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Grammy-winning drummer Antonio Sanchez discusses the making of 'Bad Hombre Vol. II'

Antonio Sanchez, performing during The Nearness Of You Benefit Concert at Lincoln Center on Jan. 20, 2015 in New York.
Ilya S. Savenok
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Getty Images
Antonio Sanchez, performing during The Nearness Of You Benefit Concert at Lincoln Center on Jan. 20, 2015 in New York.

The drummer Antonio Sanchez has an alter ego, born out of something Donald Trump said in 2016. As Sanchez remembers in an interview with All Things Considered: "The phrase was, 'We have some bad hombres here and we have to get them out.' "

At first, Sanchez simply needed an outlet for the anxiety of that political moment – luckily, playing drums fit the bill nicely. But that percussive therapy then turned into an album, to twist Trump's pejorative "into something positive," he explains of the first volume of his Bad Hombre project, released in 2017.

"I started kind of realizing that I had all this power down there in my studio and I could do things as if I was a mad scientist in my laboratory. And it was so liberating that of course I wanted to keep doing music this way – and that's how Shift was born."

Shift is the name of a new album Sanchez released this past Friday with the subtitle Bad Hombre Vol. II. This time, Sanchez — a Grammy-winning jazz drummer behind the score of the lauded film Birdman - — reached out to artists in other genres to re-imagine their work. That effort was a resounding success, ending up with Signal featuring guest turns from fellow Grammy winners Trent Reznor, Dave Matthews, Meshell Ndegeocello, Kimbra, Lila Downs and Rodrigo y Gabriela, among many others.

"I'm the least-famous person in the whole record," Sanchez says with a laugh. It's a list that also includes his own 97-year-old grandfather, the renowned actor Ignacio López Tarso, who he asked to serve as the album's master of ceremonies.

"It's amazing for me to have my grandfather's voice in the beginning and at the end, just thanking everyone for their presence."


To listen to the complete conversation, use the audio player at the top of this page.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mary Louise Kelly is a co-host of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine.
Christopher Intagliata is an editor at All Things Considered, where he writes news and edits interviews with politicians, musicians, restaurant owners, scientists and many of the other voices heard on the air.