Adam Topol with Jack JohnsonAdam Topol doesn’t see platinum success with Jack Johnson as any reason to relax. Actually, he’s leaving no stone unturned in search of musical tidbits he can add to his arsenal. “All the bands we’ve toured with have sick drummers,” he says. “All those people blow me away. So sometimes, I’ll run back and practice a lick that Jeffrey Clemens [G. Love drummer] taught me.”

Topol has found no shortage of resources for learning and expanding his repertoire off the road either. “When I got to Cuba, I hit everybody up for lessons,” says Adam, who has studied in Cuba on five different occasions. “Everybody has stuff to teach you there. I could just listen to a man talk about rumba.”

His love of music from Cuba, Africa, and the West Indies led to Ritmo Y Canto, a project (and album) in which Topol is joined by what he calls “Some of the best people in that art form.” The self-titled album features a collection of Afro-Cuban rhythms and vocals.

Studying the countries’ native music and making the album, Topol says, has afforded him a perspective not cultivated in the States. “Here, people get really into the singer; that’s the focal point. Over there, it’s so based on rhythms. It really opened me up.”

Through Ritmo has performed some live shows, Topol’s schedule with Johnson isn’t conducive to putting in the time he’d like with the rumba players. Not that he’s complaining. “Fortunately, I’ve been really busy with Jack,” he says. “For the last four or five years, I’ve gone all around the world.”