Inside the Music Mind of James Brown Drummer: Robert “Mousey” Thompson

Inside the Music Mind of James Brown Drummer: Robert “Mousey” Thompson

The Music Industry is full of creative people. From the musicians on stage playing music to the artists that make the posters that the promoters use to get people to the music venues. All the different people involved in making the music industry work have skill sets to be celebrated. 

As the drummer for James Brown for 13 years, while touring and recording with Wilson Pickett, drummer Robert “Mousey” Thompson is an accomplished musician that carried the torch for the funky drummer himself, Clyde Stubblefield. 

Mousey and I have had several opportunities to play the drums together holding the pocket for the James Brown Dance Party. When it comes to playing funk, the funky drummers that toured with James Brown all have a very special sense of time and discipline. While Mousey and I have had a ton of conversations about drumming and life as a musician, it was nice to get a little deeper with Mr. Thompson.


MM: SO WHAT WAS IT THAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A MUSICIAN?

RT: The sound the excitement

MM: IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF A GREAT MUSICIAN?

RT: Listening Discipline and know when to come in

MM: WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST MUSICAL INSPIRATIONS OF ALL TIME AND WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST OF THEIR DISCOGRAPHIES FOR PEOPLE THAT ARE BEING INTRODUCED TO THEM?

RT: James Brown of course and of his discography the Star Time set

MM: IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF A GREAT SONG?

RT: Vibe chemistry and great lyrics

MM: IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF A GREAT ALBUM? 

RT: The flow of songs relating to the conclusion of what the title of the albums called!

MM: WHAT WAS THE FIRST ALBUM THAT REALLY GRABBED YOU? WHAT WERE THE SPECIFIC THINGS ABOUT THE ALBUM THAT MADE IT SPECIAL FOR YOU?

RT: It was a big band with horns Cold Blood a song called shop talk I always wanted to play this song to play the drum solo

MM: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE THE PEAK EXPERIENCES OF YOUR CAREER? ANY FUN STORIES YOU CAN SHARE?!

RT: I would say touring with James Brown ..and funny story , I was going to quit and Mr. Brown must have felt the tension and he said to me (Son you don’t want to do that  let me fire you, your chances of coming back is better )!! 

MM: WHERE DO YOU SEE THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IN 30 YEARS:

RT: What industry? It’s what you and your fan base make it!

MM: FOR THE SERIOUS MUSICIANS OF THE WORLD, IS THERE A REAL PRO TIP YOU ARE WILLING TO SHARE, BE IT AN EXERCISE, A LICK, A PRACTICE HABIT, LIFE ADVICE, ETC.? 

RT: Listen, watch feel and then fill!!

MM: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A YOUNG MUSICIAN THAT WANTS TO BECOME A PROFESSIONAL MUSICIAN?

RT: Be respectful to other musicians and understand discipline within so it can gel

MM: WHAT GEAR ARE YOU USING THESE DAYS? FEEL FREE TO SHOUT OUT SPONSORS, DISCUSS NEW ADDITIONS OR FAVORITE OLD GEAR. CAN BE YOUR MAIN INSTRUMENT, ACCESSORIES ETC.

RT: DW, Vic Firth ,mut cymbals (sabian,paiste etc…)lol

MM: IN ALL YOUR TRAVELS, WHAT IS THE BEST MEAL YOU EVER HAD?

RT: Waffle House

MM: HAVE YOU DISCOVERED AN AWESOME RESTAURANTS WHILE ON TOUR THAT YOU WANT TO SHOUT OUT! WHAT MAKES THEM SPECIAL?

RT: Anything open after the gig!!

MM: HAVE YOU DISCOVERED AN AWESOME HOTELS WHILE ON TOUR THAT YOU WANT TO SHOUT OUT! WHAT MAKES THEM SPECIAL?

RT: Double tree for the cookies!!

MM: COFFEE, TEA OR JUICE?

RT: Tea and coffee

MM: WHAT ELSE DO YOU HAVE GOING ON?:

RT: Working with American Vinyl and I’m working on my own funky project!

Adam Chase
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Adam Chase is a visionary. He is a professional drummer and music director for his projects.

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