From death metal to Dungeons & Dragons, Andrew Hurley of Fall Out Boy goes to extremes on The Downbeat

For those in the know, Fall Out Boy percussionist Andrew Hurley is likely best known for playing drums in the arena-sized radio rock band, but he is also an especially vehement fan and contributor to the heavy culture. In the thick of the Hella Mega Tour World tour along with Green Day and Weezer, Hurley guested on the most recent episode of The Downbeat podcast to discuss his passion projects including his tenure in hardcore bands like Racetraitor and the Vegan sXe band Sect with Chris Colohan (Cursed, Burning Love, Left For Dead), guitarists James Chang (Catharsis, Undying) and Scott Crouse (Earth Crisis, The Path Of Resistance), bassist Steve Hart (Day Of Suffering).

Soundchecking with Behemoth

Kicking off the conversation, host Craig Reynolds asked Hurley about his now famous soundcheck with black metal legends, Behemoth. The drummer explained how loves the band and through mutual friends in the touring world, he got the opportunity to soundcheck a song from The Satanist with Nergal and the guys - live. He explained how nerves and a bit of technical issues made for a bumpy start, but he managed to pull of the track in a way that did the jam justice.

Citing a healthy roster of Swedish bands ranging from Meshuggah to Entombed to Dismember, Hurley mentioned how the region is responsible for some of his favorite bands - which prompted the question from Reynolds as to how someone with such a passion for the heavier stuff ended up in one of the biggest radio rock bands on the planet.

Hurley would go on to explain how his friendship with Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz really revolved more around their shared interest in punk, hardcore and metal. The two immersed themselves in the political hardcore sound and worked diligently on various side projects but found themselves in need of a fun, palate cleanser in terms of music. Fall Out Boy would eventually take off and change the trajectory of the guys lives for good.

Gaming During the Pandemic

Given Hurley's creative output and his involvement in so many projects, he discussed his take on the pandemic lockdown and confided that he actually loved the forced break it brought on. While he did admit that there are certainly some existential issues that we will all likely have to deal with down the road, he explained that the pandemic really gave him no other option but to stop and find something else to do other than play drums and make music - so, he took up gaming. Hurley explained that he set a goal to play through all of the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest games - a goal he is still putting in work towards.

The gaming discussion eventually segued into Hurley's love for Dungeons and Dragons - which dominated the conversation for a healthy stretch as the guys got into the nuances of the game. In fact, Hurley broke down everything for the layman, detailing how a D&D experience would go for someone new to the world like, Reynolds. He even chimed in about other similar games like the sci-fi based variation called, Mothership.

Hurley gushed about his love for fantasy, comics and Star Wars. He heaved praised on comic book writers like Grant Morrison, Jeff Lamire of Sweet Tooth fame, and Jonathan Hickman to name of few. Emphasizing his love for imaginative content, Hurley tied in his passion for fantasy gaming, comic books and even extreme music in a way that drew parallels to all three.

Hurley's Fitness Journey

The exchange touched on the drummer's clean lifestyle, being both Vegan and sober. He detailed how that ultimately segued into him being more conscious of his fitness, which led him to a chance encounter with Mark Twight of crossfit destination, Gym Jones. Looking for a functional fitness workout that was more sports-based, Hurley began working out with more regularity and by the time Fall Out Boy resumed touring after their 2008/2009 hiatus, Hurley was well on his fitness journey.

He went onto explain that in addition to the intensity fo the workouts, guys like Mark Twight really resonated with him in given his punk ethos. That spirit of non-conformity, combined with the sense of community that seems organic with his eventual exploration of Crossfit, was something Hurley shares was what drew him into hardcore.

Drum Talk and Love for Lars

Given the guys are both drummers, there was bound to be some nerding out over their specifics of their craft. The guys got detailed with plenty of drum language and spoke about their own best practices, great shows, terrible shows. They also shared their mutual love for veteran drum wizard Alex Rudinger - the man behind the skins for bands like The Faceless, Threat Signal, The HAARP Machine, and most recently Whitechapel. The guys really struck a chord when they found out they share an unwavering love for Metallica - with Hurley mentioning how he has been on a Black Album kick as of late. He would go onto say that the era was Metallica's "peak of their powers". Craig enthusiastically agreed.

The Metallica talk transitioned smoothly into the final segment of every Downbeat podcast, where guests give a complete rundown of their dream festival with ZERO restrictions. Any artist, any era, dead or alive. Any location. Any amenities. In fact, the more detailed and specific, the better.

Hurley's Dream Festival

So, of course Metallica would headline Hurley's dream festival (with Cliff back in the band and anything from Kill 'Em All with Dave Mustaine), co-headlining anyway with his other favorite band of all time, Queen. As for the location, Hurley tossed around some ideas given his love for Dublin and Barcelona, but ended up going with Milwaukee as the base for his festival grounds - a place he calls home. Hurley also added Nine Inch Nails to the line-up with both of the guys professing their love for Josh Freese.

Just how detailed did the dream festival get - even catering was dissected with Hurley selecting Crossroads Kitchen in L.A. and Chef Tal Ronnen handling the food and Five Elephants in Berlin handling the coffee. Things became especially ambitious when a second night was added, with Watain headlining and bands like Baest (who Hurley explains is one of his favorite death metal bands at the moment) anchoring the more extreme night. Hurley loaded up, adding Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Deicide, Suffocation and Death into the experience, plus a tribute to drum legend Gene Hoglan and the roster of bands he has played for.

From Dungeons and Dragons to death metal, crossfit to comic books, the comprehensive conversation delves deep into Hurley's passions and brings into focus his artistic individuality outside of Fall Out Boy. Stream the entire conversation below.