?
Brian: I have been told I am a “pocket” drummer. Accuracy and timing, that’s the important part. Speed, I am not a speed drummer. I use a double pedal set-up, but mostly for fills.
What type of grip to you use on the sticks?
Brian: I use a standard grip. I hit my drums hard!
What type of warm up techniques do you do?
Brian: I usually warm up by sitting behind my kit and just playing various beats, hi-hat techniques to get loosened up. I am not the kind of drummer that warms up with practice pads.
How often do you practice playing the drums?
Brian: I physically practice a few times weekly. I mentally practice ALL THE TIME! I am constantly mapping out drum patterns, fills and what not. I listen to our music all the time so I stay focused on what is being played so I remember my parts. It has to be perfect!
What type of player are you? Are you a flashy Tommy Lee type player or more of a Tommy Aldridge type player and why?
Brian: I am not a flashy drummer at all. I focus more on what I am playing rather that what I look like when playing. It’s funny you mention Tommy Aldridge, because I have watched him play and he is one of my mentors.
Who is your favorite drummer?
Brian: I have many favorites! Tommy Aldridge, Steve Smith, Peter Criss, Gil Moore.
What was your first kit and what is your ultimate drum kit?
Brian: My first kit was a rental. It was a cheap Ludwig kit. Nothing fancy, simple 5 piece set up. My ultimate kit would be a double bass Ddrum kit. I am still trying to piece it together. I also like the spider/stealth rack system.
Can you tell us what drum setup you are currently using in the studio and on the road?
Brian: I am currently using a Ddrum Dominion kit. 24×24 single bass, 1 mounted and 2 floor toms. I recently became an endorsed artist for Saluda Cymbals. I am playing the Symbolic series. 21 in Ride, 16, 18 and 20 in crashes, 14 inch hats and 18 in china. This is my road kit. I use the same kit in the studio however I used Zildjian A hat’s and crashes and K Custom ride.
Tell us about your cymbal setup and why this brand.
Brian: I have used many cymbal brands over the years. I have used Saluda Cymbals since 2003. I have had 3 sets made for me and like I said earlier, I became an endorsed artist. I love the sound as well as the appearance. Great cymbals! I highly recommend!
Tell us about you pedal setup and why you chose this brand.
Brian: I use a Ddrum double bass set-up. This pedal allows me to switch between a chain drive set-up and a direct drive set-up. Very comfortable and easy to adjust.
Tell us about some of your influences and how they have contributed to your playing.
Brian: My first influence was Peter Criss. The whole Kiss get-up amazing. His kit was huge! He was not flashy, but in the pocket. Tommy Aldridge and Gil Moore are another two. Especially Gill Moore. The way he accents with cymbals really influenced how I use cymbals.
You landed the Asphalt Valentine gig, tell us how you landed the gig and what your experiences have been.
Brian: I was actually playing in a local band called The Issues. (not the well-known band). Joe called me up and said he had a proposition for me. I thought he wanted to do some shows together. He then asked me if I would be interested in joining Asphalt Valentine and sent me over some material they were working on. I immediately accepted the roll!
Asphalt Valentine has been around for a while now. How does the band differ from the beginning to what the band is now?
Brian: I have known this Asphalt Valentine for almost 13 years. A previous band I played in used to do shows all around Atlanta with AV. The band has kind of evolved from a “sleaze” type to a more commercially viable rock band. There is an “AV” sound we try to achieve in our music. The song writing, melodies and lyrics, have evolved as well.
What have been the biggest challenges in working in a band like Asphalt Valentine?
Brian: I had some pretty big shoes to fill, for sure. The fact that I knew the band made it much easier for me to fit in. Their timing structures for the songs were similar to what I had already been playing so that was not challenging. They had 2 records out so there were songs that I had to learn in a short period of time. I try to play the songs the way they were written so everything still sounded the same. The new record is me. I don’t have to mimic or copy anyone.
Are you working on a new album? If so, tell us about it.
Brian: Twisted Road was just released in February 2020. We are pretty much focusing on promoting this record. We just released a video for the title track, Twisted Road. We will be shooting another video later this year for the song, Saving. There is some new material that we are working with but really this record is our primary focus.
Tell us about what you have coming up in the next few months.
Brian: This pandemic has really slowed our roll. Hopefully as venues start to open back up, we will be able to get back out on the road. It is already looking like shows we had booked for later in the summer will happen. In the meantime, we rehearse and make another video.
What advice can you offer aspiring musicians?
Brian: Never give up! I have played in many bands that just did not have it. This band gave me a chance and here I am. Keep doing what you are doing. Music is a passion and the need to play never goes away, so stay the course.