Born into a musical family, Ignacio Berroa was a first call session musician in his native Havana, Cuba, before emigrating to the US during the Mariel Boatlift. Shortly after his arrival in NY, Ignacio began a twelve year association with Dizzy Gillespie, which led to gigs with a who's who of jazz and Latin luminaries. Ignacio tells Joe about the advantages of growing up in Cuba; losing his mother at an early age; the agonies of a perfectionist outlook; navigating through marriages and divorces; and his lifelong love of baseball.
Butch Vig began his career drumming with various polka outfits and rock bands like Spooner and Fire Town. Also a prolific producer, Butch recorded Nirvana's breakthrough "Nevermind", along with landmark albums for bands like Sonic Youth, Die Kreuzen, and Smashing Pumpkins. Not content to stay behind the mixing desk, he also co-founded the massively popular band Garbage. He tells Joe about growing up in Viroqua, WI; developing his musical ear; navigating through conflict; and creative reinvention.
In this bonus mini-episode, Damon Che answers listener questions about his relationship with Ian Williams, the infamous "Pizza Incident", underwear preferences, and his propensity for Sabian B8 Pros cymbals.
As drummer for the highly influential band Don Caballero, Damon Che established himself as one of the most unique and beloved drummers of his generation. But, in 2009, his "creative window" closed; and he stopped playing. He tells Joe about his musical roots, what he's been up to during his hiatus, giving up alcohol, working a day job, and returning to music as a session musician. He also tells his side of the now infamous "Bellini Incident" and reflects on the creative dynamic of Don Cab. Make sure to listen to his bonus episode next week, wherein he answers listener questions!
As drummer for Little Richard, Charles Connor helped invent rock and roll. He tells Joe about working with legends like Richard, Professor Longhair, Shirley & Lee, and Sam Cooke. He also discusses working a day job at KROQ; marrying a woman 30 year after meeting her halfway around the world; his love of "material things"; and the current incarnation of The Upsetters.
Joe hosts a live round table discussion featuring Jim Keltner, Bobbye Hall, James Gadson, Jim Sclavunos, and John "Drumbo" French. This episode was recorded live in Los Angeles at the release party for The Drum Thing, a fantastic book of photography focused on many of the world's most interesting drummers.
Clyde Stubblefield was a towering genius whose drumming helped define modern popular music. He passed away Saturday at age 73, due to kidney failure. Unfortunately, Clyde died with no insurance; so a GoFundMe page has been set up to cover his funeral expenses. Joe speaks to Joey Banks, Clyde's longtime friend and protege, about what you can do to help Clyde's family. Then, we re-play our conversation with Clyde from last year.
Martin Chamber’s deft, propulsive drumming style helped The Pretenders break out of the British punk scene to become one of the world’s best-loved pop bands. Martin talks to Joe about how drums just made sense to him, working with Chrissie Hynde, destroying hotel rooms, parenthood, the gift of hindsight and the tragic death of The Pretenders co-founders Pete Farndon and James Honeyman-Scott.
In this bonus mini-episode, Martin Chambers--of The Pretenders--answers listeners' questions.
Jeremiah Green's brilliant style of drumming walks the fine line between chaos and control. He talks to Joe about challenging family situations; learning to manage depression; co-founding, leaving, and returning to Modest Mouse; and personal evolution.
Davey Brozowski's versatility has led to collaborations with Black Whales, The Catheters, Modest Mouse, Danger Mouse, and more. He tells Joe about how he joined Modest Mouse; teenage tours; creating an artisanal soap company; and working with legendary drum builder (and past guest) Gregg Keplinger.
Joey Waronker possesses a powerful groove and a gift for nuance and shading. These attributes--combined with a deep understanding of production and a knack for electronic percussion--are what distinguish him as one of the leading drummers of the modern paradigm. He tells Joe about growing up in a musical family; studying with the legendary Freddie Gruber; his love of the punk label, SST Records; overcoming his neuroses through therapy; and working with artists like Beck and REM. He also answers listener questions.
Coady Willis has been busy for the past two decades, powering some of the heaviest bands to emerge from Washington State. He tells Joe about a corrupt martial arts instructor; tour adventures with The Murder City Devils; achieving a balance between self confidence and self doubt; forming Big Business with Jared Warren; turning off "the passenger"; and joining forces with Melvins.
