Jon Wurster
Jon Wurster performing with Superchunk in 2010
Jon Wurster performing with Superchunk in 2010
Background information
Birth nameJonathan Patrick Wurster
Born (1966-10-31) October 31, 1966 (age 55)
Sellersville, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Occupation(s)Musician, writer
Years active1981–present

Jonathan Patrick Wurster (born October 31, 1966) is an American drummer and comedy writer. As a musician, he is best known for his work with Superchunk, the Mountain Goats, and Bob Mould.[1] He is also known for appearing on The Best Show with Tom Scharpling.[2]

Wurster has recorded and performed live with Jay Farrar, Ben Gibbard,[3] Robert Pollard, Katy Perry, The New Pornographers, Rocket from the Crypt, Alejandro Escovedo, and R.E.M.[4]

Music career

Early music career

Wurster grew up in the southeastern Pennsylvania town of Harleysville and began playing drums at the age of ten, taking lessons for a few years before playing in local bands.[5] In 1984 Wurster joined the psychedelic punk band Psychotic Norman. The band shared bills with the Minutemen, Die Kreuzen, and Suicidal Tendencies and recorded a three-song 7" single before Wurster left in January 1986 to play with[6] rock band the Right Profile.[7]

Months after Wurster's arrival, the Right Profile was signed by Clive Davis to Arista Records.[8] In April, 1987 the band recorded demos in Memphis, Tennessee with Jim Dickinson and Jerry Lee Lewis's guitarist Roland Janes at Sam Phillips's Recording Studio. Soon after this session, co-founding member Stephen J. Dubner[9] left the band to pursue a writing career. Dubner would go on to great success as co-author of the book Freakonomics.[10]

Dickinson and The Right Profile began sessions for their debut album at Ardent Studios[11] in the summer of 1987, but never completed the album. The band continued for four more years, eventually changing their name to the Carneys.[12] A five-day recording session in 1989 produced by drummer Steve Jordan at New York City's The Hit Factory has been cited by Wurster as crucial to his development as a drummer. A cross-country tour to Los Angeles to find a record deal proved unsuccessful, and the Carneys broke up in August 1991. Andy York, the guitarist on the final tour, would go on to play with John Mellencamp.[13] The Right Profile's 1986-87 lineup reformed for a benefit show in August 2018 at the Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill.

Wuster replaced drummer Doug Whelche in the Raleigh-based roots rock band The Accelerators for the recording of their second album Dream Train.[14][15] However, the band's label, Profile Records, stalled the release of the album for several years, resulting in the band going on hiatus.[14] When Dream Train was finally released in 1991, front man Gerald Duncan and Wurster were the only returning members for show at a The Brewery in Raleigh on October 4, 1991.[14] Although Wuster had already joined Superchunk, he continued playing with the Accelerators for their limited tour in support of Dream Train, but eventually left the band to devote more time to his new band.

Wurster moved to Chapel Hill in March 1991 and joined the band Superchunk in October just before the release of its second album, No Pocky for Kitty. Wurster has drummed on every Superchunk album since No Pocky.[16]

After eleven years of recording and touring, Superchunk went on hiatus in 2002. During the hiatus Wurster worked with Caitlin Cary (2002); The Minus 5 (2002); Marah (2003); Chris Stamey (2004), and Robert Pollard of Guided by Voices (2006).[17][18] In November, 2006 Superchunk played with The Mountain Goats at The Daily Show's tenth anniversary party at Irving Plaza in New York City. In addition to performing a comedy sketch with Samantha Bee of Daily Show, Wurster played three songs with the Mountain Goats. As a result, he was invited to drum on the duo's west coast tour in 2007.[19]

