Playlist: Jon Mueller

Jon Mueller is a drummer and percussionist. His work has been released by the likes of Type, Table of the Elements, Utech Records, Jagjaguwar, and his own imprint, Crouton, which ended in 2009. He is a founding member of Pele, Collections of Colonies of Bees, and Volcano Choir. He has collaborated with many people, including James Plotkin, Z'EV, Marcus Schmickler, and Asmus Tietchens, and has worked with members of groups such as Swans, Wilco, Bon Iver, and Rhys Chatham's Guitar Trio. For more information, please visit

Here are some areas I would mention my interest in:

1. Black and white

It really doesn't matter much to me what the genre: comedy, drama, horror, even musical, if it's black and white television or film, I'm drawn to it. I have a fascination with old things, but not just because of age. The presentation of information from that era has a certain style to it that we don't have now. Ideas and words were handled in a different way that somehow gives me a strange comfort. Sometimes I'll play a movie in the background just to feel it.

2. Guitar

Though I've been playing drums for 25 years, I listen quite often to guitar based music - preferably solo acoustic guitar. Perhaps it is because it's the instrument I first began playing, when I was 6 or so, mostly by turning the amp on and resting the guitar against it and hitting it to make sounds and feedback. I'll always have a fondness for this instrument, even though I could never figure out how to properly play it.

3. Lawnmowing

I had some very intense experiences while lawnmowing in my teen years that I'll never forget. Today, it's something that still takes me out of the world, or more accurately, puts me into a different, more relaxed world. There's very little distraction, good scenery, and the ability to let my mind wander randomly for a length of time. I never like thinking about having to do it, but once I am, I get lost, and realize it's secret value.

4. Living

It sounds ridiculous, but it's something I think about every day. How much time is left? Am I spending it wisely? What about the choices I've made? Could I survive if 'x' happened? It's inspiring, terrifying, and consuming me, even as I type this.

5. Pretzel Rods

When I was a kid, I would go to the Beer Depot with my parents and they would return a case of bottles and get a new one. While this transaction took place, the guy working would give me a pretzel rod out of a clear plastic container that sat up on the counter. Since then, salt and hard bread tastes best only when presented in this shape. Whenever I'm on tour or travel, I anticipate the bag of pretzel rods sure to be purchased at the gas station. Sometimes, I'll even think about them at random: how the salt feels on a bitten lip, how the taste changes if they get soggy from spit. I've even smoked them.

6. Swans

I've tried, but I cannot escape their music.

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