Q&A: Jeff Fabb went from Mattituck to opening for Ozzy

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Jeff Fabb (left) with his former drum teacher, Mark LaRosa of Laurel. Mr. Fabb often visits Mr. LaRosa when he returns to the North Fork.

Mattituck native Jeff Fabb is a drummer who went from playing the school variety show in junior high to opening for legends like Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie and Megadeth with the chick-fronted metal band In This Moment.

Mr. Fabb is currently drumming for “American Idol” alumnus James Durbin, who released his first album, “Memories of a Beautiful Disaster,” on Nov. 21. The album found its way to No. 36 on the Billboard 200 chart the first week it was released.

We caught up with Jeff for an interview while he was home for the holidays.

Q. Did you ever imagine you’d get to where you are now when you were growing up in Mattituck?

A. Honestly, I always envisioned it in my head. Every night I would go to sleep as a kid and I’d put my headphones on and be listening to Metallica or something and really seriously envision playing on stage. Maybe this girl who I had a crush on at the time would be watching me from the audience, you know what I mean — just dreaming about it. I would like to say I always knew I was going to do this, but not really. It’s just what I loved more than anything in my life. I didn’t grow up playing sports. I was a skateboarder. I played music. I grew up with a single mom and didn’t have a father figure in my life. I wasn’t really turned on to sports and things like that.

Q: How did you get into playing the drums?

A. At 11, I started taking drum lessons from Mark LaRosa, who my family knew because I think my sister had taken lessons from him. I’m not sure, but when I met him I felt that connection. It was like, “Oh I can relate to this guy. He loves music, too, and he wants to sit and jam.”

I continued getting lessons from Mark for seven or eight years, a little before I left for California. He made it really fun to get lessons and really, that was the first person I ever played music with. I’d never sat down with another musician and just played.

That was priceless. I learned more from that than reading from a book.

Q. What was your first gig?

A. The variety show at Mattituck High School, which was a pretty cool first gig because the whole auditorium was packed. I was in seventh or eighth grade and it was with Alternate Exit. We played “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” Guns n’ Roses’ version, and “Enter Sandman,” Metallica. It was cool, too, because those two songs were just out, so everyone knew them. That was a really awesome first gig, actually. The place was packed with parents and kids. It was fun.

Q. Did you play in the high school band?

A. No, I never played in the band. I played in rock bands. I played in Alternate Exit, Delirium Tremens and I was in a band called TripFace, too, a Long Island hardcore band.

Q. How did you meet James Durbin and why do you think you and Blake [Bunzel, rhythm guitarist for In This Moment] were chosen for the spot?

A. I was in the band In This Moment at the time. Our previous manager, [Ozzy Osbourne/ex-Rob Zombie bassist] Blasko, was no longer with the band. He and I are friends. One day when In This Moment was not touring, I was in Jersey City recording with a friend of mine, Tommy Vext. Blake was also there with me. I received a call from Blasko saying, “I know that this guy James Durbin is looking for a drummer and a guitar player for this band. Would you be interested in trying out?” And immediately I was like, “Who’s James Durbin?” I don’t really watch “American Idol” or any of those shows. I don’t really watch much TV at all to be totally honest with you.

Q. What is your advice to a young band?

A. In This Moment got started on Myspace. We put a demo out there and started adding friends. When I was younger, I wish I had YouTube and Facebook. You can get things out to the masses now through the Internet, instead of “I’ve got to move to L.A. to meet some other musicians.”

Q. You filled out a survey in 2007 that said, “When I look back on my life one day, I would like to be able to say …” and you wrote, “That I fulfilled all of my goals.” What are your goals at this point?

A. To be at peace with myself and to be grateful for the things that I have.

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