For (+44) drummer Travis Barker, it seems what slows down one of his passions – most recently, his still-broken arm – only makes him stronger at others.
Barker busted his arm in September during the band’s video shoot for single “When Your Heart Stops Beating” and subsequently had to back out of touring duties. But he’s passed the time picking up a couple of production credits on upcoming albums by rappers Paul Wall and Juelz Santana.
“[My broken arm] kind of left me to where it’s the only thing I can do right now, honestly,” Barker said of making beats. “It prevents me from doing a bunch of live drums on production, but all I’ve been doing is producing and remixes and stuff. I still experiment with different snare drums and kicks, ’cause I can still play one-handed. When I break something, I been known to continue on.”
Barker and Wall already play in a side project together, a trio called Expensive Taste that came together when the Houston rapper/producer chopped and screwed an album by one of Barker’s previous bands, the Transplants . The group, which also includes former Transplant Rob Aston, perform as Expensive Taste on the track “Slidin’ on That Oil,” which appears on Wall’s forthcoming LP.
As for his contributions to Juelz’s forthcoming effort, Barker met Dipset affiliate Chubby in Atlanta and the pair discussed working together on a few projects. The resulting conversations led to Barker putting together a beat reel for the Harlem rapper.
“I haven’t met Juelz yet,” Barker explained. “[But] I prepared music for him and his record, I can’t wait. The Diplomats have that whole movement with all their music, with the triplet sound underneath all the beats. I did a thing for him where I played live drums underneath the track.”
Aside from plans for opening a couple of boutique stores in California in the next couple months – the Fast Life in Los Angeles and Rogue Status in Venice – Barker’s mind has been on reuniting with his (+44) bandmates.
Currently, he’s under strict doctor’s orders to use a bone stimulator to help strengthen his weakened arm and begin drumming exercises to develop the muscles he uses to play. But he said hopes to return to rehearsals with the band next week and join them on the Australia and Japan legs of the tour shortly after.
He explained when he initially returned from breaking his arm, doctors told him to take it slow, but Barker admitted he “should have came back going, like, two, and I went at, like, 12, as the doctor said. And now I’m kind of paying for it” .
“If I break it again, I’m gonna chill out,” Barker continued. “And really, really figure out what’s wrong with me. If I don’t break it in rehearsal, I’m just gonna go hard until something happens. Hopefully nothing. I can’t wait.”