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Contraption Podcast

Contraption: The Drummers' Podcast features interviews with professional drummers and drum educators who share their expertise with new and returning drummers. Host Mike Kassel is a returning drummer who explores the stories and approaches of famous drummers as well as the unsung heroes of all things drums.

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Jan 10, 2019

There are few musicians who, although strongly associated with a particular instrument, transcend that instrument to exhibit an overall musicality. It’s not about technique, proficiency or virtuosity -- It’s about serving the song as the music pours out of every pore of his or her body.

Jaco Pastorious was such a musician – the man who changed the role of the bass and the way it’s played. Tied to that iconic sunburst Fender jazz that he personally defretted, Jaco went beyond the bass – he was the music.

Johnny Vidacovich, today’s guest on Contraption, is that same kind of musician.An incredible drummer in the tradition of New Orleans hitters like Zigaboo, Herlin Riley and Stanton Moore, Johnny goes beyond the drums to infuse every set and song he plays with that rare musicality that touches those he plays with and those he plays for.

Johnny credits growing up in New Orleans and hearing the sounds and beats of the bands that passed his modest childhood home. It began, he says, during his infancy, before he could walk or read. It’s part of his DNA – part of his very soul. 

You’d think someone as gifted and talented as Johnny Vidacovich had set out his whole life to be a working musician, but he was working as a drummer without really thinking about it as a career – that was until his daughter was born when he was 31.

The truth of the matter is Johnny has worked hard – very hard – for his legendary reputation. Taking lessons with New Orleans drummer Charlie Suchor after getting his first drum kit when he was twelve, that eventually led him to a life changing offer as a high schooler…

It should be noted that Johnny was happy to talk with us – he loves to share his story and his ideas related to playing – to be a musician. So all I can say is I’m humbled and honored and so appreciative to have had this time with Johnny to share with all of you.