Dean Cooper |

Dean Cooper

Dean Cooper

Dean Cooper was born in Orange County, CA. Early on, it was apparent that Dean had a talent and passion for the drums. “I remember around 4 or 5 that I was the only one of my friends that could keep a steady beat on my dad’s kit. Also, I was the only one that didn’t think it was too loud!” Growing up in a musical household, he always found opportunities to play, both in and out of the house. “My first live performance was playing Wipeout with my dad’s oldies cover band. I was 11 and it was like 1am at the American Legion in Orange. It was a blast.” Continuing the occasional sit in and playing with the youth groups at his church, Dean joined his first band at 15. “My first band was called The Maybee Daydreams. It was a swing band of all things. So, instead of just starting out with basic rock beats, I had to learn how to swing! Playing shuffles, hitting accents with the horns. Going from playing 180 bpm on one song to playing brushes in 3/4 on the next and even coming up with a 4 minute drum solo, that band really forced me to up my game.” They steadily grew a local fan base and opened for acts like MXPX and Royal Crown Revue. Dean recalls, “That’s when the drumming bug bit. It was something I felt confident in and loved doing. I knew I had to keep playing.” During this time, Dean began studying with renowned drummer and music historian Daniel Glass. “I first met Daniel when we opened up for RCR. After a while I began studying with him and he became not only my instructor but mentor as well. He taught me some of the deep stuff he learned with Freddie Gruber; the mechanics of drumming. A lot of great technique and understanding.”
Soon after the Daydreams disbanded, Dean found himself in a whole new realm with power-pop group The Classics. “I’d say, I went into The Classics a swing/oldies drummer and came out a rock drummer.” In a band that was equal parts Weezer and The Misfits, Dean was playing punk and all kinds of rock styles. This would further help define his own style and fill his drum arsenal with more influences.
After three and a half years, The Classics went their separate ways and Dean joined up with his friend Ethan Luck (Supertones, Relient K) to back his new project My Red Hot Nightmare. With a name and sound that had a flair for intensity, a new, harder edge was being chiseled into Dean’s style.
During this time, Dean moved to L.A. to begin work on In Waves with former Classics frontman Jimmy Vincent. “As much as I loved punk, ska, and hardcore styles, I was getting into bands like Interpol, and discovering bands like Joy Division and Dead Can Dance. I loved the darkness of the post punk sound and wanted to create music in that vein.” In Waves began playing and developing their own sound. “I’d describe In Waves as a mix of Interpol with Angels and Airwaves type dynamics.” They soon found themselves garnering attention from many in the Silverlake scene and eventually cutting a full length album, Tropical, with Ariel Rechtshaid.
Through an unrelated chain of events, Dean had a short stint back in Orange County and began working with Dustin Kensrue (Thrice) on a new project while at Mars Hill Church. “It was an absolute pleasure to work with Dustin. Not only is he a great musician and talented songwriter, but a great guy! The work we did with taking original lyrics from old hymns and spiritual songs and changing the music and instrumental melodies to be whatever we wanted. It was a great challenge to take on. To take a hymn and make it sound like Quicksand or something and still have it be identifiable and singable was awesome.” Around this time Dean also sat in with OC natives The Devious Means as second drummer/percussionist in live shows. “It was a great learning experience to be a drummer, but not lead the band. My job was to sit back and add color and texture while Jason (Mize) led the band. But we orchestrated times where we would both go huge and create this great wall of sound!”
Then, through a reconnection with a friend, Dean met up with Brett Bickford and Thom Arizmendi which led to the creation of Mute Swans. Not knowing exactly was it was to be, they did know that they worked great together and loved what each other had to offer. Little did they know that they were developing a new vein in the Post Rock sound. “We described our sound as post-rock dynamics with the vocals of The National”. As this was new territory for them, Dean was free to create drum parts however he wanted. “I just knew it had to sound big! With Brett’s great baritone voice and Thom’s huge, sweeping guitar lines, I was channeling a lot of Dave Grohl at first, but later found inspiration from Thomas Hedlund as well as Travis Barker. It was a big, heavy, mixing pot.”
In 2017, Dean moved with his family to Jacksonville, Florida. After settling down, he got connected with Roger That, a band that has a long history and following in Jacksonville. Thanks to his constant drive and years of steady playing and practice, Dean was asked to join the band. “After my audition with the band, they asked if I could play with them the next week. I said sure, then they handed me a setlist that’s about 40 songs!” After memorizing all 40 songs, he nailed the first gig. Dean has been playing with them ever since and looks forward to continued success, challenges, and opportunities.
Dean currently resides in the Avondale neighborhood of Jacksonville with his wife and daughter and is available for gigs, as well as teaching lessons and even repairs drums on the side.

My Soultone Set: 

16" Vintage Old School 1964 Hi Hats
18" Extreme Crash
19" Extreme Crash
22" Heavy Hammered Crash
22" Vintage Old School Patina Crash/Ride
22.5" Vintage Old School 1964 Crash/Ride
23" Vintage Old School Patina Crash

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