“You Do What in Your Spare Time?!” The Bravest Man in Metal Finds Those Who Find R&R Outside of Moshpits

  • Kevin Stewart-Panko

As my life has trundled along the chronological hinterland lo these many years, I’ve made a variety of discoveries about myself. One of these earth-shattering self-revelations pertains to the fact that I enjoy activities and have interests that fall outside of the sphere of many would consider being ‘metal’ or ‘metal-related.’ “Don’t we all, dummy?” I hear detractors clambering over one another to point out. True, but some people just won’t ever admit some things for fear of judgment or being perceived as anything but a non-stop headbanging dervish who eats ball bearings for breakfast and has never seen a distortion pedal with the LED light switched off.

Being that I spend an inordinate amount of time writing about music, it becomes inevitable that my ‘non-metal’ interests will somehow work their way into the chit-chat about metal. I direct you to this bit of wisdom myself and Chris from Vattnet Viskar, penned for Metal Injection a year-and-a-half ago. Here, you can pay witness to how I weaved my love of, and small-scale obsession with, the sport of tennis – and not the more metal-associated football, baseball or hockey – into a piece pertaining to drumming. And this isn’t the first time I’ve done this. And it won’t be the last.

Using the (not very) world famous persona of the Bravest Man in Metal, I figured that if I’m not metal all the time, then no one else is, or is allowed to be. We all have skeletons and/or tennis rackets in our closet, so a cattle call was sent out to the cast of characters below asking the following question: What is your favourite non-metal hobby? Here’s what was admitted to.

Jim Breuer, Jim Breuer and the Loud & Rowdy
I live for booking amazing family vacations and baseball! I’m always booking vacations for my family. Sometimes just for my wife and me. We hit Captiva, Florida and the Turks and Caicos Islands a bunch. We love mountain homes during the summer time as well. And I love to watch baseball. For me, it’s the greatest sport. I think I could play whiffle ball everyday if I had the chance. When we tour, I can assure you our band will be hunting down other bands to challenge us in whiffle ball!

Chris Broderick, Act of Defiance
It’s funny how there are only a few hobbies left that I can do that really get my mind off of music. They are both very related to each other, but one exists in the summer and the other in the winter. For me wakeboarding and snowboarding are where it’s at! It is a killer feeling when you are out in the sun hanging with your friends on a boat or together on the mountain and carving turns on your board (which ever that may be). So, whether you are interested in jumping wake to wake or bombing through the trees, these hobbies rule and I would suggest anyone try them!

Tim Brown, Striker
My non-metal hobby is gardening, I’ve planted quite a few plants in my day! Growing your own food is pretty tasty and inexpensive!

Jason Alexander Byers, Black Black Black
I wouldn’t call it a hobby but the least metal thing about me is that I’m obsessed with counting. For instance, I saw 935 people yawn on the NYC subway in 2015. Only 22% covered their mouths. So far this year I have sneezed 38 times. In 2015 I ate 22 bagels and drank 14 cokes. Also last year, I caught seven flies in midair with my hands (two left, five right). As of March 1st, 2016 I’ve already caught three flies. Global warming is real, folks.

Mina Caputo, Life of Agony
When I’m not on the road touring, in the studio recording, or in the writing lab writing, I laughingly have to have the most non-metal life out of ’em all. My activities and hobbies basically consist of spending most of my time with my dog, Toni, a 7-pound tiny Chihuahua. We enjoy running on the beach, or at the tremendous park I have here close to my home in Brooklyn. I’m definitely a foodie; always policing what goes inside of my body. I love to cook, and use all organic, non-GMO foods only. I also love to bake, but not just anything, my specialty is scones. I love to color. I have many adult coloring books here in the library. And speaking of libraries, I’ve close to about 1000 books, maybe more now, that I’ve been carefully curating throughout my entire life. Reading is most likely my favorite activity ever. As I’m worshipping the words themselves, the lines; I just love to disappear or escape into a book, and lie on my couch with my dog for hours on end while drinking tons of coffee, and drinking in some of my favorite books and authors. When I need to clear my mind, I take a short trip into Manhattan, and what do I do? I visit bookstores, and obsessively collect for my future readings! I’m also obsessed with film and directors, and I probably watch a movie or two every night, sometimes every other night, depending on what’s happening. I’m not stuck on any genre, either. I love a good romance, drama, horror, docs, science fiction, etc., you name it. And there you have it, my very not-so-secretive non-metal life.

