From the plane crash that took the life of longtime friends "Lil'" Chris Baker and Charles "Che" Still in 2008 to the death of collaborator Adam "DJ AM" Goldstein the following year, Barker has been forced to endure more than his fair share of hardships along the way, but through it all, he's maintained focus on just one goal: finishing that album.
And, at long last, he has. On March 15, his Give the Drummer Some album will finally see the light of day, and when MTV News paid Barker a visit in his NoHo studio, he was definitely in the mood to celebrate — in his own, understated way.
"It's a big accomplishment for me," he told MTV News. "It's something that's been in the making for a couple years now, and there's been lots of bumps in the road along the way."
And, in a lot of ways, the album — which features head-whirling contributions by everyone from Tom Morello, Raekwon and the RZA (on the track "Carry It") to the Transplants and Slash (on "Saturday Night"), not to mention Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Game and Swizz Beatz on the proper first single, "Can a Drummer Get Some?" — helped him overcome the loss of his close friends and saved his life too.
"I had to transfer those [tragedies] into strengths and just push through," Barker said. "Once I started coming in here, little by little, making my way into the studio, and I could actually make music again, and I was able to think, be in the studio environment, be productive, that was a big accomplishment, and, you know, from getting out of the hospital and learning how to walk and survive without being on 20 medications and stuff ... I never envisioned it being OK again. So it was a big thing for me, and knocking this album out was the number-one priority on my list."
Which is why, when he talks about the album, he does so in relatively hushed tones. It's been a long voyage getting to this point, but finally, Barker has made it. And he definitely considers himself blessed to have done so.
"Everyone on the album is someone I was blessed to come in contact at one point or another in my life," he said. "That's a pretty good way to describe how I feel about it too."
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