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This Is Hardcore: Deleting Miles with Daniel Fang

This Is Hardcore: Deleting Miles with Daniel Fang

As a member of the running community, you know full well how exciting it is when you come upon a new club member. You’re at a party, and you meet someone, and they say, ‘I just started running, actually,’ and it’s like meeting another new best friend. I imagine this is what it was like for the Heaven’s Gate followers when a new inductee arrived, but kinda better because the running cult isn’t waiting for aliens to present themselves, and there are no plans for mass suicide (got dark, sorry). 


Drummer Daniel Fang from the Baltimore-based hardcore band Turnstile just got into running, and he’s taken to it like a motherfucker. His first run quickly led to his first half marathon, and his first marathon is only months away. I won’t spoil the interview by telling how recently Daniel started running, but I will say this: watch out, Kilian Jornet Burgada. There’s a new fast boy in town.


Photos courtesy of Rebecca Lader and Alex Henery

Race photo courtesy of D. Fang

How many bands are you in right now? There’s Turnstile, Angel Du$t, Praise...

Well, Turnstile is the main one. I’m kinda in Angel Du$t and kinda in Praise, but at the moment I’m trying not to be. They both found touring drummers, and I’m glad that’s the case because they don’t have to suffer from Turnstile being so busy, know what I mean? But I still write with both bands.

I think it’s interesting that there’s always been this international shortage of drummers; like, most drummers are in at least three bands. 

Yeah, that’s a definitely a thing, especially if it’s punk-rock or straightedge, the parameters are even more narrow.

How’s Turnstile going? You guys just get bigger and bigger, right? 

Yeah, I mean, there’s always been steady growth, but ever since live music came back after the pandemic, it’s been too fast to keep up with, honestly.

Were you just on tour?

Yeah, we’ve actually been on perpetual tour since 2021. Right now is the biggest break we’ve had since the COVID lockdown.

How big of a break are we talkin’?

We have, like, three and a half months right now.

'I’d never really run before, but I was really skinny, which helped. Back then, I just played video games all day at home, so I was very sedentary.'

Nice. Okay, so this issue is the ‘Firsts’ issue, so it’s all about first this and first that

Oh, cool.

Okay, here’s a few ‘firsts’ questions for you.

Okay, cool.

They’re like icebreakers.

Okay.

First drum kit?

My first drum kit was a CB drum kit, which is a classic beginner kit in America. It was deep forest green. I’ll never forget it. It was a one-hundred-dollar, entry-level drum kit, but it meant the world to me.

Cool. First record.

Like vinyl? Like a physical record?

This one might not work. How old are you?

I’m 33.

Were CDs a thing for you growing up?  

Oh, yeah, yeah, definitely.

Okay, first CD.

Let me think... It was either Evil Empire by Rage Against the Machine or something by H2O... I’m gonna say Evil Empire, though.

First kiss?

Oh, man...

You gotta remember your first kiss!

No, I do, it was just painfully awkward.

Just give us the basic stats.

Okay. Age 13 in the middle of a field at, like, a haunted theme park.

Name?

Raquel.

'...they got me reading Goggins and listening to podcasts, and that got me hyped up... You know, classic intro: listening to Goggins and getting hyped.'

Raquel at the haunted theme park. Got it. Okay, now we segue into running—first run?

When I was twelve years old doing... I don’t know the name for outside the US, but in middle school, there’s this run test in physical education class where they have a beep sound, and you run from one end of the room to the other, and you keep doing it until everyone is eliminated. It’s like a game show. And I won that, but I felt like I was gonna die.

You won that when you were twelve?

I did. I’d never really run before, but I was really skinny, which helped. Back then, I just played video games all day at home, so I was very sedentary.

Right.

Actually, I did some martial arts, so I guess I had some cardio from that, but I didn’t run before that.

So, that run test wasn’t the start of your running career, was it?

No, no, but the P.E. teacher took me aside afterward and said, ‘Hey, you should sign up for the track team,’ and I was like, ‘Is that after school?’ and he was like, ‘Yeah,’ and I was like, ‘Aw, hell no. I gotta go home and play computer games!’ 


[laughter]

You’re a recent convert, right? Like you only got into running recently.

Yes.

When did you start?

I think it was about five months ago now.

Five months? No way.

Yeah. Pretty recent.

How’d you start? 

Well, there are a couple of variables. One of my best friends on tour, Alex [Henery], who plays in Fiddlehead and Basement, he’s our videographer and photographer, and he’s an avid runner. So, I’d see him going out all the time. Like, after soundcheck, I’d see him in his full Satisfy outfit, like, literally head-to-toe—

Good, good. This is good.

And he’d be like, ‘Alright, I’m gonna go off and do a 10K. I’ll be back in a little bit.’ And I was like, ‘Man, I wanna join you on one of those.’ So, we did a 5K in the brutally hot Texas weather, which was a pretty gnarly intro, but I loved it.

'It was pretty surreal being surrounded by that many people running. I’m used to running by myself or with maybe one other person, so being in a sea of 5000 people, it was definitely a brand-new experience.'

Did you continue running with him for the rest of the tour?

A little bit, but not that frequently, because after that first run, I had debilitatingly sore calf muscles for two or three weeks.

And you’ve gotta be able to hit that bass drum.

