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.