Ginger Coyote Goes One On One
With Drummer Extraordinaire
I have been a long time fan of JT Massacre and all the bands that he has played drums with... I met him when he was playing with the former vocalist for The Blu Chunks the East Bay's own Sammy Newton.. Sammy and Gerry Jenn Wilson were in a new fucking bad ass band called The Muscle Bitches.. Sammy was originally from Canada but went to school in Berkeley and worked at Lavall's Pizza... He served pizza to all the scenesters including Ginger Coyote, Daniel De Leon, Tim Armstrong of Rancid and the late Marion Anderson of The Insaints... My band The White Trash Debutantes played a wild and very crazy show with them at The Nightbreak in San Francisco... I am so happy that JT took the time out of his very busy schedule of touring and recording to answer my questions...
Punk Globe: How old were you when you first decided to be a drummer?
JT: Pretty much since I can remember. I was banging on pots and pans and on my dad's bar stools with chopsticks from the time I was five, I think he got fed up with finding little holes in his vinyl bar stools so I got my first drum kit at 10.
Punk Globe: Growing up who were some drummers that you looked up to?
JT: I would have to say Ringo, Sandy Nelson, Mel Taylor (The Ventures) in the very beginning. My dad would bring home albums for me every so often, stuff like Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa. I have an older brother so I would get a lot of music from him as well. Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and later on Iggy Pop, the Buzzcocks and Wayne County and the Electric Chairs, Ian Dury and the Blockheads and the Ramones to name a few.
Punk Globe: Most people recognize you as the drummer for Big John Bates and The Voo Doo Dollz but I know you best with being drummer for the JP5 and a close friend of Gerry Jenn Wilson. Tell us about playing with JP5?
JT: I've got a long history with Gerry Jenn, we met after I answered an ad for a drummer. It was with her band the Canetoads which included Brian and Mike from The Enigmas. We became fast friends and when the Canetoads broke up we formed Spank Machine with Ani Kyd. After Spank Machine I joined the Muscle Bitches which Jenn later joined as well. Jenn later left to form JP5 and I joined the Real McKenzies. I joined JP5 after leaving the Real McKenzies and we did a few tours of Canada the U.S. I have to say we didn't make much money but we did have a lot of fun!
Punk Globe: Marc Floyd aka The Floydian Device (this month's Birthday Boy) loves having you play drums with JP5.. But you have only played a few times with him in the band am I right?
JT: When Jenn asked if I would help with some shows I of course said yes. One of the shows was a Chris Walter book launch at the Cobalt playing with the Subhumans. it was a pretty kick ass show!
Punk Globe: Were you born in Vancouver?
JT: Yes, we lived here until I was 12 and then we moved up north to a town with a population of 230. it was a little bit of a culture shock to say the least.
Punk Globe: Can you tell us about your very first band that you played with? and were you involved with forming the band?
JT: Well, I had a high school rock band called K-9 (cmon I was 13!) and I also played in another rock band that did house parties, I forget the name of that band. When I was 16 I started playing the bars with a country band, my dad worked at the sawmill and one of his co workers had a show and no drummer so my dad told him about me. It was him and his girlfriend doing old country standards.Being underage I would have to sit beside the stage between sets so I would get the guitar player to bring me a rum and coke because beer was a little too conspicuous.
Punk Globe: You have a pretty impressive resume with the bands you have hit the skins with. Can you give the readers a run down?
JT: At last count I was at about 35 bands in total. Some of the more memorable ones include JP5, The Fiends, The Real McKenzies, The Muscle Bitches, Lummox (ex members of Bunch of Fucking Goofs, Dayglo Abortions), The Slick Jacks, House of Commons, Diesel Candy and the Pet Faries to name a few.
Punk Globe: How did you end up playing in Big John Bates and The Voo Doo Dollz?
JT: I was playing in a lot of cover bands doing the circuit, you know a week here, two weeks there mostly up north in the Yukon and across Canada. I had a few cover bands that would use me for out of town work so I kept pretty busy but I wanted to get back to original music and I especially wanted to get to Europe. Every so often my friend Patti Kool would e mail me and tell me this band Big John Bates and the VooDoo Dollz were looking for a drummer to go to Europe. I had met John once or twice and JP5 even did a boat cruise with his former band Bates Motel so I got hold of his e mail address and told him I wanted to audition. When he got back to me he told me they had someone already but would keep me in mind. For about 2 years I would hear from Patti that they were looking for a drummer and every time I got hold of John he already had a drummer lined up. Then one night after a show with the Slick Jacks John approached me and asked if I was interested in joining. They had a tour coming up and no drummer, I'm pretty sure he knew I would say yes as he had a CD all ready for me! This was about 4 years ago and they've kept me rocking ever since.
