North Fork idol will appear on ‘American Idol’

04/08/2012 12:00 PM |


“I taught them envy doesn’t get you anyplace. Just be the best you can be and that will get you as far as you can go.”

Diane Fabb of Mattituck gave that advice to her children Rochelle, Jonathan and Jeff as they were growing up on the North Fork. For Jeff, that meant honing his drumming skills, which have taken him far enough to open for Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie and other rock legends.

Ms. Fabb put into words what Jeff felt instinctively.

“It was in his eyes the first time I saw him near a drummer,” she said Tuesday. “You never had to tell him to go practice, he was always on the drums. He had two and three drum kits and his hands would just fly. You couldn’t even see them when he played.”

Mr. Fabb performed in January on Conan O’Brien’s talk show, setting the speed as “American Idol” alumnus James Durbin’s band promoted its new album, “Memories of a Beautiful Disaster.”

The band will take to the national stage again, returning to Mr. Durbin’s old turf to perform on “American Idol” on April 12. Mr. Fabb will be rehearsing until then.

“It’s going to be really fun, I can’t wait,” he said. “We really don’t know what song we’ll play yet. We’re hoping to play, ‘Higher than Heaven’ or one of the rockers.” He said an elaborate stage has been set up for the performance.

During his downtime in Los Angeles, Mr. Fabb has been playing drums for throwback rock band Black Heart Vacancy. He describes its genre as post-grunge.

“It’s music nobody gets to hear anymore,” he said. “The vocalist has a raspy voice; he sounds like Kurt Cobain from Nirvana mixed with Lemmy from Motörhead.”

Following “American Idol,” Mr. Fabb and the James Durbin band will go on tour with hard-rocking Buckcherry, playing one of the tour’s final dates at the Paramount Theatre in Huntington May 18.

“It’s crazy that on one of our last dates I’ll get to come back to Long Island,” he said.

His mother couldn’t be more excited about the performance, recalling seeing her son play Madison Square Garden. Spotting his tour bus outside was surreal, she said, but not as much as when he spied her in the audience.

“He crossed his drumsticks and then pointed them at me,” she said, “I screamed so loud when he came out on stage.”

She’s proud that her son’s musical talent is paired with a strong dose of humility.

“He has his own showmanship that comes naturally,” she said. “He’s not afraid to take on that role. He’s very comfortable with it but, at the same time, he isn’t self-absorbed. He just doesn’t seem to have that in him.”

Mr. Fabb himself describes his successes as “just a streak of good luck. I’m definitely not asking for it.”

He describes his mom as the rock to his roll, the “rock and roll mom” that always let him and his friends play in their finished basement.

“I’d sit on the landing and watch him and he was just in his own world,” Ms. Fabb said. “He’d turn around and see me and I’d just nod. I want nothing more than for him to be happy. Not everyone can have a job that they love that much.”

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