Extreme Drums with Ministry’s Aaron Rossi

Rising to the Top of the Drumming Game

Ministry's Drummer Aaron Rossi

Ministry Drummer Aaron Rossi

Aaron Rossi, originally from Rhode Island, moved to Southern California when he was seven, started playing saxophone at 10, picked up the drums at 15, and started playing drums professionally at 20, touring Europe and the U.S. extensively. Ten years later, Aaron is still living the rock-and-roll dream, still touring and playing, and is currently performing with one of the world’s heaviest industrial metal bands, Ministry.

Aaron Rossi’s First Tour…

My first tour was when I was 20, with the hardcore punk band Shelter. They were on Century Media Records at the time. I didn’t know who they were [when I joined]. But when we went to Europe, we were playing shows in front of 30,000 people, so I was really excited about that. And then I came home and joined another hardcore band, Strife, and went back out to Europe again. And that’s just how it’s been going. I joined another band after that, and joined another band after that, just going on to bigger and better things. And now here I am, playing in the best band ever: Ministry.

Aaron Rossi on Joining Ministry…

I played in the band Prong, and Prong was signed to 13th Planet Records, which is run and owned by [Al and Angie] Jourgensen. They came to one of my shows in Albuquerque and saw me play, then came in the recording studio and saw me play. I was working my job, and I got a phone call from Angie Jourgensen, telling me to put in my two-week’s notice, [which is] probably the coolest thing that’s ever happened. The next phone call that was cool was when they told me [the band] was nominated for a GRAMMY® award. Within a year or two years, I went from touring in a van, slumming it, to touring in a bus and staying in five-star hotels and chillin’ at the GRAMMYs.

Aaron Rossi Starts His Own Group…

I started my own group called Sizematic. One of my favorite singers, Rich from the band Sloth, had contacted me and said, “We should do a project. I want to do hard rock with dubstep music.” I said, “Okay, cool.” So I hooked up with one of my guitar player buddies, and we got on Pro Tools and started making music, programming beats using my Roland V-Drums kit. And now I’m really excited, because the SPD-SX pad already has music stored in it: it’s got dubstep in it, it’s got all kinds of sounds, wobbles—everything I need to play the new dubstep music with my band Sizematic. So when I get home from tour, I have to hook up the SPD-SX pad and really get futuristic with it. What I’m looking forward to is being able to take the sounds and beats that I’ve created and dump them into the SPD-SX. So, once again, my whole show will be on that SPD-SX pad.

Aaron Rossi’s Advice to Young Drummers…

Do something different. Play something different, that no one else is doing. Be yourself. There are a million Vinnie Pauls out there, and a million Tommy Lees. You’ve got to do something different, you’ve got to bring something new to the table. [And] it’s not as easy as a lot of people think it is. It’s very trying on the body. I say condition yourself and play music that really pushes you to the extreme. ‘Cause now, I’m playing the most extreme music there is, so everything else from here on out is really easy. It’s cake. So just play 120 percent from start to finish, from that first downbeat all the way to the end.