Interview by Danny Coleman
“Struggling musician? Yeah, for the most part it’s definitely a struggle but it’s a struggle that’s worth it. This is far better than working the corporate life, you can’t put a price on doing what you love.”
Those are the words of professional drummer Chris Hornbrook as he discusses life on the road and his current “Roll” on tour with Senses Fail. “We’re best described as a kind of punk hard core band,” he stated as he spoke about his time with the band. “I was approached by the band because their other drummers were not working out and since I was available I decided to join up and it has been a great ride so far.”
Chris began playing the drums as a preteen, in part due to the musical influence of his bass playing father and quickly discovered that he’d found his niche in life. Performing locally in his home town area of Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, FL, Chris found himself at the age of 18, being asked to tour the country with the band Poison The Well, which included his friend and bass player Ryan Primack. Chris accepted the offer and while still in high school toured the U.S. which led to the band releasing eight albums and touring from 1998 until they’re current hiatus which began in 2010.
“I started playing when I was 12 and I’m predominantly self taught. I took lessons here and there when I felt that I needed to learn but I gravitated toward other musicians who I felt that I could learn from. Poison The Well is basically the same type of band as Senses Fail, they’re both hard rockin’ bands so sliding from one into another wasn’t much different. Playing with Big Black Delta is totally different as they are more progressive with somewhat of a techno type sound but it was a nice change,” he explained.
Influenced by hard driving heavy hitters like Dave Grohl, Matt Cameron and Tool‘s Danny Carey, he also loved the style of the legendary Billy Cobham. “It’s always been the big dudes for me,” he stated confidently. “Those guys play so well and yet are aggressive. Then as I started getting more into the progressive side of things I started getting into guys like Billy and kind of went from there.”
This current tour has offered very little time in between shows which is something that Chris doesn’t mind; crisscrossing the country with a show just about every night. “So far the tour has been great, I’ve got no complaints. Sometimes it falls that way due to economics and logistics dictating the situation but the main thing is to be consistent for the audiences on a nightly basis.”
Playing in various venues can also be tough with so little time to adjust but he feels that there are benefits to performing in both large and smaller rooms. “The Equipment is always the same,” he explained. “Smaller spaces, say 500 to 1,000 capacity are definitely more comfortable, I prefer smaller. There can be problems in the bigger more cavernous rooms but the bigger ones fit more people which means that the crowds are louder and it helps pump the band up more which is always good.”
A show in Millvale, PA on March 21 is followed by one the next night at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, followed by a March 23 appearance at the Starland Ballroom in Sayerville, NJ. They don’t stop there, exiting the U.S. for a March 24 show in Toronto, Canada and a March 25 offering in Detroit; then March 26 in Cleveland at the House of Blues.
With a schedule that intense, one may wonder when the band finds time to create or what the future holds in terms of new music but not Hornbrook, he’s all in when it comes to his current situation. “My other bands are on the back burner at the moment, the others have things going on so Senses Fail is definitely my main thing right now. We have plans for another Senses Fail record and then some bigger gigs like festivals this summer; I’ll definitely be keeping busy.”
To find out more about Chris Hornbrook and Senses Fail, please visit www.chrishornbrook.com.
Danny Coleman (Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 10 p.m. EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.)