An Interview with Joseph Arrington

Movement Drum Company is committed to both helping percussionists hone their craft and creating a community to learn from one another. Today, we are launching our Journal, where we get to learn about incredibly talented musicians and hear their stories.

Joseph Arrington is the drummer for Royal Coda, Sianvar, and A Lot Like Birds, amongst others, and is preparing for an adventurous summer ahead, filled with tours and recording sessions. We took a moment to ask him some questions about his life to get to know him a little better.

Bands past and present: Royal Coda, A Lot Like Birds, Sianvar, Amity Affliction, We Came As Romans, Chiodos, Love Mischief, Alone, So Much Light, etc.

Hi Joseph, please share your story with us and how you got started as a drummer. How did you get to where you are today? 
I started with a practice pad and two sticks at 11 years old. I was subjugated into orchestral playing in Junior High, even though I already had eyes and ears for the drum kit after 3 years of piano. After many John Williams medleys and some basic rudimental lessons, I acquired my first drum set at 14 years old.

In High School, I played for a jazz band, took orchestra classes, played tenor and snare for a drumline, and was also playing for a pop punk band on the weekends. I didn't see a need to separate any of the styles out.


I saw all of these experiences like they were cut off of the same block. I began studying with jazz greats and master instructors as often as I could, mowing lawns and working retail to support it all. At 21 years old I was hired for Warped Tour in 2005. In 2010 I moved to California and immersed myself in the Northern California music communities. From there, I never said "no" to a gig.
The world became a landscape for my playing.
From international gigs in front of thousands, to dimly lit jazz clubs in a trio around Sacramento. I have yet to slow down. I am eternally grateful for every musician I cross paths with and the companies that have facilitated my sounds for years. I breathe, bleed, and dream drums.

Overall, how has the journey been? Has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The journey was INCREDIBLY difficult. But worth every minute of it, of course. Some people get lucky. Some people practice. Some people experience both. I'm not a believer in actual "luck" because I believe in our current culture the opportunities will absolutely manifest themselves.

But you have to be READY when they show up. Struggles include low level touring in the early days.  Lots of Subway sandwich nightmares and traveling through horrific weather conditions. Money is always a pain early on.

My father always said, "You're not a true artist unless you've slept next to a few water heaters." Current challenges include finding time to practice and cultivate new ideas, being away from my patient wife and children who I always miss immensely, and balancing life while away from home so often.

What should a musician know before joining a band and pursuing a career in percussion?
Always practice. Always take lessons. Three hours of youtube wont do much for your playing. Even though technological advances have erupted in the last decade, the procedure for getting better has NOT changed. There are no shortcuts. Which is why I can be found sitting on my drum pad in all manner of strange places on the road.

Why not? You've either truly embraced this craft or not! In addition, you have to kind of decide whether or not you wanna be a "band" person or a "hired gun/freelance" kind of person. I've been both and I prefer to not be married to one band forever.



Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea inspired me by how many drummers they chose to work with in their careers. Imagine the growth! It's not a club!  It's a collective!  And don't be afraid of roughing it for a long time.

Talented vagabonds that persevere become legends. And in the words of my mentor of 10+ years, "never say 'no' to a gig." 

What are you most excited about this upcoming year?
I have two records to cut that I am extremely pumped on. Sianvar and Royal Coda are both experimental rock outfits that are killing it, and I am very pleased to be writing and recording for both bands this year. 

In addition, I will be tracking with Berklee College of music at Q Division Studios in August with a fusion group called Love Mischief, and I will be touring with Royal Coda across the US in September hitting all of the major markets. Even more to come!

Contact Info:

3 comments

  • josephwesleyarrington,

    Want to be Instagram cool?

    If you’re like me, you’ve rummaged through Instagram, thinking “how do these friggin people on Instagram get so famous”?

    Imagine: it is Friday morning and you told yourself you’d hit the gym today.

    You pull out your cell.

    Navigate your way to your page.

    You‘re surprised at what is waiting for you: Over 738 likes on one of your pictures! There, you see a a huge amount of likes on your pictures—over 738 on a single photo alone.

    You hop out of your bed, meander to the kitchen. You want a drink, so you put the kettle on for some coffee, and check Instagram again.

    Presto! Another 87 likes.

    Buzz—a message pops into your inbox from a follower. They’re asking you for advice on how you manage your food, and are congratulating you on your third month of hitting the gym.

    The kettle blows and you pour your tea. When you flip out your phone, there’s another message—this time from a young girl—thanking you for posting. She follows you religiously and your’e an inspiration.

    As you sip your tea, you start typing up a response. But then your phone buzzes.

    Oops, another hit. But no time to write back—you’ve got to hit the gym.
    Listen, josephwesleyarrington, most people just are not in control of their life. Hell, they can’t even get themselves to munch a balanced brekky, much less hit the gym.

    Now, let’s learn to take control of your Instagram.

    Now, what if you could raise your popularity by 100%, or 1000%?

    Truth is, it’s not the most complicated thing in the world to get more. For example, all the old pros use our website.

    Our pro-rated, confidential service quickly sends likes to your images a few minutes after you have posted them.

    If you are anything like our other clients, you’ll have a great chance of hitting the “Top Post” section in a very short time.

    This is all great, but you have actually got to put in the work to make it happen. Actually, it is not real work.
    1. Visit https://jabbertune.online
    2. Put your Instagram username.
    3. The three pictures you posted last will get 10 – 15 likes. Just like that.

    Hitting the Top Post page will 10X your InstaGrowth. But you have got to do more than just want it—you’ve got to do something about it. Are you willing?

    Happy image-uploading.

    Jeanett Strahan
  • This is awesome man! I’m delighted to see your company excelling. I am a proud product user and plan to see more progress from your company.

    #TripleBeatsDrumming

    Linteno Savedge
  • This guy has rocketed up my list of inspirational drummers alongside Donvoan Melero, and I’m so glad he has these words of advise/encouragement. We live in such a “NOWNOWNOW” society these days that the idea of patience, perserverance, and practice are all but diminished to nothing. As a drummer who’s spent countless hours learning parts in various environments, I couldn’t agree more. I hope to shake your hand one day, sir!

    Ashton

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