Wurster played drums and percussion on the Mountain Goats' 2007 album Heretic Pride and joined the band after the release of the album. He has drummed on every subsequent Mountain Goats album.[20] As the 2008 Heretic Pride tour was ending, he was contacted by bassist Jason Narducy about replacing Bob Mould's drummer on the west coast leg of Mould's District Line tour. Wurster flew from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles the day after the Mountain Goats' last show and played his first show with Mould the next night in Solana Beach, California. Wurster has drummed on every Bob Mould album since 2009's Life and Times and became a member of the Bob Mould Band.[21] He has recorded or performed live with Aimee Mann, R.E.M., Dave Grohl, The Pretenders, Nick Cave, Ben Gibbard, Charlie Daniels, Britt Daniel, The Bangles, Katy Perry, Guided By Voices, Ryan Adams, Rocket from the Crypt, Magnapop, The New Pornographers, Margaret Cho, Jay Farrar, Alejandro Escovedo, Split Single, Chris Stamey & Peter Holsapple, and The Connells.



The Mountain Goats

Bob Mould

As session drummer


Comedy/The Best Show

Wurster met New Jersey native Tom Scharpling on June 19, 1992 at a My Bloody Valentine/Superchunk/Pavement show in New York City. The two found common comedy and musical ground and became good friends. Over the ensuing years, Wurster and Scharpling kept in touch, coming up with comedy ideas that would eventually find a home on Scharpling's WFMU radio show.[27]

The duo's first performance on Scharpling's WFMU show occurred on November 19, 1997. It featured Wurster calling in as Ronald Thomas Clontle, the misguided, egotistical author of a music reference book titled Rock, Rot & Rule. Listeners believed the call to be a real interview with a real author and called in to argue with Clontle over pronouncements like "Madness invented ska" and "David Bowie rots because he’s made too many changes." The Clontle call was eventually released on CD in 1999 as Rock, Rot & Rule via the duo's Stereolaffs label. Rock, Rot & Rule saw its first vinyl release in 2015 on Flannelgraph Records.[28]

Scharpling & Wurster continued their partnership when Scharpling's The Best Show on WFMU debuted in 2000. During this period Philly Boy Roy, Hippy Johnny, Bryce Chastain and other beloved Best Show characters (all voiced by Wurster) were introduced.[29] Scharpling and Wurster released four best of CDs (Chain Fights, Beer Busts and Service with a Grin, New Hope for the Ape-Eared, Hippy Justice and The Art of the Slap) between 1999 and 2007.

In 2012 Wurster appeared in the music video for Aimee Mann's "Labrador", which was directed by Scharpling. The video was a tongue-in-cheek shot-by-shot remake of the 1985 video for Voices Carry by Mann's band 'Til Tuesday, and Wurster stood in for the abusive boyfriend originally played by Cully Holland.

The Best Show left WFMU in December, 2013 and relaunched a year later as The Best Show with Tom Scharpling on[30]

In May, 2015 Numero Group released the 16-CD, 8-hour The Best of Scharpling & Wurster on the Best Show box set.[31] To promote the compilation, Scharpling & Wurster took their audio act to the stage, starting with four sold-out shows at Brooklyn's Bell House.[32] The duo then embarked on a U.S. tour performing live recreations of their Best Show calls as well as new material. Special guests during this tour included Kim Gordon, Vanessa Bayer, Britt Daniel, Steve Albini, Stephen Malkmus, Ben Gibbard, Chris Stamey and Wilco's John Stirratt and Pat Sansone.[33]

Scharpling & Wurster appeared as couch guests on Late Night with Seth Myers on May 14, 2015 and recorded their Scharpling & Wurster Live at Third Man Records album two days later in Nashville, Tennessee. Wurster is one of only a handful of artists to appear on Late Night as couch guest, musical guest and as a member of the 8G Band.[34] Wurster has appeared as an expert witness in the Judge John Hodgman podcast episode "A Trial of Two Cities".[35]


Wurster has written for, acted in and done voice work for various television shows, commercials and films including:


Wurster has written articles for Rolling Stone,[36] McSweeney's, The Onion[37] and Spin[38] and has been a contributing writer for Modern Drummer since 2003.[39] He has written articles about touring and recording as well as features on other drummers. Wurster has also contributed chapters to the following books:

