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.