Wilbert “Junkyard Dog” Arnold, R.I.P.

We’re sad to learn that New Orleans drummer Wilbert “Junkyard Dog” Arnold died. Junkyard was a special person, sort of New Orleans’ answer to Keith Moon–a talented, unique drummer whose life was filled with joy, pain and a drumming technique all his own. As the longtime drummer for Walter “Wolfman” Washington, we spent many hours enjoying his special sense of rhythm and one-of-a-kind style. Junkyard’s kit was always tied together with chains to symbolize the history of slavery. He was also a good singer, and, along with his very talented wife Marilyn, his latest band performed regularly in the French Market and at Ray’s Boom Boom Room on Frenchmen. Some of his best work can be heard on the New Orleans Rhythm Conspiracy CD released just after Katrina. See more about Junkyard on this site. He will be missed.


7 responses

  1. Man, I ran into Tom the other night and heard about JYD. What a bummer and a huge loss for all of us. I ALWAYS admired his funky gusto and in the pocket no matter what!!!

    I had a blast earlier this year jamming with him for several gigs and it was so cool to just play with him and we locked in with no pressure. I’ll never forget that. I could play ANYTHING and he was right there.

    I loved the first time I heard him play with Walter and the Roadmasters. My wife Cathy and I had a great time hangin’ with him after the gig and loved his confident spirit!! There are very few ever like that!!! We will all miss him.

    -Symphony Boy

  2. He was special. I hope Marilyn is ok.

  3. yo man the jyd was a huge influence on my drumming- i hope he comes to me tonite when i am gigging- unless youve seen wilbert you dont know- wow im so bummed to not have the chance to see him play one more time. long live the junkyard dog

  4. The JYD embodied that inborn groove thang that the truly great New Orleans drummers all possess, expressed in his own unique, untouchable style. He infused everything I ever heard him play with the truly liberating creativity and joy that the best funk music is all about.
    I’ll never forget and am in his debt for every sweet, stanky beat I was fortunate to hear over the years. Condolences all around from a fan.

  5. Video of JYD’s funk secondline at my YouTube site @

    http://www.youtube.com/sneakinsal and to be posted to the Rhythm Conspiracy’s myspace site soon…….
    I think JYD has the ability (the rhythm) to be in several places at once and so I believe between that and his indomitable personality and spirit, his presence will be here with us in New Orleans for many, many years to come.

  6. Yeah you rite, Sally! Sorry we were out of town for the services. Grasshopper and I have always been big fans of Junkyard and Marilyn.

  7. I loved his playing and never a drummer in chains before. I am from Nebraska, and the first time I saw him was in 1996 w/Marva Wright. I was shocked and loved the performance, even buying the cd. Later, I went w/my son in 9/09 and I really wanted my son to hear him, but, sadly he was gone. I will always remember him and his style.

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