Today's guest is Sahir Hanif, founder of tour production company Ghost Tech and of Masters of Maple, a drum manufacturer. Masters of Maple has teamed with MusiCares to create a limited run of their Trash Talk snare drums. All proceeds will benefit a Covid-19 fund specifically for musicians. More information can be found at MDrums.com.
During the age of social distancing, we're recording remotely and releasing extra episodes.
Today's guest is Ryan Kattner, also known as Honus Honus, keyboardist, vocalist, and creative leader of the band Man Man. Dream Hunting in the Valley of the In Between, the band's excellent, ambitious double double album, was released by Sub Pop on May 1.
Today's guest is Jenn Wasner, a multi instrumentalist and singer who is one half of the duo Wye Oak. Jenn also creates solo work under the name Flock of Dimes and is a touring member of Bon Iver.
Today's guest is Andy Stack, all multi instrumentalist and singer who is one half of the duo Wye Oak and who also releases solo material as Joyero. He has also collaborated with artists such as: Lambchop, Madeline Kenney, Helado Negro, and Shearwater.
Roger Manning, Jr. is keyboardist and founding member of bands such as Beatnik Beach, Jellyfish, Imperial Drag, and The Moog Cookbook. Roger's latest band, The Lickerish Quartet, will release its first EP, "Threesome, Vol. 1", later this Friday.
During the age of social distancing, we're recording remotely and releasing extra episodes.
In honor of the late, great Little Richard, here's our 2017 conversation with Richard's drummer and friend, Charles Connor.
Katie Crutchfield began making bedroom recordings as a teenager in her native Alabama. She began touring while still in high school and co-founded the band P.S. Eliot with her sister, Allison. Since 2012, Katie has released music as Waxahatchee. Waxahatchee's latest album, Saint Cloud, was released in March to intense acclaim.
During the age of social distancing, we're recording remotely and releasing extra episodes.
In 1989, Mac McCaughan co-founded the band Superchunk and the label Merge Records, both of which are still thriving today. Mac and Joe discuss: composing for film, how Mac's relationship with music has evolved over his lifetime; Mac's songwriting process; balancing planning with flexibility; and--when it comes to promoting an album--where an artist's responsibility ends and a record label's responsibility begins.
During the age of social distancing, we're recording remotely and releasing extra episodes.
Today the world lost, Tony Allen, the great genius that--along with Fela Kuti--created the style known as Afrobeat. We're sharing Joe's conversation with Tony from 2015. Tony Allen, RIP.
Today's guest is Julianna Barwick, an artist that employs electronics, voice, and loops to build warm and expansive planets of sound!
During the age of social distancing, we're recording remotely and releasing daily episodes.
Sean McGuinness is a brutal shredder with a heart of gold. He discusses falling in love with drums; his excellent band Pissed Jeans; operating Lunar Inn, a bar and restaurant in his native Philadelphia; and fatherhood!
Songwriter Johnathan Rice joins Joe to discuss: his upbringing in Virginia and Glasgow; the serious academic ambitions that resulted from being the first child of immigrants; abandoning those ambitions to pursue music; a fortuitous meeting with Dave Grohl in suburban Virginia; moving to New York and befriending songwriters such as Jesse Harris and Connor Oberst; getting a major label deal within a year of graduating high school; writing songs for Meryl Streep to sing in Jonathan Demme's final directoral effort; and his recent interest in screenwriting.
Dot Wiggin co-founded The Shaggs, along with her sisters Betty and Helen, in 1968. As the band's primary songwriter, she is the author of some of the most astonishingly unique, life-affirming music ever recorded. Dot discusses: forming the band at the behest of her father; her songwriting process; weekly performances at the town hall in Fremont, NH; the surprising legacy of the band; working in a school cafeteria; teaching Sunday school; and Foot Foot.
Yo La Tengo's Georgia Hubley joins Joe from Montauk, NY to discuss: her animator parents; her background in visual arts; her band-specific drumming style; and her strong sense of intuition.
Today's guest is Duncan Trussell--comic, host of The Duncan Trussell Family Hour, and co-creator of the stunning new Netflix Series The Midnight Gospel. (Joe composed the score for the show!) Duncan and Joe discuss: meeting at just the right time; collaborating on the music for The Midnight Gospel; temporal neighbors; how certain childhood trauma can lead to a heightened sense of empathy; mystic searching; baby flips; and more! Make sure to celebrate 4/20 by watching The Midnight Gospel on Netflix!
During the age of social distancing, we're releasing daily episodes.
Joe shares "Dreams Wash Away", the first song from his forthcoming album! You also can stream the song on a service of your choice here: lnk.to/DreamsWashAway
Make sure to check out The Midnight Gospel, coming to Netflix on Monday, 4/20! "Dreams Wash Away" makes an appearance in the stunning season finale.
With a formal background in sound engineering, classical guitar, and composition--coupled with a deeply curious mind--Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith is the author of beautifully meditative, vast and vivid soundscapes. She and Joe discuss: how her independent study background prepared her for Berklee; how meditation made her a better listener; getting to know one's subconscious mind; her fortuitous discovery of a Buchla synthesizer; medulla therapy; and Flamin' Hot Cheetos.
During the age of social distancing, we're releasing daily episodes.
Andrew Becker's dexterous, explosive drumming first gained recognition when he played in Dischord band Medications. Since then, Andrew has created four solo albums under the Human Potential Moniker, including this year's I'm Glad You're Alive. He's also an award-winning filmmaker, and proprietor of the label What Delicate. Joe and Andy have crossed paths in some interesting ways in the past twenty years; hear them catch up!
From an early age, drummer Areif Sless-Kitain exhibited a stunning level of musical maturity and a distinctive creative voice. Joe witnessed this firsthand when he saw Areif perform with Regulator Watts in Milwaukee in 1996. Areif and Joe crossed paths a few years later, when Joe succeeded Areif in the DC band that later became Medications. The two old friends re-connect, and Areif discusses his path from DC to Philly to Chicago; his work as a music writer; and his creative approach in Brokeback and The Eternals.
During the age of social distancing, we're releasing daily episodes.
Thor Harris is a percussionist known for his work with Swans, Bill Callahan, Rob Halverson, Devendra Banhart, and his own ensemble--Thor & Friends. Thor is also a sculptor, instrument builder, carpenter, and former TX gubernatorial candidate. Thor tells Joe about: being raised by an engineer and schoolteacher near Galveston, TX; studying drums in at Musicians Institute in Hollywood; learning to manage depression and thriving creatively; his love of nature; his infamous video "How to Punch a Nazi"; and the impetus to start his own band.
During the age of social distancing, we're recording remotely and releasing new episodes every day.
Makaya McCraven is a drummer, composer, and producer whose innovative work draws a creative through-line between generations of seemingly disparate avant-garde movements. He tells Joe about: being raised by musician parents; why he initially resisted pursuing music as a profession; the difference between the "oral musical tradition" in which he was raised and the academic approach he was presented with in college; the decision to start creating work as a bandleader; parenting; and learning when to say yes to collaborative offers.
During the age of social distancing, we're recording remotely and releasing new episodes every day.
Sean Solomon tells Joe about: taking lessons with the late Richie Hass of Saccharine Trust; growing up with a musical father and uncle; his early affinity for drugs; turning his life around in the psych ward; the meditative benefits of guitar playing; the band dynamic of Moaning; and his career as an animator.
Also, Rob Ellis returns to discuss his new album, The Nostalgia Machine, out today.
During the age of social distancing, we're recording remotely and releasing new episodes every day.
Today, an experimental three-part episode! First, Britt Walford returns to answer listener questions; then, we turn over the host seat to Britt as he interviews his friend--today's guest--Emil Amos. Finally, Joe picks up where Britt leaves off for a life-spanning conversation with Emil. Emil is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter perhaps best known for his work as Holy Sons. For over twenty years, he has also been the drummer for Grails. After many years in Portland, Emil has returned to his native NC, from which he spoke to Britt and Joe.
During the age of social distancing, we're recording remotely and releasing new episodes every day.
Meg Baird is drummer, guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. Meg her musical journey playing with her sister Laura in what would become known as The Baird Sisters. She moved to Philadelphia in 1995 and played in bands such as Espers, Heron Oblivian, and Watery Love. Beginning in 2007, Meg has released a stunning series of solo albums that showcase her uniquely compelling and haunting song craft. In 2018, Meg collaborated with harpist and Trap Set alumnus Mary Lattimore on the critically acclaimed duo album, Ghost Forests. She spoke to Joe from her home in San Francisco.
If you had to choose the catalog of just one Trap Set alumnus to listen to during quarantine, you could do no better than today's guest, the incomparable Dave Mattacks! Dave made his recording debut in 1969 on Fairport Convention's seminal album Liege & Lief. From this stunning statement onward, Dave's unique brand of rhythmic adventure has accompanied a who's who of genius songwriters: Nick Drake, Brian Eno, Paul McCartney, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Jimmy Page, Elton John, George Harrison, XTC, Loudon Wainwright III, to name a few. Stroll through an abandoned glade and bask in Dave's incredible wisdom.
During the age of social distancing, we're recording by phone and releasing new episodes every day.
Billy Conway joins Joe from his home in Montana to discuss: growing up in small-town Minnesota; attending Yale on a hockey scholarship; teaching in the inner city; how deliberate limitations informed his approach to playing with Morphine; how making a solo record shaped his approach to producing other artists; and how fighting advanced cancer has put his life into perspective.
Guitarist and vocalist Kid Congo Powers has been a key member of several paradigm-shifting bands such as The Gun Club, The Cramps, and The Bad Seeds. Over the past fifteen years, he's also led his own excellent band, Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds. Kid tells Joe about: growing up in a Chicano family in Los Angeles; how he became obsessive about music before ever playing an instrument, ultimately becoming president of The Ramones Fan Club; learning to play guitar in The Gun Club; his parents' experience at a Cramps show; "growing up" in Berlin; sobriety; how the current pandemic evokes AIDS-era PTSD; and the process of writing his memoirs.
