A Conversation With The South African RockStar Drummer, Jason Oosthuizen! He Opens Up About Opening for Metallica, Covering Katy Perry and Why He Loves Led Zeppelin.
Posted On 04 Aug 2014
Tag: Aaron Spears, Birds of Satan, Buddy Rich, Cape Town, Drummer, Eminem, Jack Parrow, Jason Oosthuizen, John Bonham, KATY PERRY, Lady Gaga, Lars, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Never Say Die, Ondier Kom, One Day Remains, Roar, South Africa, Taylor Hawkins, Thomas Lang, Van Coke, Van Coke Kartel, Winery Dogs, Woodstock
Jason Oosthuizen is a talented South African musician. The drums are indeed his true calling.
As seen on his many YouTube Videos, he is one of the most explosive live drummers South Africa has ever seen.
In 2007 he joined the band One Day Remains, who went on to write the theme song for the rugby tri-nations called “Never Say Die”. In 2010 he joined the South African rock band, Van Coke Kartel. He has also done session and live work for Jack Parow, Fokofpolisiekar and Die Heuwels Fantasties.
Learn more about this talented drummer here:
When was the first moment that you realized that you wanted to be a performer.
I was 4 years old when I started playing drums. My dad was also a performer and also played the drums, hence I grew up on stage, as my dad performed 6 nights a week. One night, when I was six, my father handed me a pair of sticks to perform an instrumental. Lo and behold…I made more money than him that night as everyone was throwing money into a hat for the kid rocking the drums.
How have you grown as a musician since you started?
As in any professional career experience is invaluable and you cannot purchase it, you have to earn it. I have been playing full time for 12 years and I have grown tremendously as a drummer. I have been blessed to have been able to work and surround myself with some really talented and experienced musicians. The road to learning and improving myself as a consummate professional is an ongoing process, and I still envisage room for continued growth.
If you had the opportunity to work with any artist/band from the past, present or future, who would it be and why?
In my opinion Led Zeppelin is one of the greatest rock bands off all time and I am a die hard fan. John Bonham had a huge impact on drumming and the development of drumming techniques. It would be a dream come true to play with a band of that magnitude and enjoy life on the same magnitude.
While you may be biased since you are a drummer, do you think that the drummer is the most important part of any band?
I am not sure if a drummer as a standalone component has such a huge impact on the quality of the band but it is definitely a contributing factor. I think a drummer can add a tremendous amount to the sound that the band creates, and the band should be a unit. You see it’s like a piano, “ If you don’t have all the keys you can’t create the Opus”.
Tell me what it was like opening for Metallica? Have you always been a fan of their music? Did you get to hang out with the members at all?
When I was much younger my father gave me a VHS tape as a gift of one of their performances in Woodstock. I played that VHS tape to the point where it became unplayable and warped. When I heard we were opening for Metallica, I nearly fainted. We opened for them on two nights in Cape Town. It was truly amazing and an unbelievable experience.
At one point during our performance I was about to do a drum solo. During the song, just before the solo, the entire Metallica crew was standing in the wings. I was under so much pressure and nearly freaked out. Despite the pressure, I managed to deliver. After the show when we walked off stage Lars came straight to me and said “You the guy on the drums?” I said “Yes” and he said “Fucking amazing man, nice playing . Oh I’m Lars.” Then, he put his hand out. On the second night we had a ten minute meet and greet with the band. That was that. They were so cool. James stopped to talk to me and my guitarist backstage, and Kirk spoke to me about my clothing brand at some time. They were super nice guys and still perform like true legends!
Up until this year, you were the drummer in the alternative/rock band, Van Coke Kartel. What led you to the decision to leave the band? Was it hard making that choice?
Well, I had been playing for them for quite some time and loved every second of it.To be honest leaving that band was like getting divorced three times. Haha! We did some arena gigs, headlined festivals and did some international touring and that got me hooked on playing those kind of things. Being South African is not very easy to tour as our currency is so weak in the UK, USA and Europe so I decided to take the leap and come try my luck out here. I also realized that I wanted more and bigger and that it was time to broaden my horizons. I am highly driven and motivated and failure is not an option.
What did you learn from being in the band?
I think the most important aspect for me was happiness. Every so often you hear of unhappiness and rivalry amongst band members and complaints amongst band members. We had none of that, touring with Van Coke was fun, the writing came easy and we were a unit. A well-oiled machine I would say. I think balance and happiness is key within a band.
Who are some well-known drummers that you look up to?
There are really so many!
And the list could go on forever I guess!
You have a great drum solo to Katy Perry’s song, “Roar”. Tell me, what gave you the idea to do that? Are you a fan of hers?
I think it is important to be diversified as a musician. Honing your skills to different genres and influences enhances you’re your overall ability and flexibility. Whilst I was playing for Van Coke, I was also playing for a popular Hip-Hop artist Jack Parrow. This motivated me to explore different genres and styles. I think Katy is great and I often listen to different musicians such as Lady Gaga and Eminem whilst travelling.
What is your favorite song to perform live and why? And your favorite cover song to perform?
There are so many but I really enjoyed playing a Van Coke track called “Ondier Kom”. As for cover’s, I’d say any Zeppelin track.
When you aren’t performing and writing new material, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Back home I enjoy a good BBQ or hanging out in bars but over here I spend most of my time looking for a band to play for and trying to fortify my network.
What bands are currently inspiring you? Who are some new bands that you are loving now?
I went to see the Winery Dogs recently and also Taylor Hawkins new band called Birds of Satan and those were two that blew my mind but I’m always finding new stuff that is awesome.
Thus far, what’s a favorite memory or something silly that’s taken place (in-studio, onstage, or elsewhere)?
Haha well there are many! I’ve had a girl urinate in front of the stage, I’ve nearly boarded a wrong flight, I stood on my drums and fallen through a window and the list goes on…
Any pre-performance rituals?
Jagger and triple Vodka and Redbull generally is a winner!
Is there anything in particular that you’d like people to take away from listening to your music?
If I can be a source of inspiration or if anyone can relate to me in any way, that would be a great accomplishment.