Interview: Tyler Warren on Music, QUEX, and Drumming!

So….Queen Extravaganza this year are touring, with Greatest Hits, and a full run-through of A Night At The Opera. They are the official Queen tribute band. Last year, I interviewed lead singer, Marc Martel, (click here to view), saw one of their shows, (click here to view), and met the band (click here to view.) But-because the new tour launches today-I’ve interviewed Tyler Warren, Drummer.Expect Queen puns, serious drumming advice, and more..

(Disclaimer: Some questions are highlighted in blue, being a ‘Twitter project’; thank you to contributors James Rundle and Jordy Van De Bunt: )

Hello Tyler, thank you for agreeing to this interview.

No problem Lydia!

Growing up, did you want to a musician?

Always. Both my parents are musicians, and music was always around me since I was born. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, and I’m so grateful that I’m able to do just that right now, thanks in no small part to Roger, Spike, and Brian.

“You put a different kind of energy and emotion into your own art, as opposed to someone else’s, and even though the return isn’t on the same scale as QE, it’s still just as, if not more, gratifying.”

-Tyler Warren, Mademoiselle Interview.

What was the first record you bought?

The first album I ever got from my parents was Dr. Feelgood by Motley Crue on cassette when it came out (1989). I was 3 years old. The first I ever bought with my own money was probably either a new copy of that, or a KISS album, still cassettes 🙂 My mom and dad had all the Queen albums already, so I didn’t start getting those on my own (on CD) until later.

How did you come to be a part of Queen Extravaganza?

I, alongside Marc and Francois, am one of the originals from the internet competition Roger and Spike held back in the summer/fall of 2011. We all submitted videos that were judged by them, alongside internet votes from the general public. We made it to the third and final round of live auditions at Studio 606, the Foo Fighters studio, in California. It was such a trip, and something I’ll never forget: auditioning in one of my favorite band’s studios, where some killer music has been recorded (In Your Honor, Echoes Silence Patience & Grace, etc.)

“Let us. Enter. Tain you ;-)”

-Tyler Warren, Mademoiselle Interview.

*Can you remember what you were thinking at your audition?

Honestly, I was more in awe of where I was, and looking at all the Foo Fighters/Nirvana/Queens of the Stone Age memorabilia than anything haha! I wasn’t too worried about the actual audition itself, because a) I grew up with the Queen catalogue, and b) I grew up doing music competitions, and eventually, you learn that whatever happens happens, and you can’t change that, so you might as well not sweat it and have a good time while you’re doing it.

“The first album I ever got from my parents was Dr. Feelgood by Motley Crue on cassette when it came out (1989). I was 3 years old. The first I ever bought with my own money was probably either a new copy of that, or a KISS album, still cassettes :-)”

-Tyler Warren, Mademoiselle Interview.

*What do you do, music-wise, as a solo artist?

I write and record my own music. I’ve released 5 albums and 1 EP as a solo artist, and I’m very proud of everything I’ve done. In the studio, I play a lot of the instruments, and live I sing and play guitar. I’m approaching 10 years as a solo artist, and I’m hoping to have a retrospective of those years ready in time for next Queen Extravaganza tour in the UK this fall 🙂 After that, it may be time for new music with a new band… 🙂 When I’m not doing either of those, I also play lead guitar in Marc’s solo band as well.

I love performing for other people, but I’m at my absolute happiest, from a musician standpoint and, most importantly, a creative standpoint,  when I’m recording and performing my own music. You put a different kind of energy and emotion into your own art, as opposed to someone else’s, and even though the return isn’t on the same scale as QE, it’s still just as, if not more, gratifying. Making just one person feel something with your own words or music, is a feeling that’s unparalleled.

During a tour, how do you prepare for your performance?

I do vocal warm ups before each show, and stretches with my arms and legs for drums, and if I’m feeling really tight, I’ll warm up on a practice pad. Sometimes we’re rushed, and I don’t get to loosen my body up as much as I should, but I always try to be mindful, and loosen up throughout the show. I don’t think about the music too much, because I want to get out there and have fun most of all.

“It was such a trip, and something I’ll never forget: auditioning in one of my favorite band’s studios, where some killer music has been recorded (In Your Honor, Echoes Silence Patience & Grace, etc.)”

-Tyler Warren, Mademoiselle Interview.

