Open main menu

John McEntire (born April 9, 1970 in Portland, Oregon) is an American recording engineer, producer, drummer and multi-instrumentalist based in Chicago. He is a member of both Tortoise and the Sea and Cake.

John McEntire
The sea and cake 20121111-00806 (33439954560).jpg
McEntire performing with The Sea and Cake in 2012
Background information
Born (1970-04-09) April 9, 1970 (age 49)
Portland, Oregon
OriginChicago, Illinois
Occupation(s)Musician, recording engineer
InstrumentsDrums/percussion, synthesizers, electronics
Years active1988–present
Associated actsTortoise, The Sea and Cake, The Red Krayola, Gastr Del Sol, Bastro, My Dad Is Dead, Come, Seam, Small Sins, The Stokastikats, and The Oily Bloodmen

McEntire started playing drums at age 10.[1] Throughout high school, he performed in marching bands and studied privately for seven years. He went on to attend Oberlin Conservatory initially as a percussion major, but eventually switched to study in the school's then newly created program for Technology in Music and Related Arts.[1]

Musical careerEdit

McEntire is currently a member of Tortoise, The Sea and Cake, and The Red Krayola. His drumming work as a sideman can be heard on recordings, such as Since by Richard Buckner, Enantiodromia and Life on the Fly by Azita, Near-Life Experience by Come, Kernel by Seam, Chicago Wednesday by Jandek, and The Spectrum Between by David Grubbs.

While attending Oberlin, he briefly played with Mark Edwards in My Dad Is Dead in 1988, and then joined Bastro with David Grubbs and Bundy K. Brown in 1989. In 1991, he relocated along with Grubbs and Brown to Chicago where they changed their musical direction and became the first incarnation of Gastr Del Sol. Their debut album, The Serpentine Similar, was released in 1993. McEntire and Brown left to play in Tortoise in 1994, yet McEntire continued to make contributions to Gastr Del Sol's later recordings and performances.

McEntire had also played in Seam, The Stokastikats, Stereolab, and The Oily Bloodmen. He was a principal musician on Jim O'Rourke's Terminal Pharmacy and has appeared on many other solo O'Rourke projects.

Production/engineering workEdit

As a producer and engineer, McEntire has mixed and remixed recordings by many artists.[2] He also owns and operates Soma Electronic Music Studios in Chicago.

He produces and engineers most of the recordings for his own bands, as well as many of the solo efforts by bandmates Sam Prekop, Archer Prewitt, Jeff Parker, and Doug McCombs. He has also engineered, produced, and/or mixed albums and tracks for many artists including: Bell Orchestre, Stereolab, Bright Eyes, Bobby Conn, Teenage Fanclub, Sylvain Chauveau, Kaki King, Tom Ze, The Ex, Smog, Trans Am, Eleventh Dream Day, Cougar, Antibalas, Innaway, The For Carnation, Dianogah, U.S. Maple, Chicago Underground Duo, Spookey Ruben, Blur, Pivot, The Fiery Furnaces, The Car Is on Fire, Small Sins,[3] Broken Social Scene, Coldcut, Spoon, Jaga Jazzist, Great 3 and most recently Yo La Tengo.


  1. ^ a b Tortoise's Sonic Genius
  2. ^ John McEntire entry at
  3. ^ Katzif, Michael (2007-09-26). "Small Sins' 'Friend' Makes Perfect Introduction". NPR. Retrieved 2009-08-18.

External linksEdit