Give Me Some Skin

Bradly Bifulco

Big Light

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It’s often said that enthusiasm is infectious, and few drummers embody this notion as well as Bradly Bifulco of rising San Francisco modern rockers Big Light. The look of determination and impassioned purpose on Bradly’s face onstage shines a light that’s pure rock ‘n’ roll, a youthful yen to bang out one’s own noise in the great pantheon, to shake ‘n’ rattle because there’s no other goddamn choice. His playing reminds one of early Bun E. Carlos in Cheap Trick or even Ringo Starr in the days when the Fabs were still bangin’ out Chuck Berry numbers. His sweat drenched frame is all-in from note one and he seems like he’s endlessly pursuing betterment one tune at a time. There’s a lot to like about Mr. Bifulco, not the least the determination and raw passion he brings to Big Light. We’re chuffed as fuck to have him kick off our new drummer question series, and he even created the graphic for this segment, too.

Favorite part of a standard trap drum kit – bass drum, floor tom, snare drum, tom-toms or cymbals?
Good question! Going with kick drum; I like lots of it in my monitor.
Tastiest drummer ever? Tastiest drummer today?
I’m taking this question literally…”tasty” being the criteria, as opposed to “best” or “most bombastic.” So, ever = Keith Carlock (Steely Dan). Today = Jim Eno (Spoon) and Patrick Carney (The Black Keys).
A drum solo I never get tired of listening to is…
…in this RAD tune called “Packard Goose” on the second disc of Zappa’s Joe’s Garage. It’s kind of a guitar AND drum solo (I’m not all that captivated by big, featured drum solos), and the drum sounds are at times drenched in effects. After Mary’s (you know, from the bus?) voice-over, there is this breakdown that features a guitar solo supplemented by drummer Vinnie Colaiuta supporting the backing rhythm WHILE filling/soloing around the guitar. But, the little section that takes you from the solo breakdown back into the tune is just too cool – a creative, colorful, technical crescendo of energy by Vinnie that kind of wraps up an extremely tangential (and psychedelic) section of the song and just hurls it headlong back into the tune’s central theme/riff.
Preferred brand of drums? Why?
I’m currently trying to answer that question for myself. I would like to buy a new set of drums this year. I currently play on a Gretsch Catalina Club that I really love. It’s super small (18″ kick), but the drums really sound sweet despite their diminutive physical stature; they punch through and they’re definitely well-made. I’ve been beating the crap out of them for about five years and they’re still in good shape. Right now, I’m thinking I’ll probably stick with Gretsch – maybe get a bigger kick and a couple of deeper toms – but I’m also flirting with the idea of playing on a Yamaha. They’re nice drums, so we’ll see. Check back with me around summer tour. Would love to be putting a new kit through its paces by then.
John Bonham, Art Blakey or Charlie Watts – which one gives you the biggest drum boner? What makes them SO sweet?
Each of them turned me on heavily at different points in my life, but it’s gotta be Bonham. When I was about 11 or 12 yrs old and 3 or 4 years into my drum studies, I would stay up late in my bedroom reading Stephen King novels and listening to Zeppelin cassettes. I was stoked on Bonham because of his TOUGH beats – not tough as in “tough to play” (though lots of his parts are certainly difficult) but TOUGH. For instance, the beat on “When The Levee Breaks” mesmerized me as a kid. That drum beat by itself can kick your ass.
One lesser known drummer folks should check out is…
Sarah Tomek. Amazing drummer.
What aspect of being a drummer always makes you happy?
I like the physicality of it. Exerting force and that force becoming a part of music is a cool phenomenon.

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