Tony Hajjar's explosive, emotionally-raw style propelled At The Drive-In to mainstream success. He tells Joe about emigrating to the US from Lebanon, losing both of his parents at an early age, his tight relationship with his brother, the band dynamic of ATDI, breaking up just after breaking into the mainstream, Sparta, staying in a psychological "survival mode", creating the stability he's always craved, and creating a thriving business with his wife.
Kate Schellenbach’s formative musical experience was in the choir at the Church of St. Luke in Greenwich Village; but soon enough, she was watching Clem Burke do lines at CBGB. Kate tells Joe about drumming for an early, punk-influenced version of The Beastie Boys; achieving popular success with Luscious Jackson; singing on Broadway as a child; her second career as an Emmy-Award-winning TV producer; and raising a son.
John "J.R" Robinson has an extraordinary sense of time, a crisp tone, and a gift for developing rhythmic hooks. All of these attributes contribute to his status as one of the most in-demand session drummers of all time. Joe visited J.R. at his home to discuss: his childhood in Iowa; why his drum set was his best friend; attending Berklee College; joining Rufus and moving to LA; working with a host of iconic artists; and why marriage is a bad idea (at least until you have your life together).
Pete Moffett cut his teeth in the DC punk scene, where he developed a signature style balancing angular inventiveness with oversized bombast. He talks to Joe about why he's so hard on himself; transitioning from an ELO-heavy diet to punk rock; the ramifications of being a recovering alcoholic; coming out and meeting his partner of 25 years; and drum teching for high profile artists.
Dave Elitch has the rare ability to deconstruct the craft of drumming on a granular level. This gift has led to a diversity gigs ranging from The Mars Volta to Justin Timberlake. Dave's primary passion, though, is for teaching. At age 34, he's taught a who's-who of professional drummers, some of whom are twice Dave's age and icons in their own right. Dave tells Joe about how he fell in love with drumming; his teaching style; his love of visual art; and the parallels between therapy and drum instruction.
In this bonus mini-episode, actor Ezra Miller (Justice League, Fantastic Beasts) talks about harnessing anxiety for creative endeavors, diarrhea, and Philip Glass. This is an excerpt from an upcoming episode about actors who are also drummers. Check out the debut album from Ezra's band, Sons of an Illustrious Father, out now!
Brian Blade burst on the scene in the early 90s and has since distinguished himself as one of the all time greats.
Brian met with Joe in Chicago to discuss: his musical beginnings in church; how he developed his gifts as an artist; what he learned from his older brother, drummer Brady Blade; working with iconoclasts ranging from Joni Mitchell to Wayne Shorter; being “in the moment, almost to a fault”; reuniting with his childhood sweetheart after nearly 30 years apart; and how within any one thing, everything else exists.
Musical mythology is rife with stories of troubled genius. As an antidote, here’s a conversation with a thoroughly joyful genius.
Rage Against the Machine is an exceptionally rare band that managed to combine a radical, populist message with massive popular success. At the core of the band is Brad Wilk's drumming, which combines an explosive groove and hypnotic use of space. Brad visits The Trap Set to discuss: his formative love of Van Halen; Studying with David Garibaldi; the creative dynamic of RATM, Audioslave, and Prophets of Rage; playing flute; his family's roots in the jewelry business; parenting; a nine month love affair with cocaine; and his growing interest in meditation. Finally, he answers listeners' questions.
In 1969, Michael Shrieve took the world by storm with his jaw-dropping performance at Woodstock. His raw power, combined with jazz-inflected finesse, was a crucial component to the band's success. Over the subsequent 50 years, Michael's adventurous body of work has comprised collaborations with: Stomu Yamashta, Steve Winwood, Al Di Meola, Klaus Schulze, Andy Summers, Mick Jagger, etc. Joe met with Michael at his studio in Seattle to discuss Michael's childhood as a devout alter boy; his first drum kit (made from scraps of carpet); joining Santana and rocketing to superstardom as a teenager; his "left of center" aesthetic; creative inertia; guru shopping; and how too much success strained his relationship with a famous bandleader.
This week, we share Joe's epic live panel with Matt Cameron (Soundgarden, Pearl Jam); Ruby Dunphy (Thunderpussy); Tendai Maraire (Shabazz Palaces); and Jason McGerr (Death Cab for Cutie). This episode was recorded in front of a capacity crowd at KEXP in Seattle.
Karriem Riggins is a rare artist whose creative voice resonates in improvised music and popular music alike. Karriem spoke to Joe in front of a live audience at Ace Hotel Palm Springs about: being born into a musical family in Detroit; his definition of greatness and mastery; working with established legends like Ray Brown and modern legends like J Dilla; and he answers listener questions. Also, Trap Set friend--Jose Medeles--calls to talk about his new book, The Stoic Drummer.
Yesterday, John "Jabo" Starks--one of the most important drummers of the twentieth century--died of cancer. He was 79. In tribute, we're revisiting Joe's conversation with the legendary musician, originally recorded in Madison, WI, in 2015.
