Ever see a 'big time' drummer before they were famous? Tell us about it!

Armor of Light

Senior Member
Back in '81 or '82, I was just a 15 year old punk and I went to go visit my brother at college for a weekend. He found me an ID, and off to the local bar we went. The band playing was pretty good, but the drummer was really good. He did a drum solo with his bare hands and I was pretty impressed. He had these monsterous 26" Bass (or Base if you are on craigslist) drums and holy cow. What a night. Anyway..it turns out that drummer was Chad Smith! I feel kind of lucky to have seen him at such a local level.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Yes.

I used to work in a small drum shop in San Francisco.
Mike Bordin (Faith No More, Ozzy), Dale Crover (The Melvins) and Bryan "Brain" Mantia (Primus, Guns and Roses) were all regular customers before they got "big". Heck, the first time I met Brian, he wasn't even in a band. Tim Alexander apparently used to come in too, but I don't recall meeting him.

Peter Parada (now with the Offspring) used to live in the same apartment building as me back when we were both young broke nobodies 20 years ago.

I met Ray Luzier at PIT long before he hooked up with David Lee Roth.

And there are several others I crossed paths with before they were anyone.
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
I saw Michael Schrieve with Santana a few months before anybody even heard of either one of them.This was also before the original Woodstock in mid August of 69'.We chatted a bit after their set,and he was a seemed like a nice guy,and genuinely humble

BTW,,,the whole band just tore it up that night.

Steve B
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
When I attended Hamilton High School in 1971-74, a music program was the farthest thing from anyone's mind there. I had 5 different "band" teachers during the 6 semesters I was there, and only took the class because it was a gimme. Fast forward about 15 years, and the Hamilton Music Academy is nationally known.

My boss at the time, also a Hami graduate, had donated a bunch of money to renovate the auditorium. Employees were invited to the grand opening/dedication, and of course it was important that I attend, especially as a fellow alum. The stage band band performed, and when each member was introduced, the drummer was none other than Abe Laboriel Jr! Of course I knew of his father, but after hearing Abe Jr play, I knew he'd be going places.

I ran into him at NAMM last month and told him the story of how I saw him play that night.

Bermuda
 

brady

Platinum Member
Years ago, I saw Sully Erna playing with a band called Stripmind. This would have been '94 or so, before he got famous. It was at a long gone rock club in San Antonio called Sneakers.

I had no idea then that he would go on and be such a huge deal. I just thought he played really solid. And also, that girl I met from across town sure was hot....

I don't know if I actually met Sully or not. I shot a game of pool with the bass player though.
 

PeteN

Silver Member
Back in the late 80's the Smashing Pumpkins were from my neighborhood in Chicago, Billy worked at a used record store 2 blocks from my house so I got to see them live many times before they made it big.

I had talked to Jimmy Chamberlin quite a few times, he was a cool easy going guy but a bit of a stoner back then yet still an awesome drummer.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
I saw the Marilyn Manson and the spooky kids in Boca Raton Florida in 1992ish. It was in a club that held about 20 people and they were TERRIBLE (insert joke about how they never got any better here).

Anyway, hung out with the band, minus Manson, after the show we all got pretty hammered. The drummer, stage name Sara Lee Lucas, was pretty cool and went on to play with Manson for years afterward, so I guess that makes him famous.
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
In the 80's, I used to have a commercial photo studio in Arlington Virginia right across the street from Ballston Commons. This was 1985 or 86 when Dave Grohl was with Dain Bramage or maybe just started with Scream.

Our photo studio was below a hair salon that was run by a bunch of super flamboyant cross dressing gay guys. Dave and one of his buddies used to make goofy videos in front of the hair salon and generally be a prankster and pain in the ass. I had to run him off once because he wouldn't stop teasing the guys through the window.

Of course, I had no idea who he was, but neither did he. Of course, years later I recognized him. His little prankster videos used to be on YouTube or was included in the Nirvana documentary but I couldn't find it to include a link with this post.
 
