Drummer Joy: master of jam


Picture courtesy of The Local

Veteran social studies teacher Mitchell Joy plays drums with his band, The Local. They play covers at a variety of events, including festivals and outdoor gigs.

Teachers, like students, enjoy hobbies and pastimes outside of school. More often than not, they align with the likes of many students. Veteran social studies teacher Mitchell Joy has been a musician and bandmate since his college years and has new ideas about the potential for a band consisting of only teachers from WJ.

Primarily a drummer and percussion player, Joy’s playing style has been influenced by famous drummers such as Stewart Copeland (The Police), John Dolmayan (System of a Down) and Dave Grohl (Nirvana). Joy’s current listening habits revolve mostly around Offspring, Queens of the Stone Age and The White Stripes.

“For the band I was in during college, we never played any covers—all originals,” Joy said.

They would play at clubs in the Jacksonville, Florida area, which was a highlight of the music-playing experience. On top of that, Joy was a disc jockey at a local radio station during this time.

Fast forward to now, Joy has played drums in a band called The Locals for a little over a year, but is open to expanding his circle and finding more musicians to jam with, potentially other staff at the school.

“I don’t know who plays… I have to test the waters. I’m going to put out an email soon asking who else is interested in playing,” Joy said

With enough luck, he could find enough teachers willing to form a band. However, one concern is the genre of music they would play.

“I’m open to lots of different things, [though] I don’t really want to play country or rap. I would like rock—a bit heavier preferably,” Joy said.

Like teachers, students are also ready for something new and different. Seeing teachers in a live music setting could be a fun and interesting experience.

I would pay top dollar [to see] Mr. Martin shredding on the guitar.

— sophomore Thomas Scanlon

Just the idea of seeing teachers in a band brings imaginative possibilities for band combinations as some students pointed out. Senior Talia Schofer had a few ideas for a potential band consisting of the art department teachers.

“I think Stryker would be a great lead singer, Kempner lead guitarist, Englheart as the drummer and Ellis as the bassist, but maybe she plays the tambourine a little bit,” Schofer said.

Junior Ada Hillman saw Joy perform with his band in an outdoor neighborhood show.
“Seeing your teachers outside of school always make[s] you see them a little differently. To be honest, it made me have more respect for him I think because not a lot of people his age have such a cool hobby like that or hobbies at all,” said Hillman.

The prospect seems to leave a positive impression on teachers and students alike.

“I love seeing students out of a school setting. In the meantime, I’m practicing in my basement,” Joy said.