Punk Globe: Tell us who is in the band and what they play?
JT: There's Big John Bates on guitar and vocals and Brandy Battery on upright bass and vocals. We travel and perform with the VooDoo Dollz led by the amazing Little Miss Risk.
Punk Globe: I know you tour alot . Tell us about your schedule with being on the road?
JT: We're gearing up for the summer and fall tours as we speak. We'll be heading out at the end of July for a week and a half worth of shows including 2 festivals, the North Country Stomp in Driftpile Alberta and Shambala Festival in Salmo B.C. In Sept. we leave for a 3 month tour. Starting in the U.S we travel East through most of the Northern States and then up to Canada where we'll fly to Europe and tour for about 6 weeks,then we will be flying back to Canada where we'll meet up with White Cowbell Oklahoma and Schomberg Fair and tour back west and home.
Punk Globe: What Booking Agency are you working with?
JT: In Canada we use Under Ground Operations, in Europe it's Truemmer Promotion and in the U.S it's Bucket City Agency
Punk Globe: Where have your tours taken you?
JT: Our tours take us to some great places and we have friends that we always hook up with when we're in their neck of the woods. places you wouldn't expect like Bakersfield, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Fargo, Portland and many many more. Of course Europe is just fantastic, a few years ago we did a show in Thun Switzerland and then had to drive the next day to Milan to catch a jet to Sicily for one show. We do a lot of shows in Germany as well as Italy, Hungary, Austria, and the Netherlands. this next tour will take us to Portugal, Sweden and Finland as well.
Punk Globe: Can you tell us some of your personal favorite venues to play?
JT: You know there are so many places it's hard to pick, off the top of my head I would list the Fishlips in Bakersfield, the Aquarium in Fargo, The Zebra in Bozeman, Nathan P. Murhpy's in Springfield Mo. Frank's Powerplant in Milwaukee and Davy's Uptown Tavern in Kansas City to name but a few. In Europe I would list the Drafthouse in Hamburg, Triebsand in Lubeck Germany, Fastfood White Trash in Berlin. Pretty much every show in Europe is my personal favorite.
Punk Globe: Any bands that you tour with or share the bill with alot?
JT: On our last tour we toured with Reverend Deadeye, a one man gospel punk travelling band. For the last part of the fall tour we'll be touring with White Cowbell Oklahoma and Schomberg Fair across Canada.
Punk Globe: Have you played any shows on the Cruise Boats like The Love Boat?
JT: Oh I knew that would come back to haunt me!! I did play on a cruise ship for 6 months back in 2000. I was playing in Lummox at the time and living in a house with the guitar player and bass player. The guitarist (Tim) came home one night with a keyboardist named Steve that he met at a local rehearsal spot. Steve had just gotten off the ships and wanted to put another band together. Tim said that he would do it and that he knew a drummer and bass player that would be interested as well. We got down a set list of about 100 songs and within a month we were flying down to Houston to play on a Caribbean Cruise for 3 months. Tim and I felt like complete interlopers, punks dropped into a surreal world of cruise directors and all night chocolate buffets, by the first week the keyboard player Steve got kicked off the ship for failing a random drug test so we continued as a 3 piece. After our contract was up the cruise line asked if we wanted to extend our contract and play the Bahamas for a few months so we sailed to Miami and did another few months there. I actually had a great time and enjoyed living on the ship. Our room was usually the party room after the crew bar closed, I would also jam til all hours of the night (and morning) with the Filipino crew members that had a P.A and drum kit and amps set up near the engine room. Occasionally I would sit in with the Jamaican band on the pool deck just for something to do and on more than one occasion I would sleep outside on the crew deck while we sailed through the gulf of Mexico. A week after we got back I was back to playing at the Cobalt with Lummox and a bunch of other hardcore punk bands, talk about culture shock!
