Mike Musburger
Musburger has been in more bands than I can name here, but he's probably best known for his percussive roles in the Posies, Flop, Love Battery, and the Fastbacks. Having recently embraced fatherhood, he limits his obligations to two versions of the same band--Shuggie, a boogie-rock staple about town, and Miracle Whip, a more jazzed-out, soul-influenced collective. Miracle Whip play at ToST on Thurs Aug 22.

How long have you been playing drums? "I started playing the snare drum in elementary-school band, fifth grade. I had just finished two years of piano lessons that I hated. I really wanted to play the drums."

Why? "I remember seeing Peter Criss of KISS on TV, and had an instant connection with how badass the drums looked and sounded. My folks helped me buy my first drum kit at the end of seventh grade. I still wish I had that set too--it was a Premier, like Keith Moon played. So I guess that would be about 24 years ago. That is a long time; one would think I'd be better at it."

How has your learning curve changed over the last few years? Are you still learning new stuff or just improving on what you know? "Truthfully, a little of both. I had reached a level of playing, before I dropped out of college to be in the Posies, that I kinda squandered a bit, because I played nothing but rock for years. Recently I've been trying to stretch out again and try something new and different. Miracle Whip fills that void. We really try not to make some cheesy 'musician's music.' That kind of stuff bores me--pure technique without emotion or direction, no matter how flashy or impressive, is just limp next to soul. It's funny because Shuggie is the same [group of] people, but very different music. I think we've become a much better hard-rock band because of the way we play in Miracle Whip. Our dictionary, so to speak, is much larger now. Gad! I'm a music geek!"

Do you miss the Fastbacks yet? "Those bastards! Never! All the time, actually. Some of my fondest memories of playing music are from my eight-year tour of duty. The sweetest people in rock, really. I just would like to do a show and get a picture in The Stranger of ME, and not Mr. Friggin' Jason Finn."

You and Finn have both played in multiple bands at the same time. Has it always been a healthy rivalry, or have you ever wanted to sock him? "Very healthy. The only time he needs a whuppin' is when he's been tippin' 'em back a little too much. The lippy little guy has received a punch or two and the occasional chair in the face over the years, but not from me... yet."

Interview by Hannah Levin