Self-taught drummer performing around Iowa in new band

Junior Milo Simpson plays drums for a band called Dead Silent. They perform around Iowa at different venues.

Looking at a bulletin board filled with band audition flyers at Bob’s Guitars, one that read “drummer wanted” caught junior Milo Simpson’s eye. 

“Bob’s Guitars is a magical place. I took a picture of the flyer not seriously thinking I would ever follow through with it, but then I got really bored one day and decided to message the number on the flyer,” Simpson said. 

The band needing a drummer was a metal group, which would not have been Simpson’s first choice. 

 “I wasn’t the biggest fan of metal music at the time, but Jared Brueseke, who is the rapper in the band, said that he had a side project he wanted me to drum for,” he said. 

Since Simpson has been in collaboration with his bandmate Brueseke, their two-person band Dead Silent has performed shows around Iowa. 

“We did our first live show and then kept picking up shows around Iowa, and that is where we are right now,” Simpson said. “We are playing a gig on Thursday [Dec. 20] in Cedar Rapids and one next month at Spicoli’s in Waterloo,” he said.

Simpson also plays drums at Orchard Hill Church for two student groups. 

“I started to drum at CHAOS, and then I fell in love with that, so I also started to drum at Big House on Sunday mornings,” he said.  

In the moments on stage, Simpson blocks out everything except the music he is playing. 

“I kind of zone out when I am on stage, and realize after the show is over I think, ‘Oh what did I miss,’ but it is such an intense level of focus that I don’t feel anything else but the beat of the music.” 

Simpson’s drumming career started two years ago when he discovered his unknown talent. “My older brother plays the drums. He went to New York one summer, and I always thought that drumming would be the hardest thing ever. I was curious, so I went down to my basement and tried them out,” he said. In that summer, Simpson banged up brother’s drum kit so much, he had to buy him a new one. 

Along with inspiration from his older brother, the band Twenty One Pilots has taught Simpson the majority of his skills in the beginning.  

“Twenty One Pilots was the first music that I was inspired by. To this day, I still love them. I love them so much partially for the meaning in their songs and just because they are so good at what they do,” he said. Simpson taught himself by copying beats and rhythms of their music and other groups he likes.

“I started to pay more attention in the songs and started hitting them when the drummer would and try to repeat it,” he said. 

Because Simpson drums so often, he constantly finds himself beating a rhythm into a desk at school or tapping his foot during an exam. “All day I think about drumming. I’ve gotten scolded for drumming with my feet during class. I am always moving,” he said.  

After two years of intense drumming, Simpson knows it is something he wants to pursue professionally in the future. 

“Since the first beat that I played on my brother’s drum kit, I have wanted to be on stage and to become a drummer,” Simpson said.

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