Episode 5 with Johnny Vidacovich 

My guest today is Mr. Johnny Vidacovich- 

In a town that is filled with great drummers, all with their own unique style and approach, Johnny Vidacovich easily qualifies as an institution in the New Orleans music scene. His career spans 5 decades and he’s played with a who’s who of New orleans music royalty- Danny Barker, Professor Longhair, James Booker, Johnny Adams,  Astral Project, and many many others- as well as those from outside of New Orleans who have relied on Johnny’s signature street beat grooves - John Scofield, Joe Sample, Charlie Hunter and the list goes on and on. 

He has also taught many students including Brian Blade and Stanton Moore. 

Johnny is such a great person to chat with, and as you can hear in the interview he is highly animated and super passionate about life and music. He frequently gets up to dance or move his body in a certain way to illustrate a point. He is a highly musical drummer and one of my favorites- a real poet on the drums. 

As you’ll hear in the interview, I first met Johnny when I moved back to New Orleans. We went on to work together here and there throughout the years recording and doing some gigs from time to time….one highlight I remember is getting to do a gig with both Johnny AND Idris Mohammed- that was fun! If you like the music in this podcast check out Johnny's solo works- Mystery Street, Banks Street, Vidacovich and my solo record The Grease Factor.

In the interview Johnny talks about singing what you play, phrasing, the music scene in  1950’s and 60’s New orleans, we go over some traditional New Orleans grooves together, his poetry, love of Paul Motian (sorry for mispronouncing his name over and over !), play a few tunes, how colors relate to sound and music and much more. 

Hidden behind one of the more unique and quirky personalities that is Johnny Vidacovich is a treasure trove of wisdom learned from a lifetime of playing and teaching. 

This interview took place at Johnny’s house in the Mid City section of New orleans, LA in Feb of 2016. 

                                                                                                                              I hope you enjoy!

4 comments

  • Jeff Boehlert

    Jeff Boehlert

    Johnny V - a fantastic and passionate drummer. Always good to catch Johnny in NOLA - Astral Project, The Trio etc... Johnny a true New Orleans character. Keep 'em comin Shane.... Best Jeff

    Johnny V - a fantastic and passionate drummer. Always good to catch Johnny in NOLA - Astral Project, The Trio etc...

    Johnny a true New Orleans character. Keep 'em comin Shane....

    Best
    Jeff

  • Keith Simoneaux

    Keith Simoneaux Baton Rouge

    A beautiful interview with a beautiful musician. His spirit is so big and his approach to the instrument so refreshing. Great to hear him articulate in an interview just how he does what he does.

    A beautiful interview with a beautiful musician. His spirit is so big and his approach to the instrument so refreshing. Great to hear him articulate in an interview just how he does what he does.

  • lori bohannon

    lori bohannon texas

    loved your interview. he's a BA and so are you. you are an old soul with a hip and slick manner. JV described his perception into all music was amazingly stated, " Rolled into a ball, smooth ball like water colors everything blends. " And as much as I love funk for the most part its all good. Will you be playing in NO in July if so would you post your schedule. Found you on Daryl Live and now a fan. Thanks Shane you remind me of many great artist.

    loved your interview. he's a BA and so are you. you are an old soul with a hip and slick manner. JV described his perception into all music was amazingly stated, " Rolled into a ball, smooth ball like water colors everything blends. " And as much as I love funk for the most part its all good. Will you be playing in NO in July if so would you post your schedule. Found you on Daryl Live and now a fan. Thanks Shane you remind me of many great artist.

  • Mo Roberts

    Mo Roberts Outer Limits

    Can't never have too much Johnny V.

    Can't never have too much Johnny V.

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