Brendan Canty

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For the cyclist, see Brendan Canty (cyclist).
Brendan Canty
Born (1966-03-09) March 9, 1966 (age 50)
Teaneck, New Jersey, United States
Occupation(s) Musician, composer, producer, film maker
Associated acts Fugazi, Rites of Spring, Happy Go Licky, Girls Against Boys

Brendan John Canty (born March 9, 1966 in Teaneck, New Jersey)[1] is an American musician, composer, producer and film maker, best known as the drummer for the band Fugazi.

In 2007, Stylus Magazine ranked Canty at #29 on the list of "50 Greatest Rock Drummers", based on his drumming work with Fugazi.[2]


Early years, Rites of Spring[edit]

Canty began playing drums at the age of 15 in the short-lived band Deadline, featured on the Flex Your Head compilation. He began his musical career in earnest in 1985 with Rites of Spring, after which he ended up playing drums in One Last Wish, and Happy Go Licky.


Main article: Fugazi

Canty joined Fugazi, as their drummer in 1987 and recorded and toured with the group until their "indefinite hiatus" in 2003.

Many of Fugazi's songs since Repeater are based on guitar riffs introduced at rehearsals by Canty. An adept multi-instrumentalist, Canty also writes songs on piano (he plays a skeletal version of "Bed for the Scraping" on the Instrument DVD), as well as bass lines for some songs.[3] He is also noted for using a large farmers bell as part of his drum kit.

In 2007, Stylus Magazine ranked Canty at #29 on their list of the "50 Greatest Rock Drummers" based on his drumming work with Fugazi.[2]

Soundtrack work, film scoring, directing and side projects[edit]

Canty frequently composes soundtrack music, primarily for documentaries, often with National Geographic and Discovery Channel. He also contributes to or helps produce other Washington D.C.-area recordings. During Fugazi's post-2002 hiatus, Canty took part in a side project, Garland of Hours, with vocalist/cellist/keyboardist Amy Domingues and drummer/percussionist Jerry Busher, both of whom have contributed to Fugazi recordings and performances. Their first self-titled album was released on the Arrest Records label founded by Busher and Canty's younger brother James, formerly of Nation of Ulysses.

Canty's score for the Sundance Channel documentary series The Hill premiered on August 23, 2006. He continues to Score the National Geographic Channel's "Hard Time".

In 2004, Canty and director Christoph Green co-founded the film Production company Trixie to release an ongoing series of music-related films entitled Burn to Shine. The series involves independent alternative music bands from a particular region showing up to perform one song live, without overdubs or corrections, in a house that is about to be demolished. The first volume was filmed in Canty's home region of Washington, D.C., and features performances from Bob Mould, Weird War, Q and Not U, Ted Leo, French Toast, Medications, fellow Fugazi member Ian MacKaye's side project The Evens, and Garland of Hours. A second volume, filmed in the Chicago area, was released in 2005, and a third filmed in Portland, Oregon came out August 20, 2006. Three more volumes are currently in production featuring other cities.

Using the same crew and filming style as on the Burn to Shine series, Canty and Green made a concert film of a Bob Mould show, entitled "Circle of Friends."

Canty not only produced this film but also plays drums during the show, which took place at Washington D.C.'s 9:30 Club. Canty and Green also made Sunken Treasure: Live in the Pacific Northwest, a 2006 Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) tour film, and the Wilco tour film Ashes of American Flags, which was released in 2009 and toured festivals extensively, eventually being broadcast on the Sundance Channel in the US, and being released on DVD and iTunes.

In late 2004 and early 2005, Canty contributed drum tracks to Bob Mould's 2005 solo album, Body of Song. Canty was also the drummer for many dates on the winter 2005/2006 tour in support of the album. Canty returns as the drummer for Bob Mould's District Line, to be released February 2008.

He produced Ted Leo and the Pharmacists's Living With the Living and The Tyranny of Distance albums. He also produced Benjy Ferree, The Thermals's The Body, The Blood, The Machine, and French Toast records, as well as mixing the self-titled debut album for The Aquarium.

He recently directed long-time friend Eddie Vedder's new solo performance DVD release, Water on the Road, and took the drums for Vedder's cover of All Along the Watchtower.[4]

In February 2013 he released a record on Dischord Records with the group Deathfix, on which he sings and played guitar. All songs on the record were written by Rich Morel and Canty. He has been touring consistently with this band since.

Trixie has done the majority of Wilco's film work since 2005. Producing "Sunken Treasure", "Ashes of American Flags" and the soon to be released "Every Other Summer: Solid Sound Festival 2013" film.

Personal life[edit]

Brendan Canty is the brother of James Canty, and writer Kevin Canty. Brendan Canty lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and four children.


Brendan has played Gretsch Drums throughout most of his career.

  • Red Gretsch Custom & Zildjian Cymbals:
  • Drums
    • 14x8" Ludwig Colliseum Snare, or Rogers Dyno-sonic snare.
    • 10x12" Custom Gretsch Rack Tom
    • 16x18" Custom Gretsch Floor Tom
    • 18x22" Custom Gretsch Bass Drum
  • Cymbals
    • 14" Zildjian Rock Hi-Hats
    • 18" Zildjian A Series Crash
    • 19" Zildjian A Series Crash
    • 22" Zildjian A Series Heavy Ride
  • Note: He has also been known to use Zildjian K Series cymbals of the same type
  • Hardware, etc.

He also uses a farmers bell as part of his kit.

Brendan is currently endorsing Istanbul Agop Cymbals.


With Deadline[edit]

Compilation appearances

With Rites of Spring[edit]

Compilation appearances

  • 20 Years of Dischord (2002, Dischord Records)
    • Disc 01, Track 17 – "Drink Deep"

With Happy Go Licky[edit]

Compilation appearances

  • 20 Years of Dischord (2002, Dischord Records)
    • Disc 01, Track 29 – "Twist and Shout"

With Fugazi[edit]

Compilation appearances

With One Last Wish[edit]

Compilation appearances

  • State of the Union (1989, Dischord Records)
    • Track 10 – "Burning in the Undertow"
  • 20 Years of Dischord (2002, Dischord Records)
    • Disc 01, Track 24 – "This Time"

With Girls Against Boys[edit]

With Lois Maffeo[edit]

With Black Light Panthers[edit]

  • 1982–1997 (1998)

With The All Scars[edit]

With Garland of Hours[edit]

With Deathfix[edit]


  1. ^[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b Stylus Staff. "50 Greatest Rock Drummers". Stylus Magazine's 50 Greatest Rock Drummers. Retrieved May 5, 2011. 
  3. ^ "in your ear". in your ear. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  4. ^ Boston Music Spotlight » Eddie Vedder plots solo release, tour

External links[edit]