Drumhead Magazine Interview
Check out Gregg’s recent interview with Drumhead Magazine!
Gregg Bissonette does it all: from big band to rock to jazz to pop to movie scores–and he does it all at the A level. Need proof? Do the names Maynard Ferguson, David Lee Roth, Joe Satriani, Toto or Ringo Starr ring a bell? If not, ponder this: Stewart Copeland, himself the king of the punkazoid reggae splashdown, who knows a thing or two about drumming, calls Gregg Bissonette when he needs a drummer for his film or TV scoring. As if that wasn’t enough, Gregg also finds the time to lend his talents to his children’s school music classes, by composing drum pieces and tutoring the students. Oh, and did we mention Gregg’s a two-time Grammy winner, having played on Santana’s “El Farol,” (2000 Best Pop Instrumental Performance) and Steve Lukather and Larry Carlton’s No Substitutions (2002 Best Pop Instrumental Album). Combine all that with his unflappable optimism, enthusiasm, and never-say-no work ethic and you’ve got the perfect working drummer.
RINGO – PART 1
Like many baby boomer drummers, Gregg had his musical awakening courtesy of The Beatles. Though, at first it was the guitar that attracted him, not, as you might expect, the drums. He recalls, “When I was a kid, I was freaked out by The Beatles. I just loved The Beatles and wanted to be a guitar player because I thought John Lennon was so great. But my dad said, ‘Well, we’ve got a drum set in the basement, why don’t you go down there and play some drums?’ I said, ‘Okay, but I really want to play guitar.’ I finally got a guitar and realized it just wasn’t my thing. Dad’s my hero: Dad plays first base on the baseball team–I want to play first base. Dad’s a drummer–I want to be a drummer.
“And then, the next weekend, after I decided I really wanted to play, my dad came home with tickets to see The Beatles. I was only seven, I couldn’t believe it. He had a gig with his band (the Bud Bissonette Band), and he was playing a wedding at the Ambassador Hotel where The Beatles were staying in downtown Detroit. He heard all the screaming in the lobby and said, ‘What’s going on? What are all these girls doing here?’ ‘Bud, The Beatles are staying upstairs, they’re playing tomorrow night at Olympia Hockey Arena.’ ‘The Beatles. My kids love The Beatles, my wife loves The Beatles…’ My dad, being the schmoozy guy he was, ‘Any chance of getting me…’ Not one or two, but…‘Six tickets?’ The guy goes, ‘Bud, you’re out of your mind! It’s The Beatles, man. They’ve been sold out for six months! But come back after your gig at 1:00 AM, I’ll see what I can do.’drumhead magazine, gregg bissonette, jonathan mover