Exclusive Interview With Rodney Howard (Avril's Drummer)Thanks to @AvrilLavigneUK
1. What’s the country that u’d like to perform in the most with Avril a country that uve never been to (I’m Myriam from Lebanon)
Ha! Well I promise I’m not saying this because where you’re from “Myriam from Lebanon”, (I see your tweets all the time, by the way!) but I really would like to play in Middle East. I’m really lucky that I’ve gotten to see so much of the world in my career, but the Middle East (as well as Africa) is a place I’ve always wanted to see, but have never had the chance. Most American pop or rock artists’ popularity only extends to the UK, Western Europe, Canada or maybe Japan, but Avril seems to have fans literally everywhere. It’s cool that I have a shot at seeing many places I’ve never been.
2. What inspires you? Nik, UK
I used to hate it when musicians would answer this question with anything other than a musical answer, like “Dude, I’m inspired by the colors of the Aurora Borealis and rainbows over Wichita”, but the truth is that LOTS of things in everyday life inspire me. I’m really inspired by the art and masterful storytelling of a well-written comic, for instance. I’m inspired when I see someone with an original idea really take a chance and run with it, whether it be a clothing design or quirky style of art that no one’s ever tried. . Musically I tend to be more inspired by very honest, raw music that doesn’t polish it’s rough edges with technology before you get to hear it. A great example would be a Keith Richards solo record, The Black Keys, or anything by The Meters.
3. #Avril5thRecord what do you know?! Anything? Please?! ? Keep on rocking Black stars love you!
I do know a few things but as I’ve said in other interviews, we are asked not to give away info on anything Av is working on. It’s better that she make announcements when she feels it’s time to let you guys in on new stuff. Seems like these days by the time any album is out, everyone already knows who produced it, most song titles, the direction of the music etc. Wouldn’t you rather be surprised?
I can tell you this: A lot of people are hearing on stuff on YouTube and making a lot of false assumptions.
4. What do you like doing on tour when you’re not playing shows?
In whatever city we’re in, I like to see anything in that might be a famous attraction, like The Louvre in Paris or The Great Wall of China (That was RIDICULOUSLY cool). I also try to hear any good live music that is indigenous to a region, like the incredible Carioca de Gema samba club in Rio that we just saw a few weeks ago. And local food! We eat an insane mount of sushi in Japan, for instance. Also, I read a lot of comics. I mean a LOT.
where you take ideas for your songs? Beats? Ufon from Czech Republic
The groove for most of Avril’s songs were set long before I started playing them live, so I don’t change them very much. If we do a different version of a song, like say an acoustic version, then I often need to switch it up to match the new vibe or feel. As far as groove ideas though, I get most of my ideas from New Orleans funk and R&B these days… You’ll never hear me do that on this tour though, there’s not a lot of room for that in Avril’s music!
5. Hey Rodney, have you always wanted to be a drummer? If you weren’t a drummer, what do you think you will be doing right now? @Claudialavigne/Claudia - Brunei Darussalam
Wow, I’m recognizing a lot of my twitter pals on this interview… Actually Claudia, I didn’t always want to be a drummer, I switched from saxophone to drums in my senior year in high school. But once I had the fever, I was hooked.
As far as what I’d be doing if not drumming? I know what I would LIKE to be doing, but who knows if I’d have the skills to be a great writer or actor? Let’s just say I’d at least be trying to be a writer or actor. Probably while working at McDonald’s.
6. Whats your favor chinese food? - @LavigneNinaFTW Vanessa
Another twitter peep! Keep in mind that we Americans have different names for this sometimes, but my favorites are Mu Shu Pork and Triple delight. And I like the cheap soy sauce that comes in the little packets, not the fancy stuff from the bottle!
7. Hey i want to ask Rodney, is there a certain reaction when Avril hear her own songs on radio or malls? twitter- @cyiim
The only time I’ve ever been with Av when that has happened, she seemed to just be listening hard and evaluating. Almost like she’s thinking “That’s sounds cool, but maybe I should have kept that other idea I had on the chorus instead of this one.”
8. Hey you rodney I am Zhinta from Indonesia. Ha, don’t say if you don’t know what is Indonesia, where is Indonesia lol. Wanna ask you a very simple question, don’t laugh, does Avril give you, steve, jimmy, etc, some Abbey Dawn stuffs for man? lol ._.
