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The Trap Set with Joe Wong

Every Wednesday, Joe Wong talks to a different drummer about life as a drummer.
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The Trap Set with Joe Wong
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Oct 16, 2017

Fred Armisen stops by to discuss his new Netflix comedy special, "For Drummers Only". The show is being filmed at the historic Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, this Thursday 10/19. Visit thetrapset.net for tickets.

Oct 11, 2017

Raised in Los Angeles by a musician mother and punk rock dad, Lia Simone Braswell was playing with adults when she was still a child. She tells Joe about joining her best friend’s dad’s band, her commune-like tenure with Le Butcherettes, her fascination with linguistics, and overcoming personal tragedy.

Oct 4, 2017

The music of Tom Petty has been an integral part of Joe’s life for as long as he can remember, so this week we’re revisiting our amazingly inspirational conversation with Steve Ferrone of The Heartbreakers. Also, Joe talks about the massive impact Tom and the band have had on his life and pays tribute to the rock genius.

Sep 27, 2017

Chad Smith's unabashed hard rock style could have easily clashed with the funk-punk roots of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but instead he proved to be the catalyst that launched the band to international superstardom. His muscular, yet articulate drumming evokes a cross between P-Funk and Deep Purple and acts as the perfect anchor for the bestial rowdiness of his band mates.

Chad grew up in suburban Detroit, feeling like a square peg in a round hole. This unease led to misadventures in car theft, burglary, and even a stint in jail. Musically, he cut his teeth playing in countless Detroit clubs before moving to Los Angeles in 1988, during the Sunset Strip's heyday. He describes the immediate, explosive musical chemistry that has allowed the multi-decade success of the Chili Peppers. Chad also candidly discusses his evolution from living a “spiritually bankrupt” lifestyle to becoming a grounded, healthy family man.

Sep 20, 2017

A child of the MTV generation, Mark Guiliana grew up on Soundgarden, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Dr. Dre. He began playing drums relatively late in life, almost on a whim. But, his strong creative voice—inspired by a combination of post-bop heroes, glitchy experimental electronica, and the pop music of his youth—has established him as one of the most lauded and influential drummers of his generation. Mark and Joe talk about: protecting and following creative joy, the balance between intellect and intuition, the benefits of an underdog mentality, and Mark’s approach to fatherhood as a working musician. Then, Mark answers your questions about working with David Bowie on his final album, drumming for the great Matt Cameron, Fight Club, and more!

Sep 13, 2017

Louis Hayes arrived in New York at age 19; and over the next 60 years amassed a staggeringly great body of work. His collaborators have included: Cannonball Adderly, Oscar Peterson, John Coltrane, and many more of the giants of modern music. Louis talks to Joe about growing up in Detroit, lessons in manhood from Papa Jo Jones, the difficulties that come from being an uncompromising artist, and his new album dedicated to the great Horace Silver.

Sep 6, 2017

Xiu Xiu's Shayna Dunkelman uses her formal artistic training as a vehicle to explore the musical unknown. She tells Joe about being the only Indonesian Jew in Tokyo; her mom's new age music career; her background in pure math; her interest in socialism; and why female musicians--and drummers in particular--have to be extraordinarily assertive.

Aug 30, 2017

Over the past twenty years, Deerhoof's Greg Saunier has distinguished himself as one of the most fiercely adventurous, iconoclastic, and unique drummers of his generation. He and Joe talk about what it means to be a "good" artist; atomizing music; the cowardice behind the notion of "serving the song"; Laurie Anderson's Creation Stations; and Wittgenstein's Ladder. Then, Greg Answers YOUR questions about his life and art.

Aug 30, 2017

In this bonus mini-episode, Low's Mimi Parker answers listener questions! She and Joe discuss Mimi's winning bout with cancer, her favorite comedians, and the nature of personal responsibility. Make sure to subscribe to The Trap Set to hear Mimi's full episode, along with our entire back catalog--all for free!

Aug 23, 2017

Born in 1912, Viola Smith rose to fame during an era when female musicians were often relegated to novelty status; but over a career that spanned 50 years, she proved herself to be a visionary far ahead of her time. She talks to Joe about her childhood in Wisconsin, why becoming a traveling musician distanced her from religion, Chick Webb, Louis Belson, Buddy Rich ("not a likeable fellow"), and ignoring Frank Sinatra's advances.

Aug 23, 2017

In this bonus mini-episode, Stephen Perkins answers listeners' questions.

