Travis Barker talks Give The Drummer Some track-by-track
Travis Barker talks Give The Drummer Some (intro)
"I started this record about three years ago when I wasn't in a band," Travis Barker tells MusicRadar. "I wasn't in Blink-182, and I wasn't in the Transplants. I was working with DJ AM and doing a lot of remixes. Then I started working on the record, and unfortunately my plane crash happened, so that stopped things for a while.
"After I recovered, it took me about a year to finish all the recording. I was on Blink tours, and I spent a lot of time in Europe. I remember I took a boat ride across the Atlantic, and I worked on it there. I brought a little drum kit and a mini studio with me, so that was pretty interesting - six days, floating across the Atlantic to Europe, working on an album.
“On Blink tours, I’d set up in the backstage rehearsal room and create beats. Then I’d send them around to everybody to get verses and what not back. It was a very unique way to make a record, but I’m really happy with how everything turned out.
“Doing it in stages wasn’t planned. It was really out of necessity. But it was a good outlet for me while I was on the road. You have so much downtime on tour, so you may as well do something creative.
“I’m really honored to have so many amazing artists on the record. Everybody I worked with is a friend and somebody I admire, so it’s awesome to look at every track and remember what a great time we had. Even though the album has my name on it and the responsibility of whether or not it came out good or bad rested on me, I couldn’t have done it without these people, my friends. I feel very lucky to have had this opportunity.”
Can A Drummer Get Some (featuring Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Swizz Beatz and Game)
“This is the first song we recorded, probably about three and a half years ago, just me and my engineer, James Ingram. I started out singing the guitar lines, and we pieced the music together.
“Two weeks later, I worked with Swizz Beatz and Wayne. Wayne did his verse, and then Swizz did the chorus. Then Game came in and did his verse. A few weeks later, Rick did his verse, and the song was complete. Everybody was awesome. It came together so beautifully.”
If You Want To (featuring Pharrell and Lupe Fiasco)
“Pharrell and I were in the studio, working on a bunch of beats. We had a few things going on, and then he said, ’Hey, check this one out’ - it was something he had done with Lupe. It was kind of sped-up, very uptempo, and man, I was trippin’, it was so good.
“I put my drums on it that night, and after that, the song was pretty much a wrap. It’s the one song on the album I didn’t have my hands on in the production, but I love it.”
Carry It (featuring RZA, Raekwon and Tom Morello)
“We did this one in my studio in North Hollywood. RZA was playing guitar, and I was playing drums. RZA did his verse, and then, a couple of weeks later, Raekwon came in and did his verse, which was cool.
“I played the track for Tom Morello, and asked him to put a guitar solo on it. There was absolutely no need for me to give any direction to Tom. You just say, 'Do what you want.' The guy’s such an incredible guitar player - whatever he does, it’s all good. He really nailed it.”
Listen: Carry It
Knockin' (featuring Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, E-40 and Dev)
“I made up the beat in my studio. There’s a lot of drums on this track. I put a marching beat down. A lot of people might not know this, but I marched for about six years, so that kind of playing comes pretty easily to me. It's what I do.
“Snoop did his verse in the studio. E-40 did his verse on his own. Dev came in and did his verse with Kojack, who co-produced the track with me. The rest is history.”
Jump Down (featuring The Cool Kids)
“We did this one with Chuck and Mikey from The Cool Kids. We had done another track in the beginning of the recording process, but they came back and heard the joint I did with Lupe, and it really impressed them.
“We decided to go somewhere else and do something a little crazier and harder with the verses. I'm really glad we did. Jump Down came out really cool.”
Listen: Jump Down
Devil's Got A Hold (featuring Slaughterhouse)
“I was in New York working on the song, and it was the day that my good friend DJ AM died. I pretty much left the track and went back to my tour bus. It was a very hard day, as you can imagine.
“A few weeks later, I got the track back and worked on it at home. It’s definitely a darker and more emotional song than some of the other cuts on the album. To be honest, it was a dark song to begin with. I tried not to let what happened with my friend color what I was trying to do.”
Let's Go (featuring Yelawolf, Twista, Busta Rhymes and Lil Jon)
“This one was me and my engineer, Kevin Bivona, messing around with beats in Studio B of my place in North Hollywood. Busta Rhymes was the first one to rap on it. He did his verse and totally set the bar.
“Then I sent it to Twista and Yelawolf. I think I just had Busta’s verse and Lil Jon came in and did his thing, made it happening. Lil Jon’s like family, so it’s always fun working with him.