Brian Chippendale is perhaps best known as the drummer and vocalist for the Providence duo, Lightning Bolt. A band perfectly suited to Chippendale's singular gift for conjuring colorful and frenetic noisescapes. He is also a prolific visual artist and graphic novelist. Brian tells Joe about: his childhood in New York state and Pennsylvania; his long-lasting aversion to becoming a grown up; attending art school at RISD; the genesis and evolving dynamic of Lightning Bolt; Fort Thunder--the legendary 6000 sq. ft. art loft in which he lived in the 90s; and how parenthood has changed his life, especially in the times of sheltering in place.
During the age of social distancing, we're recording remotely and releasing new episodes every day.
John Congleton and Joe first met 22 years ago in Denton, TX. John's band, the pAper chAse shared a bill with Joe's band at the time. In the intervening years, John has distinguished himself as one of the most innovative and in-demand producers of his generation, working with scores of artists such as: Sharon Van Etten, Blondie, St. Vincent, Angel Olsen, and Wye Oak. John and Joe discuss: depression, empathy, the power of saying no, learning to trust your instincts, existential dread, and more!
As U.S. Girls, Meg Remy has achieved an impressive songwriting balance between the familiar and the wholly unexpected. She joins Joe to discuss: why she is somewhat relieved that the global pandemic caused touring postponement; singing through an amp in her childhood garage; her first band; attending Catholic school; and the interesting predicament presented by humanity's awareness of mortality.
During the age of social distancing, we're recording remotely and releasing new episodes every day.
Today's guest is Britt Walford, perhaps best known as the drummer for Slint, a band he co-founded in Louisville in 1986. During its brief lifespan, Slint operated in relative obscurity; but the band's music has proven to be a massive influence on subsequent generations--and previous generations alike. Even established legends such as Robert Plant have professed their affinity for the band. Britt's incredibly unique, angular style won him many fans among the musical cognoscenti, and--aside from his work from Slint, he has worked with artists such as The Breeders (on their first album, Pod), The For Carnation, and Will Oldham. Britt joined Joe from his home in Louisville.
During the age of social distancing, we're recording by phone and releasing new episodes every day.
Joe is joined by Sylvan Esso to discuss: Elmer's Glue mohawks, Corona anxiety, songwriting, existential dread, and slap bass!
During the age of social distancing, we're recording remotely and releasing new episodes of The Trap Set every day.
Joe and Torche's Rick Smith first met when their respective bands shared a bill in Dallas, TX, in 2008. The two reconnected last year when Rick was in Los Angeles, touring behind Torche's excellent new album, Admission.
During the age of social distancing, we're releasing new episodes every day.
Ben Gibbard is best known as the vocalist and guitarist of Death Cab for Cutie, and as co-founder of The Postal Service. Ben and Joe discuss: songwriting; the challenge of creative evolution; existential dread; and life in quarantine.
Armed with a background in orchestral percussion, hand drumming, and jazz studies, Andrya Ambro possesses a uniquely compositional drum set style and is a proud member of the Singing Drummer Club. A resident of New York City, Andrea tells Joe about how she is handling the current pandemic; growing up in Delaware; the influence her older brother had in shaping her musical awareness; getting kicked out of jazz school; finding her voice via hand drumming; and the internal debate around whether her dedication to music would preclude her from becoming the kind of parent she'd want to be.
Billy Martin joins Joe to discuss: how his parents met at Radio City Music Hall (she--a Rockette, he--a musician); his childhood affinity for Jacques Cousteau; how going to the movies informed his inner world; some of his key mentors; the difference between dead music and live music; and why he considers himself an experimental artist.
Matt Sharp and Joe gulped down thick, black coffee and hung out for well over two hours. We discussed: Matt's itinerant childhood as the son of a government contractor; working with brilliant producers such as Ric Ocasek; how his first band--Weezer--willed themselves to success; working with Nick Zinner and Ronnie Vanucci on the new Rentals album, Q36; and collaborating with multimedia artists via the HITRECORD platform.
The legendary Billy Gibbons joins Joe to discuss: his love of Fugazi; studying percussion with Tito Puente; attending art school in Hollywood; Roky Erickson; his uncle, Cedric Gibbons, the most awarded art director in history; and why--after over 50 years as a band--it's still a joy to play with ZZ Top.
Mike Bordin delivers trance inducing rhythmic patterns with earth-shattering power. This inimitable style places him in the pantheon of all-time great rock drummers. Mike and Joe discuss: Mike's journalist grandfather who worked as editor of The Milwaukee Sentinel; how Mike and his childhood friend, legendary bassist Cliff Burton, began playing their respective instruments together; how music saved Mike's life; how he developed his explosive drum technique; the steady trajectory of Faith No More; hanging out around Tony Williams; playing with Ozzy; and Mike's preference for living in the present.
Chad Clark's parents were attorneys positioned at the vanguard of the civil rights movement, representing the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and James Baldwin. Ergo, Chad feels that--however lofty his ambitions--he'll never impact the world to the same degree as his family. That said, his music is enormously impactful on the folks lucky enough to have heard it. He and Joe discuss: his first memory of staring at the sea; the nature of success; the responsibilities of an artist, beyond making the art; Chad's roots in the DC punk scene; and why he is proud to remain in his home town.
Before attaining massive success with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Flea was a wild child, roaming the streets of Hollywood. He and Joe discuss: the unfamiliar vulnerability he faced when writing his excellent memoir Acid for the Children; the cathartic experience of translating traumatic memories to text; the spiritual connection between jazz and punk rock; the seeming decline of active listening; and the kind of connection he seeks with drummers.
Cedric Bixler-Zavala is best known as the explosive vocalist for bands like The Mars Volta and At The Drive-In, but he is also an accomplished drummer. He and Joe discuss: a punk rock video arcade in El Paso, TX; drumming in punk band Foss with Beto O'Rourke; the unique story behind his surname; selling bootlegged cigarettes on tour to make ends meet, just before experiencing explosive success; 90s punk dogma; and the lifelong creative dynamic between himself and his creative brother, Omar Rodríguez-López.
As a bonus, Craig Wedren, who happens to be a creative influence on both Joe and Cedric, drops by to talk about his meditative Sabbath Sessions.
Because we're in lockdown due to the Corona virus outbreak. We're recording by phone and bringing you new episodes of The Trap Set every day for the foreseeable future.
Joan Wasser began her career as a session musician for artists like Elton John, Lou Reed, John Cale, and Sparklehorse. It wasn't until she was in her 30s, that Joan began writing her own, highly-acclaimed material as Joan As Policewoman. She and Joe spend an hour discussing the songwriting process and how personal loss pushed them both to discover their creative voices.
Sean Tillmann and Joe met when Sean played in Joe's basement in the late '90s. Sean tells Joe about: his early love of community theater; the origins of his ambitious nature; creating his Har Mar Superstar alter ego; losing his way in LA; why he decided to get sober; and how a series of coloring books can help those in need.
During the age of social distancing, we're recording remotely and releasing daily episodes.
For nearly 40 years, The Melvins have been an astounding live band and peerless in their prolific ability to create a consistently adventurous body of work--a musical universe unto itself. Buzz Osborne discusses: his childhood in WA; feeling comfortable around firearms; being too smart to enjoy school; writing his memoir; the discipline required to maintain a career as a professional musician; dogs; his songwriting process, and more!
Because we're in lockdown due to the Corona virus outbreak. We're recording by phone and bringing you new episodes of The Trap Set every day for the foreseeable future.
Because many of you are on lockdown due to the Corona virus outbreak. We're bringing you new episodes of The Trap Set every day for the foreseeable future.
Today's episode features the inimitable Meshell Ndegeocello. Meshell has charted a wildly adventurous artistic course over the past 30+ years, and throughout it all, she has retained a unique creative fingerprint.
Meshell and Joe talk about: achieving a balance between honoring one's own creative vision and facilitating that of others; Meshell's rich inner world, which she first developed during childhood; the DC go-go scene; becoming a professional musician while caring for a baby; and reconciling the call of the muse with the desire to entertain a crowd.
Life has slowed down as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, so we're using the extra time at home as an opportunity to create and release a new episode of The Trap Set everyday until further notice. We'll record by phone, and--by necessity--experiment with a more raw and immediate production style. It's our hope that these daily episodes will give you a sense of community amidst the larger social distance.
Today's guest is Laura Veirs. Laura is a songwriter with over ten albums to her name, both as a solo artist and as a member of the supergroup Case, Lang, Veirs. Laura and Joe talk about how they met during a Fred Armisen comedy show; how they helped each other creatively; and how Laura is experiencing a post-divorce creative renaissance.
Touring is on hold, so please make sure to support Laura by purchasing her albums!
Mike Post started out as a studio guitarist, recording on hits such as Sunny and Cher's "I Got You Babe." As a producer, he won a Grammy for "Classical Gas" in 1968 and worked with artists ranging from Sammy Davis Jr., to Dolly Parton (on her smash 9 to 5 album), to Van Halen.
But Mike is best known as the preeminent television composer of his generation. Often in conjunction with his longtime composing partner, the late Pete Carpenter, Mike crafted thematic earworms that reside in the collective consciousness. The A-Team, Doogie Howser, Quantum Leap, LA Law, Hill Street Blues, The Greatest American Hero, and the entire Law & Order Franchise represent just a slice of a body of work comprising thousands of hours of television music.
Mike discusses his decades spanning career, and he and Joe recall the unusual way they became friends.
Jeff Friedl drums with well-considered precision and a soulful groove. Jeff and Joe were born in the same year and discovered some interesting similarities in their respective life trajectories. Jeff discusses being raised in Tuscon by a visual artist and a pharmacist; how drumming kept him from making bad life choices; and how his life changed in 2008.
Jason Sutter is a consummate professional with a command of the craft of drumming that has allowed him to thrive in seemingly disparate situations ranging from Cher to Marilyn Manson. Jason grew up in upstate NY, but through a strange twist of fate, he and his cousin were friends with Joe's next door neighbors in Milwaukee. Jason talks about growing up with an artist father; the business of getting gigs; striving for greatness during formal training; and his side business as a real estate agent.
Creative polymath, Money Mark, visits The Trap Set to discuss: working as a carpenter at a film studio; why his parents' bi-racial marriage forced them from their home state; occasionally sleeping in his car after attending LA punk shows; how touring with The Beastie Boys forced him to give up a job remodeling kitchens; his invention--the Echolodeon; and how empathy is a practice rather than a trait.
