By Alex Updike
The most interesting man in the world may have a bit of competition if he were to ever meet Kevin Fitzgerald. A long-time drummer, DJ, and connoisseur of music in general, Fitzgerald has recently found himself in the Coachella Valley, living in Palm Desert since June of this year.
Like most people, Fitzgerald’s love and passion for music is firmly rooted in his younger days and the family he had growing up. “My mom would have KIAK Radio on every morning before school,” Fitzgerald told me, “and the country music of that era haunts me to this day.” Luckily for Fitzgerald, not all his family members permanently traumatized him with their musical tastes. His father played saxophone and was, according to Fitzgerald, “a ridiculously prolific songwriter, although few were heard outside the household.” Furthermore, as the youngest child, Fitzgerald spoke about how all his older siblings also had an influence on him musically. “My older brother was a drummer, so naturally I had to do the same,” Fitzgerald said. “And I still dig Cat Stevens thanks to my older sisters.”
With such an eclectic mix of musical influences, it is no wonder Fitzgerald has had so much success as a musician in multiple musical arenas, including drumming, DJing, and even recording his own solo album. His start, however, came in 1981 and was, according to him, “not the most pleasant experience.” Growing up in Alaska because, I mean, where else would such a cool dude grow up, Fitzgerald had a few friends with whom he played. Those friends eventually moved to Los Angeles, and after failing to find an appropriate drummer for their band Pandemonium, decided to ask Fitzgerald to come down and play. Fitzgerald accepted the offer, and although the band did not last, they were featured on the first volume of the Metal Massacre series and the experience of the band, along with being in Los Angeles, lead Fitzgerald into more opportunities in the music industry.
As Fitzgerald continued his career he found himself playing drums for many bands, ranging from Further and The Geraldine Fibbers to his most well-known act as the drummer for the punk-rock band The Circle Jerks. He has also been a non-EDM DJ for many years and has recently recorded an album under the name “Joom” where he played each instrument himself. When asked what his favorite musical venture has been, he told me that it was “by far” recording this new record. “I just started writing songs because I had to do something to stay (relatively) sane at the time, not thinking an album would come of it,” Fitzgerald told me. “It’s satisfying to be able to externalize these songs that have been co-opting your brain space for weeks at a time.”
Naturally, I had to ask what it was like to record an album with only one man playing every instrumental part and, naturally, Fitzgerald had an entertaining response. “When recording everything yourself, you tend to get along with the other musicians in the band a little better. And it tends to streamline the decision-making process,” he stated. In reality, much of the solo idea was born out of necessity, he went on to say. Fitzgerald had limited down time in which to record, which left little time to find other band members let alone additional time to rehearse. Having recorded in this style with his brother in the past, he found it fairly simple this time around, and although he stated that he would like to re-do a couple of the parts (musicians are never happy with their work), Fitzgerald is not complaining about the end product.
If you wish to experience Fitzgerald in person, he will be DJing at the Ace Hotel on October 11th. If you are interested in Fitzgerald’s music, his former band, Further, has a “best of” album coming out entitle Where Were You Then? and another former band, The Geraldine Fibbers, is re-releasing their first album, Lost Somewhere Between The Earth and My Home, on vinyl with a brand new track the band will be recording soon.