“It’s cool to have all of these people on the same track. It’s not as complicated as it sounds, really. It’s fun, and everybody feeds off of what somebody else does.”
Saturday Night (featuring Transplants and Slash)
“The beat was written on my tour bus when I was coming home from Phoenix. Then I got in the studio with Tim Armstrong and Skinhead Rob. Tim started singing the hook and playing guitar on it, and the track was pretty much finished.
“I asked everybody if they would mind if I asked Slash to play guitar on it. Nobody had a problem with that. Slash came in and totally killed it on the first pass. He did three takes, but his first one was flawless, so that's the one we kept.”
Cool Head (featuring Kid Cudi)
Kid Cudi and I got together and knocked that one out. He’s playing guitar on it. As far as the rest of the instrumentation, my friend Edit and I finished it up.
“I did intros and outros, which I kind of did on a lot of the record, and my drums kind of carry the whole thing out.”
Raw Shit (featuring Tech N9ne and Bun B)
“This one started out from a remix I did for Slaughterhouse called The One. Bun, in the verse, does a line that goes ’Raw shit, makes me wanna start a mosh pit.’ I grabbed that and pretty much made it the chorus.
“After we had that, it all started building. I was talking to Tech N9ne about doing something, so we got together. He did his verse in a day, killed it. Then Bun sent his verse in the next day. That song was wrapped up quick. I finished it probably a month before I had to turn in the album.”
Just Chill (featuring Beanie Sigel, Bun B and Kobe)
“This was the second song we recorded. Can A Drummer Get Some and this one we finished just before my plane crash. But both tracks aged well, so they made the album.
“Beanie was one of the first people who said, ’Yo, I wanna be on your album.’ So he did his thing. Bun was next to get on the record, and then Kobe sang the hook. Kobe’s been a great friend for a long time, so I’m glad he made the album.”
Beat Goes On (featuring Cypress Hill)
“Blink had been in Europe playing Reading and Leeds, and we were hanging out with Cypress Hill, just choppin’ it up. I told them that my album was almost finished, but then I stopped myself in my tracks when I realized that I couldn’t have an album without Cypress Hill.
“I’ve known those guys for almost 10 years. They were one of the first rap groups I ever listened to. We got in the studio and I played them a track I had with a bunch of rock guitars. They loved it and jumped all over it. So cool. It was one of the easiest songs to do. I’m really thrilled to have Cypress Hill on a record with my name on it.”
On My Own (featuring Corey Taylor)
"When I played with the band Camp Freddy - they always have different singers and rotating guests - I met Corey, and I was just trippin’. He’s so good. He was singing Alice In Chains and STP songs - what a great vocalist! I was familiar with Slipknot, but I had no idea how diverse he was.
“On My Own came together in a matter of hours. He came in, played guitar and sang, and it was like we had a band. The guy is super-talented. I can’t say enough good things about him.”
Don't Fuck With Me (featuring Paul Wall, Jay Rock and Kurupt)
“I made the beat and sat on it for a little while. I didn’t know who I was going to get on it. I played the beat for Jay Rock, and he just killed it. Next thing you knew, Paul Wall was in the studio, and he did a verse.
“Next up was Kurupt. We jumped in the studio, he did his verse, and that was it, the whole thing was done.”
City Of Dreams (featuring The Clipse and Kobe)
“I’ve been a big Clipse fan for a long time. They’re one of my favorite rap groups. And I have Kobe on this one, too. Like a lot of songs on my album, it’s a matter of getting people together who are in LA at the same time.
“Clipse came in, listened to beats, and they picked this one and did their verses. We actually had a different hook, but when Kobe came in, he sat there for a long time and listened to it. It was cool to see what he’d come up with, because I knew it would be better than what was obvious. So you just wait and watch him and stand back as the magic happens. He’s so talented.”
Misfits (featuring Steve Aoki)
“Steve and I had been messing around with a couple of cuts, one called Cudi The Kid that I had made with Cudi back in the day, and then another one that’s more electro. We didn’t know which one would make the album, so we went with this one.
“It’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s like an electronic track that’s got a punk rock thing going on. It’s got great energy. Steve is an amazing punk rock vocalist. Who knew, right?”
I Play The Drums (featuring My Humans)
“My kids had been a big part of my album. I was always playing them tracks as I was working on it and finishing it. They even helped me choose which songs were good. They love music and have always been around it. My daughter tries to rap. My son plays the drums and sings.
“One day I said, ’Let’s go in and do something.’ So this is my kids’ contribution to the record. Obviously, I'm pretty proud of it. I finished this cut and turned the whole album in the next day.”