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Joel Saladino, drummer on Rise Rise Rise, the band's split 12'' with Tyondai Braxton of Battles (2003)
You played your first show with BJ and Dan just three days after joining the band, which, needless to say, didn't allow for a ton of time to learn the material. How'd you get hooked up with them, and how'd that first show go?
I responded to an ad they had posted, I believe at Main Drag music store in 2002, that stated their influences and that they were looking for a "monkey" to play drums, with the word "drummer" crossed out beside it. That first show was incredible. I met Tyondai there for the first time, who was on that show, which, by the way, was an insane lineup: Lightning Blot, French Kicks, !!!, Les Savy Fav, Tyondai and others. Same time that was happening, Liars and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were playing on the south side of the neighborhood.
The sheer physicality of the music, particularly the drumming, quickly became a cornerstone for the band. Going out on tour and playing with such brute force day in and day out, did that ever take a physical and/or mental toll on you?
I noticed right away that I was a good fit for the band. Apparently they had tried out some ridiculous number of drummers. It was a workout for sure, but I was a loud drummer and it fit. Touring was exhausting at times, and they scheduled a lot of dates each time out — something they were good at. Looking back, it was hard work, but fun.
Do you recall how the idea came about for the split 12'' with Tyondai — did he approach you guys, or did you approach him?
Tyondai was already a longtime friend of Dan's. He was doing Battles already. Narnack, which was a label at the time that had Jon Dwyer's band Coachwhips on it, offered us a deal, and they were doing a series of splits called the "buddy series," and we buddied up with Ty for it. His music was intense to tour with. Super interesting stuff.
In an interview with Tiny Mix Tapes a few years after the release of Rise Rise Rise, BJ notes that you guys was trying out a lot of ideas on the record. Was there any track in particular where you felt things really clicked or pointed in the direction of where the band wanted to go?
At this time they were anxious to add vocals, and I wanted to go in a more tribal and obscure direction, so some of the tunes I was coming up with — like I contributed the tune "Probably Feeling Better Already," which was a solo electronic piece I had written — they liked, but overall they wanted to head in a different direction. "Endless Airshow" is a taste of what was to become the Parts & Labor sound down the road.
What do you miss most about playing in the band?
I miss how driven and intelligent they were [to play music around]. It's been really nice to play again and prepare for this epic show on Friday. The thing I miss the most? I guess it isn't one thing. They carved out a sound that was unique, and I miss bands that can say that in general. The "noise" scene of our time has been cloned and played out now.