LOCKED AND LOADED-DRUMMER ROB MOUNT IS READY TO ROCK AND ROLL By Sandra Castillo
When it comes to drummers, Rob Mount sets the standard for excellence in an industry recognized for its competitive, cutthroat edge. That said, when it comes to selflessness and a reputation void of ego, his name is synonymous with that very description. While it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to immediately recognize those virtues in the man who is courteous and kind but also a monster on the kit, it ultimately serves its purpose in subscribing him his comeuppance.
Born in Rochester, New York, on February 3, 1968, Robert Mount heeded the call to enter the musical fray after tuning in to The Paul Lynde Halloween Show in 1976, when the comedic host featured KISS on his television special. He admitted that the costumed Rock and Roll warriors “corrupted” him enough “to be interested in Rock and Roll.” While he revisited the moments that whisked him back to the beginning of when it all began, he quickly pointed out that “there never was a question of wanting to be a musician; however, everyone’s path in getting to where they need to be is different.”
“Some people attain a career in music earlier in life than others. For me, it took a bit of time to get the opportunity,” he said.
From that moment forward, Mount’s career trajectory witnessed his ascent as a drummer, first, in 1982, when the music school he “attended put on a concert comprised of bands made up of the various students” and subsequently, when he joined up with local bands while still a teenager. He proved to be proficient enough in his skills that he was employed to work the gig circuit in bars at the age of nineteen. Mount went on the road, for the very first time, with the band “Burgundy,” where they travelled up and down the East Coast in 1989. Following suit, there was “Court Jester” and later, he teamed up with heavy-hitters “Ramrod” only to watch the group’s newly appointed status bite the dust, after the record company that signed them ran out of funds. In the late ‘90s, he joined “Thick As Thieves,” which released the well-acclaimed album “Rock The House” to a warm reception in Japan. In 2000, Mount was hired by Metal Blade recording artist “Liegelord” and trekked to Germany with him to perform at the “Wacken Open Air Festival.” The drummer also participated in several recording sessions with Liegelord, resulting in a contribution to a tribute album to British Prog-Rockers Uriah Heep in 2001.
It was around that same time Mount collaborated with Michael Staertow, fellow Lou Gramm bandmate, on his album “Oxygen.” In support of the project, the musicians played several shows to the delight of fans. Afterwards, the drummer concentrated his energies on his family and stayed closer to home, while performing drumming duties locally. During this chapter of his life, he joined up with Stranger, a Foreigner-tribute band, which was fronted by Peter Grammatico, nephew of Lou Gramm. Occasionally, Gramm sat in with Stranger to sing and perform with the guys.
RG Magazine caught up with Rob Mount who has been performing and touring with Lou Gramm, former lead singer with Foreigner, since 2016. He was gracious enough to speak with the publication about music and what it means to be a drummer in an elite brotherhood of musicians. Here is what he had to say….
Apart from you, are there any other musicians or drummers in your family?
There are no other musicians in my family-just me!
You’ve been known to incorporate a deft touch of showmanship, by expertly twirling your drumsticks during a number, while onstage. How would you personally define your drumming style?
My drumming style, like most musicians behind the kit, is a conglomeration of every drummer I like. I tell my drum students that you have to learn from your musical heroes, copy what you like from them, but then make it your own thing. The component that sets you apart from everyone else is “you” being unique. Have your own identity, both musically, as well as in life. So, it’s hard for me to describe my drumming style. I guess my general style is influenced mostly by one of my favorite drummers, Tommy Aldridge-he’s played for Ozzy, Whitesnake, among many others, and John Bonham of Led Zeppelin. I’m a little looser with my playing, like those guys, not a stiff, rudimentary-type drummer, such as Carl Palmer or Cozy Powell.
Describe your reaction when you sat down at the drums onstage and witnessed the audience’s response to you and the music for the very first time.
I remember being very nervous as a young kid during my first performance, but I also felt that certain “rush” most performers experience while onstage. That feeling is hard to put into words, as most performers will tell you, and I’ve never lost that feeling whenever I play. I don’t get stage fright or really nervous though. I just sit back and try to enjoy the moment, while playing music I love.
You are now traveling and performing with Lou Gramm, former lead singer with iconic rockers Foreigner that gave the world such chart-toppers as “Hot Blooded,” “Cold As Ice” and “I Want To Know What Love Is.” How were you able to fill this coveted spot as his drummer?
(As mentioned in the introduction of this article) I was playing in the group “Stranger,” a Foreigner-tribute band that was fronted by Lou’s nephew, Peter Grammatico. Occasionally, Lou sat in and performed with us. We were able to tour and play throughout the U.S. and Canada. Funny enough, almost all my bandmates, including myself, ended up in Lou’s solo band, years later. After that, I would do things for Lou, here and there, when his drummer wasn’t available. I wasn’t officially in his band at the time-his brother, Ben, was the drummer. I would record drum tracks to various Foreigner songs for Lou, in 2005, to be used for promotional purposes (as he legally could not use the original Foreigner tracks). I also rehearsed quite a bit with Lou and the rest of his band. In 2009, I filled in for Ben on a three-day’s-notice to play a Lou Gramm show in California. From there, I joined Lou’s band in early 2016, and I’ve been doing that ever since!
What does it personally mean to you to be a drummer in the highly competitive world of music?
Hard question to answer…there’s a lot of competition in the music industry. I’m kind of late to the game, in terms of finally getting the opportunity to play at this level. Most of the time, success is created by meeting the right people and being in the right place at the right time. In this business, you have to be great on your instrument, have a great appearance, have great gear, have a great attitude, be a great person to be around and create opportunities that get you where you want to go.
What inspires you to play your very best?
First, you never know who is watching you perform. Second, you never know when your last performance will be. Those are the two, main things that inspire me to be my best. I also don’t want to let myself down, as well as Lou and the rest of the bandmates. I video-record myself at all our shows on my “drum-cam,” which is the best way to learn from mistakes as well as things that run smoothly during the show.
It’s been noted that the band is only as good as its drummer.
Yes! The role of the drummer is to be the “glue” that holds the band together. We keep the time and, in many cases, direct our bandmates onstage. If you don’t have that, it doesn’t matter how good the rest of the band is!
Who has inspired you, drummer-wise?
Several-Peter Criss, John Bonham, Neil Peart, Tommy Aldridge, Steve Smith, Stewart Copeland, Steve Gadd, Vinny Appice, Buddy Rich and many more!
In the end, how would you like to be remembered?
I guess I’d like to be remembered for being a great father, husband, friend and musician, who had a goofy sense of humor and didn’t take things too seriously…on my tombstone, I’ll borrow this from the movie “Spinal Tap:”
“Here lies Rob Mount…and why not?”
For more information, please visit robmount.com