Joe Russo (musician)

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Joe Russo
Joe Russo performing in Madison, Wisconsin, 2006
Joe Russo performing in Madison, Wisconsin, 2006
Background information
Born (1976-12-18) December 18, 1976 (age 44)
OriginBrooklyn, New York, United States
GenresIndie rock, jazz fusion
Occupation(s)Musician, composer
InstrumentsDrum kit, percussion, guitar keyboards bass
Years active2000–present
LabelsButter Problems, Rope-A-Dope
Associated actsBenevento/Russo Duo, Fat Mama, American Babies, Furthur, Joe Russo's Almost Dead aka JRAD, Cass McCombs, Shpongle Live Band, Younger Brother, Phil Lesh & Friends, Chris Harford & The Band Of Changes

Joe Russo (born December 18, 1976) is an American drummer and half of the Benevento/Russo Duo.[1] He has toured, performed and recorded with a number of other bands, including Cass McCombs, A Big Yes and a Small No,[2] Fat Mama,[3] Robert Walter's 20th Congress, Bustle In Your Hedgerow, Younger Brother, Shpongle, Tom Hamilton's American Babies,[4] the Trey Anastasio/ Mike Gordon duo, the Gene Ween Band, and Furthur (featuring Phil Lesh and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead). He also plays with the Shpongle Live Band.[5] In 2013 he formed a Grateful Dead tribute band called Joe Russo's Almost Dead.

Musical career[edit]

Russo's drumming is fierce and complex (he has been nicknamed "The Madness" and "Octo-Russo" by fans). His Roland SPD-S sampler is often used for electronic drum samples, which play an important role in many of The Duo's compositions, such as "Welcome Red", "Becky", and "My Pet Goat". Two songs appearing on Play Pause Stop, "Memphis" and "Powder", were written by Russo and feature his guitar playing.

Russo has twice won the New Groove award at the Jammys, in 2000 and 2005. In the summer of 2006 he was the drummer in a collaboration with Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, and Marco Benevento (sometimes referred to as GRAB or Mike & the Italians).

During the fall of 2008, Russo traveled to London to record an album with the band Younger Brother.

In December 2008, Russo joined Ween front man Gene Ween and fellow Bustle In Your Hedgerow band mates Scott Metzger and Dave Dreiwitz for a short east coast tour with an outfit called the Gene Ween Band. On this tour, Joe played his "house kit," which notably includes a rare 30-inch bass drum purchased off of eBay.

In Fall 2009, Russo joined Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Jay Lane, Jeff Chimenti and John Kadlecik (from Dark Star Orchestra) to form the band Furthur. Jay Lane left Furthur in March 2010 to rejoin Primus,[6] and Russo continued to tour with the band as their sole drummer until they disbanded in November 2014.[7]

In 2013 Joe Russo formed a band called Joe Russo's Almost Dead with Ween bassist Dave Dreiwitz, Marco Benevento on keyboards and Scott Metzger and Tom Hamilton on vocals and guitars. Joe Russo's Almost Dead interpret the music of the Grateful Dead. The project was originally conceived for the Freaks Ball, an annual party hosted by the NYC-Freaks music community. [8]

Russo has recorded multiple albums with Craig Finn of the Hold Steady[9]

Personal life[edit]

On September 17, 2011, Joe married Pooja Raj.[10]



  • "phér•bŏney" (2019)

American Babies[edit]

  • Debut Album (2007)
  • Flawed Logic (2010)
  • Knives and Teeth (2013)

Fat Mama[edit]

  • Mamatus (2000)
  • Loadstar - Live at Theater '99 (2000)

Benevento/Russo Duo[edit]


  1. ^ True, Chris. "Biography: Benevento/Russo". Allmusic. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  2. ^ Collar, Matt. "Biography: A BIG YES...and a small no". Allmusic. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  3. ^ Jarnow, Jesse. "Biography: Fat Mama". Allmusic. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  4. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Biography: American Babies". Allmusic. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  5. ^ Ray, Randy (October 28, 2010). "Joe Russo: Many Chapters, Many Volumes". Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  6. ^ "Need We Say More? - News - Jay Lane Leaves Furthur to Join Primus". 2010-03-19. Retrieved 2011-10-26.
  7. ^ "Furthur Officially Calls It Quits",, November 4, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  8. ^ Greenhaus, Mike Relix
  9. ^ Greenhaus, Mike Relix
  10. ^ "Joe Russo’s Almost Dead Returns In Full Force To L.A.’s Greek Theatre",, August 17, 2019. Retrieved December 5, 2019.

External links[edit]