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The Trap Set with Joe Wong

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Each Wednesday on The Trap Set, Joe Wong talks to a different drummer about life.

Each Wednesday on The Trap Set, Joe Wong talks to a different drummer about life.
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Each Wednesday on The Trap Set, Joe Wong talks to a different drummer about life.




180: Adam Topol (Jack Johnson, Culver City Dub Collective, etc.)

Adam Topol's formative years were spent listening to Kiss and punk rock, but he soon discovered a lifelong passion for jazz and world music that influenced his diverse career. He tells Joe about growing up in Lake Tahoe; his self-taught entrepreneur father; why art and academia feel at odds; why he never thought that he could make a living playing music; getting sober; his connection with deep Jack Johnson; and starting his percussion company, Roots EQ.


179: Matt Helders (The Arctic Monkeys, Iggy Pop)

The Arctic Monkeys started out as more of an aspiration than an actual band--its members were teenagers who had just started playing their instruments. But--after gaining some online notoriety--the band was catapulted to massive popularity, releasing a string of number one albums in their native UK. Matt Helders talks to Joe about: growing up in Sheffield; struggling with feelings of "unearned" success early in the band's career; evolving as an artist; the thrilling fear of writing his...


178: Geoff Mann and Marcos Garcia (Here Lies Man, Antibalas)

On this episode of The Trap Set Live, Joe sits down with Chico Mann and Geoff Mann to discuss: musical parents (Geoff’s father being the legendary Herbie Mann); early influences; the first records they purchased with their own money; their tenure with Antibalas; the genesis of their current band Here Lies Man—which combines Afrobeat-inspired rhythm with heavy psychedelic textures; and parenting. This episode was recorded live at The Amigo Room at Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs,...


177: Lucky Lehrer (Circle Jerks)

Lucky Lehrer's ferocious and agile style helped Circle Jerks become standard bearers of the nascent SoCal hardcore scene. He tells Joe about growing up in LA, his love of jazz, studying at UC-Berkeley, discovering punk, and his current creative focus--improvised comedy.


176: Dean "Clean" Sabatino (The Dead Milkmen, I Think Like Midnight)

Formed in Philadelphia in 1983, The Dead Milkmen created a downright hillarious sonic universe that stood in stark contrast to their hardcore punk contemporaries. But it's a genuine, heartfelt emotional core that makes the band's classic body of work stand the test of time. Drummer Dean "Clean" Sabatino charts his journey from local hero, to major label big wigs, to father and graphic designer, to part-time punk.


BNS: Dale Crover Returns!

The incredible Dale Crover (Melvins) graced The Trap Set during our salad days (Episode 10). Today, he makes a triumphant return to update us on what he's been up for the past few years. A great chat with one of the most compelling and unique drummers out there!


175: Tony Hajjar (At The Drive-In, Sparta, Gone is Gone)

Tony Hajjar's explosive, emotionally-raw style propelled At The Drive-In to mainstream success. He tells Joe about emigrating to the US from Lebanon, losing both of his parents at an early age, his tight relationship with his brother, the band dynamic of ATDI, breaking up just after breaking into the mainstream, Sparta, staying in a psychological "survival mode", creating the stability he's always craved, and creating a thriving business with his wife.


174: Kate Schellenbach (Luscious Jackson, Beastie Boys)

Kate Schellenbach’s formative musical experience was in the choir at the Church of St. Luke in Greenwich Village; but soon enough, she was watching Clem Burke do lines at CBGB. Kate tells Joe about drumming for an early, punk-influenced version of The Beastie Boys; achieving popular success with Luscious Jackson; singing on Broadway as a child; her second career as an Emmy-Award-winning TV producer; and raising a son.


173: John "J.R." Robinson (Rufus, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Daft Punk, etc.)

John "J.R" Robinson has an extraordinary sense of time, a crisp tone, and a gift for developing rhythmic hooks. All of these attributes contribute to his status as one of the most in-demand session drummers of all time. Joe visited J.R. at his home to discuss: his childhood in Iowa; why his drum set was his best friend; attending Berklee College; joining Rufus and moving to LA; working with a host of iconic artists; and why marriage is a bad idea (at least until you have your life together).


172: Pete Moffett (Government Issue, Wool, Burning Airlines, Second Letter, etc.)

Pete Moffett cut his teeth in the DC punk scene, where he developed a signature style balancing angular inventiveness with oversized bombast. He talks to Joe about why he's so hard on himself; transitioning from an ELO-heavy diet to punk rock; the ramifications of being a recovering alcoholic; coming out and meeting his partner of 25 years; and drum teching for high profile artists.