Christian Colabelli, Circuitry
The most non-metal activity I partake in is surely yoga simply based on the guy-to-girl ratio. I mean seriously, when on earth would you ever see those kinds of numbers at a metal show? The classes are the complete antithesis of a sweaty dude-bro, neck-beard sausage fest. Not to mention, I am in the most relaxed state possible, stretching to my heart’s content while listening to peaceful Indian chants. Totally not brutal.

Chaney Crabb, Entheos
My most non-metal hobby is pyrography, or wood burning. It’s wood, so I think that is about as far from metal as you can get. I burn a lot of abstract pieces into huge slabs or chunks of different varieties of soft wood. I did it as a way to get away from typical pencil on paper drawings and it’s stuck with me. A great way to take a break from the world for awhile.

Shawn Drover, Act of Defiance
I have been an AVID golfer for over forty years now, and aside from my family and music, it is my biggest passion in life. To me, golf is certainly NOT Metal, nor do I care if it is or not. If you have to go around proving you’re metal to get approval from others, then you’re NOT metal! I am 100% USGA certified HEAVY METAL!

chris enriquez
Primitive Weapons’ Chris Enriquez losing weight and gaining muscle.

Chris Enriquez, Primitive Weapons
My favorite non-metal activity is Muay Thai. Between Primitive Weapons and Revolver Magazine, I’m surrounded by metal 24/7. In metal, it’s common to indulge in drugs/alcohol, which I am no stranger to, so I don’t judge. At a certain point, though, I realized I needed change. My friend and mentor, Gavin van Vlack (guitarist of NYHC band Burn) runs a spot called Physical Culture Collective in Brooklyn, NY. I joined his gym, which helped me rapidly lose weight and gain muscle. I eventually quit drugs/alcohol and I highly recommend this practice to anyone looking for healthy, positive change.

Ted Hallows, American Head Charge
The most non-metal thing I do is work with Cisco Systems networks. Sure, the routers are mostly made of metal and 99% of all internet traffic traverses a Cisco networking device but, that’s as metal as it gets for a tech geek. We rock the newest gadgets, we think in a tank and war in a room. I don’t wear coke bottle glasses or pocket protectors, but I can route a TCP/IP packet using the BGP protocol like nobody’s business. I enjoy internetworking technology, it’s a close second to my passion for music. So, when the networks are at peace, I’m on to raising metal hell.

Mike Hill, Tombs
I like to cook, which to some may seem to be the diametric opposite to the darkness and destruction that illustrates the “metal image.” Aside from saving money and being more in control of what I put into my body, it satisfies a creative urge similar to the reason that I write songs. I’m not saying that I’m a good cook, but I’m getting the hang of it. I have a pretty limited menu of foods that I make, mostly it’s variations of Paleo recipes that I find online, but I always try to add my own touch. It’s a stark contrast to what I eat on tour: Denny’s, Cape Cod potato chips, Clif bars and pizza.

Sam Kirsch, Abnormality
Alright, I would say my top non-metal activity would be cooking. I don’t think there is anything that is simultaneously as relaxing and satisfying as cooking. First of all, you get to spend money without actually feeling guilty and it gives you an excuse to get out of the house for a little bit. Then, you get a few hours of dedicated, focused mental energy with a plus side of being able to watch a movie or jam some tunes while you work. And, finally, at the end, you get some awesome food to enjoy with your tunes and maybe a couple o’ drinks, basking in the satisfaction of your accomplishment. Unless you fuck it up, then just slather it in hot sauce and enjoy that.