Punk Globe: Any shows that hold a special place in your heart JT?
JT: I think I would have to list the Muscle Bitches at the NIghtbreak in San Francisco as a favorite. It was my first time in San Francisco and we shared the stage with a certain band called the White Trash Debutantes!, To be honest there have been so many great shows it's hard to list them all. The Real McKenzies at the Commodore opening for the Bay City Rollers stands out too! As for lately playing festivals in Europe is always intense, they get so into it there and you leave the stage spent and exhilarated, it's a rush!
Punk Globe: With your music being so in now. Do you play alot of corporate parties?
JT: Every so often we do special events, the last one involved a winery in Walla Walla. It was the most rock and roll winery party I've ever seen. It was for Charles K Smith Wines. Before he got into wine he was a manager of rock bands in Europe including Turbo Negro so needless to say it wasn't a stuffed shirt affair.
Punk Globe: I hear that the band that Zippy Pinhead is currently playing with only corporate parties.. Are you familiar with Zippy's band?
JT: I'm not familiar with his new band but I do know Zippy, him and were both drummers of The Fiends at one point.
Punk Globe: Have you gotten many Endorsements?
JT: : I've got a cymbal endorsement with TRX Cymbals and a Drum endorsement with C&C Custom Drums but to be honest I haven't had a chance to get anything from them, I guess it's kind of a rainy day kind of deal. I'm happy with the gear I have now so why do I need more?
Punk Globe: what is your current set up?
JT: I'm playing a set of Pearl EXR drums with a tiger stripe wrap. I saw the kit in Bozeman at a music shop a few years ago while on tour and have been using them ever since. My setup is pretty unique as I'm a left handed drummer so everything is backwards, I don't use a high hat or a rack tom. instead I have two floor toms on either side of the bass drum. I have a crash and a ride cymbal and between them I've mounted a catalytic converter that I play. Beside one of the floor toms I have a beer keg which I hit for percussive effect.
Punk Globe: Do you miss The Cobalt?
JT: I do! I had some good shows and good times there. I still have a scar on my hand from playing punk rock bingo. I called a false bingo so I had to ride the tricycle around the bar, I wiped out halfway and ended up cutting myself on a broken bottle. I did win the chugging contest so it all worked out in the end!
Punk Globe: Does Big John Bates play much in Vancouver? If so what venues do you play?
JT: Since we're on the road so much we only play in Vancouver a couple of times a year. We just played a few weeks ago at a place called The Chapel, an old funeral home. The show was put on by Tanya Van who also puts out The Skinny, a great local music paper. She's a real supporter of the scene and a good friend
Punk Globe: Tell us some of your favorite bands at the moment ?
JT: I find a lot of my favorite bands at the moment are bands that we've played with somewhere along the way or I've heard about while on the road. Currently I've been listening to Kick Jonses (ex Spermbirds), Knucklebone Oscar, Chuck Norris Experiment, Lombego Surfers, Schweinhundt, Maciste and Viva le Vox, The East Vamps (Gerry Jenn's new band) and Little Guitar Army to name a few.
Punk Globe: Are you a fan of Amy Winehouse?
JT: I just saw her on the British game show "Never Mind The Buzzcocks", she's pretty funny, I like her!
Punk Globe: What does the rest of 2010 hold for you and the band?
JT: In between getting ready for the tour we were in the studio this weekend where I put down drum tracks for 6 new songs. I think our label in Germany will be releasing a new 7". And we're also working on songs for the next album. We'll also be shooting a video in Minneapolis during the next tour with a good friend of ours.
Punk Globe: JT do you have My Space, Facebook or Website addresses that you would like to share with the readers?
JT: have a myspace site at and you can also get hold of me at the Facebook group Big John Bates and the VooDoo Dollz!/group.php?gid=24437548352&ref=ts you can also check out the band website at to see tour info etc.
Punk Globe: Any last words of wisdom you have for Punk Globe readers?
JT: I'm living proof that you don't need a lot of money to see the world, Just stick with it, Believe in yourself and it'll happen for you..
Punk Globe: Thanks so much JT.. Good luck with your upcoming tour..
JT: It was my pleasure! I LOVE PUNK GLOBE! Thanks Ginger..
Thanks so much for the interview JT and be sure to check out Big John Bates and The Voo- Doo Dollz when they play near you......