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!