Steve Anderson is a multi-talented musician who can play both the drums and the guitar. Hailing from the village known as Wood River Junction, he used to exhibit his skills in both instruments in the former Hopkinton based indie pop act Brother Ghost. These days he’s making beats, fills and grooves from behind the kit for the local bands Coma Hole and Yohafu. In a scene where drummers are in high demand, Anderson is surely putting in the work to meet it. He also has a knack for versatility that’s a rare commodity in any music community.
We recently had a talk about which instrument he first started playing, who his favorite drummers are, differences between both bands he’s in, playing an actual show in an actual venue and plans for the coming months.
Rob Duguay: Which instrument did you start playing first, the drums or the guitar?
Steve Anderson: I started playing guitar first when I was like 12 years old. After taking a few lessons it grew my interest in that and I had a couple friends a few years later who were trying to start a band but they were already playing guitar. I then moved to drums and I’ve stuck with it ever since.
RD: Which musicians do you consider your main inspirations for drumming? Which drummers do you look up to?
SA: I would say there’s a few. Josh Eppard of Coheed & Cambria comes to mind, he has an unorthodox approach that I like and he does really cool grooves and fills and stuff. Ben Koller of Converge has this unrelenting, aggressive kind of vibe to his playing. I grew up on classic rock so Neil Peart from Rush and all those people who played giant kits at the time.
RD: How would you describe playing with Eryka Fir in Coma Hole versus with Stephen Heredia-Smith and Sally Doherty in Yohafu? Both bands are kind of different with Coma Hole having a doom and sludge thing going on while Yohafu is more of a punk rock thing.
SA: Yohafu has always been kind of a weird thing because we’re always coming from these vastly different influences and different styles of music. It’s basically us coming together and trying to make sense of how we’re going to put everything together. With Eryka, we both have a more similar background of music with ‘90s grunge, stoner rock, Queens Of The Stone Age and stuff like that. It’s more cohesive and we’re on the same page as a unit.
RD: Speaking of Coma Hole, you both just played an actual gig at 33 Golden Street in New London on May 21st with the rock & roll act Marvelous Liars. How was the experience of playing the show after such a long time away from the stage due to COVID-19?
SA: It was like a regular show, basically. It was absolutely surreal to be there and in that setting after a year and a half with everyone behaving normally and vibing with the music with no worries at all. All precautions were being taken because we’re still in this but it was as normal as it was before the pandemic started. Otherwise, it was absolutely wild and it was the first show 33 Golden Street had done since COVID-19 hit and it was a warm welcome back to normalcy.
RD: How would you describe playing in New London? A lot of folks in Rhode Island aren’t really familiar with that city in Connecticut so what’s the scene like there?
SA: Playing in New London, it seems like all the places to play are centered on one street which is Bank Street. Every single one of these venues has something wonderful to offer. At 33 Golden Street you’re going to have heavier acts like you would at Dusk in Providence. There’s also The Oasis Pub which is comparable to the News Cafe in Pawtucket or even Askew in Providence. You get a lot of indie acts and it’s a cramped space but it’s welcoming, the vibe is chill and awesome. The amount of real estate that’s dedicated to live music in New London is small but I’ve had some of the best experiences as a musician there.
RD: What are your plans for the summer?
SA: Coma Hole is actually going to start recording our first EP in July with some friends in Pennsylvania to bang out some songs so people can finally listen to us. Yohafu has been sitting on some new songs since before the pandemic, we had those recorded so we’re getting them mixed and all of that stuff. Hopefully we’ll have them out sometime before the end of the year. Both bands are also gonna try to book as many shows as we can with things clearing up.