We love Alison Busch. Not only is she now considered a Brooklyn staple in the music scene, but this Detroit native has also appeared in the second issue of Tom Tom Magazine. OLD SCHOOL! We wanted to check back in with her almost 3 years later to see what her most recent band, Call of the Wild, was up to and to ask her some questions we meant to ask back then.
TTM: The last time we interviewed you (in 2009), you were drumming for Awesome Color. When/how did your new band, Call of the Wild, start up?
Alison Busch: I moved back to Brooklyn from Detroit when Awesome Color broke up in 2010. I was working at Daddy’s Bar one day and a friend of mine was talking on the phone to Johnny (Call of the Wild’s guitarist) who was living in Nashville and had just left the band he was playing for there and wanted to move back to NY. I overheard the conversation and just yelled over the phone, “I’ll play drums for you, Johnny”… He moved to NY soon after that and we grabbed Max, who’s a killer on the bass and a good bud, and started playing all the time immediately. Everything just felt right.
Has your playing evolved for this band?
It’s faster and heavier… more energy and quicker beats and fills. This is my favorite band that I have been in. We all get to play exactly how we want to naturally and the boys make me play hard, G-d bless ’em.
If you could sum up the band’s sound in three words, what would they be?
Sexy, fun, dangerous.
What’s it like being the only lady in the band?
Great! I get all the guys! No competition.
Favorites memories with Call of the Wild / past bands?
So many good times with the guys…I’ve been lucky to play in bands
with my best friends. Just all the clowning and laughter that goes along with being in a band is the best. Awesome Color also had some real cool travel experiences like driving through the Italian alps on back roads and going to Zion Park in Utah to hike around in canyons. I can’t wait to travel with Call of the Wild and have more times like that.
What was the most notable show you ever played?
I guess prestige-wise, it would be playing Carnegie Hall with J Mascis. The bass drum sounded like a small cannon. The acoustics in that place make the sound explode and swell up into the rafters. I played with Red Dawn II at Death by Audio the next night.
What is your drum kit? Your drum set up?
The same one I’ve had since I was 17. It’s a 90’s Premier 4-piece jazz kit. I like as big a crash cymbal as I can get my hands on and a nice crashable ride.
You first started playing drums when you were 16. Do you remember idolizing any drummers in your teens? What bands were you most inspired by at that age? Now?
I was listening to punk and hardcore, like Black Flag and the Misfits, and classic rock like The Who and MC5. I was also into the drumming on surf rock records a lot. I’d say that Keith Moon, Dennis Wilson, and maybe Rat Scabies were my favorite drummers as a teen. The first two Damned records blew me away and I knew I wanted to play like that.
These days… hmmm, I’m at a loss… should I just list the records I listened to today or something? Let me go through the stack…Wailing Soul “Soul & Power”, Booker T & the MGs “Soul Dressing”, Bentwind “Sussex”, Groundhogs “Split”, and right now I’m listening to Hawkwind “Space Ritual”. This is my inspiration for today so far. I think I’m going to put on a Beefheart record after that.
If you could tour with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Motorhead, without a doubt. I would love to play all of their songs every night.
What are you up to when you’re not playing?
Working on new dance moves. I also like listening to records and telling jokes with my friends.
Outside of music, where do you draw inspiration from?
The Detroit Tigers. Kirk Gibson’s world series winning home run in 1984 is one of my earliest memories. This season, Cabrera’s hit his 300th career homer and Verlander’s throwing 100 mph fastballs in the 8th inning. Keep it up, Tigs!
As a Brooklyn-based band, how do you stand apart from all the other
up-and-coming bands in this city? Most challenging part of playing here? Favorite part? Favorite venue?
The hardest part is usually transportation, as not so many people have cars or vans as they do in other cities. But you have more options with venues, bands to play with, and also there’s a larger audience. My favorite bands to play with are Endless Boogie, K-Holes, Foster Care, Gentlemen, and Prince Rupert’s Drops. I wish Pygmy Shrews were still around, they were one of the best bands in NYC. For venues, I like Secret Project Robot, Union Pool, and also playing parties at Wild Kingdom, of course.
What should the next generation of female drummers be prepared for in this industry?
Play hard, have fun, and never lie to yourself or others.
You’re making a mix-tape for your friends. What bands or songs have to be on it?
I just made one, how’d you know? The first three songs are The Gizmo’s “Muff Divin'”, Saints “No Time”, and Cock Sparrer “I Need a Witness”.
Your band’s debut album, “Leave Your Leather On”, came out on August 21st. What can you say about it? What was the process for creating it?
We recorded it live to tape at Rare Book Room studio. We got really fired up and banged it out in 4 days. I think the energy comes through well.
What’s up next for you and Call of the Wild?
Spending many loud nights!
Alison plays a 90s Premier 4-piece Jazz kit and Zildjian A custom cymbals with a DW 7000 kick pedal.
Interview by Jessica Olm
Photos by Bex Wade