It takes a lot to tour on the road — much like adding up the miles you rack up from tourney to tourney throughout the hockey season.
For drummer Bryan Sammis of The Neighborhood, it’s all about spreading his music and catching a Kings game every chance he gets. It’s something he grew up with and just can’t seem to shake that hockey pride, no matter how many sell-out crowds he’s performing in front of.
For this inaugural Gongshow Soundcheck post (an extension of my Gongers with Guitars series), I got a chance to catch up with Sammis while The Neighborhood has been on tour with Imagine Dragons.
Would the goalie of a team be the equivalent of the drummer in a band? Always keeping the beat for the rest of the guys on stage or on the ice — sounds about right to me.
Check out what he had to say below.
Tell us a little bit about how you got started in music.
Bryan Sammis: I started playing drums when I was nine. I had been in bands since I was 14 and got to know these guys through our mutual bands in the local scene. We decided to play music together one day and the rest is becoming history.
What’s with the black and white imagery used with The Neighborhood?
BS: We decided early on everything we did would be in black and white. We present material for people to enjoy, whether that material be audio, visual, etc. Everything we present is our art and black and white is our theme.
Does it have anything to do with you being a big Los Angeles Kings fan?
BS: [Laughs] It doesn’t but our logos from far away actually look very similar. I go to a lot of Kings home games and I have to double take every now and then because I think I spot a NBHD shirt.
How does hockey play a part in your life now?
BS: I go to Kings games every chance I get. I went to a handful of them last year and a few playoff home games. We have some other Kings fans in the band and crew so whenever they are on we will do our best to catch it on a TV.
How similar do you think the lives of a rockstar and a professional hockey player are?
BS: Probably pretty different. I imagine the attention of people you’ve never met is something we could bond over, though.
Tell us a little bit about the touring with Imagine Dragons.
BS: It’s definitely an experience. Playing to someone else’s crowd is always a little tough, because you have to win them over. But that is a challenge and we like it. Not to mention Imagine Dragons are playing some incredibly famous arenas and such, which is always cool.
Where have been some of your favorite places to tour while on the road?
BS: Australia was amazing. Houston was nuts on our last headline run. New York and LA are always great. Crowd responses really dictate what makes a place great to play. Either that or what the country or city has to offer to us on our down time.
Did you play hockey growing up at all?
BS: Me and my brother always played roller hockey. I wish I had gotten into ice at a younger age. I still play around the area with some friends of mine who work for DiscountRollerHockey.com. Small world.
Who are some of your favorite players in the NHL?
BS: Dustin Brown is a lot of fun to watch. I feel like if I played at a professional level I would be a similar player to Brown. When I was growing up I liked Rob Blake for a while — I have an old jersey. Gretzky obviously. I think Quick is an insane goalie and I was always terrible at it, so I like to watch and take notes [laughs].
Any pre-show rituals for concerts that you always do?
BS: Not really. When the Kings playoffs are going I’ll literally watch until we go on stage. I’ve even been known to check the score in between songs on my phone.
Give us a re-cap of the craziest night you’ve had so far as a musician?
BS: Post VMA’s I went to a club that Robin Thicke, 2 Chainz and Leonardo Dicaprio were at. Was nuts being in the VIP section with that group. I was wearing a pantera shirt, shorts and my hair is dyed blonde. Sad to say I think I was the weirdo in the section [laughs].
What can we expect from The Neighborhood in the near future?
BS: Definitely. We have new music coming out relatively soon.
So, keep your eyes peeled — #000000 & #777777. Go Kings!
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