“In the studio, I play a lot of the instruments, and live I sing and play guitar. I’m approaching 10 years as a solo artist, and I’m hoping to have a retrospective of those years ready in time for next Queen Extravaganza tour in the UK this fall :-)”

-Tyler Warren, Mademoiselle Interview.

*What are the more challenging songs to play live?

My absolute favorite stuff to play live is deep cuts. When we did the first “ANATO” tour, the whole first set was pre-ANATO music, so I was absolutely in heaven with that set! In a live setting, it’s so much more challenging from a vocal and instrumental standpoint than the later stuff, especially the 80’s stuff. It was much more artsy, and we as band pride ourselves in reproducing as much of those original studio recordings as we possibly can. I, for certain, pride myself and the band in doing that, because I know we can, and I know we’ll blow people away when we do that.

Do you ever get nervous?

Not really. I’ve been playing and performing for so long, that it’s just a part of me. I’d even say that I’m at my most comfortable on stage, doing what I do best. I get more excited than anything, being able to make all these people who come to see our shows happy to hear all their favorite music. Every time the curtain falls, I think of every concert I’ve seen as a kid, and what it meant to me then, and what it could mean to someone watching me now, and it’s just full-circle awesomeness that I wouldn’t trade for anything haha! 🙂

Where has been your favourite place to perform?

I gotta say, we haven’t performed there yet, but our next tour ends at the Hammersmith Apollo, and I’m BEYOND ecstatic for that! So many classic concerts have been recorded there, from the classic Queen shows from ’75 and ’79, the Bruce Springsteen Born to Run video from ’75, and Rush’s A Farewell to Kings live CD from ’77 (bonus disc from Different Stages)… It’s just endless. I CANNOT wait for that 🙂

*Does your drum kit resemble Roger Taylors?

It’s very similar. I set up my drums pretty high like he does, especially cymbals. My kit is kind of a combination of Neil Peart and Roger. Because I like setting up high, I love Neil’s modern-day tom setup, with it’s circular motion. Roger and I both favor pretty large cymbals as well. And you gotta have the roto toms if you’re playing Queen music, am I right?? 🙂 They’re also black sparkle DWs just like his, except mine don’t have gold plated hardware. Maybe someday 😉

Can we expect an extravaganza of a performance?

Of course! 🙂 Marc will dazzle you with his voice and prowess, Nick will amaze with his effortless guitar-ness, Darren will kill with the keyboard-y goodness, Francois will thump the bass with his Zoolander-esque style, and I’ll just try not to make a fool of myself. Let us. Enter. Tain you 😉

What are you looking most forward to in this year’s tour?

Mostly seeing everyone again. It’s been nearly a year since our last tour, which is way too long!! We all get along so well, and play so well together, and we’re all friends and love each other, so that’s it for me. And of course playing some of my favorite music live for so many people 🙂

“They’re also black sparkle DWs just like his, except mine don’t have gold plated hardware. Maybe someday ;-)”

-Tyler Warren, Mademoiselle Interview.

What are your tips for aspiring drummers?

ALWAYS keep practicing. If you’re serious about drumming, always try to have good technique. And open your mind to new things. When I was growing up, I was really stubborn with what I liked and didn’t like. It wasn’t until college that I opened up to different things like jazz and funk, and believe me, it’ll only make you a better musician if you broaden your horizons. You don’t have to listen to bro-country though hahaha 😉 Jazz especially will free up your limbs. But, if you wanna rock like me (haha!), you always have to practice, because like anything,  rock drumming is like a sport, and when you don’t use those muscles, it takes that much longer to build them back up.

Always listen to everyone around you, and learn every aspect of the song, not just drums. Drummers do more than just keep a beat. They are a piece of the larger puzzle that makes a band or a song. You can’t be in your own little world. You have to be aware of what all the other players are doing, because everyone plays off of each other. I tend to familiarize myself with every aspect of the music, because it makes it that much easier to become a unit, as opposed to just a bunch of guys playing their own thing, and hoping it comes together.

Also, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS protect your ears. Drumming is a dangerously loud environment for your ears, so if you want to be able to enjoy drumming, and the music you make and love, you have to protect your ears.

***

Thank you to Tyler Warren for answering my questions; Jordy and James for their contributions; and promoter Nathan Stone for all his help!

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One thought on “Interview: Tyler Warren on Music, QUEX, and Drumming!

  1. Pingback: Mercury rising; Queen Extravaganza Are Back! | Mademoiselle

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