Jon Proffitt is the hard-hitting, journeyman drummer for Savannah band Voodoo Soup. Over the years he’s played on some important Savannah albums, and his services are always in high demand. Here, he talks about how he linked up with Voodoo Soup, how he started drumming, his love of Buddy Rich, sports podcasting, and much more.
1. What is your earliest musical memory?
My earliest musical memory happened when I was 9 yrs old. Sitting in church in NYC with my parents. The regular church drummer didn’t show up so my mom said “Jonathan, Go Play!” That was my first time ever playing drums in church in front of a lot of people. Nervous wreck. I actually still have the cassette tape of that service.
2. Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Buddy Rich is definitely #1. A lot of my musical influences are my own cousins. All of them either sing or play an instrument. I grew up watching them all the time. My late father Charles Proffitt had a big impact on me wanting to sing. I miss him a lot. But famously, Buddy Rich, Cory Henry, Eddie Heyward, and even one of my closest friends Robert Saunders. The things he does on drums is AMAZING. Master at work.
3. How did you end up in Savannah?
Well, I wasn’t old enough to purchase my own brownstone in New York at eleven years old, so when my parents moved, I did as well.
4. How did you get your start with Voodoo Soup and the Savannah music scene?
Well, there was a guy who I now call “Unc” by the name of Tony Clarke….and he was the drummer for a band called Eat Mo’ Music. Me and him built a relationship and when he went on to bigger and better things, he turned the reigns over to me. And the rest is history.
5. Talk a bit about the Locker Room Unleashed Podcast …
The Locker Room Unleashed Podcast consists of 5 friends who love sports and love to give their opinions. We mix sports stories with comedic genius to put together a podcast that we think people and especially sports fans would like. You can follow it @Locker Room Unleashed Podcast on Facebook.
6. How did you link up with Club Elan?
It’s actually an opportunity I wasn’t expecting. Club Elan was in search of someone to do live instrumentation on the weekends for their 18+ demographic. It was a chance I could not pass up. I’ve been there 3 years now I turned it into what is now a drumming/MC gig. Apparently I know how to hype a crowd too.
7. Have you worked on any Savannah albums over the years?
Yes I have. I had the immense pleasure of doing two albums with a band called the Royal Noise, the original band I might add. There’s another version of that band out there right now, somewhere up north, but I’ll leave that right there. Two of the best albums I’ve ever been a part of. The debut album “Keep on Moving” and the sophomore project “Unbreakable.” Then I had the opportunity to do a project with the band Kota Mundi. Both of these bands gave me the time of my life.
8. Is there any Savannah Artist or Musician you have not collaborated with, but have always wanted to?
ABSOLUTELY! I always wanted to do a “Drummer’s Delight” album. Myself, Jermaine Baker of Voodoo Soup, Robert Saunders, Derrick Major Larry, and Josh Frazier. OMG! That’s Heaven man.
9. Your thoughts on the current state of the Savannah Music scene.
You could have asked just this question and had a whole article. I think the scene is in good hands. I just wish that during the bigger city events like the Savannah Music Festival and the Jazz Festival that some of the city’s lesser advertised acts get a chance to shine on a big city stage. There are extremely talented bands and artists like T.G. Live, Wood & Steel, Lafaye, JD Music Group, Individually Twisted, etc. that are confined to the bar/restaurant scene that should be on bigger stages but they aren’t and that’s unfortunate.
10. Do you have any upcoming solo projects, or with Voodoo Soup, that you’d like to mention?
Nothing for the rest of the year really. But you can catch me EVERY weekend(Fri/Sat) at Club Elan. Also, I am planning a relaunch of my music brand “JP’s Music” in 2020 so be on the lookout for that.
You can catch Jon Proffitt performing with Voodoo Soup every Sunday night at Congress Street Social Club, and every Monday night at Rachael’s Sports Bar for Open Mic night.