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Stanton Moore: Living Outside the Box

By Published: October 17, 2005
AAJ: New Orleans has produced so many great drummers. Let's talk about some of the younger players who have recently come out of the Crescent City. One of the newer players everyone talks about is Brian Blade.

SM: Of course! Yeah, I mean Brian, the first time I saw Brian I think I was still in high school. Just startin' to take lessons from Johnny, and I was totally blown away by his touch and his tone on the instrument. So, I mean, he is definitely an influence on me because no matter what he is playing it is always very organic and very hip and very suited to the music, but so rooted in the tradition, but still looking forward. I mean he's got an amazing touch, amazing energy, and you know, a very cool approach, and a very cool groove. When he plays grooves, you know his grooves are always killin,' you know really, really hip. When he plays jazz its very pushing, you know, its way on top. He's really pushing. And when he plays grooves, you know, its right there. And so he's definitely one of the most versatile cats out there. I mean, killin.'

AAJ: Something I see in the younger generation of drummers is an attitude of trying to get away from the tradition of "I'm just a rock drummer, or "I'm just a funk drummer, or "I am just a jazz drummer. What are your feelings on the idea of no bounderies in music?

SM: Yeah, coming up in New Orleans, I don't think there's too much of that. I mean that, "Oh, I am just a rock drummer. Oh I am just a funk drummer. I don't really hear that too much, you know. I mean hanging out with Russell or hanging out with Johnny, you know. Those guys really play everything, you know. And with Johnny it wasn't even like, "Oh you need to learn to play everything, it was just unsaid. It was like, "Okay, let's work on this funk groove today. Okay, now let's work on some snare drum Second-Line stuff. Okay, now let's work on your ride cymbal stuff, you know? Where you're puttin' the emphasis on the way different guys play the ride beat. Like Elvin [Jones] layin' into the skip beat...spang-spang-GAH-lang-spang-GAH-lang. And then some guys layin' into the two and the four....zing-ZANG-gah-dang-ZANG-gah-dang. You know, both of them swing. So, you know, we would work on all kinds of stuff and it was never like, "Okay, you really should learn how to play all the different styles of music! It was unsaid. It was a given, you know.

AAJ: Is that more of a New Orleans approach to music? Maybe it's not a generational thing.

SM: Maybe it is more of a New Orleans thing, I guess. Because, I mean, if you wanna work you gotta play everything, you know? 'Cause you might have a guy say, "Okay we're playin' this club, it's a rock club so we gotta play all these rock tunes. Then the same guy might get a gig playin' you know, more of a traditional jazz thing. You know you've got your trumpet players down there who focus on traditional jazz. I don't think you're gonna hear them playin,' you know, free jazz on the side. You know what I am sayin'? Some of them you will. What I am tryin' to say is not everybody is like, "Oh I play everything, you know? But you do have a lot of versatility. Especially with drummers, dude. I know. You've got Johnny who will just as soon play a slinky killin' street beat or funk thing and also play with an avant-garde trio and play free where the time is totally open. So, you know, I think that I learned from him about being totally open to all that.

AAJ: What is coming up for you in the near future?

SM: Well, I am trying to finish up this method book, get that out. Of course, you know, this has been a huge past year for me doin' that COC record and the new Garage A Trois record is just about to come out which, I think, is one of the coolest things I've done. I did a record with Robert Walter that's comin' out and I am about to do a trio record and then, also, with the Stanton Moore Bosphorus cymbal line and sticks and DVD's comin' out. Also, I am gonna play PAS (Percussive Arts Society) comin' up. All that stuff comin' up is cool. It keeps me busy!

AAJ: One last thing...your desert island picks...what would they be??

SM: Probably, like a James Brown greatest hits, The Complete John Coltrane Classic Quartet Boxed Set, Led Zeppelin's, Physical Graffitti, and like the Beatles stuff, and Jimi Hendrix. I don't know. To pick one record, you know, I'd have to put my three favorites in a hat and blindly pull one out. Probably like some James Black stuff 'cause he's killin.' Yeah, a couple Beatles records, a couple Hendrix records. That's like four records already. Then the Coltrane stuff and the Zeppelin stuff would take care of it right there. Okay cool.

Visit Stanton Moore on the web.

Selected Discography

Robert Walter, Super Heavy Organ (Magnatude, 2005)
Garage a Trois, Outre Mer (Telarc, 2005)
Corrosion of Conformity, In the Arms of God (Sanctuary, 2005)
Various Artist, Drum Nation, Vol. 2 (Magna Carta, 2005)
The Clinton Administration, Take You Higher (Magna Carta, 2004)
C. C. Adcock, Lafayette Marquis (Yep Roc, 2004)
Galactic, Ruckus (Sanctuary, 2003)
Garage a Trois, Emphasizer (Tone Cool, 2003)
Various Artists, World Traveller: Original Soundtrack (Intersound, 2002)
Galactic, We Love 'Em Tonight: Live at Tipitina's (Volcano, 2001)
Stanton Moore, Flyin' the Koop (Blue Thumb, 2001)
Robert Walter's 20th Congress, Money Shot (Fog City, 2000)
Galactic, Late for the Future (Polygram, 2000)
Garage a Trois, Mysteryfunk (EP) (Fog City, 1999)
Galactic, Crazyhorse Mongoose (Capricorn, 1998)
Stanton Moore, All Kooked Out! (Fog City, 1998)
Galactic, Coolin' Off (Fog City, 1996)

Photo Credit
Dino Perrucci

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