The view from Kling’s fiberglass canoe.

Jeramie Kling, Necromancing the Stone
I like to unwind by taking my canoe to the river and enjoying nature. It’s not metal because my canoe is fiberglass.

Navene Koperweis, Entheos
The most non-metal thing I love doing is laying in my lawn chair in the sun. Sunbathing is a long loved tradition for me; my father loves sun bathing and his father before him. Nothing beats laying in the sun with an ice cold beverage.

Avi Kulawy, Magrudergrind
I train Krav Maga. It doesn’t require any type of music, let alone metal to do. Instead of taking out aggression in a mosh pit, you can slug it out sparring.

Jarvis Leatherby, Night Demon
Yoga and walking on the beach are definitely the most non-metal activities that I take part in. Yoga has become part of my daily life, and I live near the beach and like to vacation near water. These things are just as metal as fuck as anything else I do, because my health and fitness have increased tenfold, allowing me to be a total monster on stage. Also, chicks hang out on the beach and in yoga classes with more revealing clothing than they would normally wear out on the street. What’s more metal than that?!

Adrian Maestas, Slough Feg
I collect old Viewmaster reels. I spend hours laying in bed on Saturday afternoons looking through my old reels. They take me all the way from the Grand Canyon to the Moon landing, and everywhere in between. It’s a fun hobby that is easy to start, pretty cheap to build a collection, and an unending supply of reels with something for just about any interest. It’s not very metal because it’s a toy designed for kids, because there are no known reels featuring characters in corpse paint, because there are no reels with severed heads and bloody swords and because they need light to use and are useless when surrounded by darkness.

PHOB shane dog web
Shane with a bigger little creature.

Shane MacLachlan, Phobia
Well, I would have to say I wake up “punk as fuck” every day of my life and therefore I am always 100% non-metal, and for hobbies it would probably just all come natural to do non-metal activities! My favorite things to do are probably to get up early in the morning and find snails and help them get across their little path; I love the little creatures. I love to bake tofu, love to cook vegetarian and vegan food, and I love to listen to bluegrass music while sipping wine in the tub!

Tatsu Mikami, Church of Misery
I’ve been watching “pro wrestling” since the late 70’s. My hobby is collecting wrestling videos. Now I have more than 700 videos. Especially I really love to see early 80’s. My favorite wrestler is “Bruiser Brody.”

Drew Murphy, Hammer Fight
Hmmm… Well, we don’t want to publicly discuss Dan’s love of cosplay, so I guess it would be my love of the movie Mean Girls. That movie is so fetch.

Brandon Park, Allegaeon
Anyone who knows anything about me knows I’m a pretty outdoorsy guy, but one of my favorite non-metal hobbies, and the activity that probably sucks up most of my time over the summer, is bowfishing. Yeah, that’s right; floating down the river, hunting fish with my bow and arrow. While shooting fish with arrows and reeling them in may seem pretty metal to some, I would say it’s a non-metal hobby because I am certainly not thinking about metal or playing drums while I’m doing it. Just give me a canoe, my bow and a river and you won’t see me for awhile.

Malcolm Pugh, Entheos
I’ve bred reptiles since high school. Now, I’ve mostly been focused on working with pythons for the last five years. Just a year ago I had upwards of 110 constrictors in my breeding facility. It’s a way for me to not focus on metal or music in general. There is nothing cooler than hatching a clutch of baby snakes and being able to appreciate nature and how awesome life is.

Fernando Ribeiro, Moonspell
My non-metal hobby is books. I am a bookworm and I go as far as being an amateur collector and translator. For example, I translated I Am Legend by Richard Matheson into my native language, Portuguese, when the movie came out and it had solid sales here in Portugal. Other than that I keep a blog and spend a long time browsing for new stories and books online. It might be not exciting as parachuting, but it keeps me in balance and my imagination vivid for my lyrics, self-expression and makes me feel good to travel inside other stories and forget real life for a while.

