Yes, it is perfectly normal to be left standing in complete shock after watching an Overcasters’ show. There is no denying how incredible the band is. However, you are struggling to process the tornado that just demolished the white Redline Pearl Reference Series drum kit on stage with them. The person you caught a glimpse of behind the drums appears to be 5’6”, blonde, and puts off more energy than a gamma ray. Do not panic, for it is no rabid animal or crazed robot. Rather, you are just witnessing Erin Tidwell do what she does best; obliterate her drums without missing a beat. It is safe to say that from the moment Erin first picked up her sticks at twelve years old, she has hardly set them down in the sixteen years since. In her current band, Overcasters, Erin leaves all those that witness her madness in awe of her talent and passion. I was lucky enough to sit down with the drummer to ask her some questions and to try and figure out why she is so – for lack of better words – crazy (behind the drums, that is).
-By Maggie Gulasey
Full name: Erin Tidwell
Where do you live now: Denver
Bands you are drumming in currently: Overcasters
Bands you were drumming for in the past: Flashbangs, Cowboy Curse, Hot House
What do you do for a living: Drum.
Tom Tom Magazine: So Erin, I have seen you play many times. I am pretty sure after every show you have finger that is either broken, just about broken, gushing blood, swollen, or just straight up gnarly looking. What’s up with that?
Erin Tidwell: I think I just get caught up in the moment. I get really aggressive and into the music. I have a lot of adrenaline going and I don’t realize that I hurt myself. When I play, I give it everything I have and sometimes that means sacrificing a finger or two.
Tom Tom Magazine: Why do you play so aggressively?
Erin Tidwell: I call it “anger management.” Truly, though, playing the drums is my therapy. It is a release. After I play, I feel like all the stresses and bulls**t of the day and the week are all alleviated after I play a show and take it out on the drums. I also play so aggressively because I am passionate about playing the drums and passionate about the music our band makes and want to give it everything I have.
TTM: I think your passion is pretty evident when watching you play. How old were you when you started playing and who taught you?
ET: I was 12 when I first started playing. My parents let me take over my brother’s room when he moved out and I turned it into my very own music space. I remember sitting in that room for hours upon hours with my CD player and headphones and I would listen and play along to songs on the drums all day and all night (or until the neighbors complained). So, I was self-taught. After a while I got up the nerve to try and start my own band and was then able to develop my skills even more.
TTM: Though you may have been self-taught, you are now giving drum lessons to little kids. Why do you do it and what’s your teaching philosophy? And do your kids leave their lesson with broken fingers? Just kidding.
ET: Why do I do it? Because I think that it is very essential for kids to get involved with music at an early age. Especially girls. Kids are awesome and absorb information like a sponge. I think it is good for them to learn an instrument, like the drums, because it is important for creativity and self-expression. I also like encouraging girls in particular because I know how hard it was for myself playing drums in a male-dominated activity. There were so many times I felt discouraged being a female and trying to compete with all these boys that would tease me. I want to be that person that is there for these girls telling them to not give up and they can do anything they set their mind to. Oh, and no broken fingers. Just smiles.
TTM: Who or what pushes you to be a better drummer?
ET: Myself. Definitely. I am always challenging myself to be more creative and innovative with my beats and music. You could say I am motivated by the fact that there is always room for growth and improvement.
TTM: Who are your favorite drummers?
ET: Old: Keith Moon and John Bonham. New: Janet Weiss and Dave Grohl.
TTM: Where do you shop for your drum gear?
ET: Drum City/Guitarland in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. I have been shopping there since I was a kid. I bought my last three drum sets there! I like it because they are a small, independent shop and very knowledgeable.
TTM: What would your last meal on Earth be?
ET: Chicken Tikka Masala. It makes me feel really good.
TTM: Delicious. What do you do for fun besides drumming?
ET: Cook, geek out on motorcycles, watch Dexter and True Blood, and listen to music.
TTM: When is the next chance people can catch you and your energetic self live?
ET: My band, Overcasters, will be opening up for Peter Hook and The Light performing Joy Divisions Unknown Pleasures at the Bluebird Theater and Denver, Colorado on September 19th, 2011.