In popular culture


  1. ^ "Drummer Jon Wurster Remembers Grant Hart: 'The Center of the Sonic Hurricane'". Rollingstone. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  2. ^ "The Funniest Drummer in Indie Rock". Rollingstone. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  3. ^ "Indie Rock Royalty Save the Postal Service's Unfunny, Overlong 'Funny or Die' Sketch". The Spin. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  4. ^ "That Time a Dog Bit Drummer Jon Wurster in the Face and He Played a Show Anyway". Vice. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  5. ^ Kaufmann, Justin. "Wikipedia Files: Superchunk's Jon Wurster". WBEZ. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  6. ^ "Tar Heel of the Week: A top drummer turns funny -- Jon Wurster, comedy writer and musician, will dominate Merge 25". News Observer. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  7. ^ "Meet Jon". Stereo Laffs. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Jon Wurster". Modern Drummer. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  9. ^ "The Right Profile reunion forces band to reflect on legacy, and what could have been". News Observer. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  10. ^ "The Right Profile Lives Again (for About 15 Minutes)". Freakonomics. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  11. ^ "From the desk of jon wurster: the replacements". Magnet Magazine. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  12. ^ "BNS: Jon Wurster BONUS Mini-Episode". The Trapset. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Mellencamp's longtime guitarist talks about new album, tour". Herald Dispatch. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  14. ^ a b c Menconi, David (October 4, 1991). "On the Beat: The Accelerators Factor". The News and Observer. p. B6. Retrieved January 24, 2022 – via
  15. ^ "The Accelerators - Dream Train". Discogs. Retrieved January 24, 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ "Superchunk's Jon Wurster shares his favorite Minnesota memories". City Pages. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  17. ^ "Interview: Drummer and Comedian Jon Wurster". Redbull Music Academy. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  18. ^ "Jon Wurster, Music Credits". All Music. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  19. ^ "Comedy Nerds, Meet Indie-Rock Nerds". NY Magazine. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  20. ^ "The Mountain Goats: Heretic Pride". Pop Matters. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  21. ^ "The Constant Impermanence of Bob Mould". Rollingstone. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  22. ^ "Scharpling and Wurster bring The Best Show to the stage". On the A Side. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  23. ^ "Guided By Voices: The Electrifying Conclusion [DVD]". Pop Matters. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  24. ^ "Jon Wurster's creative life spans cracking jokes and drumming in the Mountain Goats". Daily Progress. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  25. ^ "Original Soundtrack, Role Models". All Music. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  26. ^ ""How did I get here?": Documentary Now!'s little Talking Heads tribute that could". AV Club. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  27. ^ "Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster Tell Us What Rocks, Rots, and Rules". Vice. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  28. ^ "Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster of 'The Best Show' on WFMU Are Punk Genuises". Spin. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  29. ^ "The Mountain Goats' Jon Wurster talks not being goth and playing on an album about goths that doesn't really sound goth". Spin. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  30. ^ "Tom Scharpling Talks Classic 'Best Show on WFMU' Moments". Vulture. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  31. ^ "Scharpling & Wurster: The Best of the Best Show". Pop Matters. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  32. ^ "SCHARPLING & WURSTER LIVE! WITH SPECIAL GUESTS". Brooklyn’s Bell House. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  33. ^ "Tom Scharpling & Jon Wurster announce first tour ever". Consequence Of Sound. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  34. ^ "Season 2 Episode Guide". TV Guide. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  35. ^ MaxFun Intern (12 February 2014). "Judge John Hodgman Episode 147: A Trial of Two Cities". Maximum Fun. Retrieved 2014-05-14.
  36. ^ "Jon Wurster". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  37. ^ "Comedy Central developing Paul F. Tompkins' Evil Genius". AV Club. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  38. ^ "Drumming Along With the Ramones: Jon Wurster Salutes Tommy Ramone". Spin. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  39. ^ "Rat Scabies". Spin. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  40. ^ The Drummer: 100 Years of Rhythmic Power and Invention. August 2010. ISBN 9781476855899. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  41. ^ "Where Have All the Humorists Gone?, Part 2: Conversations with Modern Comedy Writers". Vulture. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  42. ^ "Stuart, The Dead Milkmen". Genius. Retrieved 6 March 2019.