Hunt Sales discusses his itinerant childhood (his father was legendary comedian, Soupy Sales); being mentored by Shelly Manne; beginning his professional career at age eleven; overcoming addiction; and why he doesn't have a desire to listen to legendary albums he made decades ago.
Like many children of the 90s, Ben Lee started a band that was inspired by artists such as Sonic Youth, The Breeders, and Sebadoh; but remarkably, that band--Noise Addict--quickly joined the ranks of its heroes. By the time Ben was 16, he was signed as a solo artist to the Beastie Boys' Grand Royal Records; and by the time he was 18, he moved to Los Angeles.
Ben and Joe discuss: the overlooked discipline of "outsider artists"; being ten years younger than your musical peers; and the correlation between artistic and everyday presence.
Check out Ben's tour: https://www.ben-lee.com/events
Josiah Wolf possesses a uniquely compositional drumming style, coupled with a gift for dynamic sensitivity. He tells Joe about Why?, a band he co-founded in 2004; his creative partnership with his brother; being raised by Jewish parents who led a Jesus-centric synagogue; becoming part of a creative community; his exercise routine; and shifting self awareness.
Steve Gorman's natural sense of groove and knack for rhythmic hooks helped propel the Black Crowes to massive success. Over the course of a two hour conversation, Steve tells Joe about: growing up in Kentucky and Maryland; his love of Basketball; channeling obsessive-compulsive tendencies into rhythmic precision; his dysfunctional relationship with his former bandmates; the experience of writing a memoir; and the importance of family. Check out Steve's Book, Hard To Handle; and the new album by his band Trigger Hippy, Full Circle and Then Some.
Janet Fucking Weiss! 2019 has been an eventful year for Janet Weiss. She left Sleater-Kinney after a twenty-four year run and soon after suffered a major car accident. Janet tells Joe about growing up in LA; discovering drumming in San Francisco; finding an artistic community in Portland; the creative dynamic of Quasi; the emotional vulnerability required to be a great collaborator; what she loved about playing in Sleater-Kinney; why she left Sleater-Kinney; and her hopes and dreams. It’s Janet Fucking Weiss, folks. Do it up!
Anna Waronker was born into a storied music family, but--as a child--she dreamed of working at the post office or becoming an accountant. Her gift for angular melody and vivid lyricism led her to pursue the family trade after all. She tells Joe about: attending artsy alternative school Crossroads; recognizing her gift for songwriting; the evolving band dynamic of That Dog; co-parenting with another musician (husband and Trap Set alum, Steven McDonald); and the liberating feeling that accompanies scoring for film and tv. Be sure to check out That Dog's upcoming show 11/16 at The Regent in Los Angeles.
Mary Lattimore deploys her classical harp training to construct immersive, improvisatory sound worlds. A relentless road warrior, she routinely spends over 200 days a year on tour, both as a band member and a solo artist. She visited Joe on a rare day off to discuss: falling out of moving cars; growing up with a harpist mom; studying at Eastman; how meeting the Arcade Fire changed her trajectory; improvising with Thurston Moore; evolving from a hired gun to a solo artist; and living life with a "say yes" philosophy.
Paddy Boom began his career in the 1980s New York punk scene. In the early 2000s, his metronomic groove helped launch Scissor Sisters to wild international success. But a series of tragedies derailed his life, ultimately leading him to get back in touch with his creative roots. Make sure to check out Paddy's solo work, featuring alumni of David Bowie's 70s band.
Chris Carrabba's gift for melodic hooks and his sincere, vulnerable lyrical approach won him a devoted and durable fan base. He tells Joe about: growing up in a "wealth adjacent" environment; sleeping in Washington Square Park; how his music was informed by skateboarding; almost committing to a career as a teacher; leaving a band comprised of lifelong friends to develop his own creative voice; how an early backlash to his music affected him personally; and what he's done to evolve as an artist twenty years into his career.
Hugh Grundy's catchy rhythmic hooks and swinging groove helped The Zombies become on of the greatest and most influential rock bands of all time. He and Joe discuss: growing up in post-war England; how he almost wound up spending his life working at a bank; the fine line between hard work and luck as it pertains to his career; recording hits like "She's Not There", "Tell Her No", and the classic Odessey and Oracle album; struggling to find his identity after the band broke up; working as an A&R man for CBS; how drumming saved him during the most difficult time in his life; and the joys of playing with the reunited Zombies, over 50 years after their original run.
Be sure to attend Joe's show with Trap Set alum Matt Cameron, Mary Timony, Chad Molter and a 12 piece orchestra, at Hollywood Forever Masonic Lodge on November 21, 2019. TICKETS
Ali Koehler's propulsive drumming paints vivid pictures with a deliberately minimalist palette, but--due partially to an abusive teacher--she has always had a difficult time identifying as a drummer. Ali tells Joe about growing up in New Jersey; school band; her talent for resolving interpersonal conflict; playing with Vivian Girls and Best Coast; working in clothing production; becoming a mom; and how she has worked to achieve creative heights despite discouragement from an authority figure during a particularly formative period of her life.
Joe met this week's guest--Jimmy LaValle--on tour over twenty years ago. A lot has happened in the intervening time, and Jimmy catches Joe up on: the genesis and evolution of The Album Leaf; becoming a film composer; and raising a family. This conversation was a reminder of the magic that is felt on early tours and how that feeling is still within reach if we can learn from experience but also maintain some semblance of childlike wonder. In any case, it's always fun to see old friends.
By any external measure, Hrishikesh Hirway is an incredibly successful polymath; but boy, is he ever hard on himself. Or perhaps his success is due—at least in part—to the fact he is so hard on himself…you be the judge! Hrishi tells Joe about: growing up in Massachusetts; the challenges posed by the American pop culture's skewed portrayal of Asian men; attending Exeter and Yale; creating music as The One AM Radio; hosting the popular Song Exploder and The West Wing Weekly podcasts; and the psychological chasm between creating podcasts and writing songs.
We're moving Trap Set Headquarters! This week, we're revisiting our conversation with the incomparable Bill Bruford. Bill happens to be a favorite drummer of last week's guest, Danny Carey, who spoke of Bill with loving derision during his episode.
See you next week!
Danny Carey is the rare artist with a wildly ambitious imagination, coupled with the virtuosic ability to manifest his singular ideas. Joe joined Danny at his Hollywood studio for one of our loosest, most freewheeling episodes yet! Danny talks about: growing up in Kansas City; his love of basketball; how his Midwestern work ethic helped him assassinate his competition; his love of Bill Bruford, Billy Cobham, and Tony Williams; playing in a country band with Jeff Buckley; the origins and creative dynamic of Tool; and how becoming a father changed his relationship to time. As an added bonus, Tool bassist Justin Chancellor dropped by near the end of the chat.
Billy Brimblecom plays drums with an emphatic crispness, that has made him a valued member of his native Kansas City music scene since the 90s. After achieving many of his childhood musical dreams, Billy was forced to reexamine his priorities when his leg was amputated due to cancer. Although he is still a working drummer, Billy dedicates much of his time to Steps of Faith Foundation, a non-profit that helps amputees access artificial limbs. The organization's annual benefit concert is Saturday, November 9, and will feature Jason Sudeikis, Fred Armisen, Will Forte, Wynonna Judd, Sam Richardson, our own Joe Wong, and more!
Purchase tickets at: thundergong.org
Joey Armstrong co-founded SWMRS when he was still in grade school, and at the age of 24, he already has decades of musical experience. Joey talks about: the benefits of hailing from a well known musical family; working to develop his own musical identity; how School of Rock changed his life; sustaining a band with his best friends; and who he'd interview if he guest hosted an episode of the show.
This week, we're renovating Trap Set HQ; so we're sharing one of our favorite episodes, featuring the great Carla Azar. This episode was recorded a few years ago. Carla is currently busy with several projects, including a new Autolux album. We'll return in August with some of our most intense episodes to date!
When he was eleven years old, Steven McDonald co-founded a band with his older brother, Jeff. That band, which soon became known as Redd Kross, became a fixture on the late 70s LA punk scene and--remarkably--is still active today. Steven tells Joe about: precociousness; opening for Black Flag at an eighth grade graduation party; the joy and pain that came along with identifying as a punk; having a romantic relationship with a 26-year-old woman when he was 13; hanging out with Raymond Pettibone; signing with a major label; working as an A&R consultant for major labels; how he reconciles his permissive childhood with modern parenting; playing with Melvins and Off!; working as a producer; and much more! This is an action packed, "triple-LP" length episode.
As a member of influential bands such as Jawbox, Burning Airlines, and Channels, J. Robbins exhibits an exceptional gift for unorthodox yet unforgettable vocal melodies counterbalanced with jagged, angular guitar hooks. For over 20 years, he's built a parallel career as an in-demand producer for artists such as: Faraquet, Braid, and The Promise Ring. This is one of our most emotionally intense and life affirming episodes.
Aaron Harris comes from a family of ship builders. Although he broke from tradition to become a drummer, his drumming is finely crafted and architectural, evoking images of a sleek and efficient sea vessel. Aaron tells Joe about: music as an escape; leaving his hometown; working as a bike messenger and at Boston institution, Newbury Comics; co-founding the influential band, Isis; moving to Los Angeles; his parallel career as a composer; and celebrating his impending parenthood.
This week, we're taking off for the holiday; so we're revisiting one of our favorite episodes, featuring the incomparable Sara Lund. Sara is still playing with Nocturnal Habits and Hungry Ghost. If you're in Portland and you'd like to study with Sara, please hit up our friends at Revival Drum Shop.
Skateboarding and music have been forever intertwined. This week’s guest, Ray Barbee, while best known as a pioneering skateboarder, is also a serious musician. Ray tells Joe about: coming from a musical family; being consumed by skateboarding; going pro and sustaining a 30+ year career; his parallel passion for music and photography; and raising a family.
Jeff Parker—one of his generation’s preeminent guitarists—talks with Joe about: his aversion to formal education, despite having teachers as parents; attending Berklee; living in Chicago, “the creative music capital of the world”; Band Leader Syndrome; how environment affects art; and completing artistic works in the face of self-doubt.
