44: Dave King: "Commitment is an incredible thing"
Stream our interview below or download from iTunes.
Drummer, composer and surrealist performer Dave King is probably best known his work with his band The Bad Plus. The members of the band met as teenagers in Minnesota, and have been playing together in various formations for 30 years – although King is the only one who decided to settle in Minneapolis.
Here he talks about the benefits of being slightly isolated and how it influenced his desire to create his “own tribal music”.
The music combines elements of the avant-garde with a kind of rock and roll mentality, an obvious openness to music across genre, and is full of playfulness. The first time I heard them was on the record “Give”, and the sound of the drums completely freaked me out. (We talk about it in the conversation.)
King is an extremely curious and enthusiastic guy, and certainly not your average music nerd. In our brief time together, he managed to reference everything from the Art Ensemble of Chicago to Henry Rollins, Noam Chomsky to Jean Michel Basquiat, Gerhard Richter to The Replacements, and a whole mess of stuff in between. This openness to a wide array of influences is reflected in his approach to pretty much everything he does.
Although I was already familiar with Dave’s playing, the thing that really got me was when I discovered his Rational Funk series of supposedly instructional drum videos on Youtube, which he refers to as an exercise in surrealist humor.
We spent an afternoon recently when Dave was in New York playing at the Village Vanguard, talking about the power of commitment – to a concept, to a group, to an idea – and the value of staying vulnerable in the creative search.