Columns » Employee of the Week

Employee of the Week

José Medeles
Drummer
The Breeders, etc.

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The corner of NE 30th and Killingsworth is ground zero for breeding hipsters. During the time it takes to drink a soy mocha you'll see a dozen babes with buns in the oven and at least as many pierced-and-tattooed pops pushing prams. Speaking of... the Breeders' drummer José Medeles just put roots down in this fertile soil, having relocated from Los Angeles in February with his wife and (big surprise here) 18-month-old son. So far José is quite enamored with our humble town. He jams with the guitarists across the street and hopes to start a side project that'll keep him busy between tours. (Perhaps a two-piece with stand-up bass. Jazz/dance/experimental. Any takers?) At the recommendation of busboy Dan at Cup and Saucer Café (hipster breeding-ground location), Medeles caught his first local rock show at Worksound, featuring Pelican Ossman. He thinks they're the cat's meow and suggests y'all check 'em out.

When did you start drumming?

I was eight years old in La Salle, Illinois. It's just a lot of fun to hit stuff. Plus it was the only thing I was halfway decent at.

Favorite part of your job?

Just being able to play.

Most challenging?

The traveling. We'll be on tour most of this year, supporting our new album, Mountain Battles.

Why the move from LA to Portland?

I wanted to raise my son in a better environment. And it makes financial sense: I'm not gonna play with Josh Groban just to pay my light bill. Basically I just need to be close to an airport.

Is your son an aficionado of your music?

He loves to play drums. When he wants to go down and play he says, "Boom, boom, boom!" He has these little headphones he wears...

So the Breeders are still a vital corporation? You make enough to support a wife and kid?

Yeah. As a drummer, you have to be diverse. The Breeders are one avenue. I also do sessions, solo drum records, the occasional drum lesson. I've played on Ben Harper records, done film stuff with Joey Santiago from the Pixies... And we live within our means. I survived as a musician because I made that choice. We have one car. I wear thrift store clothes. Our overhead is really low.

Is Kim Deal as kooky as she comes across in interviews?

Even more so.

What have you learned from her?

There's a lot to be said about integrity. And that certain music is worth sacrificing things for, like time away from family, or working on a part forever. It's not worth cutting corners when it comes to music. Kim is amazing. Not to sound corny, but I've worked with a lot of musicians, and she's the real deal. VIVA LAS VEGAS

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