Drumming Through Life

| by Sean Chaffin |

Mark Reznicek’s sticks have hammered the drums for the Toadies for the last 20 years. The band hasn’t slowed down in two decades of rock and continue this summer with the Summerland tour. Reznicek is also the co-creator of 2013’s Buzzkill comic book series, which will soon be bound into a graphic novel. Fort Worth, Texas magazine spoke with him about the band, the comic, drumming and more.

After 20 years since Rubber Neck, what is next for the band? Does the grind get to you? We’re set to have another busy year coming up. We’re doing the Summerland tour this year with Everclear and Local H. In the fall, we’ll release our new album, Heretics, and do a tour promoting that. And of course, in September is our annual Dia de Los Toadies festival at Panther Island in Fort Worth.

After touring regularly for 20-plus years, I will admit the novelty has worn off. I’m basically a homebody at heart and enjoy being home. That said, I still love playing shows, meeting people, traveling and hanging out with my other band members and crew.

As a drummer, can you comment on the physical toll it takes and how you gear up for a tour? I work out at the gym at least four or five days a week when we’re not on tour, which I only started doing a couple years ago. It really helps with keeping my stamina up. As the tour approaches, I spend more time drumming on a practice pad, practicing rudiments and basically limbering up. As far as a physical toll, drumming does cause various aches and pains, as well as blisters and various random injuries – bloody knuckles, bruises, etc. – all part of the job.

What are some of your own influences behind the drum kit? I was initially inspired to play drums by the various TV shows I watched as a kid: the Beatles cartoon, Banana Splits, the Archies, Monkees, Partridge Family. The drummer was always the funny one. I’m still a fan of Ringo’s drumming, as well as John Bonham, Keith Moon, Charlie Watts, the Motown drummers, Dennis Davis –Bowie’s drummer in the mid- to late-70s and many more.

How did the comic book come about? My co-writer on Buzzkill, Donny Cates, was working as an intern at Marvel Comics in New York City a few years ago. He grew up with the Toadies’ tour manager, Wes Solem, who introduced us when our tour passed through New York. We spent some time talking comics and stayed in touch. Donny told me he was interested in writing comics, so we hatched a plan to collaborate in the future. Months later, I sent him the germ of an idea that would become Buzzkill.

What are your memories of growing up reading comics? I didn’t move to the DFW area until I was 25, but when I was a kid, the only place to get comics was on the spinner rack in the drugstore or grocery store. It wasn’t until much later that entire stores dedicated to selling comics began to appear, which was extremely exciting! Once I moved to the Metroplex, there were lots of comic shops for me to visit. Some places I’ve frequented include Lone Star Comics, Titan Comics, Keith’s Comics, and my current regular shop, Zeus Comics, where you’ll find me on any given Wednesday.

What were some of your own favorite superheroes growing up? Batman, Spider-Man, Captain America, The Avengers, Fantastic Four.

Was it difficult getting hooked up with Dark Horse Comics, and how does the creative process involved with writing a comic book compare with producing an album? Once we had the script for the first issue done, we hired artist Geoff Shaw to draw 10 pages of the script. We then shopped it around to various comic publishers, and Dark Horse showed the most interest and enthusiasm. Actually, the creative process involved in making this comic book is fairly similar to producing a record. They’re both very collaborative, with each member of the team doing their part and using their creativity to play to their own particular strengths.

The character in the book deals with drugs and alcohol. Have you battled these issues or know someone who has? I guess a little of both. As with many people who play in bands, I’ve done my share of drinking and drugging, and known plenty of people who’ve done the same. Enough said.

What is the future of your work in comics? I have several ideas in various stages of development, so hopefully there will be some more comics in the future. I’m also working on a project with Toadies bass player, Doni Blair, that might take the form of a prose novel or a comic or some hybrid of the two. As far as Buzzkill is concerned, no definite plans for a sequel, but Donny Cates and I have discussed a prequel, which would probably be a little more light-hearted and funnier.

What is life like now? Great! I’m still in disbelief at the amount of success we’ve had and the level of support we get from our fans, even after all these years. I’m basically living the life I dreamed about as a kid: successful rock band, writing comics, not working in a cubicle anymore. I’m amazingly lucky and thankful.