Aug 16, 2017

Ryan Sawyer grew up in Texas, where he joined At The Drive In just long enough to play on the band’s first album. Now a long time resident of New York, Ryan has honed a style that exists at the convergence of punk and jazz. His collaborators have included Thurston Moore, TV On The Radio, Boredoms, Zeena Parkins, Charles Gayle, and Gang Gang Dance. He talks to Joe about self doubt, relevancy, his computer programmer parents, and the fortuitous experience of seeing Sheila E. at a young age.

Aug 16, 2017

In this bonus mini-episode, Steve Ferrone answers questions from YOU, our listeners.

Aug 9, 2017

Roland, Steve Albini, and Joe discuss: Big Black, Shellac, the "Uberization" of the workforce, the Jungle of Life, and the one true God above.

Aug 2, 2017

For nearly 30 years, John McEntire has existed at the vanguard of a modern paradigm of musician producers. He tells Joe about the impetus to start playing, his formative years at Oberlin, Bastro, Tortoise, The Sea and Cake, and how he has adapted to sea changes in the music world.

Jul 26, 2017

Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Pablo Rieppi spent much of his 1980s adolescence in the Washington DC area. He tells Joe about his journey from Neil Peart devotee to Juilliard Faculty member (not that two things are mutually exclusive). Pablo tells Joe how he benefited from the naivete of his youth, and he explains why all great instrumentalists aren’t necessarily artists.

Jul 19, 2017

James Sclavunos grew up in Brooklyn and dreamed of becoming an astronaut priest or an avant-garde saxophonist. Instead, he attended film school at NYU and became a part of the musical movement that would later be known as No Wave. He tells Joe about his relationship with Catholicism; cruising the Village in a sailor suit; his initiation into Lydia Lunch's band; writing books about Motley Crue and Paula Abdul; and the family dynamic of The Bad Seeds.

Jul 12, 2017

Susie Ibarra filtered her innate creativity through the prism of jazz language to develop one of the strongest, most original voices in contemporary music. She and Joe discuss: Asian-American identity; being present; time management; and art as a vehicle for wonder, play, and joy.

This episode was recorded in 2015 and recently recovered.

Jul 5, 2017

Sebastien Grainger stops by The Trap Set and tells Joe about: growing up in Canada, the origins of Death From Above, learning to define himself outside of the band, his favorite singing drummer, and bread making.

Jun 28, 2017

Low's Mimi Parker uses a deliberately limited sonic palette to create sprawling rhythmic landscapes. The master of nuance and shading talks to Joe about: growing up on a farm, meeting her future bandmate and husband--Alan Sparhawk--in fourth grade, her aversion to the spotlight, her secret desire to become a comedian, and her hopes for her children.

Jun 21, 2017

"Come on Joe, give me your worst!" Phil Collins tells Joe about concert toms; navigating the world of massive fame; unearthing resentment towards his father, his instinctual approach to music; fatherhood; and socks. Then, Phil answers questions from drummers such as Matt Cameron, Aaron Steele, Jon Wurster, and Fred Armisen on topics ranging from Brian Eno to relinquishing the drum throne. This is a truly special conversation with one of Joe's favorite artists!

Jun 14, 2017

In anticipation of next week's Phil Collins episode, Joe is joined by Trap Set co-producer Chris to discuss why the Phil episode is a watershed moment for the show and why Phil is a singularly fascinating genius. This episode also features musings on Phil from Clem Burke, Fred Armisen, Stella Mozgawa, Seb Thompson, Butch Vig, and more.

Jun 7, 2017

Steve Ferrone grew up in Brighton, UK. Although he studied tap dancing as a child, he began playing gigs as a drummer by age 12. He tells Joe about: his absent father; his angry grandfather; getting in touch with his racial identity; his big break with Average White Band; working with giants such as Chaka Khan, Eric Clapton, and Tom Petty; and conquering his addictions, ultimately righting the course of his life.

May 31, 2017

Late last year, Joe returned to his hometown and recorded a live episode featuring: Victor DeLorenzo (Violent Femmes); Dan Didier (The Promise Ring); Shane Hochstetler (Call Me Lightning); and Jon Mueller (Rhythmplex, Volcano Choir). This episode is co-produced by WMSE and Colectivo.

May 24, 2017

Leah Shapiro's bombastic energy and spacious sense of time helped launch Black Rebel Motorcycle Club to new creative galaxies, but her early years with the band were plagued with misfortune. She tells Joe about growing up with free spirited parents in Denmark; studying music business; losing her friend and mentor, Michael Been of The Call; and recovering from a debilitating brain condition.

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