Worth an Ear: Jon Wurster

Worth an Ear: Jon Wurster

By Maggie Serota 06/30/14
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Spotlight on... Jon Wurster

Before playing in bands himself, Jon Wurster booked shows for the Philadelphia punk institution The Dead Milkmen in Wurster’s hometown of Harleysville, Pennsylvania.

After high school, Wurster moved down to North Carolina and eventually joined indie rock institution Superchunk as the drummer. In addition to playing with Superchunk for over 20 years, Wurster began drumming for another indie rock institution, The Mountain Goats. He also regularly tours with the legendary Bob Mould.  When he’s not touring with one of his regular bands, he’s also a well sought out talent, having performed or recorded with the likes of Katy Perry, Ben Gibbard, Aimee Mann and A.C. Newman. 

Aside from music, Wurster has also racked up an impressive catalogue of comedy recordings with Tom Scharpling as the duo Scharpling & Wurster. 

Wurster laid out his process of getting sober at the age of 42 in a wonderful 2013 interview in Consequence of Sound. According to Wurster, his path to sobriety didn’t take the familiar trajectory of drinking until he ruined his life and alienated everyone around him before joining a 12-step-program. Instead, he characterizes the decision as a progression in personal maturity and often as a necessary step in meeting the physical demands of constant touring.  He credits the book The Easy Way to Stop Drinking, by Alan Carr for helping him give up the bottle. 

Wurster tells writer Philip Cosores, “In terms of drumming, I think not drinking has given me way more stamina. There was this weird buzz I would get when I first stopped, when I’d first get onstage completely sober, and that was a kind of high in a way. It was like a high of achievement. For Bob [Mould], when we opened up for Foo Fighters last summer at all these big outdoor venues and, like, hockey arenas up to 30,000 people, knowing you could do it all without having to get drunk just to get out there — it kind of builds your confidence.”

Here’s a sampling of the some of the great songs and great bands that feature Wurster’s drumming.

“Star Machine” - Bob Mould

“Detroit Has a Skyline” - Superchunk

“Cry for Judas” - The Mountain Goats

 

 

 

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Maggie Serota is a staff writer at Spin. She has contributed to Glamour, NBC News, Esquire, Rolling Stone,BuzzFeed, and many other publications and outlets.  You can find Maggie on Linkedin or follow her on Twitter.

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