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MusicHi! I'm Stanton Moore, Drummer for Galactic & Founder of the Stanton Moore Drum Academy, Ask Me Anything!!

Jul 21st 2017 by Stanton_moore • 17 Questions • 59 Points

Thanks for all the good questions, guys. Catch you another day ...

Hey everyone, I’m Entertainment Weekly’s senior writer Anthony Breznican. This week’s double issue is one of our biggest of the year—our annual San Diego Comic-Con preview—and my cover story this week is an exclusive first look from the set of “Black Panther.” It’s on newsstands now and you can check some of it out on EW.com here: http://ew.com/movies/2017/07/12/black-panther-ew-cover/.

I cover a wide range of books, movies, and TV shows — plus, I will be at SDCC next week. I also write fiction (I’m part of a YA short-story collection called "Behind the Song" that’s out in September, featuring tales inspired by famous songs.) Ask me anything about Black Panther, what it’s like to cover Comic-Con, and whatever else you can think of. That’s why they call this AMA.

You can also find me elsewhere on Twitter at @breznican.

Proof: https://twitter.com/breznican/status/887003676052774912

Q:

Do you have any plans to do more Garage A Trois or maybe something else with Robert Walter ?

Also what's it like to work with Skerik? He seems completely off his rocker (in a good way).

A:

Hey Anthony! I'm a big fan of your writing. The other night I noticed a girl on twitter giving you shit for calling Wakanda a fictional place. How often do you encounter these types of people? And do you usually try to respond and set them straight or just not engage with them? Basically, how do you deal with people who are unreasonably offended by something you wrote?


Q:

I would love to do more with GAT. I dig playing with both the original lineup with Charlie Hunter and the later lineup with Marco Benevento. Hoping to start doing some more shows with both, but not sure when. Playing with Skerik is a blast, he’s become one of my best friends as well.

A:

Yeah, I still can't figure that one out! She seemed to think that I was denigrating Black Panther because I described it as "the fictional African nation of Wakanda."

Look -- I adore Black Panther, and I respect what he means to people. But LOL, "fictional" is not an insult. Come on, folks!

I responded to her because I genuinely wanted to know why she thought that was some kind of put-down. I was just curious. Otherwise, I'd just ignore something like that.

Look, when it comes to Asgard or Tatoonine, you don't have to say "Thor's fictional celestial homeland" or "Luke Skywalker's fictional desert planet." But with realistic-sounding countries like Wakanda or Sokovia, I don't think it's unreasonable to remind people that they're fictional -- especially since young kids often read these stories.

Ask Seth Grahame-Smith how many school kids now think Abe Lincoln killed vampires in his spare time! :)


Q:

Thanks for replying! We try and make it to your shows when you come through Austin, Galactic or otherwise! Loving the new album too!

A:

How different has it been covering The Last Jedi, compared to covering Force Awakens?

Was TFA more secretive and secure, or has it been ratcheted even higher for TLJ?


Q:

Thanks for the support! Glad to hear you're digging the record as well.

A:

They feel roughly the same. I wish I had a more exciting answer.


Q:

What's your favorite venue to play in New Orleans?

A:

Given Marvel is your beat, what was the most interesting thing about your Black Panther interviews / what are you most excited about with the film? The photos are awesome. Thanks!


Q:

I love playing Tipitina’s with Galactic and Dragon Smoke, Snug Harbor with my piano trio (David Torkanowsky & James Singleton) & DBA with my organ trio (Robert Walter & Will Bernard)

A:

The thing I find most interesting about Ryan Coogler's movie is the prominent role that women have in it. Danai Gurira -- whom we've seen slinging a katana on The Walking Dead -- is just going to make you stand up and cheer as Okoye, the head of the all-female Dora Milaje secret service. (She also has amazing things to do in Avengers: Infinity War, but we'll have to get into that another day.)

Lupita Nyong'o is going to be like a Bond girl fused with James Bond himself as Nakia, a covert agent for Wakanda who jet-sets around the world looking out for its interests.

Then there's Shuri -- played by Letitia Wright -- who is the younger, scrappier hero. Sort of the kid who rises to become a warrior. She's a genius on the level of Tony Stark and is responsible for much of the Vibranium-enhanced tech that her brother uses.

On top of that, you've got Angela Bassett as T'Challa and Shuri's mother, Ramonda -- who is whatever the panther version of a mama grizzly would be. Poised and elegant -- but ferocious when her cubs are threatened.

