Troy: I started a little late, I think I got my first informal lesson at the age of 12---it was actually to meet a girl. My buddy told me that if I learned a drum beat, he would help me meet this girl Karen--. I learned the beat, but never got the girl! Now I have toured the world and have met plenty of “Karen’s”!
Calle: What got you into music in the first place?
Troy: It was really my brother Shawn. He was a bass player and still is in fact. He would rock AC/DC, Aerosmith, Dio, and Thin Lizzy—That was really it. All of my friends were playing in School band and it wasn’t hard to want to play too. My 1st concert was DIO and Rough Cutt. After seeing Vinnie Appice, that was it. I wanted a drum kit. My Pops also played bongos in the Marines and I recall having memories of setting up pots, pans and cardboard boxes to hit as a kit.
Calle: Who are your biggest influences?
Troy: Not all of my influences are drummers—my brother Shawn 1st and foremost is an influence. I love Cheap Trick, Bun E. Carlos, Vikki Foxx, and of course loved watching Tommy Lee. I’m a huge Thin Lizzy fan and Phil Lynott fan and DUG Pinnick and Kings X keep me influenced too.
Calle: Name 3 “older” bands and 3 “newer” bands you can recommend?
Troy: Definitely check out CHEAP TRICK, KINGS X and THIN LIZZY. For new bands, Check out MAGNA-FI, LYNAM and STEEL PANTHER!
White Lion (L to R):
Troy Patrick Farrell, Claus Langeskov, Mike Tramp, Jamie Law and Henning Wanner
Calle: You have played with Mike Tramp/White Lion since 2001. How did you get the job?
Troy: I joined Tramp’s solo band in 01 because another drummer couldn’t do it. Freak of Nature’s Jerry Best and Kenny Korade had a band with a drummer and Tramp called Kenny and Jerry about putting together a band for a 5 week tour. KK and JB said “we have a band, we’re ready to go!” but the drummer couldn’t do it. He told a friend of his about the issue and even though this mutual friend of ours hadn’t seen me in some years, he threw my name in the hat right away. He said “I haven’t seen him in some time, but troy would be perfect for Tramp”. I got in touch with Jerry, met him and got 3 songs on a cd, played once and they gave me the gig. I still remember the 1st time Tramp walked into the room. He is the real deal.
Calle: You have also played with a lot of other musicians like C.C. DeVille, Gilby Clarke, Jani Lane, Alex Grossi etc. Who else would you really like to play with?
Troy: I would love to play with Dug Pinnick of Kings X. He has a sideband where he plays guitar, but that might be my only chance. I would also love to play with Ronnie James Dio and Robin Zander. No explanation necessary! They’re huge!
Calle: If you could name one song you wish you had written, which song would that be, and why?
Troy: Great question. I wish I wrote, “I want you to want me”. It’s been quite the pickup line over the years and it might be even better had I written it!
Calle: You live in California. In the 80’s there were a big glam/sleaze “hair-band” scene there (especially in Hollywood). How do you see the Californian music scene now?
Troy: I arrived in Cali in 92, so I just missed the boat on the rock scene. The clubs were still open, but the crowds you saw in the Decline of Western Civilization were gone. That was an era that may never repeat and it’s funny, the crowd of people, although smaller, are from that era and still go out. Something about the 80’s, there was a dedication there that still transcends time.
Calle: You have toured and played around the world. What have been your greatest experience and most fun memories?
Troy: By far, playing India in Dec of 2008. In some ways, compared to America, it’s a poor country. With respect to passion, kindness, people, hard work, they are the richest and the rest of the world could learn a lot from people that don’t have a lot. I expect to be back there in the fall of this year as I’m working on something now!.
Calle: What’s the biggest and smallest crowd you have played in front of?
Troy: The biggest crowd was 45,000 in Shillong, India and the smallest was 8 God knows where. Some things you want to forget! But 8 and 80,000 will always get the same show, I promise!
White Lion playing in Shillong, India in front of 45.000 people
Calle: Do you have a special thing you do before going on stage?
Troy: Because I do a lot or all of the business for the bands I’m in, I’m usually sorting out details of lights, intro CD, etc etc. I don’t get to pray, or have a moment. I usually have to yell at someone and then make it up on stage to rock for 2 hours. I guess for me, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s therapy being occupied before I play. A shot of Jäger doesn’t hurt either!
Calle: Do you ever get nervous before going on stage?
Troy: Sometimes I confuse nervousness with excitement. I label it excitement so I don’t think I’m nervous. The gigs in India were huge but we had been touring for 9 months, so it was another gig. It was very special, but we were in such a groove, we were able to give an exciting but professional and emotional show. We played for almost 2 ½ hours and it felt like 5 minutes. The 1st time we were asked to play BANG YOUR HEAD Festival in Germany in 2005, we had no rehearsal, and 3 days notice. It was the 1st crowd that size..I’d played in front of 10-12,000 while on tour with Nickelback/Everclear in Canada..but this was 32,000 people and going on right before DIO. I was nervous. I couldn’t drink enough water that day. My mouth felt like the desert!
