Gene Hoglan is one of metal's most well-known drummers and recently added his skills to Testament's Dark Roots of Earth and Dethklok's Dethalbum III. Not only has Hoglan announced the title of his new DVD, The Atomic Clock: The Clock Strikes Two, but he will also be offering "The Gene Hoglan Experience" — workshops during which he will tell personal stories and reveal some secret techniques and tips to help drummers and musicians of all levels. Prior to the appearances, Revolver caught up with Hoglan and he told us the Top Five Ways to Succeed.
1. "Dedicate your early years to your craft. Focus on your future while you hone your skills. Envision yourself at the top of the heap in the end, and there's a good chance it'll happen. Only, stay offa my heap."
2. "Ignore those who tell you you're 'doing it wrong' if it feels in your heart that you are doing it right. Hell, I was told all over the place when I was young that I was so incorrect by playing 'open-handed' (left-hand lead on a right-handed kit), that if I listened to all the naysayers, I no doubt wouldn't have gotten out of the garage — let alone have the style that I have. Constructive criticism is great but 'you can't do it that way!' should only elicit an upturned middle finger as a response from you."
3. "Be willing to live a Spartan life. I lived for years with nothing, or at least with only the stuff I could easily leave behind. If I had to pick up and head off to the next town for months, I could easily. Material possessions don't mean much when you're trying to build a life or career for yourself. Save them for when you can actually enjoy them. After your career is on fire and your heap is your own."
4. "Be willing to do whatever it takes to survive while chasing your dream. So, you gotta live in your car for a month because you're in a strange town and no one from the band can put you up? Do it, because there is no other choice and it beats a park bench because at least you got a roof. Gotta survive on only a 1lb stick of butter for a few weeks because that's all you can afford to eat? If you can see your dream clearly though the current circumstances that may be far from ideal, they'll be enormous satisfaction when you can afford the 2lb stick of butter or your own place in which to eat it. Gotta crash in a rat-infested shithole of a rehearsal place 'cuz that's all that's available? Hey, at least it ain't your car, so you're movin' up! You'll refer to these as your 'character-building years' in your memoirs."
5. "Remember that you have to look yourself in the mirror every morning. If you take a gig with a band you hate because you think you'll get somewhere by playing for them, you'll only hate yourself in the end. Play music for you. Yes, it is indeed called the music business but hey, 'music' comes first in that statement. I've never played for a band whose music I flat-out couldn't stand just because it could pay the bills. I may be a drum whore, but I have never been a whore. Piece of mind comes from the satisfaction of making music you love with people you like. There's no bank account fat enough to replace that feeling. 'To thine own self be true' may be one of the wisest sentiments ever offered. Take your life and live it your way, Gene? Hell yeah, I'm way down for that. That works for anyone."