Friday, January 28, 2011


...and opened for Jonny Sevin as a young pup! 
He's replaced his snare with an African conga drum!

SLIT: How did you first get interested in drums?

TL: I was in first grade when a kids dad was a drummer had just killed himself.(Should have been a red flag?)The kid brought his fathers gold sparkle snare drum and ride cymbal to show and tell. He was a juvenile delinquent named Rocky Nichols. (Another red flag) he was not in my room so I missed his presentation but after school he set it up on the playground and kids were playing on it. I was completely blown away by this. When it came my turn, I just started playing a surf beat, never having held a pair of sticks before. I still remember it like it was yesterday,a cute little girl with a red coat on turned to her cute friend and said ''he's really good''. And here we are.

SLIT:  How did you learn to play? Did you take lessons? Who were/are your favorite drummers?

TL: In 2nd grade they would give you lessons from Haskel Harr drum books, basic rudiments. I was in the school band until 9th grade when they made it mandatory to go to the football games. Ahhh no! There was pot to smoke and Hendrix records to listen to. That was the end of my formal training. But the beginning of my self exploration in the back seat of cars listening to all kinds of exciting music.

SLIT:  What kind of drums do you play? What's your set like? How do you hold your sticks?

TL:  I have gotten real bored with the standard kit that has been around for almost 80 years now. Go out to any club today, or in my case, watch the late night show and see the new bands.The drummers are still playing that same tired setup, to me it's boring. My job has allowed me to play whatever I want, and I've taken full advantage of it. I don't even use a snare drum anymore. I have an 80 year old african conga for a snare, a timbale for a floor, broken cymbals, it gets wackier all the time.

SLIT: Do you play any other instruments other than drums? How many bands have you drummed for? Who are you drumming for now?

TL: I have pretty much supported myself playing all these years so I have played in a million bands and situations. I am starting my 18th year playing full time with Jonathan Richman. Don't do anything else. I would do other things but no one ever calls. I asked a promoter friend in Canada,why don't people call me to do stuff when I'm not working? He said "when you're in a steady relationship for a long time, nobody asks you out on dates''. But it could be because I suck, I don't know.

SLIT:  What's the latest in your drumming/musical life?

TL: Like I said, 18 years, that's the latest.

SLIT:  How did you get started with Tucson's music scene?

TL: Wow,I moved here in 1979. I started playing in country bands right off the bat.There use to be maybe 20 places in town that had live country band alone, some 7 nights a week. I use to go to the rock cover clubs on my nights off and would get a kick out of those scenes. I would see Bruce Halper, Johnny Ray and Winston and other people playing in these places, it looked like fun and I'm sure everybody was getting laid. Then I started going to Tumbleweeds and "New Wave'' nights at the
Night Train and other places, they were always on Tues. nights for some reason. I was shy then and never talked to anybody. Jefferson Keenon said he remembers seeing me hanging out and wondered what my deal was. Then I got a call to play a gig with a band and we opened for Johnny Seven at Dooley's. It was a big gig all the hipsters were there. The band bombed but someone said there was this drummer(that were in short supply) there that had a cool drumset and didn't have a mullet and I started getting calls to do cool stuff.

SLIT: What's your favorite style of music?

TL: I listen to everything, don't have one.

SLIT:  Is there anything with music that you've haven't done that you'd like to?

TL: be on Austin City Limits, Jonathan has been offered it, but he does'nt want to fly out there.

SLIT: Do you have any favorite drum licks?

TL: I told someone once ''I have no chops but I've loaned money to guys that do'' no.

SLIT:  What was the best drumming you've ever done? Is there a recording of classic Larkins drumming?

TL: Every time I play something really great and earthshattering the tape is never rolling or something breaks, I guess I just work with a bunch of fucking idiots. no.

SLIT: What keeps drums interesting for you?

TL: Richard Gere said it best in An Officer and a Gentleman , I HAVE NO WHERE TO GO.