Josh Freese has been playing drums since he was 12.
That is, professionally. Freese joined the musicians’ union even before he was a teenager, giving several shows a day at Disneyland’s Tomorrowland Terrace in the 80s.
“It was great to play five sets a day during the school year, and in the summer we played on the weekends,” he said of his years at the theme park. “These are some of my most vivid memories – and I love to joke that things have gone downhill since then.
“I look back at it now and laugh,” he said, but “I wouldn’t change anything.”
By the age of 15, he was already recording in the studio with Dweezil Zappa, and a year later he joined the punk band The Vandals from Huntington Beach. After that, Freese embarked on a tour with the likes of Devo, Sting, Nine Inch Nails and other Orange County punks, The Offspring. As a studio drummer, he has played over 400 albums, working with everyone from Michael Buble and Glen Campbell to Danny Elfman and Rob Zombie.
And now Freese is releasing his eclectic-sounding album of one-minute songs he recorded during the COVID-19 quarantine, titled Just A Minute, Vol. 1 ”, which will be released on vinyl and digital on Friday, October 29th.
“I love the fact that if you don’t like the song you’re listening to, it’s over before you can move on to the next step,” he said of the format. “This is great for those who lack attention, like me and everyone in my family.”
Freese said that when all of his projects were halted last year, he found himself pacing around his Long Beach home. For the first time in decades, a 48-year-old husband and father of four has been home “for more than 20 minutes,” he said with a laugh during a recent visit to his home.
The album, which is a fast and furious compilation of 20 one-minute songs with titles such as “Headlock Headlock Nicolas Cage”, “Ain’t Nuthin Funny Bout 2020” and “Disneyland is Closed”, was a passionate project. boredom and desire to escape from the “not very funny real world.”
“I didn’t take it too seriously and I didn’t plan on releasing a record or anything like that,” said Freese, who has just returned to Long Beach from Greece, where he played several shows with Sting. He was also preparing to travel to Sacramento for a concert with The Offspring later that week.
“I did it just to have fun and have fun,” he said of the album. “Writing an entire song seemed so difficult, so I came up with something quick and easy that I could throw up on the Internet and then write these ridiculous hashtags. I didn’t care if I would earn even a penny from it, I just enjoyed the process, there was no pressure, and I did not answer anyone. “
While he enjoys being with his family and their four standard poodles, Freese said that just a week after closing, he was desperate for a creative outlet. To keep himself busy, he squatted in his home studio – either in the kitchen or in the bathroom, where it was quiet enough to record at the moment – and began composing these short songs and creating small videos on his iPhone to share on his Instagram. followers.
“I remember before the Internet, bands made mailing lists,” he said, recalling the painstaking process of addressing, filling and licking hundreds of envelopes and then mailing them out every time the band had a concert or a new album. “Now we just press a button, and it immediately becomes available to tens of thousands of people. It’s great.
“I am also in the funny field where I am a famous drummer and I work with all these famous artists, but as a solo artist I have not had success. So this communication helps me to inform people that I have a small record coming out. I filmed some of these songs with iMovie and it’s fun. There is a bit of charm in this super-craft. “
In addition to touring almost always and being a sought-after studio drummer, Freese has also co-written songs with bands such as Guns N ‘Roses and Queens of the Stone Age. Now that he’s almost back to his regular busy schedule, Freese said that it was his longtime friend Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard who convinced him that it was time to collect all of his pandemic creations and release them on Gossard and drummer Regan Hagar’s Loosegroove Records. “Just a moment, Vol. 2, ”said Freese, noting that it will include 21 more songs in one minute.
Frieze grew up in Placentia and comes from a musical family. His mother, Trisha, is a classical pianist, and his father, Stan Freese, plays the tuba and was the music director of bands at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort for over four decades. His younger brother, Jason Freese, is also an in-demand studio musician and toured with the rock band Green Day.
Throughout the years and a wide range of projects, Freese has said that it was the dedication, perseverance and perhaps a little talent that brought him where he is today, flying private jets and helicopters with Sting & Co. in London and Greece. …
“There are a lot of great musicians who are fantastic, but they never made a living doing it,” he said. “I feel so lucky and grateful to be in this position. I worked on myself. When I was younger, people used to say, “Josh will retire at 35,” because I was working professionally at such a young age. Why would I do this? I love doing what I do. I don’t think I’ll ever wake up and say, “I’m retired, I’m done playing drums.” Anyway, I would slow down in certain areas, maybe play concerts and record records closer to home, but that’s not something I can just stop doing. “
While vandals gave tickets to a live show from Santa’s Village at Skypark last year, Freese said he was delighted that the band’s 26th annual Christmas event this year will be a personal event at the House of Blues Anaheim on December 18. He will also perform. with Deveau at the Brookside Cruel World Festival at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena May 14-15, 2022.
26th Annual Vandal Christmas Celebration
With: Sharp / Shock
When: 19:00 Saturday, December 18
Where: House of Blues, 400 W. Disney Way # 337, Anaheim