June 22, 2018
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Metal drummer to hold clinic in Brewer

By Andrew Neff, BDN Staff

It’s not just a lucky number for Chris Seven Antonopoulos.

For starters, Seven actually is the former Opiate for the Masses drummer’s real middle name.

“My mom was a hippie,” Antonopoulos says with a chuckle.

But he was also born on the seventh at 7 a.m. and weighed in at — you guessed it — 7 pounds, 7 ounces.

And the odd and intriguing facts don’t stop there, as the Dallas native now lives in Sweden, but thanks to a seven-year friendship that grew out of an initial meeting in Los Angeles, Antonopoulos will be in Brewer next week to hold a clinic as a favor for friend and Mark’s Music shop owner Mark Braveman as Braveman celebrates his store’s 15th anniversary.

Braveman is flying the 37-year-old Antonopoulos in from Sweden for a few days for the clinic, which will take place 5-6:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21, at the Center Mall Antiques building across the street from Mark’s Music at Penobscot Square in Brewer. They also will visit the Sabian cymbal factory in New Brunswick and the Vic Firth factory in Newport to check out the drumsticks. Vic Firth makes approximately 400 other products, including brushes and other percussion items, keyboard and timpani mallets, practice pads and drum bags as well as some of the country’s finest pepper mills and rolling pins.

“I’m really excited to have him here. I don’t think he’s done any clinics outside of LA or Sweden,” Braveman said. “He’s a true rock star in every sense of the phrase.”

Antonopoulos has been playing drums since he was 12 years old and playing in bands since he was 17.

“I stared playing really early on, banging pots and pans, but my first professional gig wasn’t until I was 21,” he said.

His big break came in 1999 when he latched onto Vanilla Ice and played two years on tour with the former rapper. After that, he joined Opiate for the Masses in 2004 and did 250 live shows with the hard-core rock band from Arizona in 2005-2006, opening for big bands such as Avenged Sevenfold and Disturbed.

“We took a year and a half to do a record and released it in 2008, and then the band broke up three months later,” Antonopoulos said with a laugh. “My wife was playing bass with us the last year and she was in a Swedish metal band called Drain STH.”

His wife, Anna K (Kjellberg, is the main reason Antonopoulos now calls Sweden home. “After Opiate broke up, I got a job offer from Leaves’ Eyes and took it. They were based out of Stuttgart, Germany, but Anna and I had been thinking about coming home for her to Sweden,” he said. “She’d been in LA for 10 years and missed home.”

Antonopoulos stuck with Leaves’ Eyes for two albums and two years, but left the band last March. He’s now fielding offers and trying to pick the right one.

In the meantime, he has been doing studio sessions for various bands and musicians and clinics.

“I’m looking for a full-time gig now because I’m a workaholic with the drums. I always look at myself more as a live guy and doing stick tricks and slinging my hair around, but the clinic thing is pretty cool,” he said. “I actually enjoy it because it gives you a chance to work with aspiring musicians and kids.”

Antonopoulos is looking forward to the trip to Maine.

“I’ll play some songs from some of the bands I’ve been in,” he said. “We do a lot of Q and A [question and answer] too, which I like. I can break things down and show them actually how I played certain songs.”

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