Hometown: Forest, Mississippi
Early music experience: I started out in the middle school band on trumpet, then quickly switched to drums after hearing my neighbor practicing on his kit. I would ride my bike by his house every day and listen from the street. I drove my parents crazy asking them for drums, and then I really drove them crazy after I got them. I’m lucky to have a very supportive family.
Music schooling: I took a few lessons as a kid, but I’m mostly self-taught. I’ll occasionally harass Dr. Burkhead for a few lessons; he’s helped me with some Jazz basics and technique issues. I could pick his brain for hours. I also have to credit the Middle/High school music program for teaching me the basics of reading, rudiments, stick technique, and timing, though. It makes me sad to see schools cutting music programs these days.
Favorite style/genre: I go through phases like anyone, but I’m a rock guy at heart. My brother, Derek, had a killer album collection that I would raid on the reg; it was like a classic rock record store.
Favorite instrument: Drums! Bass is definitely my second choice.
Where do you practice? Mostly out at my recording studio near Sardis Lake. I should really practice more.
Have you ever been hassled for practicing? Oh yeah. My old band, Geronimo Rex, all lived and rehearsed in a house together in Fondren. The Neighbors weren’t too thrilled about it, so JPD was a regular visitor at the abode, which eventually led to eviction.
What was the first concert you witnessed? Hmmm. I hate to say, but probably Motley Crue/ Warrant at the Jackson coliseum. It was the tour that Tommy Lee was solo’ing above the crowd. As a kid, I was blown away by that. Now, not so much.
What bands have you played in? Geronimo Rex, Maria Y el Sol, Rocket 88, Creep Left, The Minor Adjustments, Jimmy Phillips and The Ruminators, The Mississippians (Ole Miss jazz band), and Jimbo Mathus & The Tri-State Coalition.
One thing you would like to change about Oxford’s music scene: Since I moved here, I’ve heard about the “glory days” of Oxford’s music scene. I’d love to get back to that.
Most famous person you’ve jammed with: On tour with Jimbo this year, Glen Graham (Blind Melon) double drummed with me on three songs at our show in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I’m a huge Blind Melon fan, so it was a really cool moment for me.
Are you an artist or do any other creative arts? Just music. Between gigs, working in my studio and a part-time job, that’s about all that my time allows.
Do you have a “day job”? If so, where? I couldn’t call it a “day job,” but when I’m not on the road, I’m usually working in my studio (Sand Dog Studios). I’ve also worked for PRG since 2007. It’s a great gig! They keep a lot of musicians afloat around here. One of these days, we’re gonna put together a PRG family band.
Where do you hang out in Oxford? Larry’s, City Gro, The Blind Pig, and Ajax are my favorites.
Aspirations: Stay doin this.
This article was originally printed in The Local Voice #213 (published September 25, 2014).
To download the PDF of this issue, click here.