Monday, March 28, 2016

Volume 18 - JoJo

Volume 18 - JoJo

Here comes the fun! When you have a personality like this, you kinda don't have a choice but to play music. High spirited, multi-talented man on the move, Joseph Drew has settled down in "lala land" to continued his pursuit of music and success. Picking up various musical nuggets along the way JoJo has a kool vibe and perspective to his approach to drums. He's like a walking mantra, the positivity ooozes from this guy and some of it could get on you. Make sure you check out his Facebook page and go to his videos, he's got some good stuff there, focusing on various patters and grooves. He's a big supporter of music and has an honest passion for it, so I had to get this guy to Talk Chop and he said "Yes".

Name or Stage Name: 
 Oh boy... Should be a simple question right? Um, Well it's been this and that over the years. Just because of bands bein silly... or just cause folks seem to like addin on another nickname for me..but I was born Joseph Lee Drew. However, since I was two years old I've always been JoJo. Haha! Always....but when I got older and saw the world and music and the magic of it all at is core. I began developing a much more devout approach and viewed it all from a deeper perspective. So I developed an obsession with the 'essence of Mojo' which of course is what all them old school blues cats were talkin about, on all them Classic cuts that still hold their place today...the deal was sealed soon after some fella after a blues gig in Georgia came up to me and said "Damn play like your life depends on it...that mojo just comes off you like a waterfall Youngblood" hahaha despite his colorful review on my performance....what he said struck a made sense. 'Mojo' seemed like a great balance between the little boy named JoJo and the drummer who evolved to become Mojo. And has become the brand and logo for my personal business as well as a huge part of my curriculum when teaching. So let's just call my alter ego Maestro Mojo 😃. But can call me whatever you'd like haha!

Where are you from? 
Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri...moved east my Freshman year to South Carolina...early manhood life change for a baseball dream. That's a whole different story. Ha!

How long have you been playing?
I've been obsessed with music since I was 2 years old. Slight detours here and there on my early teens...boys will be boys. But sometimes u gotta accept that face that it's not up to you all the time. Sometimes music as rhythm make the choice for you. I was one of those. Nothing in my life has ever made more sense or come more easily to me than music.

What is or are your main genre of playing?
I honestly have zero preferences as to who or what kind of music I'll play...Studio stuff is my bread and butter, although nothing beats steppin on stage in front of a packed house and playing live.

I don't like all the branding honestly man...I feel it sets false limitations on capable musicians. You focus so much on bein a 'rock' drummer or 'funk' drummer or 'jazz' drummer or a 'rockabilly' drummer. I can keep going but u get my point haha! It's a bit excessive but I stand firm on the principle that these classifications ultimately stunt the growth of music as a whole. Just be a musician first. And a drummer 2nd. If u can do that, I feel you won't have to worry about 'main genres' .... Because you will be able to play EVERYTHING. With that'll learn to respect all the styles and music genres worldwide.

How did you get where you are now? 
Hmm. Well it started when I was 2 yrs old...An obsession over music. More specifically, rhythm and the magic it cast throughout the universe binding us all together kind of like the force for the Jedi if you can forgive my Star Wars reference...I taught myself as long as I could until I realized I had brought my chops up to very high levels. Soon though the time came where I realized I wasn't finding many paying gigs by being a chops monster. So I sought out the teachings of drum gurus like Benny Greb, Marko Djordjevic, Benjamin Taylor, Trevor Detling, and Kent Aberle. The combined principles of such renowned drummers with my own ambitions quickly got me in a position to be able to go and sit in at open jams, pick up gigs, and virtually play anything that came my way. Before I could blink my schedule was slammed and I could finally call this passion a profession.

What are your goals, short & long term?
I just want to play, teach, and show the world that when you truly love something. You go for it and you don't quit. Ever.

What do you want to accomplish here in L.A.?
Well I really hope to just establish myself as I have I the other scenes that I came up in. And that is to be a first call, first take drummer who is available at all times. 