Calle: In 2007 you signed on to Rockett Drum Works and developed your own drum kit with the rebel flag and used it on a White Lion tour. As a drummer was it fun to develop your own kit?
Troy: Rikki Rockett and RDW gave that little 12 year old kid in his 30’s a chance to dream again. It was a blast having a concept and watching it develop. At times, I wasn’t sure it was the right thing, or that I translated the concept the right way. Mark Remling took my idea and made it 10 times better. The drums still get looks and would like to think it’s a flagship kit for Rockett. It’s a one of a kind and I’m proud to be in the company of Rikki, Steven Adler, Bobby Gibb, Phil Varone and the other kids like me that love good drums and get to play a part in the building process.
Troy sitting by his rebel flag drum kit
Calle: If you could put together your dream band, who would be in it?
Troy: Easy! Dug Pinnick, Robin Zander and Mike Szuter (Magna-Fi).
Calle: Do you know if there are any plans for a new White Lion record/tour?
Troy: We put out RETURN OF THE PRIDE just over a year ago—and with that we were able to tour the world in 08. Tramp just finished the Battle of the Choirs show in Denmark and as planned will release his next Solo Album sometime this fall and tour after it. Perhaps in 2010, you’ll see some new WL material. Rock N Roll doesn’t do one thing; it doesn’t punch a time clock 9 to 5 Monday thru Friday. It does what it does when it does it.
White Lion at Sweden Rock festival
Calle: What projects or jobs are you working on right now and in the next couple of months?
Troy: This summer, I’m touring and recording with PRETTY BOY FLOYD with Kristy Majors and Steve Summers, both original members. June brings up some dates w/ Michael Aston and GENE LOVES JEZEBEL. July I can be seen at Rocklahoma (USA) with BANG TANGO. I also have a cool cover band called EMPTY V (like: Mtv) doing very cool fun cover stuff that we all grew up watching in the 80’s. The band features Dizzy Reed of Guns N Roses, Eric Dover of Alice Cooper/Sextus/Jellyfish/Slash’s Snakepit and Scotty Griffin of LA GUNS.
Troy's cool cover band Empty V --- Troy with Steve Summers and Chriss 6 of Pretty Boy Floyd
Calle: What’s the best advice you can give to up-coming bands?
Troy: Love what you do, take constructive criticism, believe in what you are doing, see other bands, watch crowds and don’t be afraid to add something extra to the show. Scrims covering the amps, a custom drum head, intro cd, outro cd, swag (merch), etc. Don’t be afraid to whore your band out. A lot of the bands I grew up watching became successful because they didn’t take no for an answer and they were talented too. Be nice to those on the way up, you’ll see them on the way down. It’s not cool to be known as a dick, you’ll go much further being a pro, being cool and having fun with the people you meet. Sometimes I am more known for my attitude than my drumming and that’s ok. It’s worked for me being a good honest guy and a decent player. If you’re the best player, but you know it and act like a dick, you will stay in your bedroom. Sometimes the “best” drummer doesn’t always get the gig. I know, I’ve gotten the gig!
And now some questions outside music:
Calle: What was the first CD/LP you ever purchased?
Troy: I’m guessing the 1st album I “borrowed” from my brother was an Aerosmith album or Dio. The 1st album I purchased (or tried to shoplift) was Bon Jovi! I bought the Tuff and Pretty Boy Floyd Cassettes simply because I thought they looked cool!
Calle: What was the latest CD you bought?
Troy: KINGS X: XV---in 2008. I’ll pick up the next Cheap Trick CD soon.
Calle: What do you do when you’re not playing music? What’s your other interest?
Troy: I’ve just started booking bands as an Agent @ ARTISTS WORLDWIDE. We book Dokken, Adler’s Appetite, Agent Orange and tons more. I’ll be on the other side now, but because of my business relationship with Agents and the venues and coming from a musician’s point of view, I hope it goes well. I love watching Music doc’s (check out the documentary on TOM PETTY), Seinfeld, King of Queens and all the American court shows like Judge Judy, People’s Court etc.
Calle: What’s your favorite drink?
Troy: Jack N Coke—it’s back. I drank it many many years ago and stopped. Now it’s come back into my life.
Calle: What did you guys do before playing music?
Troy: We were kids playing in sandboxes and doing kid stuff. Then the devil that is Rock N Roll took my soul! It Ain’t Fashion, It’s a way of Life
Calle: If I say Denmark, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?
Troy: Dönerkebab! Kim, Dennis and Deloris (the Tramp Clan). I love CPH.