Interview with Pop Evil Drummer “Chachi”

Posted on 06 January 2014

By Wendy Spin

Modern Drummer
Modern Drummer
At a concert venue in Cheyenne, Wyoming I found my seat in the upper deck of a small auditorium. After years of going to rock shows my mosh pit years are far behind me. I was ready to relax and enjoy the show. The bands played on, the Coors Light flowed as expected, but I certainly didn’t expect what was about to hit the stage for the final set of the night. There sat a drum kit placed high on a platform visible to even the shortest person in standing room only. A tattooed man in a tank top, with curly dark hair covering his face jumped up and sat down. Then began an explosion unrivaled by any drummer I have ever seen. Choreographed chaos is the only thing I can think of to describe this man’s energy. As a Crossfitter I recognized this intensity immediately. After I left the show I looked up that ball of ferocious, unrelenting energy. Sure enough, Josh ‘Chachi’ Marunde of the rock band Pop Evil is not only a fantastic drummer, but also one committed Crossfittter. I was fortunate enough to get him on the phone as he made his way through North Carolina to figure how in the world he balances it all.

Wendy Spin (WS):Let’s hear it Chachi, how did you get into Crossfit?Chachi: First of all, I was an athlete way before I was a musician. I was always a jock in high school. I focused on strength training like we all did. When I joined a band I needed to trim down, so I started doing a lot of burpees, push-ups, pull-ups, and running. I ended up getting skinnier than I really wanted to, but it was still better for drumming. I found Crossfit on twitter actually. One of my buddies posted a benchmark workout and I thought to myself, I have to try this workout! I started researching Crossfit and really started hitting it hard in January, so this is literally my first year of really getting after it, and I absolutely love it! WS: How in the world do you maintain your fitness on the road and get those workouts in?Chachi: It’s a priority. If something is important to you, you’ll always find the time. I have an app called Box Finder and every day I search for nearby Crossfit affiliates. It’s cool because I get to work with so many different coaches and check out different boxes. There are so many amazing people that are so like minded, which always makes for a great atmosphere. If there isn’t a box nearby or if I can’t get to oneI’ll go to a normal gym. It’s a little stale, but it’s still pretty fun to go in there and have people stare at you like you’re a zoo animal doing crazy stuff and throwing things all over. Last case scenario I carry a barbell with 290# of bumpers, 2 kettlebells, and a jump rope. Those things always stay on the bus with me. For example, today we’re at a festival in the middle of nowhere and I just unloaded in the parking lot and did a WOD right there. WS: What about Crossfit is most inspiring to you?Chachi: I started in January like I mentioned, but I didn’t enter my first box until July or August. For a long time I would just say it was the intensity that inspired me. It’s such a good balance of strength and conditioning, and functional movement. [With my schedule] I just don’t have time to waste. I would just get in there, kill it, and get it done. Then, the more I learned about the community of people at the boxes I was even more inspired. It’s like a brother/sisterhood. Finding out about the reasoning behind the HERO WODs and doing something in respect of fallen service men and women is also something I love about Crossfit. Working out for someone else is really great motivation. When I get tired I start thinking about what that person put on the line for me and I think that’s really special. Doing something in their honor inspires me. For example, I did the hotshots 19 WOD and also watched it live stream. I did it outdoors, by myself, and I remember thinking if this weren’t such an important WOD I don’t know if I would have even attempted it. I was grueling! My brother watched me do it and said, ‘you’re psycho!’ WS: Do you drop into affiliates often or do you program your own WODs? Chachi: I really program my own. If I drop into an affiliate I do their posted WOD, but I also use two apps. Pocket WOD and Sugar WOD. Both of them derive their WODs from Crossfit.com and I log all my workouts on there. I also don’t take rest days. I might take a light day, but I really don’t feel great when I take a day off. I have to do at least a 3 mile jog or some sort of active recovery. 
Pop Evil Drummer2
Pop Evil Drummer2
WS: That reminds me of Rich Froning when you tell me you don’t take rest days.
Chachi: That guy is a beast! I obviously can’t train as hard as he does. My lifestyle wouldn’t allow that, but I just really like being active. I’m the happiest when I’m up and around, and moving. I always love challenging myself with benchmarks and comparing my times against myself and others. It’s just a great playful competition. My brother and I recently dropped into what would probably be my home box at Crossfit AZO. We got in there and it was basically an open gym WOD, so my brother and I did a Fran together. Then we used the posted WOD as a cool down. I was bound and determined to go sub 4 and I did! My brother’s goal was sub 7 and I think he hit that too. It was so much fun competing with each other and then knowing we had another WOD afterwards! That was devastating but AWESOME! WS: Since you mentioned it, what is your