COOP3RDRUMM3R: Georgia State’s own Casey Cooper behind the beat

Casey Cooper, GSU Marching Band member gaining notriety online, shows off his drum set. Courtesy of Zach Sturino

Casey Cooper, GSU Marching Band member gaining notriety online, shows off his drum set.  Courtesy of Zach Sturino
Casey Cooper, GSU Marching Band member gaining notriety online, shows off his drum set.
Courtesy of Zach Sturino


One hundred million. This isn’t the number of hours GSU Marching Band student Casey Cooper spends practicing as a drummer. It’s the number of views he received on his YouTube videos and the views continue to increase each day.

COOP3RDRUMM3R, the name Cooper goes by on YouTube, is a business major with endorsements from Pearl Drums and Avedis Zildjian Company.

When he was 6 years old, Cooper started playing after finding drumsticks in his dad’s old boxes.

“I got my first pair of drumsticks which were an old pair that my dad had,” Cooper said. “He wasn’t really a drummer for long; he wanted to play the drums but never really ended up doing it. I just started banging around on stuff and so my parents got me a drum pad and drumsticks for Christmas.”

Now 23 years old, Cooper has uploaded over 695 videos and currently has over 577,000 subscribers on YouTube. Many of the videos are from years ago, but there are others that are relatively new.

“I really hope to inspire and promote and show how much fun it is to play [the] drums. And hopefully create more drummers and show people what it is I do and how much fun it is to jump behind a drum set,” Cooper said.

Playing with fire

During some performances, Cooper will stop for a brief moment during the song to look down. He will eventually continue playing — but with a pair of flaming drumsticks in his hands.

“I’m a little bit of a pyromaniac,” Cooper said [while laughing]. “That probably sounds bad, but I like fire.”
Fire drumming wasn’t part of Cooper’s original theme. He said that when he saw it at concerts, he wanted to incorporate it into his drumming. Cooper wanted to do something special for his channel on YouTube marking the moment he reached his 200 – 250th video. So fire drumming was his answer.

“I’ve never really been afraid of it,” Cooper recalls. “I know it’s dangerous, so I’m careful with it.”
When Cooper first started fire drumming, the amount of preparation needed resulted in Cooper taking a break from it.

“People kind of assume that’s what I do,” Cooper said. “Which now it is, but it’s been funny how multiple gigs have contacted me and [said] ‘Hey, we want you to come drum.’ ‘Alright.’ Then they’re like, ‘You’re going to do the fire drumming right?’ And I’m like ‘Well, ugh, now that you mention it, I can. It wasn’t necessarily part of the original plan, but let’s do it.’”

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YouTube: Replying with kindness

Using YouTube as a way to “showcase” his life as a drummer, Cooper has come a long way since his channel creation back in 2007. Cooper recalls when he and a former Georgia State student uploaded their first drumming video onto his YouTube channel.

“We were sitting in a room and we just put together one of our favorite video[s] we’ve ever done,” Cooper said. “We watched it hit that little marker on YouTube that says 301 plus views, so that was the coolest moment.”

However, Cooper has had his share of both positivity and negativity on his channel. There are not only those that support but also those that criticize his music, technique and playing. With experience, he has learned to take it all in stride.

His Inspiration
Dave Grohl
Who he is: Lead singer of Foo Fighters and former drummer for Nirvana
Why: “What it is about his playing that I take to heart is that it was never too insane [from] a technical standpoint,” Cooper said.

“For me, there isn’t another option but to be positive. It just hurts to be negative to someone even if they deserve it,” Cooper said.

Cooper believes that his audience respects him more when he doesn’t respond with negativity and that they want to support someone who is positive.

“I mean no one wants to follow someone that is brutal or mean to other people,” Cooper said. “They enjoy the respect you have for others and they enjoy when you’re a positive influence on their lives.”

The soul within

Fire drumming and staying safe
Cooper keeps a bucket filled with water at his side
Why: Just in case he needs to douse himself or extinguish the drumsticks in a hurry.
He constantly checks equipment for damage during a performance.
He keeps the flames far away from himself for safety.

While watching one of Cooper’s videos, it’s clear on his face that he loves what he does. From the smile on his lips and the crinkles in his eyes to the nodding of his head, he doesn’t simply play but enjoys playing.

“That is one of the things that stands out the most to people is that I have so much fun when I play,” said Cooper.

“When I get behind a kit, it’s the most freeing, amazing feeling because I get to do what I love. I get to let that passion and enjoyment for music flow through me onto those drums.”

Cooper does not only think of himself but also of his fans who listen and watch him as well. He enjoys when others are affected by his music.

“To know that what I’m doing right at that moment, either in live performance or in a video, is gonna put a smile on someone else’s face… that’s really what I’m thinking about [when I play],” Cooper said.

Cooper said that there are two types of drummers: Drummers who can learn from teaching themselves and drummers who a have natural talent. Cooper believes the beat lives within him naturally; he spends 16 hours a day creating because there’s ‘nothing [he] love[s] more.’

“I know for a fact that I’m one of those that [has the music] just inside of me,” he said. “It doesn’t take a lot for me to learn something or for me to be able to do something because it just comes through me so well.”