Peter Erskine

Great clip from way back when?
PE is always a pleasure to watch, whatever style he's playing. He's also an incredible teacher, easy to understand and follow-- and on top of it all, a real mensch!
Love Peter! I followed Maynard a bit when I was a kid and I think Peter played with him in the 70s, before he joined Weather Report. Bob Economou was the next drummer, and the last time I saw Maynard was when the one and only Gregg Bissonette played with him I think in ‘79.
Love Peter! I followed Maynard a bit when I was a kid and I think Peter played with him in the 70s, before he joined Weather Report. Bob Economou was the next drummer, and the last time I saw Maynard was when the one and only Gregg Bissonette played with him I think in ‘79.
Three excellent drummers!
For some reason, I was late to jump on the Erskine train; of the major fusion bands, Weather Report is by a considerable margin my least favorite—which isn't to say they weren't great or didn't produce some great material, but I vastly preferred not only the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever and Lifetime, but also The Eleventh House and even Tone and Brand X and Bruford. Oddly, it was the Peter Erskine Trio stuff, in the early to mid 90s, with John Taylor and Palle Danielsson, that really clued me in to just how great and versatile he is. (If you haven't checked out the series of albums they did together, I cannot recommend them highly enough—although you should know that Erskine decided to see just how quiet and restrained he could play with this band, so don't go in expecting pyrotechnics: it's gorgeous stuff, but not exactly the kind of barnburners he often did with Weather Report.)

So I'm rereading his autobiography, and he mentions touring with Steely Dan, writing:
I suspect that both Donald and Walter were hoping for a bit more jazz voodoo on that tour than I was willing to impart; the recorded drum parts seemed so perfect to me that I could barely stray from the original patterns and beats (though I would never claim to being able to play with the pocket and funk of mssrs Porcaro, Gordon, Keltner, Purdie, Marotta, and Gadd). All in all, a lot of fun to be part of a big rock-and-roll tour.

Which, on the one hand, he obviously fits in with that insanely august group just fine. And on the other hand, while it's not exactly news, sometimes it still hits you: holy cow, they hired most of the most amazing studio drummers of the time. That is a staggering collection of names.

So I thought I'd see if there were any videos of said tour on YT and there are! Over two hours of a show in the Bay Area. And of those two hours, about two minutes, total, seem to show a decent view of the drummer. Such is life. Still, whenever they do show Peter, he seems to be grinning.

I learned sooo much from hearing Erskine talk and play at clinics. He changed much of the way I think about not only hte drummers role in music, but how to interpret groove, patterns, and space. I use his concepts in my bands, plus at school in our marching band, jazz band, and concert band stuff with the kids.

Also, cool side story, one year, at a clinic here in town, my students and I were talking to him afterwards, and one of my kids asked if he wanted to buy some band subs. He bought 5. It was so cool. We have pics somewhere of him with the student and the subs....great guy to indulge an aspiring drummer!!
I heard Peter Erskine at Tom Scotts in London two years ago. Got a table right at the stage (it is a small resturant/club for those of you that haven't been there), so close to the drum set that I could literally reach out and touch his cymbals if I wanted to (and I wanted to but didn't dare). At first I was a little bit afraid that the balance between the musicians would be strange and that the sheer volume of the drums would be overwhelming -- but no!

It was a masterclass in touch and musicality, beautiful music performed with exquisite taste.
Nice groovin' in this video, wonder if Erskine still has that shirt and pants.

woah!!! He is also playing a "big" drum set...doesn't that make his groove not as good, and drop him some street cred? According to some in the drum world, that would be the case.... :cool: :sneaky:
Sorta off-topic while still being on-topic:

I watched the first episode of Man Seeking Woman last night, and recognized the name and face of one of the main characters. "Is that...?" I thought, having just re-read Peter Erskine's autobiography last week. So I looked it up and, yeah, sure enough, the ex-girlfriend was played by Maya Erskine, Peter's daughter, who's had really quite the nice career so far. And understandably so: I've now seen her in at least three different things, and she's quite good, with some decent range. (I mean, maybe her range is outstanding, but so far the three things I've seen her in require some but range but not absolutely enormous.)

What's more, apparently in the somewhat surreal comedy PEN15, there's at least one Peter Erskine in-joke: her character's dad is almost never at home 'cuz he's out touring with a "very bad Steely Dan cover band."
Last edited:
Loved Peter's work with Diana Krall !

with him, and Jeff Hamilton, she has had some great people keeping the beat!!!
I have to be in tip-top shape to play the live "Invitation" title track.
During the bass solo his hi-hat work is clean and flawless, and I can't keep up with it after all these years!
Damn, Peter!
I'm jealous!