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.