Greg Anderson of Sunn O))) discusses the creation of the band’s massive sound; the evolution of the creative dynamic with his partner Stephen O’Malley; musical monogamy; collaborating with the legendary Scott Walker; running Southern Lord Records; and how being a father affects his relationship with music.
Hayden Menzies drums with a sense of controlled bombast; his beats are often as memorable as melodic hooks. He tells Joe about his musician parents; his tight relationship with his brothers; learning to navigate happiness; and balancing his work as a musician with his parallel career in visual art.
Mindee Jorgensen experienced a devastating loss at an early age and found solace in music. She tells Joe about: growing up in Iowa; marching band; making lifelong friends through punk rock; leaving home at 17; moving to LA; "The Hot Box", her weed-inspired podcast; and playing drums for one of her musical heroes, Dale Crover.
A consistently adventurous artist, Mary Timony inhabits the intersection of virtuosity and experimental abandon. Her diverse, decades-spanning body of work firmly establishes her as one of her generation’s preeminent songwriters and instrumentalists. She is also one of Joe’s closest friends.
Mary tells Joe about: growing up in DC; becoming a musician in spite of her traditional upbringing; battling depression; playing with Autoclave, Helium, Wild Flag, and Ex Hex; developing an acumen for the music business late in the game; and “big fat mamas”.
Today's episode is brought to you by SONOS.
Craig Wedren is a Midwest native whose father owned a fast food chain. He spent some time in DC, fronting the influential band Shudder to Think, while developing a career as a film composer, eventually moving to LA. In many ways, Craig’s life has the most parallels to Joe’s of any Trap Set guest.
Craig and joy discuss: divorce; Little Tavern; DC; Shudder to think; Musical Ecstasy; becoming “muted”; emerging the “muted” state via life coaching; vulnerability; and film composing.
Over the past forty years, Jay Bellerose has earned a reputation for musical excellence and rarified artistic integrity. He tells Joe about: growing up in large family in Maine; losing his father at a young age; working as a baker; the importance of being musically selective; and why he likes living at a deliberate pace.
Over the course of three excellent albums, Aldous Harding has distinguished herself as an incredibly compelling songwriter with a singular voice. Aldous and Joe discuss: impermanence, inner voices, the significance of standing up, and achieving exceptional feats as an ordinary person.
This week, we're hard at work recording new episodes, so we're sharing one of our all time favorite Trap Set conversations featuring the singular genius, Brian Blade.
Best known as the lead singer for LA band, Chicano Batman, Bardo Martinez has recently embarked on a solo career. Joe spoke to Bardo last year in front of a live audience at Ace Hotel, Palm Springs.
This week, we revisit one of our favorite episodes, featuring the great Mimi Parker of Low.
For 20 years, Tucker Rule's crisp, authoritative drumming has laid the foundation for the band Thursday. Tucker discusses: his childhood obsession with baseball; recording and touring shortly after learning to play; working with a boy band after Thursday went on hiatus; and why planking is an essential part of his daily workout routine.
The Zombies are, simply put, the greatest rock band in the world. This week, the band's co-founders Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone discuss: the formation of the band; why the group's initial tenure was so brief; why Colin was never jealous that Rod made more money as a songwriter; a day job with Mr. Smelly; the production of their classic Odessey and Oracle album; collaborating on Colin's revered One Year album; and why they are glad they evaded massive popularity in their youth. This episode was recorded in front of a live audience at Ace Hotel, Palm Springs.
This Week: Part Two of our conversation with Ian MacKaye.
Four years ago, we began The Trap Set with Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty. As we expand the show from drummers-only to all musicians, it only makes sense to begin with Brendan’s bandmate, Ian.
As a member of bands such as The Teen Idles, Minor Threat, Embrace, Fugazi, and The Evens—as well as co-founder of Dischord Records—Ian MacKaye has been involved in the creation and dissemination of an extraordinary amount of classic recordings. Ian met with Joe at The Dischord House in Virginia for a wide-ranging conversation that lasted nearly three hours. In this week’s installment, Ian discusses: his childhood in the Glover Park neighborhood of Washington DC; his grandmother’s advice column; his love of Ted Nugent and The Beatles; how skateboarding informed his view of the world; discovering punk rock; his lifelong entrepreneurial spirit; co-founding Dischord Records; and how he often doesn’t listen to music for the lyrics.
Four years ago, we began The Trap Set with Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty. As we expand the show from drummers-only to all musicians, it only makes sense to begin with Brendan’s bandmate, Ian. Tune in next week for Part Two!
Brooks Headley fell in love with music while listening to Dr. Demento on his grandmother’s radio. He’s also had a lifetime obsession with food, leading to a career working in--and eventually owning-- restaurants.
He talks to Joe about: having pragmatic dreams; being raised by an incredible, single mom; drumming for bands such as Universal Order of Armageddon, Born Against, Skull Kontrol, and (Young) Pioneers; cooking for the 1% at high-end restaurants; and how his love of fine food and punk rock converged to inform the creation of Superiority Burger, his vegan restaurant on Manhattan's Lower East Side.
To celebrate our 200th episode, past guest and friend of the show Patty Schemel returns, this time to interview Joe. They discuss how creating The Trap Set has affected the trajectory of Joe's life, and Joe talks about changes in store for the future of the show. Then, he answers listener questions. Thanks to all of you for listening!
Larry Herweg’s commanding drumming has helped shaped Pelican’s dense, longform compositions for nearly 20 years. He tells Joe about: growing up in Illinois; being a late (musical) bloomer; how a bad experience turned him off from lessons; the challenges and rewards of playing in a band with his brother; working at Whole Foods; and escaping retail to become a real estate agent.
In this bonus episode, Joe talks to John Good, vice president of Drum Workshop.
For 25 years, Zach Lind has carved a creative niche within the often rigid parameters of modern rock. He talks about: manufacturing pressure to force the creative process along; growing up with a professional baseball player for a father; being raised in a Conservative Baptist environment, and ultimately leaving the church; "musical monogamy" with the remarkably consistent Jimmy Eat World.
Mona Tavakoli is a modern polymath whose impressive versatility and fierce creativity have resulted in a 20 year tenure in Raining Jane, along with collaborations with artists such as Jason Mraz, Ebi, and Pat Benatar. She visited Trap Set HQ for a wide ranging conversation about: Strawberry Shortcake albums; a Tori Amos focus group; hanging out with Al Gore and Richard Branson in Antarctica; becoming Little Miss San Jose 1984; creating a signature cajon; and co-founding the non-profit Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls.
Budgie has the rare ability to metabolize influences ranging from taiko to dub, from gamelan to punk to Indian classical, all into a singular, uniquely fiery artistic identity. His poetic sense of rhythm has graced recordings by a range of iconic artists, but he is perhaps known for his partnership with Siouxsie Sioux. Budgie tells Joe about: a strange sense of freedom after losing his mother at a young age; his youthful attempts at abstract expressionism; why he thinks of music in visual terms; making a secret wax effigy of Siouxsie Sioux; working with The Banshees, The Creatures, The Slits, The Indigo Girls, and John Grant; hiding from his feelings and eventually—through sobriety—coming to terms with himself; and falling in and out of love.
We're closing out the year by revisiting a pensive conversation with one of the greatest drummers of all time, Steve Gadd. (This episode was recorded in 2015 and originally released in early 2016.) Thanks to all of you for making Trap Set a big success in 2018; here's to 2019!
This week, a fascinating bonus episode with Bill Cardwell--drum builder and co-founder of C&C Drum Company. Dozens of our guests have played Bill's drums; get to know the deeply compelling person behind the instruments.
Illinois band Hum created an expansive sound world, and Bryan St. Pere’s drumming is the beacon that guides the listener through thick fields of distortion. Bryan tells Joe about: his fascination with Bugs; loving Neil Peart so much that he used Pert Plus shampoo as a child; coming from a “family of struggle”; having a tightly wound temperament; why recording Hum’s landmark albums was excruciatingly painful; and how the band dynamic has evolved, now that Hum is back in the studio.
Jason Gerken likes to party. He also has the unique ability to make unexpected musical choices sound natural and powerful. Jason tells Joe about: why his parents tried to prevent him from becoming a drummer; working with beloved KC bands Shiner and Molly McGuire; his day job managing a bar; a brush with death; learning to work through negative self talk; and an impending Shiner reunion.
Nabil Ayers was born into a deeply musical family and began playing drums as a toddler. Eventually, he toured and recorded with bands such as The Lemons and The Long Winters, his experiences as a drummer serving as the foundation for what has become an impressively multifaceted career in the music business. Nabil tells Joe about: being raised by a single mom; getting his first drum set from his uncle, free jazzer Alan Michael Braufman; the few interactions he’s had with his biological father, Roy Ayers; getting arrested and charged with a felony; co-founding Seattle record store, Sonic Boom; his career as a record executive; and his budding interest in writing.
Kevin Haskins's spare, hypnotic style laid the foundation for goth luminaries, Bauhaus. He tells Joe about: growing up in Northampton; seeing bands like The Who and Led Zeppelin; how the burgeoning punk scene gave him confidence to pursue music; playing the now-classic "Bela Lugosi's Dead" for the first time; the sense of devastation he experienced after the breakup of Bauhaus; working with subsequent bands such as Tones on Tail and Love and Rockets; and passing on his love of music to his children. Check out the new Bauhaus release "The Bela Session" out this Friday, 11/23.
Aaron Sterling's percussive prowess would have gotten him plenty of work during the golden age of the recording studio, but his attention to sonics and ability to self engineer make him a quintessential studio drummer for the modern paradigm. He discusses: overcoming social anxiety; working at California Pizza Kitchen; his largely unwavering musical confidence; how he built his career without compromising his values; and musical empathy.
Parker Kindred has a supernatural gift of musical intuition. His intensely imaginative, lyrical playing style imbues the music with a deep hypnotic subtlety. Joe joined Parker in his Williamsburg apartment to discuss: being “inside one’s body”; why identifying as a drummer makes him feel like a loser; working with artists such as Joan As Police Woman and Jeff Buckley; and what he would ask other versions of himself if he could travel through time.