Throughout a career that has spanned over five decades, Airto Moreira has distinguished himself as an exceptionally innovative percussionist, singer, and composer. He tells Joe about his upbringing in rural Brazil, his early gigs on horseback, arriving in New York, recording the landmark Bitches Brew record with Miles Davis, collaborating with his wife--singer Flora Purim, and his sense of spirituality. A great conversation with one of the greatest musicians of our time.
Carla Azar answers listeners' questions about PJ Harvey, Jim Keltner, Elvis Costello, and...paradiddles.
Carla Azar has worked with everyone from PJ Harvey to Jack White, but her soulfully bionic style crystallized within Autolux, a trio she co-founded in 2001. She tells Joe about her childhood in Alabama, being mentored by T Bone Burnett, the inner workings of Autolux, acting in "Frank", and overcoming tragedy by aiming for the light.
Although they were only active for five years during their initial run, Drive Like Jehu was one of the most beloved and influential rock bands of the 90s. Mark Trombino's grooves, which achieved a crucial balance between cerebral cleverness and visceral power, were--in part--the product of his obsessive nature. He tells Joe about how, after the band broke up, he was able to channel his perfectionism into a successful career as a producer, and yet another career as a restaurateur.
Chris Wilson's exceptional drumming helped establish Ted Leo and the Pharmacists as one of the most compelling bands of their generation. Chris tells Joe about listening to "Rhiannon" on the eight track in his mom's Camaro, losing his father at a young age, learning to be less self-critical, and overcoming a guidance counselor's low expectations to realize his dreams.
While he was still a teenager, London May made his first recordings with Reptile House for legendary label Dischord. Soon, he joined forces with rock icon, Glenn Danzig, in the band Samhain. He talks to Joe about his childhood as a punk rocker in Baltimore; working with a young Dan Higgs in Reptile House; being the father to a business-minded son; and his multifaceted career as a drummer, actor, pediatric nurse.
It's Episode 100, and our first guest, Fugazi's Brendan Canty, returns as guest host to extract the origin story of Joe Wong and The Trap Set. Joe talks about his childhood in Milwaukee; meeting his composing partner in the experimental theater scene; scoring for film and tv; and his time with artists such as Parts & Labor, Mary Timony, Marnie Stern, and Akarso.
By the time Ernie Isley joined his family's band at age 15, The Isley Brothers had already made major contributions to popular music, penning "Shout" and "Twist and Shout". A dexterous multi-instrumentalist and prolific songwriter, Ernie helped usher the group to new creative and commercial heights. He tells Joe about the band's six-decade-long legacy, losing his father, living with Jimi Hendrix, overcoming creative blocks, and writing the ultimate baby-making music.
For the past four decades, Amy Knoles has pushed the boundaries of percussion and contemporary music in general. As the executive director of California E.A.R. unit, she has championed the work of living composers worldwide. She serves as a mentor to bright, young musicians at CalArts. As a composer, she stretches the limits of sound and light. She's also worked in the rock world, with everyone from Flea to Zappa. She and Joe talk about their native Milwaukee, empathy, embracing lack of control, and how much crying is healthy.
Matt Tong's inventively staggered grooves and unhinged energy helped launch Bloc party to critical acclaim and worldwide commercial success. He talks to Joe about how he developed his unique style, issues unique to half-Asian people, why he left Bloc Party abruptly, couples therapy, and overcoming creative fear.
As the drummer for The Locust, Gabe Serbian powered one of the most unique, frenetic, and influential bands to hail from the fertile San Diego rock scene of the 90s. Gabe talks to Joe about growing up in a suburban nightmare, discovering metal and punk, ditching school to play drums, trashing the house of an enemy, and how fatherhood changed his life.
Matt Cameron burst onto the Seattle rock scene in the early 80s. His singular style combines brute force, exceptional finesse, and a keen compositional sensibility. Matt tells Joe about his SoCal childhood; why--despite a lot of hard work--he considers himself lucky; his tenure with Soundgarden and Pearl Jam; his parenting style; and why he doesn’t think of himself as a rock star. This is a great talk with one of best drummers working today!