Joe Russo is an American drummer and half of the Benevento/Russo Duo. He has toured, performed and recorded with a number of other bands, including Cass McCombs, A Big Yes and a Small No,Fat Mama, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, Bustle In Your Hedgerow, , Younger Brother, Shpongle, Tom Hamilton’s American Babies, the Trey Anastasio/ Mike Gordon duo, the Gene Ween Band, and Furthur (featuring Phil Lesh and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead). He also plays with the Shpongle Live Band.
Russo’s drumming is fierce and complex (he has been nicknamed “The Madness” by fans). His Roland SPD-S sampler is often used for electronic drum samples, which play an important role in many of The Duo’s compositions, such as “Welcome Red”, “Becky”, and “My Pet Goat”. Two songs appearing on Play Pause Stop, “Memphis” and “Powder”, were written by Russo and feature his guitar playing.
Russo has twice won the New Groove award at the Jammys, in 2000 and 2005. In the summer of 2006 he was the drummer in a collaboration with Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, and Marco Benevento (sometimes referred to as GRAB or Mike & the Italians).
During the fall of 2008, Russo traveled to London to record an album with the band Younger Brother.
In December 2008, Russo joined Ween front man Gene Ween and fellow Bustle in your hedgerow band mates Scott Metzger and Dave Dreiwitz for a short east coast tour with an outfit called the Gene Ween Band. On this tour, Joe played his “house kit,” which notably includes a rare 30-inch bass drum purchased off of eBay.
In Fall 2009, Russo joined Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Jay Lane, Jeff Chimenti and John Kadlecik (from Dark Star Orchestra) to form the band Furthur. Jay Lane left Furthur in March 2010 to rejoin Primus, and Russo continued to tour with the band as their sole drummer until they disbanded in November 2014.
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