The Lucky 13: Kodeus McKinley: Drummer of Donkey Jaw

Reno punk rock doesn’t get more kick-ass than Donkey Jaw … get it? The four-piece band hones feisty riffs and blasting drums to create high-gear rock tunes that take listeners on a fast-paced, headbanging journey across a minute or two. Latest single “Don’t Feel Nothin’” mixes a pop-punk melody with the band’s tight brand of no-brakes jams—and the drumming is as blistering as ever. For more information, visit Kodeus McKinley is Donkey Jaw’s drummer. 

What was the first concert you attended? 

My dad took me to see GBH and Circle Jerks in Las Vegas at the Huntridge Theater. I was 10 years old. I vividly remember getting elbowed in the face by a grown man as he was trying to open up a circle pit right at the start of the GBH set. I was hooked on punk-rock music immediately, and have been ever since.  

What was the first album you owned? 

I grew up with a lot of hand-me-down CDs from my dad and older brother. The first CD I remember as “mine” was a copy of AC/DC’s High Voltage. I stole it from a Walmart down the street from my house. I ran out the back door of the tire center straight to my CD player boom box to crank “It’s a Long Way to the Top.” Those bagpipes did something to me, man. I think I still have that CD.  

What bands are you listening to right now? 

LA LOM, Hot Water Music, Conservative Military Image, Miles Davis Quintet, Spitting Image, C.O.F.F.I.N., Phantom Bay, Roy Orbison and many others. 

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get? 

No one really listens to or cares about full albums anymore. That is my favorite way to listen to music. Also, the people who say stuff like, “Oh that song is old,” and it was released in 2022. Music is not some disposable, one-time-use product like your vape pen. Music lives forever.  

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live? 

The Jimi Hendrix Experience with Mitch Mitchell on drums.  

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure? 

Don’t be ashamed of any music or art that brings you joy—but I will play along. For a long time, I drove around a little ’94 Mazda pickup truck with a basic radio. I stumbled upon KNCJ 89.5, the classical and jazz station. I found myself listening to classical music every single day while driving to work, and late-night jazz music on the way home from weekend gigs. My absolute favorite thing about that station is there are zero commercials. Classical music, is sick man. Those arrangements are insane. I drive around and try to figure out the crazy time signatures of each piece and then try to come up with drum parts for it on the steering wheel, ha ha. I could never really get into the Sunday morning baroque segment, but everything else on that station is fire. You should put it on your dial and switch over to it sometime when you are sick of Dollar Loan Center commercials.  

What’s your favorite music venue? 

I’ll keep it local. I love Cypress in Midtown for the sound system and room. I love the Holland Project for being a safe place in the community for everyone to enjoy music.  

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head? 

“Get a haircut and get a real job,” “Indoor Skins,” Conservative Military Image. 

What band or artist changed your life? How? 

Operation Ivy/Rancid. When I moved to the area in my junior year of high school, I had no friends. On the first day of school, I was standing alone in the halls of Spanish Springs High when a punk kid walked up and complimented my Op Ivy T-shirt. He then took me over to introduce me to some other punks at the school. One of those kids was my now-best friend and longtime bandmate, Zack Ryan. Him and I instantly clicked, because his favorite band was also Rancid. We started a band three weeks later, and the rest is history. If it wasn’t for that Op Ivy T-shirt, my life today and the friendships I am lucky to have could have looked completely different. Thanks, Rancid.  

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking? 

Bill Stevenson from Descendents: “Can you make me a bonus cup?”  

What song would you like played at your funeral? 

“Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers” by ZZ Top. I want you to blow up the sound system with this tune.  

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time? 

Rancid (2000). 

What song should everyone listen to right now? 

Shameless plug here, but “Don’t Feel Nothin’” by my band Donkey Jaw. Oh, and “Coffee Mug” by Descendents.

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