Brendan Canty

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Brendan Canty
Born (1966-03-09) March 9, 1966 (age 53)
Teaneck, New Jersey, U.S.
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, producer, film maker
Associated acts

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]

Brendan Canty began playing drums at the age of 15, debuting in DC Dischord Records band Deadline, one of the signature bands of the early DC hardcore scene in the summer of 1981. They recorded a demo at Inner Ear Studios that Fall and from those sessions three tracks were used on the Dischord "Flex Your Head" compilation. After playing a number of shows through the following year, Deadline recorded one more session at Inner Ear in August 1982, just prior to disbanding. Canty continued his musical career in 1985 with Dischord band Rites of Spring, after which he played drums in one on/off reunion group One Last Wish, and Happy Go Licky.[when?]


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.

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.[4][5]

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.

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."[when?] Canty produced the film and played drums during the show, which took place at Washington D.C.'s 9:30 Club.[citation needed]

In 2006, Canty and Green also madeSunken 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.

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.[when?]

In 2011, Canty 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".[6]

In February 2013, Canty 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.[citation needed]

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.

In March 2018, it was announced that original member of the proto punk band MC5, Wayne Kramer would embark on a 35-date tour of North America for their 50th anniversary of the band's debut Kick Out the Jams recruiting Canty to play drums along with Kim Thayil of Soundgarden, Doug Pinnick of King's X, and Marcus Durant.[7]


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] In a 2015 interview drummer Joe Wong stated seeing Fugazi was a formative experience.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Canty is the brother of James Canty, and writer Kevin Canty[9]. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and four children.[8]


Brendan has played Gretsch Drums throughout most of his career.[citation needed]

  • 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. Archived from the original on February 20, 2006. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Boston Music Spotlight » Eddie Vedder plots solo release, tour Archived April 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Retrieved May 20, 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ Sadler, Brook (November 18, 1994). "Canty Could". Washington City Paper. Retrieved May 10, 2019.

External links[edit]