Rob Ellis possesses the dynamic touch of a concert musician, the ferocity of a punk rocker, and the compositional sense of a New Music luminary; but it's Rob's extraordinary capacity for musical empathy that make him the perfect collaborator for iconic songwriters ranging from PJ Harvey to Marianne Faithfull. Rob tells Joe about his early memories in 1960s California; his Navy officer father, whose death at an early age cast a shadow on Rob's personal development; attending an elite public (boarding) school, wherein he was head choir boy; helping Polly Harvey become PJ Harvey; and the process of mending strained relationships with his family.
In this bonus mini-episode, Rob Ellis discusses his struggles with alcohol and the decision to become sober. Be sure to check out Rob's introspectively intense full-length episode, also available this week.
We're hard at work on new episodes, so this week, we're revisiting one of our favorite conversations with Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips. Steven has a new podcast of his own called Sorcerer's Orphan. See you next week!
Brendan Buckley’s omnivorous musical taste, disciplined approach, and granular attention to detail make him well-suited for work with artists such as Tegan and Sara, Roberto Carlos, Volumen Cero, JJ Lin, and—for the last 20 years—Shakira.
Brendan tells Joe about: growing up in New Jersey, his tiger mom, what it takes to play a choreographed pop gig night after night, improvising with Damien Rice, how losing his sister at a young age shifted his outlook on life, and his permissive but careful style of parenting.
Bill Bruford’s instantly identifiable sound and brilliant sense of composition made him the defining drummer of the progressive rock movement; but at age 60, after four decades in the music business, Bill unceremoniously walked away.
Bill tells Joe about: being a young jazz elitist; "leveraging himself sideways" from an upper-middle class family to the seedy life of a musician; doing a lot with “a modest amount of talent”; the creative dynamics of Yes and King Crimson; how he achieved his signature snare sound; retirement; and earning a doctorate from The University of Surrey. During the course of the conversation, Joe and Bill also christen a new band, Wongford. This is a can’t-miss episode with one of the all-time greats.
Rat Scabies and his influential band, The Damned, were integral members of the fledgling UK punk community. Rat's controlled bombast earned him comparisons to Keith Moon and Mitch Mitchell. He and Joe met in Soho to discuss: Rat's post-war childhood in the outskirts of London; his father's job as an underground soft porn merchant; his theory on geography's key role in bands; the inner workings of The Damned; and his quest for The Holy Grail.
A classically trained percussionist, Fay Milton possesses an adventurous compositional sense and keen sonic sensitivity that helped Savages become one of the most exciting, critically-lauded bands of the last decade. Fay and Joe met in Soho, London, to discuss: why there is hope in the darkness; the lack of surfer dudes in Australia; Savages; Fay's new Project, 180db; and the desire to have children amidst the instability of a life in music.
Woody Woodmansey propelled the legendary Spiders from Mars to international stardom and helped the post-war generation escape the prison of banality. Woody tells Joe about growing up in Northern England; his life as a plumber and factory worker; how fate led him to discover music; writing music and touring with David Bowie; craving uncertainty; living a life of excess; and re-defining himself when the magic carpet of rockstardom was pulled out from under him.
In this Bonus Episode, The Slits bassist, Tessa Pollitt, sat down with Joe after a recent screening of "Here to Be Heard", a documentary about the band.
Nate Wood has a gift for mastery when it comes to the mechanics of music; but he also possesses a creative clarity that transcends mere virtuosity. He talks about growing up in a musical family; his theory of genetic determinism; his approach to learning instruments; and how his new project, Four, might be his salvation when the robots rise to annihilate the human race.
Ryan Pope's metronomical groove and uniquely memorable beats helped The Get Up Kids become one of the most influential rock bands to emerge from the Midwest during the 1990s. Ryan tells Joe about: his incredibly close relationship with his brother/bandmate Rob; growing up Mormon and losing his faith; re-defining himself when the band ended its initial run; and his life as a serial entrepreneur.
Formed in 1990 in New York City, Quicksand drew inspiration from the energy of their native hardcore scene. Powered by drummer Alan Cage's dexterous groove, the band's angular compositions ushered in an influential new strain of heavy music. Alan tells Joe about: growing up as a mildly mischievous kid on Long Island; the formation and creative dynamic of Quicksand; working as a labor organizer when the band broke up; his fear of becoming a father; and becoming a father!
Adam Topol's formative years were spent listening to Kiss and punk rock, but he soon discovered a lifelong passion for jazz and world music that influenced his diverse career. He tells Joe about growing up in Lake Tahoe; his self-taught entrepreneur father; why art and academia feel at odds; why he never thought that he could make a living playing music; getting sober; his connection with deep Jack Johnson; and starting his percussion company, Roots EQ.
The Arctic Monkeys started out as more of an aspiration than an actual band--its members were teenagers who had just started playing their instruments. But--after gaining some online notoriety--the band was catapulted to massive popularity, releasing a string of number one albums in their native UK. Matt Helders talks to Joe about: growing up in Sheffield; struggling with feelings of "unearned" success early in the band's career; evolving as an artist; the thrilling fear of writing his solo album; and working with the great Iggy Pop on his acclaimed Post Pop Depression album.
On this episode of The Trap Set Live, Joe sits down with Chico Mann and Geoff Mann to discuss: musical parents (Geoff’s father being the legendary Herbie Mann); early influences; the first records they purchased with their own money; their tenure with Antibalas; the genesis of their current band Here Lies Man—which combines Afrobeat-inspired rhythm with heavy psychedelic textures; and parenting.
This episode was recorded live at The Amigo Room at Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs, CA.
Lucky Lehrer's ferocious and agile style helped Circle Jerks become standard bearers of the nascent SoCal hardcore scene. He tells Joe about growing up in LA, his love of jazz, studying at UC-Berkeley, discovering punk, and his current creative focus--improvised comedy.
Formed in Philadelphia in 1983, The Dead Milkmen created a downright hillarious sonic universe that stood in stark contrast to their hardcore punk contemporaries. But it's a genuine, heartfelt emotional core that makes the band's classic body of work stand the test of time. Drummer Dean "Clean" Sabatino charts his journey from local hero, to major label big wigs, to father and graphic designer, to part-time punk.
The incredible Dale Crover (Melvins) graced The Trap Set during our salad days (Episode 10). Today, he makes a triumphant return to update us on what he's been up for the past few years. A great chat with one of the most compelling and unique drummers out there!
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.
"So, it's come to this," as the Simpsons would say! This week, for the third anniversary of the show, Joe is joined by co-producer, Chris Karwowski. The pair explores themes that have emerged over the course of 153 episodes: identity, addiction, struggle, parenthood, fear, and redemption. We listen back to conversations with: Mimi Parker, Mike Clark, Phil Collins, Venzella Joy, Bernard Purdie, Lori Barbero, and more!
Abe Rounds was born into a musical family in Sydney and began drumming at age one. Now 26, he has quickly become one of his generation's most sought-after drummers. Abe tells Joe about his love of golf, his one-time gambling addiction, the demons of doubt, his interest in crypto currency, learning to write his own music, and working with everyone from Meshell Ndegeocello to Seal.
Joe sits down with four of The Twin Cities' most captivating drummers. Gordy Knudtson and Todd Trainer describe their respective approaches to teaching; Lori Barbero articulates why she doesn't believe in music education; and Eric Gravatt describes how he just "got it" at an early age and why he left a successful career in music to become a prison guard. This is a great conversation about identity, loss, getting paid, and style.
Chad Molter grew up playing bass, but he became picked up drums in a matter of months in order to co-found Faraquet, a DC-based band that merged proggy musical sophistication with the spirit of punk rock. Chad tells Joe about: yearning to leave his native Southern California; developing his self-taught, uniquely melodic style; hiking the Appalachian trail; his disdain for haircuts; and his current calling as the director of a homeless shelter.
Over the past several months, Joe has been co-producing a new podcast hosted by Laura Veirs called Midnight Lightning. We're excited to share the very first episode of that show, featuring Laura's interview with the legendary bassist (and Joe's bass teacher), Carol Kaye. The Trap Set returns with a stellar lineup of drummer conversations starting next week!
The Trap Set team is taking some time off to enjoy the holidays, so we've decided to share one of our very favorite early conversations with the inimitable Bernard Purdie. Originally aired two and a half years ago as two episodes, we've combined the conversation into one long episode for your enjoyment. For those of you who are new to the show, this is a can't-miss episode with one of the greatest drummers of all time!
In this bonus mini-episode, Bill Ward answers listener questions ranging from Black Sabbath to his favorite meal. Be sure to listen to last week's episode (#150) featuring Bill's full, in-depth interview.
As a child in working-class Birmingham, the only career options presented to Bill Ward were working in a factory or enlisting in the military. Against all odds, he escaped that bleak destiny and co-founded the paradigm-shifting Black Sabbath. Bill tells Joe about his journey from choir boy to unhinged rock legend; the inner workings of Black Sabbath; his road to sobriety; fatherhood; learning to love himself; and why he is at peace with the world. This is a can’t miss episode with one of the all time greats! Stay tuned next week for a bonus episode featuring Bill's answers to listener questions.
Despite a deceptively unassuming stage persona, Bryan Devendorf's cleverly deconstructed beats are central to The National's sonic identity. He tells Joe about: growing up in Cincinnati, straddling the worlds of punk rock and jam bands, parenthood, white privilege, self improvement, and the intimate relationships at the core of The National.
This week, we're hard at work on a new live episode and a special Episode 150, so here's one of our favorite episodes, featuring the legendary Billy Cobham.
Aaron Steele grew up in New York City, raised by two Panamanian immigrants who become pastors. His adventurous spirit, deep pocket, and attention to sonic detail make him one of the most exciting young artists on the scene. He tells Joe about: how Bill Withers was his "Beatles"; growing up a believer; becoming a skeptic; how bands like At The Drive In liberated him from the culture of virtuosity enveloping the gospel scene, being "nearly homeless", getting roofied after a tour, and why he is happy with the course his life has taken.
Scott McPherson's seemingly effortless musicality has made him the drummer of choice for many of his generation's greatest songwriters. He tells Joe about addiction and sobriety; working with artists ranging from Sense Field to Elliott Smith; creating his own company, Tackle Instrument; and the danger of getting what you wish for.
