Legends often prophesize a chosen one who will rise from nothing to rescue the masses. Many times the chosen one will bear a mark or symbol, a way to reveal their true identity. Aaron Birdsall carries one such mark on his back. Non-believers may say it’s merely a tattoo procured in an impetuous moment, but it may very well be a sign Birdsall will become the rocker who was prophesied, destined for greatness.
“I have an Aerosmith logo tramp stamp tattooed on my ass,” he laughs. “[Classic rock] will always be a part of me. I just wanted to be ratchet for a minute and pretend I was a groupie.”
A tattoo might not quite be the mark carried by Harry Potter or Damien from “The Omen,” but Birdsall very literally wears his rock ‘n’ roll bonafides on his skin. Music has always been part of his life, starting when his father would be blasting Guns N Roses while pushing young Aaron around in a stroller. A hefty dose of Axl and Slash may have planted the seed in his head, but it was tagging along with his mother to concerts that made that seed grow. As a massage therapist, Birdsall’s mother often worked for touring musicians, introducing her son to the life he was destined to live.
When a toddler starts out on a musical journey they don’t begin by trying to pick up the guitar or harpsichord, they start beating whatever is around in an effort to express the rhythm they feel in their soul. This is how Birdsall found his way to the drums.
“I’ve been a drummer my whole life,” he says. “I started drumming on buckets and shit when I was really into Korn. They were one of my favorite bands growing up, as well as pretty much everything hip-hop. I listened to a lot of Eminem, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Blink-182… it was all over the board. I fucking love country music, I literally love all music.”
His musical influences continue to be incredibly broad, a factor that certainly contributes to the originality behind the songs he writes. It takes a musician unafraid of crossing genre lines to put a twinkly country guitar on a track featuring an EDM beat, like he did with his single “Drive.” As long as a song has two crucial elements Birdsall is in.
“It may be kind of weird, but anything with a good hook that makes me bob my head, I like it,” he explains. “That’s how I write my songs—I’ll sit here and write hooks then sing them into my voice notes. I find a hook and think, ‘That’s really fucking catchy,’ and I’ll just put it into my notes and move on to the next one. I’ll eventually get around to finishing the song. I probably have 100 fucking songs on my phone that I just haven’t finished yet.”
Another contributing factor to Birdsall’s unique sound comes from the instrument he started on, the drums. There are certain notes to his songwriting that clearly come from years perched on a drum stool, even when he’s sitting down with an acoustic guitar and singing.
“I think the cadence of my melodies, the way that I enunciate things, has its own little niche compared to other people,” he explains. “As a drummer, I always sit on the backbeat, so that’s how I write my songs. Most singers are usually trying to be more up front.”
Birdsall’s songwriting process isn’t the only thing to be heavily influenced by drums, his tattoos have been as well. He describes his first tattoo as having been “some Travis Barker-influenced star on the back of my biceps.” And while he put a twist on the “nautical star tattoo that seemingly everybody had in the early 2000s” by doodling his own designs for the inside of it, the tattoo was covered up long ago by “a skull or a fucking snake or something.”
Much like the aforementioned tramp stamp, many of Birdsall’s tattoos aren’t packed with a ton of sentiment or meaning. They’re the type of tattoos that quite simply look cool or serve as fun reminders from life on the road. Most recently he had his throat blasted by Zachary Tisdell (@emeraldmonkeytattoo) with a spiderweb, a killer piece that demands your attention. While discussing how he built his collection, Birdsall laughs before telling the story behind the lettering inked on his hand.
“There is absolutely zero thought process behind these tattoos, except for one,” he says. “There’s one tattoo on my hand that says ‘DLTP,’ so whenever I grab a drink it says ‘Daddy likes to party’ on my hand (laughs).”
Aaron Birdsall may not have been born with a mark indicating he was bound for a life in rock ‘n’ roll, but obviously music is written into his very DNA. Birdsall’s journey has just begun, but as long as he keeps on cranking out those hooks, we’re sure someday he’ll fulfill the destiny foretold by the magical mark inked into his lower back.