Fran time?Chachi: Hahaha! [3:27] Everyone wants to know because it’s that benchmark we can all relate to. Anything with cardio I usually excel pretty well in. I really want to try out for the OPEN this year. I told my manager about it and he freaked out. He’s going to read this interview and be like, “What the hell is this kid thinking?” WS: Since you’re an athlete and a fan, do you have a Crossfitter you admire?Chachi: Lucas Parker is one of my favorites. It’s hard to believe the guy is even human. WS: Do you train by yourself on the road or has your lifestyle rubbed off on other members of the band?Chachi: I’m a pretty big contagious personality. I’m one of the youngest in the band. I’m very high energy and hard to avoid. A couple of the guys aren’t as intense as me and don’t get into Crossfit like I do, but they get active. Since I joined, the band definitely eats much better. A couple of the guys have dabbled in WODs. My brother picked it up, and my cousin.WS:  When you think of the rock and roll lifestyle you don’t always associate it with health and fitness. That is a total stereotype, but how do you maintain moderation and balance in a world of excess?Chachi: It’s really challenging at times, but I’ve always admired people who can shatter stereotypes. Don’t get me wrong I love going out, having a good time, and having a couple of drinks. Sometimes I’m forced to stay up later than I really want to, but at the end of the day I want to be a good person. I want to be proud of who I am. Crossfit is just a big part of that. It allows me to stay healthy and be there for my family. There are more important things than partying regardless of what you do in life. I know kids can look up to this [rockstar] lifestyle and think it’s really cool, but there’s a lot of darkness you just don’t see that’s just not cool at all. For instance I see guys that are my age who struggle to get up and move around. We lost ‘The Rev’ from Avenged Sevenfold at the age of 26, and it’s a tragedy. So many people watch me play drums and say I need to be careful so I don’t hurt this or that, but I take precautionary measures. I exercise regularly and I stretch. I don’t walk up there cold and just thrash my body night after night.WS: Have you ever had to defend Crossfit on the road to people that aren’t familiar with it?Chachi: I don’t know if defend is the right word. I definitely explain and educate and adhere to somewhat of a Paleo lifestyle. People ask me all the time about my drumming, or tell me how much they enjoy watching me drum. There is no secret there. It’s not my playing that is blowing people’s minds it’s my ability to play the way I do because I Crossfit and take care of my body. It’s the intensity and the cardio that are keeping me in shape to perform.WS: How do you manage your nutrition on tour?Chachi: I subscribe to a Paleo lifestyle. It can be challenging, sure. I just feel better and have better energy eating real food. I do have customary cheat days. Say, if I go home to the family and my grandmother cooks me an apple crisp I’m not going to be like, “grandma I can’t have that.” I’m going to smash the whole pie! I’ve heard people make excuses about being unable to eat healthy, but I just don’t have time or tolerance for that. I’m on the road touring most of the time. I don’t have a consistent place to shop, or to cook really. We have a skillet and a little oven on the bus and I find ways to eat local grass fed meat or uncured bacon. If I can’t find those things I stick to greens and organic vegetables. You can find those pretty much anywhere. It’s a life choice that you make. I never really have a reason to NOT to do it. One of my favorite books I read recently was The Paleo Manifesto by John Durant. It’s a great book that has little to do with the diet. It’s more about the lifestyle and how to approach it. If it works for you then do it. If it doesn’t work for you then don’t. Everybody is different. I have just found that this lifestyle works best for me.WS: Do you have any advice for other individuals who have really busy schedules, but also want to stay fit?Chachi: First of all, if you’ve never tried Crossfit, you have to try it! People don’t have time to waste these days and Crossfit is efficient. Not to mention it’s a great community of support. People have to be proactive and take control of their own lives and their own happiness. Be yourself, make yourself better, and enjoy it. WS: Your facebook and twitter posts are always so incredibly inspiring and positive. What are your goals moving forward with fitness, music, and life?Chachi: I have so many! When I start talking about my dreams and aspirations people get lost. I have a thousand ideas a day that include goals and things I want to accomplish. I feel like I need to be doing something new and better each and every day. I don’t really know how else to describe it. There’s so much out there to be thankful for. There’s so much to go and experience and sitting around gets nothing done. I want to sell a gold record, a platinum record, and play sold out arenas. I want to try out for the Crossfit Games! I want to make it to Regionals! I just want to do so much in my life because we only get one life to live. I just try to be thankful and excited about life, and hope to inspire other people to realize the same.
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Muscular active people in 20s training to maintain healthy lifestyle.
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