You have been on the move across the country, obviously music has been your anchor. how did you fare in those other cities, musically? 
You know each stop along the way was filled with lessons and experiences that I've carried with me along the way. It's been an unbelievable journey thus far. 

Artists you would like to play for? 
Oh wow...this list could get out of hand. I will just keep it with the fact that I'd be honored for any top tier slot...but I would be overjoyed to share the stage with Prince, The Eagles, Joe Bonnamassa, Gov't Mule, Foo Fighters, Bruno Mars, some metal acts like Monuments, Periphery to flex my chops. But given the impossible chance. I've always yearned to drum behind the late great Michael Jackson, and my all one favorite blues man Stevie Ray Vaughan

List some of your accomplishments:
Just being able to do what I love and make a living is enough of an accomplishment for me. This is my 12th year as a professional musician...I've been so many places and played with so many amazing musicians. The endorsements and sponsorship's are very humbling but I don't know man. I just love to play. And I'm proud of working my butt off to the point where that's how I've made my living.

Do you have your own band? 
I got plugs into many of the scenes from coast to coast but I prefer to stay independent. Saves myself from strange politics and what not. That's the best way I can put it.

Do you play any other instruments? 
Yea I love guitar and have been recently falling in love with the piano. Really helps with my songwriting chops by utilizing instruments that carry a melody, you know?

What are your touring experiences, if any? 
Well many of the most memorable experiences may or may not be somewhat incriminating haha!! But I will say while on the road with Pistol Town I got the pleasure of rocking out with Drowning Pool at one of the first sold out shows I had been apart of... and that for me at that point in time was the defining moment that I was actually gonna be able to do this

Let's talk  gear - heads and sticks included and why you choose these items?
I endorse Sonor Drums and Soultone cymbals....they have always been one of my truest loves gear wise and I'm blessed to be on their team. I've had many configurations over the years but the last little while I've really scaled it down to kick, snare, floor tom w/hi hat and a crash/ride. Gives me so much space to sit tight and explode in a very liberating way. 

Do you have multiple kits and snares? 
Yes sir. Kind of a hoarder in that regard. 

Which wood shells do you prefer? 
Oh man.... Maple has always been there for me...but I'll never forget the first time I heard an Beechwood shell. However, Sonor had a kit made from Makassar Ebony...I have never been the same.

Do you have a “Dream Kit”? 
Oh yes...yes I do...Sonor SQ2 Acrylic set in their Smoke well as a 60s Sonor Beechwood kit. THAT my friend is the finest drums I have EVER heard.

I see your a drum junkie, how often do you need to get that fix for some new (or old) piece of gear? 
I will say that more so than new gear...when I stumble upon a piece of vintage gear...I absolutely lose my mind. And if I got the cash at the time. She is mine hah! 

How do you describe your drumming style? 
Very aggressive with a deep emotional touch

Why the drums? 
It's the heartbeat of it all. It's the pulse that makes us move. And we're born with that inclination. Our hearts beat in time and our mothers heart is the first sound that we all hear. It's the rhythm of life.

If you weren’t playing drums, what would you be doing? Farming

How has drumming impacted or changed your life? 
It saved my life. Brought the fire back into a very dark place in my life

Is the music business your career? 
Yes sir it is

Are you involved in the local music scene in your hometown? Absolutely but I made the venture out to LA just last week actually. Finally chased down my 'unicorn'.