We just played in Indonesia not long ago, so I’m pretty clear on it’s existence. Jakarta happens to be the place where we had the best buffet I’ve ever had in my LIFE.
And yes, Av keeps us all well stocked with Abbey Dawn. I literally have every shirt there is in her guy’s collection. Pretty cool.
9. Lots of fans have been asking if your going to their country so basically to sum it up are there any more tour dates for come of the black star tour or is that it? I can’t tell you how many questions we’ve received about that!
As I said before, I can’t give you guys details because official tour dates are only announced by management. Sorry. But I CAN tell you that we are definitely not done, and there will definitely be a LOT more dates than you guys know about.
10. How would you define Avril? -Daniel from Israel ♥
I think Sir Ian McClellan said it best in her introduction on the Craig Ferguson show in 2007:
“She is a punk chanteuse, a post-grunge valkyrie, with the wounded soul of a poet and the explosive pugnacity of a Canadian.”
11. Rodney.. when your not touring, what is your favorite hobbie? Lorna Jenkinson. England.
I’ve been honest so far, so I’ll keep it real and lay it all out there: I collect action figures. There, I said it. No turning back, it’s all out there now.
Mostly the 6” models. Mostly Marvel, some DC, some movie, some TV. I keep them new and in the package. The walls of my drum room/bar/man cave are literally covered with them. Every time a friend comes over for the first time the very first words out of their mouth are, “Wow, it looks like ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’ down here”. Then I go” But dude, I have a bar.” Then I point out my rack of snare drums. That’s gotta count for something, right?
12. Rodney, if you could pick any song that DIDNT make it into the black star tour setlist what would you add in? from zack in singapore, met you at the airport (waited 8 hours!) my names on the card i gave you
I remember you. You’d grown a beard while waiting for us.
Because we added so many songs to the show, it’s hard to pick a must-play song that isn’t already in the set. I’m really happy with the songs she’s chosen, all of her hits are covered. I guess if I had to add anything, I’d add “No Enough” from the new record, or “I Can Do Better”, since it’s such a rocker. There are some cover songs I’ve always wanted to hear her do, but that’s another story…
3. who would you like to collaborate with? (with avril of course) melissa from indonesia
You mean another artist that would come and collaborate with the band and Avril on a song or two? That’s a good question. I bet my answers might disappoint some of you, maybe not “rock” or “punk” enough. I think I’d want to try the less obvious pair-ups, artists that are really different than Avril, so maybe what you’d come up with would be fresh and original. Like maybe Cee-Lo or The Black Keys. I would say the Roots, but then I wouldn’t get to play drums.
14. if you could have a show that played in one place 6 nights a week for 3 months with avril where would it be/what venue would it be in?
New Orleans. Without a doubt. Then again, I’m very biased, it’s my favorite city. We could second-line every Sunday but still have extended bar hours. The only problem is that after 3 months of beignets, jambalaya & Sazerac you’d have one hell of a fat band and crew.
15. What s your advise for dreamers like me who wants to be a singer as well? @cyiim
There is a load of advice I could give, but I think these are the most important things. This this goes for any instrument:
No matter how good you (or you friends & family) think you sound: Listen to yourself, be honest about what you hear and then do the work to improve.
Millions of people want to play or sing until they realize that it’s hard work. Just like being a dancer, athlete or doctor. I think you have to love it enough to stick with it after the novelty has worn off and the work for progress begins, all while still having fun. It’s a tricky equation sometimes.
16. Will your album be coming out by the first half of next year? Hazel
I honestly have no idea. Really!
17. What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
From a fan? Somebody brought me some Marvel action figures to a show once, that was pretty funny. There was no hiding that hobby from the band after that.
Outside of that, I have to say my wife is the best gift giver ever. From my first Mac to my hang-upside down inversion table, my top 5 gifts probably all came from my wife.
18. Many know Avril as the punk-pop princess with that bubbly personality, yet Avril often says that she is rather shy. After working with her for so long, which do you think is her real personality?
Sorry if this sounds fake, but I think they are both really her. And I’ve seen both sides a lot, and neither of them are put-on or artificial. Maybe she really does have dual personality, we should have her tested.