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muzz

Member
Only famous drummer I met, and got to know a little bit, was Jeff Plate from Trans-Siberian Orchestra(East).
Back then, he was the drummer in the band Wicked Witch (in the late 80's-90, they were good- but never got a record deal), and they rehearsed in the next room over.
After Wicked Witch, he later went on to be the drummer for Savatage.

Good Guy- very down to earth.

Dave Dicenso was also around the scene back then(he's an associate professor at Berklee in Boston now - Jeff took lessons from him back then, and has said he learned more from Dave than anyone), and he's played for numerous artists over the years(Duran Duran,Farrenheit,Steve Morse, etc...)....never got to know him at all, just a quick hello.
 

Mikeyboyeee

Senior Member
Years ago (early 90's I guess) there was a regional metal band called 'Wrathchild America', later changed their name to 'Souls At Zero' -- they were incredible, sort of a progressive rock/metal kind of a mix -- saw them a bunch of times, Pantera once opened for them for a tour just as Cowboys From Hell was being released

Anyway their drummer was Shannon Larkin - who went on to 'Ugly Kid Joe' and currently is with 'Godsmack' -- he was always something special and seemed to get better and better every time you'd see him.
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
Years ago (early 90's I guess) there was a regional metal band called 'Wrathchild America', later changed their name to 'Souls At Zero' -- they were incredible, sort of a progressive rock/metal kind of a mix -- saw them a bunch of times, Pantera once opened for them for a tour just as Cowboys From Hell was being released

Anyway their drummer was Shannon Larkin - who went on to 'Ugly Kid Joe' and currently is with 'Godsmack' -- he was always something special and seemed to get better and better every time you'd see him.
Shannon is fantastic ....seriously an awesome player

I have not heard a whole lot of his work with Godsmack , and what I have heard of it I thought was very bla......frankly I just think that band is very bla

....but check out his work on the Glassjaw record Worship and Tribute.....seriously superb playing

I got to tour along side Shannon in the early 2000s and it was a pleasure to watch him every night for a few weeks
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
Years ago (early 90's I guess) there was a regional metal band called 'Wrathchild America', later changed their name to 'Souls At Zero' -- they were incredible, sort of a progressive rock/metal kind of a mix -- saw them a bunch of times, Pantera once opened for them for a tour just as Cowboys From Hell was being released

Anyway their drummer was Shannon Larkin - who went on to 'Ugly Kid Joe' and currently is with 'Godsmack' -- he was always something special and seemed to get better and better every time you'd see him.
I saw them at the Peppermint Beach Club in Va. Beach in the early 90's. Shannon was a monster even then. His double bass work on the song "no deposit, no return" is the still the standard I use for metal drumming. I actually went to a godsmack concert just to watch him play. I always list him as one of my main influences and people rarely know who the hell I am talking about.
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
Shannon is fantastic ....seriously an awesome player

I have not heard a whole lot of his work with Godsmack , and what I have heard of it I thought was very bla......frankly I just think that band is very bla

....but check out his work on the Glassjaw record Worship and Tribute.....seriously superb playing

I got to tour along side Shannon in the early 2000s and it was a pleasure to watch him every night for a few weeks
Yes! Shannon Larkin is a superb drummer. I am not into metal but it doesn't matter, he's got that "something special".


I saw them at the Peppermint Beach Club in Va. Beach in the early 90's. Shannon was a monster even then. His double bass work on the song "no deposit, no return" is the still the standard I use for metal drumming. I actually went to a godsmack concert just to watch him play. I always list him as one of my main influences and people rarely know who the hell I am talking about.
I might have my timing or the years mixed up but..

.. I think it was the mid to late 80's, Shannon used to live in Hagerstown, MD and there was a band call Kix that played all over the DC/MD/VA area. I'm pretty sure this was before Shannon was with Ugly Kid Joe. Anyway, I went to Hammerjacks in Baltimore to see Kix and believe it or not Judas Priest. Shannon was there and we hung out for about an hour talking drums and watching Kix. He was cutting hair at the time I think. A lot of people knew Shannon but he was still just a local guy.