In the 80s and 90s, Barrett Martin was a member of seminal Seattle bands Screaming Trees, Mad Season, and Skin Yard; but according to Barrett, talking about his life as a rock drummer isn’t all that interesting. Instead, Barrett and Joe have a conversation about the perception of time, the feminine energy of the universe, Barrett’s studies as a Zen monk, the dangers of capitalism, and the nature of music and consciousness.
Adrienne Davies joined long-running Washington band Earth in 2001. She brought with her the requisite aptitude for slow tempos, and--over the course of several albums--developed a command of sonic nuance that perfectly complements and differentiates the band's meditative compositions. Adrienne speaks to Joe about: growing up surrounded by brothers, stage fright, feelings of creative inadequacy, breaking through those feelings through serious woodshedding, recovering from a serious back and head injury, her love of Jim White...and kitties!
Atom Willard joined Rocket from the Crypt when he was still in high school. During his ten-year tenure with the band, he honed a unique style, balancing punk rawness and precision. Atom tells Joe about: his Catholic upbringing in San Diego; his early fascination with Kiss (who would soon be displaced by bands like Iron Maiden); his time with bands like Rocket from the Crypt and Against Me; figuring out who he is outside of a band context; how he defines musical greatness; and how he is trying to be a better person.
Ralph Johnson brought his disciplined, unstoppable groove to Earth Wind and Fire in 1973; and over the subsequent 45 years, he’s played an important role in EWF’s timeless legacy of excellence. Joe visited Ralph at his home in Woodland Hills, CA, for a wide-ranging conversation about: his musical parents, growing up in LA, the creative dynamic of EWF, martial arts, nefarious technology, mind control, parenthood, and spirituality. This is a can’t-miss episode with a member of one of America’s most treasured bands.
Dan Bailey learned to play drums in church. By the time he was in his early twenties, he was the house drummer at one of the biggest churches in the US, and he was touring with top artists of Contemporary Christian Music. But upon reaching this professional apex, Dan discovered that his personal beliefs were no longer in alignment with the faith in which he was raised; and he left the church. Now the drummer and music director of Father John Misty, Dan tells Joe about: following his gut, fatherhood, the hellish notion of infinite bliss, the dynamics of FJM, and the eventuality of leaving professional music.
Adam Carson co-founded AFI in 1991, when he was still in high school. Nearly 30 years later, the band is still going strong and has far surpassed its initial, punk rock ambitions. Adam visited Trap Set HQ and told Joe about: his drummer father; being a "bad student"; how he defines becoming "better" as an artist; the inner workings of AFI; and discovering an identity beyond the band. Also, friend of the show, Patty Schemel, stopped by to read an excerpt from her excellent new memoir, Hit So Hard.
In this bonus mini-episode Joey Castillo answers listener questions about: recording techniques, his time with Scott Weiland, working out, and more! Want to hear Joey's full episode and 160 other guests, all for free? Subscribe to The Trap Set on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, NPROne, or wherever you get your podcasts!
Joey Castillo grew up in Gardena, CA, and he found an early musical home in the vital Southern California punk scene of the early 80s. Joey's unique style combines the frenetic energy of punk with a strong sense of swing and tasteful restraint. He tells Joe about growing up in a multi-generational home; seeing his punk heroes up close; developing his own musical personality; letting his instincts guide him through life; and his thoughts on becoming a dad. Tune in next week for a bonus episode, featuring Joey's answers to your questions!
Stephanie Luke grew up in a conservative, southern family, but she found her true tribe after discovering punk rock. She tells Joe about being a “nerdy” child, why she began playing drums in her mid 20s, how her band is central to her identity, the internal debate about whether to start a family, and why she wants to buy a house in the woods.
Orpheo McCord stops by The Trap Set to tell Joe about: being raised by a Merry Prankster and a model; living without a game plan; the shortcomings of music school; his work with everyone from The Fall to Cass McCombs; and how parental responsibility is a both burden and a joy. Check out Orpheo's new album, Recovery Inhale, now available on Sound Creature Records.
Although Love never became a household name like some of its contemporaries, the band is certainly one of the most innovative and influential rock bands of all time (and one of Joe’s favorites). Joe speaks to Michael Stuart about the 1960s LA rock scene; why he prefers not to listen to Love’s classic albums; how heroin became a normal part of life; how he attained sobriety; life after Love; and why being a musician is central to his identity, even though he no longer plays professionally.
Ronnie Vannucci joins Joe for a discussion about his childhood in Las Vegas; the genesis of The Killers and how they've navigated band dynamics over nearly 20 years; how he regards himself as an artist; and--of course--existential dread.
Last week, the world lost the great Leon "Ndugu" Chancler at the age of 65. Ndugu's art has been a constant presence in Joe's life for as long as he can remember, so he was thrilled that Mr. Chancler agreed to be the second guest on this show. That--in spite of his enormous success--he was willing to spend an hour with an unproven, inexperienced interviewer speaks to Ndugu's immense kindness and generosity of spirit. Ndugu, you are one of the very best, you've enriched the lives of billions of people the world over, and you'll be missed.