Name 5 of your drumming influences? why? 
1-Buddy Rich- cause perfection was never so violently but beautifully conjured up in one person before him.
2-John Bonham-His groove was unstoppable and he was one of the founding fathers of what I've learned to just call the 'x factor'
3-Benny Greb- Simply brilliant and his gift is something he takes great pride in...especially as an educator. He is absolutely one of my all time favorites 
4- Morgan Rose- There's just something about the fire that this man plays with that makes my insides burn with desire and determination. He's the one that showed me it's not the notes but what you put into them. far and large my earliest influence as a young buck...a drummer SO CRAZY he had to be chained to his own set. I love it

Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding?
Working as a grunt and tech for the Benny Greb clinic as my first gig at Atlanta Pro Percussion. Everything changed within me when i walked away from that event

How much time do you practice? 
It's varied at this point in the game because I'm playing live and studio stuff so much...but when it was the woodshed least 10 hours a day on top of lessons, workin at the drum shop. It was crazy and got unhealthy eventually....but i didn't care. I'm a man on a mission

Describe your current gig(s): 
I do a lot of session work around the country for various artists. Workin with a Armored Star Studios out in Austin, Red Clayy Entertainment and DDB studios out of Atlanta. Ohana Music Group out of Kentucky/Nashville area, and now out here in LA for Jose Perez and a few other artists-studios I cannot currently discuss but I'm very excited man

Do you record drum videos of yourself? why? 
how has it helped you? Yes. Well being from an athletic background...watchin yourself on film is the sure shot of how to see your flaws, repetitive tendencies, your posture, and whether or not you make ugly drummer faces, hahaha!

Watching some of your videos, you definitely display some passion behind the kit, is that your drum persona or is that just you all the time?
You know it's funny...for the most part I'm a very gentle and tender man...But there is an animal that lives inside me and back behind the kit is where he is released.

Do you concentrate on Chops or Grooves? 
Both. It's all about the balance between

Are you into electronic drums? 
They are invaluable as a practice tool, and utilized in some cool ways live. At the end of the day ain't a real drum.

Do you program drums?
I have been getting more into that. It's really a much more elaborate metronome and when u can do counter/poly rhythms along with it you get some super cool grooves.

Are you a songwriter? 
Yes sir

As a songwriter, are you looking to put out your own project or contribute to someone else's? 
You know in the regard for the last several years I've just been content with contributing songs to others and various projects along the way. More recently I've been motivated and even prompted by folks in my own inner circle to give it a shot. I dunno man. The verdict is still out on that one 

Do you sing and play? 
Yes sir 

Do you prefer studio sessions, local live gigs or touring? 
Studio is my bliss but live performances and the tour life is where I get to unleash a whole other kind of animal.

Do you prefer being in a band (artist) or being a sideman? Being in a band forms a unique bond but I've found being a nomad and just slingin the sticks wherever the wind takes you is the best method for me. I like to play too many different styles to lock into a band without being in love with the music and the brotherhood. 

Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us? 
Oh man....yea Club La Vela w/ Pistol Town....we played non stop til 10-4 in the mornin...we usually stop at 2 but the crowd was feelin it and truth be told we were as well....but that band went freaking hard. I went to get off stage just rolled off the drum riser unconscious. My boy Dwayne had to carry me to the van. Man that was nuts.

What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there? 
You get out of it what you put into folks. If drums is what you want to do. DO IT. And Don't EVER get discouraged. Don't ever get up. You're gonna fail. You're gonna suck...for a long long time. But you push on and don't give a rip of what anyone thinks or tells you. And you just work and work and sweat and bleed until those people that doubted you have no other option but to sit back and hush up with their negativity. Drummers are a unique breed. Carry that torch proudly and be the light! 

Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s??? 
Only thing left to say is how much I really appreciate you taking the time to bring me into this. It's an honor man. Truly. Thanks to my sponsors and my endorsers for all they do. And thanks to my mom and dad for not killin me growin up with a kid who would beat on everything... and as far as hashtags go their is always #mojosdojo and #demondrummer... My website is under construction but my personal and artist pages on Facebook are readily available and filled with drum and music goodies. Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Til next time!


Hey JoJo, thx for the ride my brother!

This thing called music, isn't just a pursuit of a dream, it's a lifestyle. Musicians like Jo reinforce that sentiment and give us even more of a reason to keep doing what we do.
Once again, please reach out to Jo and say "hello" and show your support.

If YOU or someone you know would like to be interviewed on Talkin' Chop
Please contact me:
DeHaven -