Dustin Schoenhofer, Walls of Jericho
“For our pasta tonight we have Pan Seared Prawns over Fettucini Aglio topped with an asiago crostad and fresh herbs” has to be the most non-metal thing a metal drummer dude like myself has to say on a regular basis. But for me it’s a normal thing being that when I’m not touring in Walls of Jericho or whoever else will hire me, I’m usually in some kitchen at some fancy gastro pub or tapas wine bar as the chef. Even the word chef is not metal and even though I can wear all black, you should see the non-slip clogs I wear; it’s borderline folk rock attire. See, when I was a kid I grew up in a music family and I always wanted to take what my parents did and push the boundaries past the regional success they achieved. Knowing that that was a serious challenge and not always a profitable road to travel, I knew I needed a trade to fall back on. So, I went to a Vocational Culinary School my last two years of high school, landed a sweet externship with a high profile chef from NYC at a legendary French bistro in my hometown, and conned the owners and chef to let me tour when I needed to with my first band. Fast forward a few years, some world tours, lots of long days and nights in the kitchen, I still enjoy it. I really get a kick out of greeting customers at their tables after they’ve eaten and seeing the look on their faces when they see that I look like a prison parolee and not Bobby Flay.

Reece Scruggs, Havok
My time off mostly consists of guitar playing, hanging with my family, friends and chilling out. I do a few other things, however I’m not exactly sure how non-metal they are, but let’s let it rip. I love to run, I don’t really consider myself a “runner’s runner,” but I do it often. It clears my mind and it’s been great for weight loss. I love to fish and shoot guns with my dad and grandfather. I never keep the fish and I don’t hunt, not that I’m against it, just a quality time spent with my two favorite people. Seeking out a good frozen margarita is at the top of my list, watching pro wrestling, watching football. Not too much else.

Arthur Shepherd, Primitive Weapons
I do so many un-metal things, like love Steely Dan and feel strongly that Phil Collins is the greatest drummer of all time, but since having a little girl, writing children’s songs has taken precedence in my pursuit of non-metal silliness. When you’re a parent of a young child you hear kid’s songs non-stop. It’s fucking mind-numbing. I would fuck around aimlessly on guitar all the time to amuse her, but one day, using her own baby slang, I wrote a song called “Fish.” She seemed to like it so I then wrote a song called “UH OH!” She liked that one too. I just need the animated videos now, anyone want to help? It’s YouTube gold… Dad stuff…

“Everything’s OK”


Mike Spreitzer, DevilDriver
What is my most non-metal hobby? That’s easy because I only have one outside of playing music at the moment and it’s surfing. I started surfing when I was about 12 years old. In high school I started to put it on the back burner and straight up quit when I was in college. A few years after I joined DevilDriver the urge to get back in the water came rushing back and I haven’t stopped since. I saw a bumper sticker a few years ago that read, “If you quit surfing then you never surfed at all”. I couldn’t agree more with that statement.

Frank Thoms, Accuser
I love mountain biking. And because we’ve got great landscapes with trails, downhill tracks and beautiful forests right here, in our area, I don’t even have to travel for this hobby. I really enjoy the peace and quiet out there regardless of the weather. Of course it’s not a 100% non-metal hobby because my bike is made out of metal :-)

Mike Tichy, Jim Breuer and the Loud & Rowdy
I take a bath almost every day! I add Epsom salt with lavender occasionally. I read for about ten minutes leaving my arms above the water. Once my eyes feel a little heavy, I put the book aside place my arms and shoulders into the hot water, my whole body gets numb and I disappear (with a possibility of time travel). Whenever I visit someone’s house I check out their bathtub to check the dimensions. I gauge the overflow port to see how high the water can get; the higher the water, the better. There is no such thing as a decent hotel room without a tub. What is not-metal about this is everything I just said.

