Chicago, IL–An obstinate session drummer, who reportedly has “unapologetic, unwavering death metal influences,” told Thirsty Thespian reporters he has “like literally no clue” why he can’t find work as a professional session musician.
“Look, I know I’m a legend behind the kit here in Chi-Town and the ‘burbs; everybody knows it. My chops are simply righteous, and there’s no denying that,” passionate drumming enthusiast and performer Josh Levers remarked. “But I don’t have the foggiest idea where these these chaches at the studios get off not giving me any gigs.”
According to jazz and R&B studio owner Greg Benton, who has employed Levers in the past with reservations, the drummer’s “style” might have something to do with it. Clarifying why he stopped calling Levers for new gigs, Benton told the press:
Josh is a good drummer. But the kid is stuck in 2008. When he showed up looking for a gig, I was skeptical at first because he was wearing a ‘White Chapel’ shirt. That’s just not really characteristic of the style at this studio, where we admire artists like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. But I gave the kid a shot. I should have listened to my gut. 30 seconds into an R&B number, and the kid’s fast-footing a double bass pedal and aggressively striking the hi-hat like he’s fiercely channeling some macabre energy, the kind of so-called “music” that would only be appropriate as a backdrop to serial murdering, you know, where all hope is lost. So I tell him, “Josh, where did you even get that double bass pedal? This is a jazz studio; we don’t even carry those.” Without skipping a beat, the kid said, “Brought it from home, boss. Thought the track could use something a little more ‘metal!'” I fired him the next day.
Levers, on the other hand, remains in the dark with regards to his termination. Justifying his percussion technique and choices, Levers described to Thirsty Thespian staff another recording session, the reason for which he was let go by another studio, which he contrarily found to be particularly fruitful. A Gospel tune recorded with the intention of providing a small local church with sermon music while removing the burden of hiring live musicians for each mass, Levers expresses his contempt when his perceived “enhancement” to the song was viewed as out of place:
Sharon, the leading soprano, starts the tune out with a sort of Etta James meets Aretha thing; the woman’s got pipes, and there’s no denying that! Anyway, I thought now, before the rest of the band comes in, would be the perfect time to try out this sick Napalm Death-inspired blast beat. And Gerry, the lead engineer, stops the playback and looks at me like I’m some kind of nut job. I don’t know what crawled up that chach’s ass. All I wanted was a sick breakdown! I was trying to help develop the sound of band, you know, to give it a little pop and energy, move past trying to replicate the sound of every other group of that genre. Good song writing is a must, and he should appreciate that! I really want to be different. I want to be brutal. I want to break all the rules, I want to be whatever awesome thing it is we’re gonna be; above all, it just has to be brutal!
Unable to find work, Levers resorted to forming his own session group, what he describes as a “super group,” an assortment of misfits and hired hands actually made up of Chicago’s most stubborn, out-of-work, former session players; however, Levers justifies his act as “Chicago’s best-backing studio band money can afford.” According to Levers, “We’re all shredders and we know our chops are legendary. Hire us and you won’t be disappointed; I guarantee it!”
In fact, Levers’ band, dubbed “the Studio Shredders (stylized, Studio xShredderzx or abbreviated xSSx),” is quite affordable for the budget aspiring songwriter. After finding no success marketing his and his group’s services at similar prices to professional studios from which he was let go, Levers has since begun offering discounted rates, which have been minimally successful in attracting clients.
At press time, one such client, Francesca Elery, an aspiring pop sensation, told Levers she “didn’t think this was working,” arguing that the aggressive drumming accompanied by Levers’ lead guitarist Nicko Svensonski’s guitar work–which cycles between finger-tapping, sweeping, and over-the-top soloing–seemed a bit much, and far too contradictory a sound to compliment her Adele-inspired tune.