Minnesota native, Dave King, grew up a voracious listener of seemingly disparate forms of music. This is reflected in his playing, which illuminates the through line between improvised music and punk. Dave and Joe discuss: getting pumped for high school wrestling by listening to Albert Ayler and Ornette; the band dynamics of the Bad Plus and Happy Apple; how Dave transitioned from being a “Paul Motian ripoff” to forging his own creative voice; and Dave’s bizarre and hilarious web series, Rational Funk
Riley Breckenridge dreamed of becoming a professional athlete, but after his prospects were cut short after an injury, he turned to drums. He achieved success with Thrice, a band that features his brother Eddie and their childhood friends from Orange County. Riley discusses the benefits and drawbacks about being intensely hard on himself; struggling to find an identity when the band went on hiatus; selling suits; feeling a "loss of gravity" after losing his father; and his own approach to fatherhood.
Steven Drozd joined The Flaming Lips in 1991. His one of a kind drumming style fuses Bonhamesque bombast with a clever compositional sense reminiscent of Can’s Jaki Liebezeit; but his contributions to the band aren’t limited to drumming. Drozd plays most of the instruments on The Flaming Lips' recordings and co-writes their songs. He tells Joe about playing in his father’s band at age eleven; having his mind blown by The Jesus Lizard and The Melvins; his role in The Flaming Lips; creative confidence; and embracing joy in the wake of considerable tragedy. This is one of our favorite episodes.
Jojo Mayer visits The Trap Set and tells Joe about his childhood in Switzerland, artistic honesty, and pair discuss strategies for keeping existential dread at bay.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
In this bonus mini-episode, Stephen Perkins answers listeners' questions.
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.
In this bonus mini-episode, Steve Ferrone answers questions from YOU, our listeners.
Roland, Steve Albini, and Joe discuss: Big Black, Shellac, the "Uberization" of the workforce, the Jungle of Life, and the one true God above.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jason McGerr fell in love with music at an early age, and drumming provided him with solace during a somewhat challenging childhood. He tells Joe about seeing Santa Claus; his teaching style; joining Death Cab For Cutie and helping propel the band to mainstream success; his quest for self improvement; and balancing his career with fatherhood.
Mitchell Feldstein's deceptively simple grooves contain a universe of poetic nuance. He tells Joe about growing up in Philadelphia, losing his parents at an early age, joining the inimitable band Lungfish, earning a master's degree in social work, being a "good nihilist", and why he is no longer compelled to play music.
A native of New Jersey, Jim Derogatis raised the cash for his first drum kit working odd jobs, such as scraping gum off of school desks. He is perhaps best known as a music writer; but Jim has also toured and recorded with bands for over 30 years. He tells Joe about his childhood in New Jersey, Catholic guilt, how his writing and drumming are fed by the same creative energy, and an early encounter with Lester Bangs.
Illinois native, Jose Medeles, made his way to California as a young man; and his stunning musical versatility served him well as he performed with everyone from Joey Ramone to Ben Harper. Jose gained international exposure when he joined Kim Deal in The Breeders. He is now the proprietor Revival Drum Shop, considered by many to be the greatest drum shop in the world. Jose tells Joe about falling in love with drums, proving himself, abandonment issues, the pros and cons of an obsessive work ethic, and learning to be present.
Jon Szanto possesses a rare combination of rigorous virtuosity and emotional intelligence. These qualities have served him well in a 40 year career, spanning Harry Partch to the San Diego Symphony. Now contemplating retirement, Jon talks about why--even if he isn't playing full time--music will always be fundamental to his makeup.
Stephen Perkins answers your questions about: acid, The Grateful Dead, Eric Avery, etc. Make sure to check out his full length episode; subscribe to The Trap Set on iTunes or your favorite podcast app.
Jane's Addiction rose from the LA club scene to become one of their generation's most influential bands, due in no small part to the iconoclastic, tribal-influenced contributions of Stephen Perkins. Stephen tells Joe about growing up in Los Angeles, his tryout for Jane's addiction, his love of the Grateful Dead, fatherhood, and more. Also check out Stephen's bonus episode next week, wherein he answers your questions.
Marian Li Pino's wild, inventive drumming has helped La Luz emerge as one of the most interesting rock bands working today. She tells Joe about her childhood in Washington state, feeling pressured to pursue something other than music, relentlessly searching for (and finding) the right band, and her love of rest stop pretzels.
Hong Kong native Ian Chang grew up a voracious music listener. With a unique style metabolized from disparate influences and an innovative approach to electronic percussion, he is a harbinger of a new era drumming.
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!
In this bonus mini-episode, Matt Cameron answers listeners’ questions. He discusses Elvin, Tony, Gadd, spirit animals, rim shots, artistic instincts, musical confidence, click tracks, and more!
As drummer for Sunny Day Real Estate, William Goldsmith was the emotional core of one of the most influential and enigmatic rock bands of his generation. He was invited to join Dave Grohl as the drummer for the first incarnation of Foo Fighters, but it wasn’t a good fit. William sits down with Joe for an emotional, raw, and honest telling of his remarkable story.
As the founding drummer of The Cure, Lol Tolhurst developed a unique style that is sometimes wild and tribal, sometimes precise and machine-like. He tells Joe about growing up in postwar UK; his lifelong friendship with The Cure frontman, Robert Smith; developing the band's sound through the process of elimination; overcoming addiction; and why he is now open to whatever possibilities the universe presents.
In this bonus, mini-episode, Carmine Appice remembers his relationship with the great Buddy Rich. You can hear Carmine's full episode by subscribing to The Trap Set for free.
While most drummers strive to "play for the song", Zach Barocas's unique, innovative drumming is an essential element of the song. He tells Joe about growing up in Rochester, NY; the unusual way he joined the legendary DC band Jawbox; and overcoming struggles with addiction.
Adam Wade's inventive, angular drumming first emerged in the early 1990s, as DC punk bands began experimenting with more complex, sophisticated song structures than their hardcore predecessors. Adam tells Joe about growing up in Greenwich Village; his time with two highly influential bands--Jawbox and Shudder to Think; how he evolved as a person when he stopped touring; and how he overcame artistic numbness.
Carmine Appice first achieved mainstream recognition as the drummer for Vanilla Fudge. Over the subsequent 50 years, he has established himself as one of the most influential drummers in the history of rock. Carmine tells Joe about his time in a gang; collaborating with Cactus, Rod Stewart, and Vanilla Fudge; and why he was compelled to sleep with 4501 women.
Laura Harris's powerfully lean style provides the perfect foundation for the expertly crafted, hook-laden songs of Ex Hex. She tells Joe about working at DC's legendary rock club, The Black Cat; her time in Dischord band The Aquarium; and how she moved forward after the end of a creative and romantic partnership.
Greg Fox has worked with many of the most exciting groups to hail from New York in the past decade, and his unique style also lends itself well to solo percussion music. Greg tells Joe about his childhood in Manhattan; the benefits of working at the now defunct music hub Manny's; the realization that not every promising collaboration works out as planned; and why he is excited to move forward as an independent artist.
Over the course of the past three decades, Todd Trainer has distinguished himself as one of his generation’s most unique rock drummers. Both visceral and sophisticated, he executes brilliantly composed beats with an instantly identifiable loping groove. He tells Joe about growing up in Minnesota; working in the school lunch line as a teenager; creating music with Steve Albini and Bob Weston in Shellac; his time working for a hair products company; and his current career as a drum instructor.
In this bonus mini-episode, the legendary Sly Dunbar answers your questions about Bob Dylan, Serge Gainsbourg, his favorite studio snacks, and more.
Sly Dunbar burst onto the Kingston music scene in the early 1970s. Along with his partner, bassist Robbie Shakespeare, Sly revolutionized Jamaican music and appeared on countless hits. As reggae music exploded in popularity in the 1970s and 80s, top international artists ranging from Dylan to Gainsbourg flocked to Jamaica, seeking the wicked groove only Sly & Robbie can provide. He tells Joe how he and Robbie have maintained their longevity, how they developed their groundbreaking sound at Channel One Studios, and why he still has an inexhaustible work ethic.
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.
Mario Rubalcaba began his professional career as a skateboarder for the legendary Team Alva. When the skateboarding boom of the late 80s imploded, Mario transitioned to life as a full time drummer. He talks to Joe about skating, knife skills, and life with influential bands such as: Off!, Earthless, and Clikitat Ikatowi.
In this bonus mini-episode, Pete Thomas reflects on the longevity of The Attractions; and he tells tales of touring with The Police.
A native of New York, Dennis Davis was immersed in jazz at a young age, and he made his mark as the drummer for groundbreaking, popular artists such as: David Bowie, Roy Ayers, Stevie Wonder, George Benson, and Iggy Pop. He talks to Joe about his mentorship with legendary drummers Max Roach and Elvin Jones; fighting in Vietnam; crafting timeless, classic albums; constant touring; racism in Boston; raising a family; and battling the disease that ultimately claimed his life.
Jeremy Barnes tells Joe about growing up in a military family, dropping out of school, playing in the highly influential band Neutral Milk Hotel, falling in love with Eastern European music, and evolving as a multi-instrumental artist.
Pete Thomas began his career in the UK Pub Rock scene, but he is best known for his 40-year association with Elvis Costello. He tells Joe about stalking Mitch Mitchell as a teenager, his working relationship with The Attractions, drinking for maximum enjoyment, getting arrested, and the existential dread that plagues us all. This episode is co-presented by our good friends at thedrummersjournal.com
Joe welcomes back three of your favorite guests for a live panel discussion about life, fandom and existential crises. All three guests were fans of each other and were excited to interview each other, as well as take questions from Joe and the audience. Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa interviews Portlandia’s Fred Armisen—who began his career as a drummer. Fred interviews his favorite drummer of all time—Blondie’s Clem Burke. This episode was recorded live at The Steve Allen Theater in Los Angeles.
Barbara Gruska tells Joe about growing up in a musical family, forming the excellent band The Belle Brigade with her brother, and developing meditative practices to keep existential worries at bay.
During Part 2 of Joe's conversation with legendary drummer Dennis Chambers, Dennis talks about his recent brush with death and his subsequent recovery. He also assesses the legacy of his influential body of work.
Steve Gadd discusses Stuff, an incredible band he co-led with other NY studio luminaries in the 70s and early 80s.
