Jun. 05 2007
Mike Malinin

Mike Malinin

The Goo Goo Dolls

TAMA :When did you join The Goo Goo Dolls, and how did that come about?

Mike : January of 1995, so about 12 years ago. The band had lost its drummer so I went down and auditioned. And the rest is history, we've been together ever since.

TAMA : The Goo Goo Dolls recently released a new album, "Let Love In". What was it like working on the record?

Mike : Well we went to Buffalo, and there we just wrote the songs and got everything ready. So we were there for a long winter. There wasn't much to do but work, so we were there for about five months rehearsing five to six hours a day, five or six days a week. But we actually came back and recorded the album in LA.

TAMA : How do you guys write as a band?

Mike : Well, Johnny pretty much brings the ideas in, anywhere from a complete idea to a rough idea, and then we just kind of work on it after that.

TAMA : When did you start playing drums?

Mike : I started in 7th grade band, my parents were really into us playing instruments. I was the youngest of four kids.

TAMA : Did you have any lessons or formal training?

Mike : I studied with a guy named Henry Hawthorne at the University of Miami pretty much the whole time I was there; I had left a year early from high school. Then I went to the University of North Texas which is a pretty big music school. So I went there for a few years and then I just finally left and moved to LA and tried to get established out here.

TAMA : Who were your major influences and favorite drummers growing up?

Mike : Stewart Copeland and Simon Phillips, I was super into those guys. Neil Peart, of course. I think anyone my age has been influenced by him in some capacity. And Keith Moon is pretty much who got me started. Then on the jazz side I was into Elvin Jones pretty heavily.

TAMA : What drew you to Tama drums?

Mike : Well, when I joined the Goo Goo Dolls I bought a Tama set, and I had always liked them. When I was in high school I had to buy Tama hardware, and I think that's what got me on it at first. I used Tama as a kid and of course seeing guys like Stewart Copeland and Simon Phillips play them always helped [laughs].
But I also had a maple wood snare drum back in 1981; it was and still is one of my favorite snares, in fact I still use it sometimes. I stopped touring with it because I was scared it was going to get hurt or lost or something. It's got the old "T" Tama logo on it. Then when they came out with the Starclassics I signed up with Tama and started playing those drums.

TAMA : Can you describe your new drum kit?

Mike : It's a Starclassic Bubinga kit. It's awesome, I love it. I'll be using it for the summer tour, and I've actually used it for two or three live shows now. They're just really amazing drums. I've never really been into birch drums, but there's something about the bubinga wood that's kind of in between maple and birch. And they've got a lot of power, so there's just so much punch, especially on the kick drum. I started playing an acoustic bubinga kit about a year ago, one that I borrowed from Tama. It was an 18" kick; that's when I was sold. I said this is the kick I'm going to use on shows and playing live and for radio station gigs. So far I haven't played it live, but it's like a new toy for me, I love it.

TAMA : Can you outline your current setup?

Mike : Yeah, I've got a 22"x18" kick, 12"x8" rack, 13"x9" rack, and 16"x16" floor, and 5" and 6 1/2" snares that go with the kit. So far I haven't used the 5" live. I hardly ever use that size live because I just like the sound and depth of the 6 1/2".

TAMA : What's next for the band?

Mike : We're doing the summer tour starting in June, and then we'll be out with Lifehouse and Colby Kelly till September.

TAMA : Are you involved in any other projects?

Mike : I've got a band called Forty Marshas, it's basically just me and some friends. It's coming out on a label in Chicago called Beatville. It's just a fun project for everyone. Some of the guys that worked on it are Mitch Marine, another amazing drummer. He most recently played with Dwight Yoakam and he's played with Smashmouth in the past. I got John Avila to play some bass, who's a legendary LA guy. He does all sorts of stuff. And there's Jason Freeze, who played with Green Day. So we got a lot of different guys, friends of mine that wanted to come in and have fun. We did it very low key and recorded the whole thing in 8 days. It's the way records should be made.