Sick Sounds presents Jon ‘Junky Jon’ Rushforth’s Death Metal Drumming Masterclass

By on 29 April 2010


Jon ‘Junky Jon’ Rushforth is a bit of a tearaway but don’t let that distract from his hyper-kinetic adroitness behind a drumkit. Once of Gorerotted, back when they were straight-up death, he’s now concentrating on a number of death metal projects. This video, done especially for Sick Sounds and, shows a drummer in total control of his shit. (Well, except for that plastic dog poo.)

“For faster beats just use your ankle. It’s just like bouncing a basketball.”

You have to build up your muscles. “Probably Mick Harris from Napalm Death, he was one of the first to do it unless you can think of anyone better. Pete Sandoval is another one. I’m still mastering it; I can’t do it on my left foot. Some people have to do the swivel technique on their left foot. I’m still figuring that out. I can do it on my right foot, and it’s sort of like bouncing it like a basketball, pretty much.” It’s easier on your stronger foot. “Yeah, I can’t do it on my left foot. It’s all just in the ankle. When you are doing slower beats you can use your whole leg. For faster beats just use your ankle instead, it just happens naturally. It’s just like bouncing a basketball, that’s what the Cryptopsy guy [Flo Mournier] said in his DVD. Hahahaha, I copy all his shit. I’m still mastering it but I’m getting there.

Note how there is a minimum of movement above Jon’s knee. The ankle is doing all the work here with a minimum of unnecessary movement; heel up and bend the toe. This is a great technique for building stam-ina, which is going to be needed during a seven-minute-long tech-death jam. Get those twitch fibres a twitch-ing. Use the bounce back to your advantage, mirroring good snare technique. It is technique that will get you further, not physical exertion.

TIP: Get the spring as tight as possible on the pedal.
TIP: Use a plastic dog poo to dampen your snare.


It’s a piece of piss this but the hard thing is doing it and keeping it loud. This technique was originally the preserve of jazz drummers but has been merrily appropriated within death metal drumming. In jazz circles, the gravity blast is used on China cymbals too. Rest your stick on the edge of the snare. The stick will be horizontal to the drum skin and the stick will touch the rim at the stick’s centre of gravity. Keeping the arm relatively straight, bring the stick up and down. Effec-tively this is a single-handed roll. You are letting the stick and the skin keep the momentum. The motion you are using is like a lever, pushing the stick up and down.

aka the open/close technique

This is a technique heavily reliant on your fingers. Your thumb on the top of the stick is responsible, along with your wrist, for the downward movement of the stick. On the up-stroke, let the pinky, ring and middle fingers pull up on the stick. It will take time to master this, and indeed you may get slower while perfecting it. But, by spreading the work over two different muscle groups and factoring in the natural response from the drum skin it will help build your speed in the long run.

About Miranda Yardley

I'm Miranda. Bite me.

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