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.