As the father of a little girl who loves superhero movies, it makes me very happy seeing women get a chance to be strong and brave.


Q:

Hi Stanton! I'm a big fan of your drumming! I've a great memory of your show at Tipitina's in New Orleans for Thanksgiving (2014). :-) My question is have you ever had physical pains due to playing drums and if yes, how do you deal with it? I've had shoulder pain when I play for almost 2 years now. I'm trying to work on my posture but and I cannot really get rid of the pain... Thanks!

A:

How do you see EW evolving over the next few years? Do you think the magazine will live on in the 21st century?


Q:

Luckily, I haven’t had much pain. I try to work on my posture as well. A loose grip helps… Also practicing with a mirror is helpful for working on your posture.

A:

I hope so. I have a mortgage.

Seriously, though, the publishing business has been in upheaval ever since I started 20 years ago. I've become resigned to the fact that this is just a business that will always be sailing raging seas.

I have confidence in our editors and the leadership on the publishing side. We're doing more video, expanding into radio, doing more live events. The weekly magazine still exists, but we're basically a daily newspaper online. So in many ways, we're growing. The big question is just revenue.

The publishing industry took a crushing hit in 2008 not because people didn't want to read stories, but because the economy tanked and auto manufacturers and airlines and other big-money advertisers began pulling back on that spending.

The key is not getting readers to pay for the product -- it's giving them something to read or watch that they can't live without, so they'll chip in. I'm working hard at that.

The other threat we face is what I call "Belloqing" -- after Indiana Jones' thieving nemesis. That's the whole "There is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away" philosophy that some sites employ. I negotiate access, travel to a set, conduct an interview, and write up a story -- and another site copies and pastes all the highlights. Why go to my site when another has the same thing?

I don't do that to other publications. If they get news that we can't ignore, I write up a brief version, cite both the outlet AND the writer in some cases as prominently as I can, and then explicitly urge the reader to click over and read the original report.

I love pick-ups. I love when I've written something that other sites think is worthy of attention, and I'm grateful if they are willing to type a few words about it. But I think we have to respect each other by not fully poaching those reports. Otherwise, it's journalistic cannibalism. And no one will survive.


Q:

LOVING the new album. How can we get a Frequinox show in NYC again (been a long time since that BB King's set) ?

A:

Who has been your favourite newcomer interview over the years?


Q:

It’s hard to tour with Frequinox as we are all so busy with other projects, but we play during Jazz Fest in NOLA every year… Come down for JF!

A:

Probably Daisy Ridley. She's a blast.

I also really like Amandla Stenberg. You're going to be seeing a lot of her in the future.

http://ew.com/movies/2017/04/27/everything-everything-amandla-stenberg-interview/


Q:

Thanks for the response. I feel like some songs have a David Shaw feel. Has he done some writing for you guys?

A:

Rumor has it you're a yinzer. How has that informed (if at all) the way you write for EW?


Q:

Yes, Dave has helped co write Hey Na Na and Dolla Diva... We're working on some new stuff with him as well

A:

I am! I grew up in a little town in Western PA called New Kensington, and I went to college in Pittsburgh. I love that city, that area, and I wish I got back there more.

I think it helped to grow up there and be far, far away from the creation of movies. One time, when I was in high school, Bruce Willis came to town to shoot a movie called "Striking Distance." He was on a speedboat, shooting up and down the river. I think the entire region came to the bluffs to watch. Now, it seems so small time. In LA, a movie like that would just irritate people for tying up traffic or something. But to my town, this was like encountering aliens from space.

I really loved movies (doesn't every kid?), so I thought it was cool. I never, ever, ever expected to get a front row seat to the creation of these stories. I like to think that in my writing for EW, I know what might interest that kid like me, who is just dying to know more about the films that are coming his way.

Before EW existed, I subscribed to Premiere magazine and would hang pages from that on my wall, anticipating the films that were coming out in a few months. As someone who writes those stories now, I try to write for that reader -- rather than a business story for someone in the industry. Does that make sense?


Q:

I didn't know how I'd feel about all the guest singers on your last few albums, but I really enjoyed Ya-Ka-May when it came out. I need to revisit it.

A:

Perfect sense! I've been a big fan of your work in EW for years. You've done a great service bringing scoops to us fans for years. Thanks!

P.S. Next on my reading list: Brutal Youth!