Two of my friends are childhood friends from Boston with Sully in Godsmack. When we went to see Godsmack, I got to go backstage and meet them. Of course, Shannon didn't remember me. Ha ha. Why would he?
 

edvia

Senior Member
This doesn't quite apply, but its close enough. Anyway, back when I was in college in the early 90s, I was in a band that ultimately broke up (shocker, I know). But two of those band members formed another band, and their drummer was none other than Keith Carlock. I never actually met Keith back then, but I'm still good friends with those two band members and we're all in the same city. So now whenever Keith comes to town, we'll all go see him play and talk with him afterward. Technically the first time I met him was when he was just starting to be known, but before he became really famous. But the really cool thing is way back then they recorded a demo with Keith, which they gave me back in '95 or so. So I have a studio recording of his from WAY before he became famous. His drumming was phenomenal, but it actually sounds quite different from how he plays today. It was more of a Vinnie Colaiuta kinda vibe. The only bad news is that my copy is on cassette, and I have no way of playing it anymore. I'm sure I can get an MP3 or CD from my friends, so I'll have to hit them up for it.

Another possible near miss is JJ Johnson, a great drummer who played with John Mayer, Doyle Bramhall II, and others. Turns out we both grew up in the same city and took lessons from the same instructor back in the 80s. I don't actually remember meeting him back then, but it's entirely possible that I did, given that we were hanging around the same drum shop at the same time.
 

drummaman1

Senior Member
Reading the posts has me remembering way back, this time 1994. I was one year out of high school. I was part of group of "garage" type bands we had when we were in high school, and those bands knew a couple other bands, so the Saturday after Thanksgiving we had what we called "Turkey Jam", the first one out of a friends garage in 1991 with four bands, to 92 and 93 at one of the lodges in the local park that became seven and eight bands from noon to 10pm. It was quite an undertaking.

In 1994, the guys that had done it the last couple of years were tired of it, especially now that they were no longer in High School they didn't want to go through all of that. I didn't want the Turkey Jam to go just yet, so I called one of my friends and we had some meetings to set up the event. This Turkey Jam I wanted a little more diversity of music styles, as opposed to the punk style, "alternative" style and metal of past TJs. I enlisted my good friends on piano and bass and set up one of the acts as an "out jazz" trio, we got a really good funk band with funny costumes, a couple of the good ol' standby punk bands that everybody liked and would come to see, and a couple of metal and rock bands to round it out. About 8 bands in total.

I won't go more into the logistics of the gig, or that the gig almost didn't happen because the person that was to get all the necessaries for us to play there didn't get them. Basically, my politeness and trustworthiness convinced the park official to give us the BIG lodge for our festival (Thank God). Anyway..

One of the bands that I was especially pleased when they said yes to the gig and was excited to see them play, was a Death Metal band called Lethargy. They had just released an EP and buzz was around that things might happen for this band. Despite the fact that I don't care for death metal much, I respected this band and these guys as real players and musicians. The drummer for this group was one Brann Dailor, whose addition to the group was a real big asset. It really solidified their sound. There was buzz around him as well from all my drummer friends who were following Lethargy, as "the" metal guy. Brann didn't disappoint. Watching him from stage right, he deftly went through the bands set with ease and with a great sound. His kit was double bass and he was playing a piccolo snare, but the three up one down setup and odd ride cymbal placement we're pretty much set by then. After his set, we talked for a quick second in between getting his kit off the stage and the next drummer's kit on. I asked about his piccolo snare, his seat height (super low), how he likes to have his setup as close as possible to him so he has not only precision but economy of movement. He even mentioned that he saw my out jazz set earlier and though he wasn't into that music, he liked my approach and thought I sounded good. That was really cool to hear that from him, even back then.

Where's Brann Dailor doing now? Well, any Mastodon fans on the forum can tell you, he's doing quite well!! It was cool to have that moment, and all the while thinking that wouldn't it be cool if Lethargy, or any other band this Brann guy might be in, might make it big??

Thanks for reading. Probably could've been shorter but I like to add a little back story.
 
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