I played a lot more loosely before joining this band. I think I may have tightened up a bit more after dropping a few sticks, which combined with increased attack on the cheap kit has led me to go into a death grip at times. I catch myself doing it here and there. I guess it's a combination of things I need to be more conscious of. What's the saying?..Recognizing you have a problem is the first step.I had the same problem when I first started playing years ago. I'd get blisters and break alot of sticks. The sticks I used were large too, which doesn't help.
In my opinion, you can alleviate this problem by holding the sticks more loosely in your hands, using your wrists for power rather than your forearms.
You might lose a few sticks at first while you're playing. Just have some extras nearby and hope you don't nail your guitar player too badly in the process.