Born in New Orleans, Joe received his first drum set at the age of 8. He comes from a highly musical family, which included his mother, both grandfathers, his aunt Betty, and his uncles Melvin, David, and Walter “Popee”. His grandfather, born and raised in the Lower Ninth Ward, was a minister and is credited popularizing the drum set in church music. As a youth, Joe would set up a small drum kit at the foot of his grandparents bed and practice on whatever drums were available. “it didn’t matter if it was just a snare drum and a cymbal, I’d always find a way to make it work out.”
Lastie played his first job with a rhythm section, backing the Desire Community Choir. He also studied jazz with Willie Metcalf at the Dryades Street YMCA, where his classmates included the young Wynton and Branford Marsalis. In 1969, he moved with his family to NYC, where he took lessons from Clyde Harris through the public schools. His drumming improved enough to earn him a gig with the pit band for the New Orleans Broadway musical, “One Mo’ Time”. Lastie returned to New Orleans after high school and picked up a steady gig with bassist Richard Paynes band. On a tip from trumpeter Greg Stafford, Lastie was invited to substitute at Preservation Hall in 1989, and has been a regular drummer with the band since then . You can also catch him around town with his own band, Joe Lastie’s New Orleans Sound.
If you can’t catch Joe live, you can listen to him at home