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Words of Fang – To old to rock n roll?

December 28, 2016

Lords of the Trident 2016

Hails metalheads! My name is Fang VonWrathenstein, vocalist for the band Lords of the Trident (http://www.LordsOfTheTrident.com). Every month or so, I’ll be handing out my sage advice to other bands on how to take their band from the garage to the next level. I’m no industry insider, but I’ve been around the block a few times. Have an idea for a topic, or fervently disagree with something I write? Email me at LordsOfTheTrident@gmail.com.


As some of you are aware, my band Lords of the Trident recently lost our drummer to the evils of medical school. CURSE YOU HUMAN KNOWLEDGE! WHY MUST YOU TAKE AWAY EVERYTHING GOOD IN OUR LIVES!?


Saving their patients, killing our dreams.

Last month, we talked about the importance of performing a post-mortem when any member leaves the band. We followed our own advice, and determined a number of criteria we were looking for in a drummer, including the following:

* Living in or near the Madison, WI area

* Must be 21 – 40 years old (Ideally 25 – 36)

* Strong drumming skills needed – must be able to do double-kick beats

* Loves classic & modern metal

* Has own gear, transportation, and phone

* Interested and available for touring, including very likely overseas (Europe and/or Japan) touring

* Available one night a week for practice

* In general, has weekend (Friday/Saturday) availability for shows (we will always give advanced notice)

* In general, able to check email once a day

* Comfortable with wearing a costume on stage, playing in front of large crowds, and creating a persona

* Able to learn songs quickly

* Able to take criticism and/or feedback

* Planning on staying in the Madison area

* Able to keep commitments and responsibilities

Most of these seemed like pretty standard criteria to me, but one bullet point in particular set off a large-scale internet firestorm of a discussion – the age limit.

Too old to rock & roll?

This guy’s ready for the blast beats!

Putting an age limit on a position may seem like a logical thing to some people. To others, however, it may seem like a limiting (and in some cases, ageist) requirement. “Age doesn’t matter!” “Some 40-year-olds rock harder than those in their 20s!” “Age is just a number!” Lots of comments speaking to the fact that they assumed the age gap was just due to us being uncomfortable with older people, or thinking that older players wouldn’t play as well as younger players.

The main reason I created this requirement had nothing to with talent, ability, or drive. I agree that a person of nearly any age has the potential to rock harder and play longer than others. The main reason I created this requirement had more to do with personality than anything else.

Over the years, we’ve replaced quite a few members of the band. We’re going on our 4th guitarist, 2nd bassist, and 6th drummer! Since we’ve auditioned so many times for so many different positions, and because we play 80s heavy metal, we’ve received a few audition requests from people in their late 40s/early 50s. Some of these guys even played 80s metal in the 80s, which was pretty cool! Bear in mind, however, that the band is made up of members in their late 20s and early 30s.


This is how I assume we looked to those older players

We auditioned these older guys, and while they were fantastic players, their personality just didn’t fit with the rest of us. Now, maybe it was just those specific guys we auditioned, but there’s something to be said about the “experience gap” and/or “behavior gap” of those 10-15 years older or younger than you.

What do I mean? First, let’s talk about the behavior gap. We’re not really looking for someone younger than drinking age for obvious reasons (we often play in bars), but we’d also prefer someone a little older than 21 because, let’s face it, most people undergo a drastic maturing process between 20 years old and 40 years old. Having someone a little closer to your behavior level makes it easier to get along with that person. We’re going to be spending 98% of our waking hours trapped in close quarters with this person, so we’d better make sure we easily get along! As one of the members of the bandmembers subreddit said in response: “no one likes to babysit”. I babysat my last drummer A LOT, and it was not fun.

You’ll also notice that I said most people. There are a lot of older guys out there who are still rather immature, and we don’t want to end up with a 45-year-old drummer who still behaves like he’s 21. If a 40-something guy is getting wasted and hitting on 20-year-olds at our shows, the general reaction (“eww, what a creeper”) is a lot different from a 25-year-old doing the same thing (“gosh, what a young inexperienced asshole! I hope he grows up!”).



Second, let’s examine the experience gap. We’re a band that does a lot of stuff together – long road trips, video podcasts, and a lot of hanging out and playing video games. Someone +-15 years from us is not going to understand a lot of the cultural references we make, or have grown up with the same games we did, or even experienced albums in the same way we had. A 48-year-old with grey hair and an almost-paid mortgage is going to look out of place when surrounded by a bunch of 30-year-olds who are still in the process of getting their hopes and dreams crushed. No matter what we do, and how hard we try, this person will always feel like an outsider.


The most important thing to me is to find a person with a personality that meshes perfectly with the rest of us – someone who could become our best friend. We had that, unfortunately, and medical school tore him away from us. There were tears shed – literal tears – over this, and I want to find someone who fits well enough that, should he ever leave, would cause us to break down crying again.

COULD that person be someone who’s drastically younger or older than the rest of us? Yes, he could. But I believe the probability of that happening decreases as the age gap increases, hence the ad listing a “preferred” age range. It has absolutely nothing to do with ability, talent, or stamina. It has everything to do with personality.

Bear in mind that this approach and this line of thinking will not work for every band. Different bands have different ways of managing, playing, writing, and interacting. Some bands may have absolutely no problem with a player that has a drastically different personality from the rest of the members. If that’s the case for your project, by all means, hire anyone you please! These requirements were created specifically for our band for a reason – we’ve gone through so many member replacements, and had so many different personality types in the band, we already know what works and what doesn’t. Just because you may not be a fit for Lords of the Trident doesn’t mean you cannot go out there and start up your own kick-ass band, or join a band of younger folks.

If there’s any takeaway from this discussion, it’s this: try to generate a deep understanding of what works for you and your band. In the end, this is your project, so you have to go with your gut!


Are you a band that owes your success to my pearls of wisdom? Do you wish there was some way you could pay me back? Well there is! Buy the Lords of the Trident’s albums off AmazonMP3, iTunes, or BandCamp, watch our music videos on YouTube, and visit us online – http://www.LordsOfTheTrident.com. Want to email me directly? Tell me how good/horrible my advice has been thus far? Email me at LordsOfTheTrident@gmail.com. If you give me an idea for an article, I’ll send you a FREE album as a reward!

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