Brad Van, Droids Attack
While all the dirt balls I hung out and jammed with back in the day were scoring booze and drugs, I was spending my cash on comic books, toys and video games. I got teased for it. I wasn’t a bad ass, but I never cared to be one. Years later I’m still collecting all this shit, but now all the booze and drugs just get offered to me since I play in a band. So there. Dicks.

Nick van Dyk, Redemption
I have been a pretty serious collector of fine wine for about 15 years and have about 4,000 bottles. I’ve shared a great bottle with Alex Lifeson — but most metalheads would be more likely to drink Jack & Coke with Lemmy, or some kind of gnarly grog with Tankard. Geoff Tate’s exploits with wine probably haven’t helped its image in metal circles, either. Not that there’s anything wrong with Jack & Coke, grog or Geoff Tate…and there’s never anything wrong with Lemmy!

Roel van Helden, Powerwolf
In my spare time I like to work-out in the gym. I believe that lifting weights is the best way to stay in shape and avoid injuries arising from repetitive motions such as drumming or playing guitar. I’m certainly not into body building, I think that’s pretty pointless and even unhealthy. But whenever I feel a muscle getting sore (for instance in my left forearm, where the snare drum hits have the most impact), I go train that exact area and most of the time any soreness disappears. Of course, you have to be cautious when your complaints are located in the nerves, then it’s a different story. I’m not sure if this is really a non-metal activity – I’m lifting heavy metal! – but the music they play in the gym is certainly awful and most of the people there I never see at a local metal show.


Tracy Vera, Metal Blade Records
I am a fine art painter on the side. I consider it a second career, though one that has taken a back seat in recent years to both my day job and motherhood. I have a masters in Fine Art, belong to the Los Angeles Art Association and have shown in galleries and sold paintings all over. Recently, in January 2016, I was part of a portraiture exhibit at the Los Angeles Art Fair. My mostly large format, oil-on-canvas portraits capture true, often disquieting, human emotion through use of light, dress, facial expressions, and body language; pain, loneliness, frustration, desolation. There’s a universal aspect to these emotions which emphasize the universal connection among us all.

Tracy - the artist _1
The Artist

Jens “Doc” Vestergren, Below
One of my personal interests and passions is economics. I love finding solutions to economic problems and finding ways to increase the revenue and profits. I am educated (and work) in sales and business economics. However, we all know that metal and money are not good matches, unless if you perhaps are one of the “big ones” in metal. A lot of us smaller bands cut costs just to make break even when touring or playing a big festival. That is why I believe “making money” is one of the least metal interests you can have. Oh, and I buy a shit load of “My Little Pony’s” for my daughter.

Joe Vigliotti, Jim Breuer and the Loud & Rowdy
From the end of October to the beginning of March, other than music all I think about is when I can get back out to the stream and fly-fish. To make the winter months go by, I tie my own dry flies with fur, hackle, feather and string on a hook. The goal is to mimic the way a fly would appear to the trout. Once it’s warm enough, I grab my waders, fishing vest, hat, wading staff, bamboo rod and reel, get my dog, Godzilla and head to the river to fly-fish. This is not metal because the best thing about it is the peace and quiet.

Dustie Waring, Between the Buried and Me
I’m super into mountain biking; downhill racing and enduro mainly. During the warm months I spend a lot of time fishing and just being a redneck who spends most of my free time on a lake or riding in the dirt. [BtBaM drummer] Blake [Richardson] and I go shooting too! I have the cutest dog on earth so she hangs out and goes with me most places as well. Her name is Panda. Obviously, guitars and gear are a main interest so I never turn down the opportunity to play with country and jazz musicians who I admire. Lots of Nashville visits to lend a hand in writing sessions and laying down guitar tracks.

Wills Weller, Toothgrinder
A very non-metal thing I like to do is paint with watercolors. I’m a big fan of all kinds of art, but lately watercolor has been my main focus. When I’m on tour it’s a great way to pass the time.

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