Mike Dillon (Interview)
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Today we’re listening to Mike Dillon, a percussionist from San Antonio. Thank you to for the recommendation. Born in 1965, Dillon got into classic rock (Zeppelin, Kiss) early on, and in high school his drum teacher introduced him to Miles Davis’s drum accompanists (Tony Williams, Jimmy Cobb). He studied music at North Texas State, where he was exposed to new worlds of percussion from Indian drumming (tabla) to Afro Cuban music. We detect those influences in his instrumental vibraphone- and marimba-led solo music, which we’re playing today. Specifically we’re spinning his 2016 record Functioning Broke, which has brilliant covers of Elliott Smith and Neil Young, as well as Dillon’s self-titled 2002 debut record, which brings in more experimental sounds. See our brief interview with Mike below the fold.
When did you start making music?
When I was around 6. I got my first set of drums at 10 and started in school band in 5th grade on trombone.
What do you use to make music?
Vibes, marimba, piano, synths, drums, drum machine.
You've covered Neil Young and Elliott Smith. Who else would you like to cover someday?
Nick Drake, Elton John, Bright Eyes.
What music has inspired you recently?
Pink Floyd, Monk, Milt Jackson, Meridian Brothers, and a steady dose of Coltrane.
Name an underrated musician from the past 50 years who deserves more recognition today besides Mike Dillon.
How do you get into the right headspace to create music?
Espresso and meditation… Maybe a five-mile jog… Then some tabla practice and a song is liable to pop out.
What are your favorite records to work to?
A Love Supreme, Shakti, Monk Live at Newport, Modern Jazz Quartet - Blues on Bach.
Which non-musical artists inspire you the most these days?
Kehende Wiley, Peregrine Honig, Will Cotton.
What are you working on now?
A book. I have four records finished that I need to release. I’m about to start a new Punkadelic record.