Q:

Thank you. Allen Toussaint collaborated on Bacchus on Ya Ka May. Also a tune called Muss the Hair which was a Japanese bonus track for that record

A:

It's a dark, weird story, but a lot of it is TRUE. :)

If you're in the mood for double-crosses, mayhem, and deep, abiding friendship, I think you'll like it. Hope so, anyway.


Q:

Hey Stanton!! So stoked on the new album!!

Had 2 questions:

1.I've heard you play Yes We Can before, where you ever thinking of putting that on the new album? 2 What clothing company makes the best all black shirts?

A:

What's in the pipeline for Steven Spielberg? Esp on the Sci Fi front?


Q:

Actually, check out this version of YWC by the Pointer Sisters with Gaylord Birch on drums.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVxv6AFt7YM Check out his drum solo at 2:55... Crazy funky! And I like the Banana Republic black polos they fit and hold up for a long time...

A:

He's got Ready Player One coming up next March!

http://ew.com/movies/2017/07/14/ready-player-one-first-look-photo/

Right now, he's shooting a movie about the leak of The Pentagon Papers to the Washington Post, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. It's called The Papers and is supposed to be out in January.

That's a tight deadline, but he knows what he's doing.


Q:

Cool!!! I guess it's a pretty popular tune, seems extra appropriate message in our current social climate. I'm loving the new album, sounds tremendous! Thanks for all the great music and vibes and turning me onto cool stuff! You were awesome at High Sierra! See ya on the west coast!

A:

Hey, thanks for doing this.

My Question: How do you feel after the films release and how often do you think you predicted the success or failure?


Q:

Thanks everyone! That was fun. I've got to start getting ready for my in store performance tonight at Louisiana Music Factory. I'm very excited to release my new record today, I hope you'll all check it out and I hope y'all dig it. I've also been working hard on the lessons for www.StantonMooreDrumAcademy.com. Hopefully the drummers here will check the academy out too. I have a forum there and answer all the questions, kind of like this AMA but ongoing. Hope to see some of y'all sooner than later! Stanton

A:

I don't know if I ever predict a film's success or failure. I like when good things succeed, but I'm not really in the prediction game, per se.

For instance, I love Tim Burton's Frankenweenie. Weird name, but that movie is spectacular. Scary, sweet, funny. It was absolutely REJECTED by moviegoers.

Maybe parents thought it was too scary for kids? Maybe the goofy name alienated people? I don't know. It's a treasured movie in our house, though. And it's about something real -- kids lose pets, they lose older relatives, and sometimes, tragically, they lose parents or siblings. Death is a part of life. This movie was about a kid trying to deal with that -- and actually defying it.

But ... it was a total bomb. That bums me out because it makes it harder for another studio to take a risk on a movie like that. But at least it exists.

And I wrote one of my favorite stories because of it:

The Strange Story of Tim Burton's Normal Hometown http://ew.com/article/2012/10/05/tim-burton-frankenweenie-hometown/


Q:

How do you feel about your charts being arranged for other ensembles?

I have a few I would love to arrange for brass quintet.

A:

What's your favourite movie of all time?


Q:

Love it! Please post them to my FaceBook if you perform them. I’m always flattered when other musicians play any of our music.

A:

Hmm ... this will sound weird.

It's Avalon, Barry Levinson's movie from 1990 -- starring a very young Elijah Wood and the German actor Armin Mueller-Stahl as his grandfather. The old guy is a storyteller, and he's the keeper of the family history. Now that the family is in America, they are naturally growing apart and changing. But this little boy and his grandfather, they are the keepers of the stories that hold them together.

It spans a number of decades, and it's just warm, and funny, and heartbreaking. It has a line that I think of all the time: "If I knew things would no longer be here, I would have tried to remember better."

When I go home to Pittsburgh, and places I used to visit are gone ... Or I look at my children, and wonder where the little baby went now that a big kid is standing in front of me, I think of that.

"If I had known things would no longer be here, I would have tried to remember better."


Q:

Hey Stanton! What's your advice to get a great New Orleans sound out of a mediocre drum kit (shells only)?

A:

What is your favorite Stephen King book? Also on a scale of one to jaw-dropping, how awesome/friendly/cool is Stephen King in person?


Q:

Learning how to tune is super helpful in helping any drum set sound better that being said I like to tune by bottom head a little bit higher than the top.

