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.