171: Dave Elitch (Antemasque, Justin Timberlake, M83, Killer Be Killed)

Dave Elitch has the rare ability to deconstruct the craft of drumming on a granular level. This gift has led to a diversity gigs ranging from The Mars Volta to Justin Timberlake. Dave's primary passion, though, is for teaching. At age 34, he's taught a who's-who of professional drummers, some of whom are twice Dave's age and icons in their own right. Dave tells Joe about how he fell in love with drumming; his teaching style; his love of visual art; and the parallels between therapy and...


BNS: Ezra Miller

In this bonus mini-episode, actor Ezra Miller (Justice League, Fantastic Beasts) talks about harnessing anxiety for creative endeavors, diarrhea, and Philip Glass. This is an excerpt from an upcoming episode about actors who are also drummers. Check out the debut album from Ezra's band, Sons of an Illustrious Father, out now!


170: Brian Blade (Fellowship, Wayne Shorter, Joni Mitchell, etc.)

Brian Blade burst on the scene in the early 90s and has since distinguished himself as one of the all time greats. Brian met with Joe in Chicago to discuss: his musical beginnings in church; how he developed his gifts as an artist; what he learned from his older brother, drummer Brady Blade; working with iconoclasts ranging from Joni Mitchell to Wayne Shorter; being “in the moment, almost to a fault”; reuniting with his childhood sweetheart after nearly 30 years apart; and how within any...


169: Brad Wilk (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, Prophets of Rage)

Rage Against the Machine is an exceptionally rare band that managed to combine a radical, populist message with massive popular success. At the core of the band is Brad Wilk's drumming, which combines an explosive groove and hypnotic use of space. Brad visits The Trap Set to discuss: his formative love of Van Halen; Studying with David Garibaldi; the creative dynamic of RATM, Audioslave, and Prophets of Rage; playing flute; his family's roots in the jewelry business; parenting; a nine...


168: Michael Shrieve (Santana, Go, Solo Artist)

In 1969, Michael Shrieve took the world by storm with his jaw-dropping performance at Woodstock. His raw power, combined with jazz-inflected finesse, was a crucial component to the band's success. Over the subsequent 50 years, Michael's adventurous body of work has comprised collaborations with: Stomu Yamashta, Steve Winwood, Al Di Meola, Klaus Schulze, Andy Summers, Mick Jagger, etc. Joe met with Michael at his studio in Seattle to discuss Michael's childhood as a devout alter boy; his...


167: Live from KEXP, Seattle

This week, we share Joe's epic live panel with Matt Cameron (Soundgarden, Pearl Jam); Ruby Dunphy (Thunderpussy); Tendai Maraire (Shabazz Palaces); and Jason McGerr (Death Cab for Cutie). This episode was recorded in front of a capacity crowd at KEXP in Seattle.


166: Karriem Riggins (Ray Brown, Hank Jones, J Dilla, Common)

Karriem Riggins is a rare artist whose creative voice resonates in improvised music and popular music alike. Karriem spoke to Joe in front of a live audience at Ace Hotel Palm Springs about: being born into a musical family in Detroit; his definition of greatness and mastery; working with established legends like Ray Brown and modern legends like J Dilla; and he answers listener questions. Also, Trap Set friend--Jose Medeles--calls to talk about his new book, The Stoic Drummer.


RIP: Remembering John "Jabo" Starks

Yesterday, John "Jabo" Starks--one of the most important drummers of the twentieth century--died of cancer. He was 79. In tribute, we're revisiting Joe's conversation with the legendary musician, originally recorded in Madison, WI, in 2015.


165: Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees, Barrett Martin Group, Mad Season, REM)

In the 80s and 90s, Barrett Martin was a member of seminal Seattle bands Screaming Trees, Mad Season, and Skin Yard; but according to Barrett, talking about his life as a rock drummer isn’t all that interesting. Instead, Barrett and Joe have a conversation about the perception of time, the feminine energy of the universe, Barrett’s studies as a Zen monk, the dangers of capitalism, and the nature of music and consciousness.


164: Adrienne Davies (Earth)

Adrienne Davies joined long-running Washington band Earth in 2001. She brought with her the requisite aptitude for slow tempos, and--over the course of several albums--developed a command of sonic nuance that perfectly complements and differentiates the band's meditative compositions. Adrienne speaks to Joe about: growing up surrounded by brothers, stage fright, feelings of creative inadequacy, breaking through those feelings through serious woodshedding, recovering from a serious back and...