A:

My favorite remains my first: Pet Sematary. I still have the beaten-to-shit old paperback my grandma bought me -- when I failed to persuade her to take 12-year-old me to the movie. I read that thing and it was SO scary, and SO sad, and SO intense. I immediately bought composition notebook and one of those pens with the soft, squishy thing to hold, and began writing scary stories. (The first was called "The Dare," about a kid who is dared by bullies to dig up a dead body and take its skull. He does -- and then SURPRISE the dead body comes to his house that night to take it back. But the kids at school were weirded out that he actually did it, so he threw the head away. The body ends up taking his instead. Ha ha, not bad for 12!)

Anyway, his work means a lot to me. But I've never met him in person. We've spoken on the phone several times and on email a little bit. I think he is genuinely a decent guy and has a great sense of humor, about himself and the larger, twisted world we inhabit.

I'm glad he exists. He is extremely generous and big-hearted. I always say that the scariest man in the world is also one of the nicest.

(If we ever do meet, I'm hoping he won't mind signing that battered paperback I told you about.)


Q:

Other than the Galactic band members and any of the Meters, who is your fave nawlins musician to play with?

A:

what is the most memorable piece you can recall working on?


Q:

Allen Toussaint was definitely on that list. Dirty Dozen, Rebirth and Soul Rebels... And of course, David Torkanowsky and James Singleton!

A:

This was one of my hardest interviews - but also one of my favorites.

http://ew.com/article/2012/12/07/whos-afraid-tommy-lee-jones/


Q:

With you and Matt Abts being two of the best drummers in the world, one can only hope that there will be some epic drum jams and sit-ins on the upcoming Mule/Galactic tour. How long have you known Matt and what do you like best about his drumming style?

A:

What is the most egregious thing you have been able to write off as a work expense? What is the biggest work expense that you regret?


Q:

I love Matt's groove and feel. Such a nice cat as well. I've known him for almost 20 years. I'm really looking forward to that tour. I'm hoping we get to play together a bit...

A:

Eh, more often I'm the one eating expenses, usually because of a lost receipt or waiting too long to file. I don't have any crazy expenses. One time, years and years ago, Mark Wahlberg ordered a lot of wine at a lunch interview. I was pretty scared about turning in that expense -- around $400. But the AP bosses just shrugged it off. It didn't happen that often, and it wasn't going to break their bank. But to me, at the time, that was a week's salary!


Q:

Stanton, I love what you do and wanna say thanks for doing this AMA. How did you develop such a personal style over the years and what were some of the biggest obstacles you've faced throughout your career? Also, are we gonna get anymore albums from your Trio?

A:

Star Wars Rebels has 1 more season. Any word on what disney will replace it with?


Q:

Johnny Vidacovich always encouraged me to strive for my own sound, so early on I intentionally tried to do things differently or in my own way. My new record came out today and features my trio of David Torkanowsky and James Singleton as the basis of it, we just added tons of special guests!

A:

I don't know! But I'm hoping we get another Star Wars series out of Dave Filoni.


Q:

Do you know what the next Star Wars spin off will be and can't/won't say or could you care to take a guess?

A:

I don't know. If I knew for sure, I would say. Four years ago, I broke the story that Lucasfilm was doing spin-offs focused on Han Solo and Boba Fett and the bounty hunters. Obviously, Solo is happening, and Josh Trank was doing Boba Fett before he was let go and the film went on the shelf. (I think it's still there, mint in the box.)

I've been on record before saying that I expect they'll revisit Obi-Wan Kenobi in those in-between years from Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. People keep asking Ewan McGregor if he's doing one, and he keeps saying "I don't know, maybe, I would love to."

I think audiences clearly want that. But I also think that won't happen until after the new saga sorts out what it wants to do with Obi-Wan's legacy. If he has ties to the new characters, they're going to want to establish that before connecting the dot back to that in-between era.


Q:

If Rey is Kenobi's granddaughter, maybe.

A:

Exactly. Or somebody else's.


Q:

Hi Anthony, love reading your reports especially from the Star Wars universe! I wanted to ask you what has been your favourite story from a film set that you've worked on in the past year? Also, when you're writing, how do you separate the inner fan in you? :) Keep up the good work!

A:

Thank you! Black Panther was incredible fun to cover, but going back a little further, I really loved visiting the set of The Dark Tower. That trip took me to South Africa, which was gorgeous. I tried to work some of the place into the piece.

http://ew.com/article/2016/07/14/dark-tower-idris-elba-stephen-king-gunslinger/