Ben Blackwell first made a name for himself as one of two drummers for the Detroit-based band The Dirtbombs. He has also been active as a journalist, songwriter, and owner of Cass Records. He met with Joe at his office in Nashville, where he oversees vinyl production for Third Man Records.
In this bonus mini-episode, Mac McNeilly answers your questions about The Jesus Lizard, prog rock, and working out. The topic of Phil Collins is also discussed.
When he was a young man, Gregg Keplinger sneaked into a coat room to hear John Coltrane play with Elvin Jones. He drew inspiration from that experience and developed a fiery, sensitive style of his own. Aside from his career as a drummer, Gregg is revered as a drum builder; and--due to his exceptional wisdom and empathy--he has mentored many of the greatest drummers from the Seattle area.
With a massive sound and a pummeling groove, Mac McNeilly served as the anchor for the compellingly bizarre, highly influential band The Jesus Lizard. At the peak of his powers (and popularity), he walked away from it all to focus on his family. He tells Joe about childhood chicanery; the machinations of The Jesus Lizard; and what he learned about his core identity after leaving the band.
As one of the funkiest drummers working today, Homer Steinweiss carries the torch lit by legends such as Clyde Stubblefield, Jabo Starks, and James Gadson. He tells Joe about growing up in Manhattan; his early love of grunge; recording with The Mighty Imperials at age 16; and how he came into his own as an artist.
Sebastian Thomson burst onto the scene as the drummer of the genre-defying band Trans Am. He tells Joe about growing up as a "super nerd" in Argentina and The United States; withdrawing from academia to pursue music; raging with Trans Am; auditioning for his current band Baroness; and why his playing is better than ever.
As the third drummer for punk pioneers, The Ramones, Richie Ramone brought new creative energy to the band--not only as a drummer, but as a songwriter and vocalist. Frontman, Joey, once said that Richie was the best thing to ever happen to The Ramones. Richie tells Joe about being a bratty kid, touring with a top 40 group, joining the legendary Ramones, golfing in Scottsdale, and revitalizing his musical career.
Joe is joined by DC resident, Amy Farina, a drummer who possesses a supernaturally spacious groove, coupled with an inventive compositional aesthetic. Amy tells Joe about her childhood in Pennsylvania; her background in visual art; her tenure with bands such as The Evens, The Warmers, and Lois; her compulsion to work; and parenthood.
Joe first witnessed Ryan Rapsys's singular brilliance at a basement show in Milwaukee in 1996. Since then, he has considered Ryan one of the very best drummers of his generation. Ryan tells Joe about how he learned to play Rush's 2112 as a toddler; how he burst onto the Chicago rock scene with bands like Gauge, Heroic Doses, and Euphone; how he lost his way after crippling tragedy; and how--now recovered--he is poised to create more great work.
Joe is thrilled to welcome one of his favorite drummers, Stewart Copeland, to The Trap Set. A founding member of The Police, Stewart is one of the most admired and influential drummers of all time. He tells Joe about how drumming made him a man; his father's background as a CIA agent; why he was largely unhappy during The Police's massively successful reign; his film scoring approach; and his parenting philosophy.
In this bonus mini-episode, Joe asks Stewart Copeland listener questions. He talks about group therapy with The Police, his recording approach, Klark Kent, and a famous phrase scrawled on his drum heads.
Damon Atkinson is perhaps best known for his drumming with Braid and Hey Mercedes. His cleverly composed, crisply executed beats are essential elements of those bands' formulas. He tells Joe about becoming fascinated with drumming while still a toddler; his punk rock roots in the northern suburbs of Milwaukee; how his DIY background served him well in the world of music business; and how--at age nineteen--he balanced fatherhood and musical ambition.
Edwin Bonilla started his musical journey playing rock and R&B on drum kit, but as a teenager he transitioned to timbales, bongos, and congas. He developed an aggressive, hard-hitting style that brought him to the attention of legends such as: Celia Cruz, Arturo Sandaval, and Stevie Wonder. He is perhaps best known, though, for his decades-long run with Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine. Joe caught up with Edwin before a recent performance of Estefan's hit Broadway musical, On Your Feet.
Jody Stephens drummed for Big Star, a band that was criminally overlooked during its initial lifetime but eventually became monumentally influential. Jody tells Joe about how he fell in love with drums, why he studied accounting and marketing, his creative role in Big Star, and how he has stayed busy at Memphis's legendary Ardent Studios.
In this bonus mini-episode, Gina Schock talks about performing with Baltimore legend and John Waters collaborator, Edith Massey, in Edie and the Eggs.
Daru Jones was born to two church music directors; and although he is rooted in Gospel music, he was also drawn to jazz and hip hop at a young age. He tells Joe about living in both the sacred and secular worlds; his genre spanning career; running his own label, Rusic Records; and how faith informs his life.
Peter Erskine talks about generosity among drummers and jazz musicians in general. Don't be a dick, share your knowledge.
Gina Schock moved from Baltimore to Los Angeles with the intention of becoming a rock star, and she soon fulfilled her dreams as the drummer of The Go-Go's. Gina's monstrous groove and distinctively catchy beats proved integral to the band's iconic sound. She tells Joe about ruling the pop charts; moving forward after the band's initial run, writing hits for Disney stars; recovering from drug addiction; and why she loves music as much as ever.
In this bonus mini-episode, Gina Schock answers questions from Jon Wurster, Maggie Vail, Danny Frankel, and more!
Sara Lund plays drums with a mesmeric groove and enough bombast to make even the most angular rhythms feel compelling. She tells Joe about her childhood as the daughter of a folklorist and potter; the formative experience of seeing Sheila E. and Prince on the Purple Rain tour; discovering punk rock; navigating through difficult band dynamics in the highly influential Unwound; and recovering from heartbreak by reconnecting with music.
Kellii Scott moved to Los Angeles at age 17 with dreams of rock stardom. He finally accomplished this goal as the drummer for Failure's acclaimed 1996 album, Fantastic Planet. After the dissolution of the band, he stayed busy as an artist but fell deep into drug addiction and homelessness. He tells Joe how he got sober, learned to forge lasting relationships, and why he loves his life now more than ever.
At various stages in his life, Charlie Hall has been a drummer, guitarist, keyboardist, teacher, and social worker. He tells Joe about his Muppet drum set; the inner workings of The War On Drugs; his fascination with group dynamics; and jazz hats. (The previous version of this episode was corrupted. If you originally downloaded prior to Wed., 14:30 GMT, please re-download!)
Peter Erskine started his career with the great Stan Kenton, and his career reached new heights when he joined Weather Report in the late 1970s. He tells his Joe about his musical childhood, his time with several iconic artists, and his underlying artistic philosophy.
Here at The Trap Set, there is no artist that is more loved and admired than Prince—who aside from being THE towering creative genius of his generation—was a phenomenal drummer. Though we never had an opportunity to have Prince on our show, we did have the honor of speaking with one of his closest collaborators and another rhythmic genius—Sheila E. This is a re-broadcast of our conversation from last year. Rest In Peace, Prince. Hope u are “a whole lot better off than the fools u left here.”
Poni Silver is the drummer for The Ettes, but her talents extend far beyond music. She tells Joe about her journey through art, dance, rollerskating, and fashion design. She explains how she learned to drum after only three lessons; why her parents were unimpressed when The Ettes played on national television; and how the band has evolved into an all encompassing arts collective.