We first came across percussionist Dave Wayne years ago during a performance of his brilliant but sadly defunct band Things That Are Heard. At the time, he was also drumming with post-punk act Venus Bogardus—another killer band we miss. Since then, Wayne has been a bit of a musical transient, applying his skills to rock, punk, Afro-beat, hip-hop, jazz and anything that might be described as “avant-garde.” This week finds Wayne joining forces with electronic musician Thollem McDonas for a night of oddball electronica-influenced jazzy fusion (8 pm Friday May 3. $10-$15. Paradiso, 903 Early St.). Bring on the Qs. (Alex De Vore)
When it comes to electronic music, we don’t often hear a lot of actual, physical drums. How do you fit in?
You just kind of look for the space, listen to what’s going on around you and try to make a choice that will work. Fortunately, most of the people in these kinds of settings also want to make it work, so it’s very cooperative. But I’ve always really enjoyed acoustic drums in an electronic music setting. There’s something raw and untamed about a drum kit, and you put it in this very refined surrounding and … there’s a friction that occurs. It’ll be interesting. Timbre-wise, you have the pedal steel, which has a really distinctive sound, and what Thollem’s doing is a little more percussive. At the electronic keyboard he gets a lot of different sounds. There are limitations and there are freedoms that you’re allowed.
What always draws you to the more avant-garde musical forms?
I think a certain measure of it is that I’ve been type-cast. ‘Oh, Dave Wayne—he does weird stuff!” My friends do outsider kinds of music, but I like playing funk and jazz and straightforward rock just as much any anyone else. Playing rock makes its own demands, and they’re different than playing jazz or improvisation. There are gray areas and areas of overlap. I’ve failed miserably at times playing rock, because I approach it as a jazz musician. But armed with that, I’ll make better decisions in the future. Santa Fe is a great town for music, but it’s also a terrible town for music. Getting audiences is a crapshoot.
Anything else you’re working on that we should be aware of?
I’m in a few different bands. [Jazz band] OrnEtc. Is still an active concern, and we’ve recently added an incredibly talented saxophonist named Alex Murzyn to the lineup, and we’re really excited to work with him. I’m also working with Mustafa Stefan Dill in a band that combines Middle Eastern music and Mahavishnu-style jazz fusion; it’s close to some of the things John Zorn is doing. That seems like a really promising band. I’m also in a new band called Shatner Powerslide. It’s instrumental rock for lack of a better term. And I’m also playing with [Afrobeat act] Shake Alert still. We just finished recording a CD.