Joe traveled to Portland, OR, to record the very first live episode of The Trap Set at the world-famous Revival Drum Shop. Four of Portland's finest drummers--Janet Weiss, Spit Stix, John Moen, and John Sherman--shared their remarkable life stories. This is the first time all four drummers had been in the same place at the same time, and they bonded over the common challenges they face throughout the course of their artistic lives.
Jabo Starks is a stylistic chameleon who can jump from hard-driving blues shuffles; to latin-infused backbeats; to sophisticated, syncopated funk jams. His addition to James Brown's band in 1965 was crucial to the leader's evolution from traditional song forms to his own, wholly unique style. Though he is most closely associated with James Brown, Jabo has also worked blues legends such as Bobby Blue Bland and B.B. King. He tells Joe about how he fell in love with music, his journey with giants of music, and his advice for maintaining a strong family life as an artist.
As a member of James Brown’s band, Clyde Stubblefield created ingenious drum patterns that came to define the funk genre. Years later, Clyde became the most sampled drummer in history, powering hits by everyone from N.W.A. to Kenny G. Yet, despite his monumental contributions to music, Clyde’s name doesn’t even appear on the majority of the records on which he appears. He tells Joe about his time with James Brown, how he ended up as the house drummer on an NPR show, and why he hates the song “Funky Drummer”.
In this bonus mini-episode, Fluke Holland tells Joe about his signature drum sound; playing with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash; and why Cash chose to wear black.
For the One Year Anniversary episode of The Trap Set, Joe had a chance to speak to one of his favorite drummers, Steve Gadd. One of the most prolific and respected drummers of all time, Steve generously shares some hard-won wisdom about musical communication, addiction, recovery, and family. At age 70, he is still trying to achieve a difficult balance between touring, studio work, and his home life. He describes his goals for the future and reflects on what it means to, "get it right." Also: Friend of the show, Jon Wurster, calls in to wish the show a Happy Anniversary.
Dan Didier is best known as the drummer for the highly influential bands The Promise Ring and Maritime. He tells Joe about falling out with his longtime bandmate and best friend; achieving balance between family, music, and a creative day job; and his zen approach to life.
When he was asked by Carl Perkins to join his band, W.S. "Fluke" Holland had no drumming experience whatsoever. Within the first year of picking up drum sticks for the first time, Fluke was recording genre-defining hits with Perkins and The Million Dollar Quartet. He even thought of retiring from music at the age of 25, until he was asked by Johnny Cash to join his band. He talks to Joe about his remarkable, decades-long career with The Man In Black.
Tony Allen is inarguably one of the greatest drummers ever to pick up sticks. Brian Eno famously cited him as one of the most important drummers on the planet, and it isn’t hyperbolic to say that he is simply one of the great musicians to emerge during the 20th century. Tony tells Joe about his childhood in Lagos, Nigeria; his musical influences; his time with Fela Kuti in Afrika 70; and the impetus to start his legendary solo career. Without Tony Allen there would be no Afrobeat.
In this bonus mini-episode, George Hurley tells his drumming origin story and talks about musical influences. He also discusses parallels between jazz and punk rock. Check out George's full-length episode by subscribing to The Trap Set on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS.
George Hurley drummed for Minutemen and fIREHOSE, two of the most influential and beloved bands to emerge from the Southern California punk scene. He tells Joe about how he gravitated to drums, taught himself to play--practicing ten hours a day, was freed by punk rock, and hooked up with bandmates, D. Boon and Mike Watt. He reflects on the completely unexpected yet considerable legacy of his trailblazing body of work.
William Kuehn began his career in Madison, Wisconsin, as the drummer for the beloved emo band, Rainer Maria. A Wisconsin native himself, Joe played some of his earliest shows opening for Rainer Maria, so he and William have known each other for about 20 years. William charts Rainer Maria's history, and he tells Joe about feeling like an outsider; falling in love with punk music; living in an East Bay Squat; and traveling through the Middle East.
Kiran Gandhi drummed for MIA while simultaneously earning her MBA at Harvard. She also recently made international headlines for running the London Marathon while bleeding freely. She discusses the impetus behind this action, and she tells Joe about how she plans to integrate her business training and feminist activism with her creative life.
In this bonus mini-episode, Bob Bert talks about the No-Wave scene; the legacy of Sonic Youth's classic album, Bad Moon Rising; and his relationship with his successor in the band, Steve Shelley.
Over the last decade, Joe Plummer has been the drummer of choice for many of the West Coast's most popular and acclaimed rock bands. He talks about growing up as the youngest member of a giant extended family and what he's drawn from his experiences playing with Cold War Kids, The Shins, Modest Mouse, and The Black Heart Procession.
Bob Bert first gained notoriety as the drummer on Sonic Youth's early records. Next, he played with Jon Spencer in Pussy Galore, and he currently works with Lydia Lunch in Retrovirus. He talks to Joe about how he discovered punk and no wave, how his background in visual art informed his musical concept, and he describes the difficult experience of caring for his dying wife.
In this bonus mini-episode, Bun E. Carlos talks about Cheap Trick's search for a singer and the band's classic album Live at Budokan.
In this bonus mini-episode, Matt Chamberlain talks about his obsessive quest to become a great drummer; working with legendary teachers such as Jack Dejohnette; and how he broke through and became one of his generation's most admired and prolific drummers.
As founding drummer of Cheap Trick, Bun E. Carlos laid the rhythmic foundation for one of the most influential and beloved rock bands in history. He charts the band's course from the Midwestern club circuit to international superstardom. He also tells Joe what he's been up to, now that he is no longer actively playing with the band.
One of the most compelling and versatile drummers working today, Matt Chamberlain has collaborated with everyone from David Bowie to Soundgarden; from Keith Urban to of Montreal. He tells Joe about the obsession with music that began while he was still in diapers, why he was compelled to seek musical mentors, and how he has come to embody the new paradigm of creative studio musicians.
In this bonus mini-episode, DH Peligro talks about his early sexual exploits and the original breakup of Dead Kennedys. Check out his full episode by subscribing to The Trap Set on iTunes, RSS, or Stitcher.
DH Peligro's explosive groove propelled punk standard bearers, Dead Kennedys, into the stratosphere. He tells Joe about first being exposed to music in church, his time with the iconic DK, his brief stint in Red Hot Chili Peppers, and his struggle to achieve sobriety.
In this Bonus Mini-Episode, Wilco's Glenn Kotche discusses standards and expectations when it comes to songwriting. He also shares what he has gleaned from spending time with Neil Young and Jeff Tweedy.
In this Bonus Mini-Episode, Brian Chase talks about the influence of producer and longtime collaborator, Dave Sitek. Warning: This gets pretty nerdy!
Brian Chase is best known as the drummer for Yeah Yeah Yeahs; but he is also a prolific solo artist and has collaborated with everyone from John Zorn to Beech Creeps. He talks to Joe about his involvement in music at an early age, attending Oberlin, the origins and inner workings of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jewish Mysticism, and yoga.
In this bonus mini-episode, Mike Clark tells Joe about working in Phil-Collins-led fusion band Brand X. You can hear Mike's full episode by subscribing to The Trap Set on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS.
In this bonus mini-episode, Howard Grimes of Hi/Stax Records fame tells Joe about being influenced by Bernard Purdie. You can hear Howard's full episode, as well as Bernard's two part episode, by subscribing to The Trap Set on iTunes, Stitcher, or RSS.
Through his affiliation with both Hi and Stax Records, Memphis native Howard Grimes has played drums on countless classic songs. He tells Joe that drumming was his divine calling; and he charts his monumental career, during which he's backed Al Green, Ann Peebles, Rufus Thomas, and many other legendary stars of soul.
In this bonus mini-episode, Ndugu Chancler tells Joe about recording Michael Jackson's classic song, "Billie Jean". You can hear Ndugu's full length episode by subscribing to The Trap Set on iTunes or RSS.
In this bonus mini-episode, John Stanier tells Joe about his time as a professional DJ. You can hear John's full length episode by subscribing to The Trap Set on iTunes or RSS.
John Stanier first burst onto the rock scene in the late 80s, as founding drummer of Helmet. He charts the course of that band's decade long run, which included mainstream, multi-platinum success but ended in acrimony. He tells Joe about the musical evolution that led him to his current band, Battles; and he explains why--despite his previous success--he was willing to start over and sleep on floors in order to help build the band from the ground up.
In this bonus mini-episode, Brendan Canty tells Joe about how he got involved with the DC punk scene; playing with the short-lived, but incredibly influential band Rites of Spring; and the genesis of Fugazi. Subscribe to The Trap Set for free to hear Brendan's full-length episode. (He was guest numero uno.)
In this bonus mini-episode, Reggie Watts tells Joe about writing music while on acid. Subscribe to The Trap Set for free to hear Reggie's full-length episode (#40).
Reggie Watts talks to Joe about growing up in Montana, psychedelic drugs, the spirit of jazz, leading the Late Late Show Band on CBS, virtual reality, and returning to Montana to create Utopian creative compound.
In this bonus mini-episode, L7's Dee Plakas talks to Joe about touring with Melvins. Subscribe to The Trap Set for free to hear Dee's full-length episode. (Also available: an interview with Dale Crover of Melvins.)
Best known as the drummer for Wilco, Glenn Kotche is also an accomplished classical percussionist and experimental composer. He talks to Joe about the internal workings of Wilco and how he strives for balance between his many creative pursuits and his family life.
Clem Burke of Blondie Fame tells Joe about how he got started in music and how he ended up playing Carnegie Hall at age fourteen.
Greg Fox and Kid Millions call Joe to talk about their fantastic new duo album, "Losttime". Subscribe to The Trap Set so that you can check out Kid's full-length episode in our archives (Episode 3), and stay tuned for a new episode featuring Greg sometime soon.
Clem Burke talks about the New York glam scene at Club 82, the punk scene at CBGBs, crafting pop masterpieces with Blondie, and the band's rise to tremendous international success. He also discusses how he stays inspired and remains creative 40 years into his career.
DJ Bonebrake talks about how X maintained creative control, in spite of signing with major label, Elektra Records.
Dee Plakas talks about discovering her natural gift for drumming, pulverizing the music world with L7, breaking up the band, and reuniting over a decade later.
