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What’s up Joe Plummer?

Yeah, he plays the drums in a couple small bands, just an average man living an average life right? If you can call being part of Modest Mouse, a band who has defined indie rock and sold over 3 million records since 2000 average. If that’s not enough, why not play drums for The Shins as well when you have the extra time. Not a bad deal.

We caught up with the talented Joe Plummer to find out what he’s  been up to, what’s keeping him busy and what’s next. Enjoy.


First of all, hello.  Second of all, how have you been? Third of all, give us a quick update and what you’ve been up to the past few months.

Hello. I’ve been good. I’ve just been hanging around Portland, recording drums and other instruments in a former bathroom of a big old’ warehouse.  Lately I’ve been getting into sending people drum tracks and telling them to do whatever they want with them. My friend Jim Fairchild and I have been doing a lot of that.  Through that, I’ve also been collaborating with a couple guys from the East Coast. I went out there to play with them and it went really well. We may call it Mr. Heavenly.  Fun stuff. Beyond music stuff, I’ve been reading my first Paul Austere book, playing a little basketball, and taking pictures of dogs.

What do you have coming up as summer is quickly approaching?

Besides working of some of my own stuff, I’ll just be touring with Modest Mouse. We’ll be doing three weeks in the states surrounding the Pitchfork Festival, then a couple weeks in the UK and Ireland, and Leeds/Reading for Electric Picnic. Beyond the touring, you can expect us to be working on music here at home.

Other than the new Broken Bells project featuring the Shins singer, James Mercer, (which is awesome by the way)…. we haven’t heard much about the Shins lately.  Have you guys been working on anything and can we anticipate something new?

Up to now, James and I have quite a few songs we’ve been working on. We tend to casually get together when we are both home at the same time and try to remember where we left off. James is working at his studio and we plan to start breaking it in really soon. It’s close to being done. We’ll probably start getting recording this Summer/Fall.

Are you currently involved in any other projects that we should know about?

Aside from the Mr. Heavenly thing, there’s All Smiles (Me and Jim). That’s about it for now.

When you are not playing music, what’s keeping you busy up in Portland?

Basketball, a little bike riding, shows, and reading. The weather is about to get good here – when it’s good, it’s real good.   I also DJ a couple times a month.

Have you seen/heard any new bands recently that you think have something new and refreshing?

I just saw Eat Skull, who’s from here in Portland, and they were great. The new Shaky Hands record is nice. Also, a guy from Dusseldorf called Hauska just played here – he had a weird treated piano, but I really liked his show and his record. There’s a record store here called Mississippi Records and where I’ve found some African and rare Rural American music (amongst a bunch of other stuff) that I’ve been listening to and DJ-ing a lot.

What’s next for you personally, musically?

I am trying to get back into the drumming shape that will allow me to use my right hand like Bill Stevenson – powerful and fast ass 8th notes. I’ve been messing around with guitar, learning chords. I want to get back into piano lessons, which I hope to do before touring. I love that instrument. I am also trying to get some music in some films and TV pilots – the little I’ve done have been really fun. I did a bunch of music for my friend’s pilot called Antartichuh? I think its playing at the Modern Art Museum this summer in San Diego. I would ultimately like to score and get involved in music for film.

The tunes you sent us a few weeks ago are great. Ever thought of doing an instrumental record that creative nerds like ourselves can zone out to while we work?
I would love to. I still like to make moody linear music. I am considering trying to get some of this stuff together for a record of sorts. I will need to seek some subjective assistance before that can happen though. It will probably always be instrumental, these pipes are flatter that a pancake.

Hearts by Joe Plummer
Jangle Fernandes by Joe Plummer
Firstone by Joe Plummer

Interview by Micah Dunham
Photos by Pat Graham

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