Greg Saunier

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Greg Saunier
Greg Saunier in 2006
Greg Saunier in 2006
Background information
Born (1969-05-18) May 18, 1969 (age 51)
Valdivia, Chile[1]
OriginUnited States
  • Musician
  • producer
  • composer
Years active1990–present
Associated acts

Greg Saunier (born 18 May 1969)[2] is a musician, producer, and composer best known as the drummer and founding member of Deerhoof.

Rolling Stone included Saunier alongside Brian Chippendale (of Lightning Bolt) and Zach Hill (of Hella) as together composing "a generation of trailblazing 21st-century avant-rock percussionists".[3]


Saunier in 2011
Saunier in 2017

Saunier graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 1991.[4] The next year, he joined a four-piece band, Nitre Pit, in San Francisco as its drummer. When the band's two guitarists left, Saunier and Nitre Pit's bassist, Rob Fisk, reformed as an "elastic, hyper-expressive" band to fulfill Nitre Pit's extant scheduled shows, which later became Deerhoof when Slim Moon of Kill Rock Stars signed the group in 1995.[5] Saunier moved to New York with two suitcases and has said that he does not own many possessions. As a drummer, he says, things he touches tend to break.[6]

Outside of Deerhoof, Saunier's bands include Mystical Weapons (a duo with Sean Lennon)[7][8] and a collaboration with Brian Chippendale, about which a documentary, Checking in at 20, was produced.[9][10][11] He also formed Nervous Cop with drummer Zach Hill and harpist Joanna Newsom,[12] and bands with members of Erase Errata and Rainer Maria, soundtracked a film by Martha Colburn, and collaborated with Yonatan Gat on a reinterpretation of Antonín Dvořák's American Quartet.[13][14][15] Saunier is a member of the indie rock supergroup Big Walnuts Yonder alongside bassist Mike Watt (Minutemen, fIREHOSE), guitarist Nels Cline (Wilco) and guitarist/vocalist Nick Reinhart (Tera Melos).[16]

He has produced albums including Xiu Xiu's The Air Force[17][18] and Always,[19] Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog's Your Turn,[20] Sholi's self-titled album[21] and People Get Ready's Physiques,[22] remixed tracks for Shy Hunters[23] and WOOM,[24] and appeared on albums including Zach Hill's Face Tat.[25] In 2016, Saunier collaborated with American Brazilian composer Marcos Balter, in which they wrote songs for Deerhoof and Ensemble Dal Niente.[26]

Kit and Technique[edit]

Saunier uses a minimal drum kit, consisting of a kick drum, snare and a cymbal, a set-up inspired in part by the kit and playing style of Questlove (The Roots).[27] In 2008, Saunier said that he rarely practices, mainly for lack of time. When he writes songs, he usually considers the drum part last and is more concerned about the components of rest of the song and its technical elements. His interest and judgement in the latter came from his experience starting Deerhoof without producers, a record label, or much outside help.[28]


  1. ^ "Greg Saunier Of Deerhoof: Drums As An Afterthought". Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  2. ^ "Happy Birthday, Greg! Keep banging! Satomi". Twitter. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  3. ^ "Brian Chippendale - 100 Greatest Drummers of All Time".
  4. ^ "Alumni Composers - Composition - Conservatory - Oberlin College".
  6. ^ "Wanted/Needed/Loved #1: Greg Saunier's Tour Survival Kit". July 2, 2015.
  7. ^ "Mystical Weapons – "Mechanical Mammoth" Video". November 27, 2012.
  8. ^ "Mystical Weapons by Mystical Weapons".
  9. ^ "Deerhoof's Greg Saunier and Lightning Bolt's Brian Chippendale Team Up for Drum Duo Album".
  10. ^ "Lightning Bolt's Brian Chippendale and Deerhoof's Greg Saunier Subject of Film, Team for Drum Duo LP - Pitchfork".
  11. ^ "Brian Chippendale / Greg Saunier: Brian Chippendale & Greg Saunier Album Review - Pitchfork".
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Greg Saunier - Credits - AllMusic".
  14. ^ "Video: Deerhoof: "The Merry Barracks" - Pitchfork".
  15. ^ "Xiu Xiu: Dear God, I Hate Myself Album Review - Pitchfork".
  16. ^ Pearce, Sheldon (March 1, 2017). "Minutemen, Wilco, Deerhoof Members Announce Album From New Band Big Walnuts Yonder". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
  17. ^ "Xiu Xiu - Biography & History - AllMusic".
  18. ^ "The Air Force by Xiu Xiu".
  19. ^ "Always by Xiu Xiu".
  20. ^ "Your Turn by Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog".
  21. ^ "Sholi Sign to Quarterstick, Enlist Deerhoof Dude for LP - Pitchfork".
  22. ^ "People Get Ready – "Physiques"". April 23, 2014.
  23. ^ "Shy Hunters – "Idle Days (Greg Saunier Remix)" (Stereogum Premiere)". May 27, 2014.
  24. ^ "WOOM – "The Hunt" Video (Stereogum Premiere)". November 19, 2010.
  25. ^ "Zach Hill – "Memo To The Man"". July 23, 2010.
  26. ^ "WQXR - New York's Classical Music Radio Station".
  27. ^ "Greg Saunier - Modern Drummer Magazine". June 15, 2007.
  28. ^ "Deerhoof, Greg Saunier: Interview:".

External links[edit]