Fred and Joe pontificate over the nature of music and how it relates to cultural anthropology. Neither of them is an expert, so everything they think might be wrong. You be the judge.
Blonde Redhead's Simone Pace tells Joe about his mischievous childhood in Italy and Canada, studying with the legendary Alan Dawson in Boston, founding Blonde Redhead in NY, and managing his insecurities as an artist.
James Gadson is one of the greatest drummers in the history of recorded music, but even he sometimes has an off day in the studio. He tells Joe about a time when he wasn't at his best. Be sure to listen to Gadson's full-length episode by subscribing to The Trap Set on iTunes or by visiting thetrapset.net
DJ Bonebrake, of legendary punk band X, discusses his time as a Buddhist with Joe, who is just now exploring Buddhism. Be sure to listen to DJ's full-length episode by subscribing to The Trap Set on iTunes or by visiting thetrapset.net
James Gadson is one of most prolific drummers in funk and soul. His singular style can be heard on seminal records by Bill Withers, Marvin Gaye, Charles Wright, The Temptations, and many other legends. He tells Joe his remarkable life story.
Venzella Joy (drummer for Beyoncé) and Joe talk about their wonderful moms.
Steven Adler of Guns N' Roses tells Joe about growing up as a "good Hebrew boy" and seeing UFOs. Be sure to check out his full episode at thetrapset.net/past-episodes or on iTunes.
DJ Bonebrake (yes, that's his real name) is the founding drummer of legendary LA punk band, X. He tells Joe about his tragic childhood, the early LA punk scene, and how he constantly broadens his artistic skill set.
In this bonus mini-episode, Joe and Interpol's Sam Fogarino trade culinary tips and discuss the sometimes annoying foodie culture. Check out Sam's full-length episode at thetrapset.net (Past Episodes) or on iTunes.
In this bonus mini-episode, Sheila E. discusses her grandmother's obsession with sex. Check out Sheila's full-length episode at thetrapset.net (Past Episodes) or on iTunes.
It's not enough to merely be a great drummer if you want to play with the biggest pop star in the world. In addition to her unstoppable groove and technical prowess, Venzella Joy possesses an extraordinary combination of wisdom, humility, and confidence that enabled her to secure the drum throne in Beyoncé's band. But as Venzella continues to develop as a songwriter and producer, it's clear that playing with the Queen is merely the beginning of her creative journey. She drops jewels of knowledge on Joe and shares her life story.
You know Fred Armisen from his work on Portlandia and SNL, but before he was a comedy star, Fred was a working drummer. He charts the journey from his early fascination with music, to his time touring and recording with arty Chicago band Trenchmouth, to Blue Man Group, SNL, The 8G Band and beyond. Fred also discusses the nature of his creative drive and his relationship with success.
Ron Lynch grew up with aspirations to become a professional drummer. His aptitude for music earned him a scholarship to college, but his path soon led him to pursue comedy and acting. Ron developed his comedy chops as part of the Boston comedy scene of the 80s, that also produced Bobcat Goldthwait, Marc Maron, Louis CK, and Steven Wright. Over the course of his career, Ron has also appeared on acclaimed shows like: Dr. Katz, Home Movies, Bob's Burgers, and Adventure Time. He is also the host of Tomorrow!, a uniquely bizarre and consistently entertaining weekly variety show in Los Angeles.
Todd Barry is one of the greatest comics working today; but before he dedicated himself to the art of stand-up, Todd played in popular Florida band The Chant. Nowadays, when Todd isn't busy filming comedy specials or acting in acclaimed films and TV shows, he finds time to sit in with bands like Superchunk and Yo La Tengo. He and Joe explore the relationship between music and comedy.
In this bonus mini-episode, Jon Wurster discusses the influence of legendary producer and drummer Steve Jordan. Also included is an--until now--unreleased song by Jon's early band, The Carneys, with Steve Jordan producing. You can hear a full-length interview with Jon at thetrapset.net or on iTunes.
Jon Wurster first made his name as the drummer for Superchunk, and over the past twenty years, he's become of rock's most in-demand and versatile drummers. He's played with everyone from Bob Mould to Katy Perry, but his creative output isn't limited to music. Jon is one half of the acclaimed and bizarrely hilarious comedy duo Scharpling & Wurster. He talks to Joe about setting ambitious goals at a young age, the power of projecting your intentions into the universe, sobriety, and the relationship between comedy and music.
In Part Two of his Trap Set Interview, Bernard Purdie tells Joe about how his legacy has been broadened by sampling, his solo career, and the sessions and artists that who took the music over the top. Also, he briefly addresses his controversial claim of playing on some Beatles recordings.
In part one of a two part interview, Joe speaks to a true original, the legendary Bernard Purdie. They discuss Purdie's early fascination with drumming, the tragic loss of his parents, overcoming alcoholism at a very early age, and his arrival in New York. Part two airs next Wednesday.
Steven Schick first heard music as a child on a farm in Iowa. Over the course of his 40 year career, he has become a renowned performer, educator, conductor, and author. He talks to Joe about cultivating financial stability as an artist, learning to be in the moment, and the symbiosis between teaching and performance.
Sheila E. talks to Joe about her legendary musical family, joining a gang, working with Prince, overcoming abuse, and helping youth through her Elevate Hope foundation.
Sam Fogarino was a productive, adult member of society before he gained notoriety as the drummer of Interpol. He talks to Joe about his creative role in the band, parenthood, the nature of ambition in the Indie scene, and drinking Vodka from the bottle with Josh Homme.
Danny Frankel began his career as the drummer for DC band Urban Verbs. After the group dissolved in 1981, Danny moved to Los Angeles and became an in-demand session drummer. He tells Joe tales of his adventures with Lou Reed, Fiona Apple, and KD Lang. And he discuses how his mentor, jazz great Paul Motian, changed his life.
Legendary drummer Billy Cobham tells Joe about immigrating to the US from Panama, performing with his father's band in New York City, co-founding the extraordinarily influential Mahavishnu Orchestra, making the jump to a successful career as a leader, and constant creative evolution.
As the original drummer for Guns N' Roses, Steven Adler was the swaggering pulse of the 80's Los Angeles hard rock scene. But as the band exploded, so did Adler's addiction to drugs and booze and he was ejected from the band. Steven discusses his difficult past, his lifelong relationship with Slash, and feeling better than ever thanks to his newfound sobriety. Also, Laser Drum Art.
Joe talks to The Maya Tuttle about growing up in the Bay Area, the nature of biracial Eurasian marriages in the US, drawing inspiration from Karen Carpenter, singing and drumming with popular band The Colourist, and the challenges presented by working as a professional musician.
Joe talks to Milford Graves about exploring uncharted musical territory as an avant-garde pioneer; building a second career in medicine; supporting a family; and cultivating a multi-disciplinary artistic approach.
Kliph Scurlock was born to a musician mother and policeman father in Kansas. He tells Joe how he began his career with The Flaming Lips as a roadie and eventually realized his dream of becoming the band's drummer for over a decade. He also discusses his controversial departure from the Lips and his continued musical development with Gruff Rhys, Psychic Heat, and Split Level Stiffs.
Joe talks to Victor Delorenzo about seeing Sun Ra perform at the Racine Zoo, entering the arts as an actor, co-founding the successful and incredibly influential Violent Femmes, and remaining creative and prolific as a member of several groups including Lorenzo Menzerschmidt and Nineteen Thirteen.
Joe talks to Stella Mozgawa about her Polish heritage, her musican parents, how a benign lie became the truth, how she evolved beyond her competitive nature, and her creative collaboration in Warpaint.
Joe talks to John Herndon about growing up on a commune; leading a musical movement with Tortoise, 5ive Style, and Isotope 217; his side career as a tattoo artist; and raising his kids in LA.
Joe talks to Dave Lombardo about co-founding the groundbreaking metal band Slayer, his experience as the son of a Cuban butcher living the American Dream, his Latin Jazz influences, and expanding his horizons with Fantomas, John Zorn, and Philm.
Joe talks to master improviser, Hamid Drake, about playing with Don Cherry, Fred Anderson, and Mandingo Griot Society; his evolving concept of meditation; being a "bridge"; and the inseparable nature of music and life.
Joe talks to Lori Barbero about living on a houseboat, her time with the highly influential Babes In Toyland, and going with the flow.
Joe talks to Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz about Dr. Demento, his 35 year collaboration with Weird Al, and the meticulous effort that goes into re-creating the sound of the constantly shifting pop landscape.
Joe talks to Dale Crover about innate confidence when approaching the drums, his three decade--and counting--run as drummer for The Melvins, playing with Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, baseball, marriage, and parenthood.
Joe talks to John "Drumbo" French about blazing a singular path with Captain Beefheart, slipping his under tyrannical rule, arranging the seminal album, "Trout Mask Replica" and learning many years later that his work truly meant something to people all over the world.
Joe talks to Jeff "Tain" Watts about growing up in the Hill District of Pittsburgh, getting suspended from school for fighting, ascending to the top of the 80s jazz world with the Marsalis brothers, and playing in a band with Gus from Breaking Bad.
Joe talks to Patty Schemel about drumming for Hole, addiction, recovery, and motherhood.
Joe talks to Butch Norton about his philandering father, his positive but limited experience with Scientology, and his career as drummer for Eels, Tracy Chapman, Rufus Wainwright, and Lucinda Williams.
Joe talks to legendary drummer Mike Clark about his time with Herbie Hancock, Buddhism, and how he came to invent his own unique style of drumming.
Joe talks to Sandra Vu about growing up as a first generation Asian kid in the Southern California hardcore scene, working as a drummer-for-hire in Dum Dum Girls, creating music for Sisu, and dating a fellow drummer.
Joe talks to Brooklyn drummer Kid Millions about prep. school, Oneida, Metal Machine Music, tuning drums with Brian Chase, and his solo percussion project, Man Forever.
Joe talks to Leon "Ndugu" Chancler about his upbringing in Louisiana and Los Angeles, his time with Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, George Duke, and the recording sessions for what was to become the best-selling album of all time, Michael Jackson's "Thriller".
Joe talks to Brendan Canty, drummer of the legendary band Fugazi, about growing up in an environment of “benign neglect”, writing music in bands and as a film composer, and fatherhood.