Yeah, but I did a few runs here and there on that tour. I was talking to a couple of other people on tour who were also runners: Travis Barker from Blink182 and two of the security guards working for Blink—Damien and Pepe—and they were all about working out and running, and they got me reading Goggins and listening to podcasts, and that got me hyped up... You know, classic intro: listening to Goggins and getting hyped.


[laughter]

Travis is about to do his first half-marathon, right?

Yeah, on New Year’s Eve.

That’s awesome. Everyone’s running. I guess by the time you go on tour again, you’ll be a seasoned runner, and you’ll get to run different cities every couple of days, right?

Yeah, definitely. I started running on that Blink182 tour, and I couldn’t run too often ‘cause I was sore, and my body was just acclimating to it—

Right, right.

So, I didn’t want it to negatively impact the shows. But after that tour, we went to Europe for a couple of weeks, and I ended up running in Europe a whole lot. Which was really cool in the cities, but also the festivals because the festivals would be out in the woods somewhere, and I’d just put on my trail shoes and run around the woods and hopefully not get lost. But it’s such a cool way to explore a new city when you’re on tour, you know, getting out there, getting a workout and feeling good, listening to music—

You listen to music when you run?

Actually, I don’t that much anymore because I started doing this low heart rate training to try and keep it in a specific zone, and when I do that, I can’t listen to music ‘cause it spikes my heart rate. So, mostly I’ll listen to podcasts, audiobooks, things like that.

What are you training for at the moment? I know you just ran your first half recently, right?

Yeah, that was the race I started training for when I first took up running. I immediately wanted a goal to work towards, and that informed what my training looked like. So, I did the half, and now I’m just kinda casually running and keeping an aerobic base, but I want to do a full marathon next. But that’s kinda difficult to plan because we’re still working out our touring schedule for next year, and I want to plan accordingly. So, yeah, that’s the next goal.

What was the half you did?

It was the Baltimore City Half. It’s not a big one, but it was cool. It was pretty surreal being surrounded by that many people running. I’m used to running by myself or with maybe one other person, so being in a sea of 5000 people, it was definitely a brand-new experience.

It’s sick, isn’t it? The energy at the start, and for the whole race, is just incredible.

Yeah. I loved it. It was raining, and it was cold, and I just loved seeing people do their warmup routines or just try to stay warm; and all that nervous, excited energy, it just looked like chaos, in the best way possible.

'I mean, it would be cool to try and run some kind of conservative ultra at some time—'


How much time did you have between deciding to start running and the Baltimore half?

Exactly three months. So, it actually seemed perfect because a lot of the generic, boilerplate programs I looked up were, like, three-month couch-to-marathon things.

And what was your time?

I actually don’t know because I had my watch time, and then there was the gun time, and then the chip elapsed time, and they were all different.

You should always just go with the best one.


[laughter]


I think the median, based on all of them, was 1:38.

Damn. That’s pretty good for a first crack. And I think Baltimore is meant to be one of the more challenging races, right?

Well, I was talking to some runner friends, and they told me that, too, because of how hilly it is. But I didn’t even consider that going in. It didn’t occur to me that, of course, different cities would have different courses. It was really cool, though. I’d never run in those conditions. It was cold and drizzly, which was so much easier than running in the Texas heat. And then the downhills were fun, too. I’d never experienced those kinda downhills before, but it was really fun letting loose and just going into a controlled fall.

Right. I think there are a lot of different techniques for going downhill, but that’s what I do, too. I actually let my arms just fall limp at my sides for some of it, just to get some relief. 

Yeah! Dude. Me too. Okay, I’m glad to hear that that’s something you do, because I was doing that too, and I thought that whoever was behind me was going to laugh at me. I was really cognizant of my form for all of the run, but on the downhills, I’d shake my arms out pretty dramatically and let them hang like limp noodles.

I mean, I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do, but that’s what I do. It’s just an opportunity to relax a little. 

For sure.

So, you said you read some Goggins—have you read anything else?

I’ve read both of the Goggins books and Matt Fitzgerald’s 80/20 Running, but that’s about it. I listen to a lot of podcasts...

Man, you’ve totally got the bug. 

Oh, yeah, for sure.

But I know you’re into climbing too, and you’re a drummer in a bunch of bands... Dude, you might have to give it all up and just go full-psycho runner guy.


[laughter]


Dude, so that’s the difficult part. It’s like there’s too many things! When you’re passionate about a bunch of physical things, and there’s only so much sleep and food and recovery you can do, you know, between all those activities... I mean, it’s a very good problem to have, but I find myself struggling with these priorities a little bit—in the best way. But I think if there’s a race to train for, then I’ll do those runs; there’s no way I’m missing planned runs. But because right now there’s not a race, I admit that climbing has taken over a little more, and the cold weather is not as convenient. It’s pretty frigid right now in Baltimore.

I love that you’ll be able to choose a marathon in 2024 based on your touring schedule. Like, you don’t know where it’s gonna be yet, but it’s happening. 

Yeah! It’s hard for me to imagine doing that, like, I’ve never travelled somewhere to compete or do a race or anything, so I’m excited about that.

I feel like you’re going to become an ultra-dude by 2025.

I don’t know about that.

It’s pretty crazy to go from ‘I’m going to start running’ to a half marathon in three months and then a full marathon less than a year later. I think you’ll keep pushing it out until you win Leadville in 2025.


[laughter]


I don’t know about that, but... I mean, it would be cool to try and run some kind of conservative ultra at some time—

There it is.

Maybe.

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