Studio Visit: Josh Quirk
Studio Visit is a Q&A with a local artist. Here, a chat with Josh Quirk. The professional drummer who plays with several bands, including the Brat Pack, recently chatted with The News-Gazette's Melissa Merli:
You're known for being a versatile drummer. Is there any style you don't play?
I basically play anything with a drum set in it and I've gotten something out of almost everything I play.
What bands are you playing in now?
The main thing I do is Brat Pack; we were supposed to play at the Summer Stage event Saturday night in Campustown but got rained out. I also play with Surreal Deal; Cownterculture with Joan Hickey and Jeff Helgesen; and In Your Ear Big Band.
Didn't you tour?
I toured with Duke Tumatoe for two years and after that, around 2000, I moved to Los Angeles to seek a record deal. I was just trying to make it out there. I played with three or four bands.
The main one was The Lift; it had members from Suede Chain. We did an album and worked with Steve Perry from Journey and shopped it around. After that didn't work out, I moved back here to play with Brat Pack. That's when I started thinking about teaching and became more involved with education, thinking about how people learn and helping all the students I've had. I've put all of that together in a methods book that will be out in the fall.
How long have you been playing the drums?
I started when I was around 18 or 19. I had a late start. I didn't play in band in school. But I was always interested in music. One summer, a friend left a drum kit in my home and I played it every day. At the end of the summer, he took it back and my mom bought me a drum kit for my birthday. Then I just played drums with anyone, anywhere, anytime, for any amount of money.
Did you take lessons?
Yes, I did. I had great teachers. The main one was Brad Bilhorn outside Mahomet. He opened me up to a lot of different styles of music.
You teach people of all ages, don't you?
I teach all ages and all skill levels. I probably have around 25 students right now (Tangerine Drum School).
It's cool that you're able to make a living from drumming.
I play full-time and I teach. That's all I do. I'm very lucky to be able to do that. I don't take that for granted.
What kind of music do you like playing best?
I really do like playing a lot of genres. If I do too much of one, then I feel I want to do something else. If I play too much jazz, I listen to AC/DC to detox. If I play too much rock, a Willie Nelson record is nice.
One thing that's great about playing music around here is all the local players. I was really influenced by people I heard on records, but I went to see a lot of drummers here, too, like Buzzy (Ed Eselby) with Clockwork Orange, Deena Neslon with Gator Alley, Kenny Reiss for Nix 86. Brian Reedy. Michael Powers. They are totally individual-style players who play great.
Who are your favorite famous drummers?
Again, it's across the board. Elvin Jones, Buddy Rich, Bill Stewart — I love the jazz players. Rock drummers like Jeff Porcaro and Jim Keltner. Phil Rudd of AC/DC is great. And Vinny Appice of Dio. I learned how to play rock by listening to Dio records and the way he sounded on those records.
Didn't you play drums in a movie?
I'm in Disney's "The Country Bears." I play a drum set of pots and pans in a kitchen. At the end, I spoke one line, "Order up." After the movie came out in 2002, I would receive royalty checks. It was great.