|Birth name||Jonathan Patrick Wurster|
|Born||October 31, 1966|
Sellersville, Pennsylvania, U.S.
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. He is also known for appearing on The Best Show with Tom Scharpling.
Wurster has recorded and performed live with Jay Farrar, Ben Gibbard, Robert Pollard, Katy Perry, The New Pornographers, Rocket from the Crypt, Alejandro Escovedo, and R.E.M.
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. 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 rock band the Right Profile .
Months after Wurster's arrival, the Right Profile was signed by Clive Davis to Arista Records. 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 left the band to pursue a writing career. Dubner would go on to great success as co-author of the book Freakonomics.
Dickinson and The Right Profile began sessions for their debut album at Ardent Studios in the summer of 1987, but the album was never completed. The band continued for four more years, eventually changing their name to the Carneys. 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. The Right Profile's 1986-87 lineup reformed for a benefit show in August 2018 at the Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill.
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.
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). In November, 2006 Superchunk played with The Mountain Goats at The Daily Show 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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
The duo's first performance on Scharpling's WFMU show occurred on November 19, 1997 and 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.
Scharpling & Wurster continued their partnership when Scharpling's The Best Show on WFMU debuted in 2000. It was during this period that Philly Boy Roy, Hippy Johnny, Bryce Chastain and other beloved Best Show characters (all voiced by Wurster) were introduced. 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 thebestshow.net
In May, 2015 Numero Group released the 16-CD, 8-hour The Best of Scharpling & Wurster on the Best Show box set. To promote the compilation, Scharpling & Wurster took their audio act to the stage, starting with four sold-out shows at Brooklyn's Bell House. 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.
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. Wurster has appeared as an expert witness in the Judge John Hodgman podcast episode "A Trial of Two Cities".
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, McSweeney's, The Onion and Spin and has been a contributing writer for Modern Drummer since 2003. He has written articles about touring and recording as well as features on other drummers. Wurster has also contributed chapters to the following books: