TACOMA GUITAR & DRUM FESTIVAL

The Largest Guitar and Drum Event Ever Held in the NW!

Artists that will be playing | The Tacoma Guitar Festival


CURRENT 2020 LINEUP
* show times & additional artists to be announced
Saturday, April 25th
Nita Strauss
Paul Reed Smith

Saturday, April 25th & Sunday, April 26th
Doyle Dykes

Sunday, April 26th
Gregg Bissonette

Nita Strauss
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Photo Credit: Larry DiMarzio
Los Angeles born guitarist Nita Strauss has become a force to be reckoned with in the music world, dazzling audiences across the US, UK, Europe, South America, Asia, Australia and Africa. Most fans will recognize Nita as Alice Cooper’s touring guitarist of the past 5 years, but she has also played with R&B star Jermaine Jackson, early MTV darlings Femme Fatale, video game supergroup Critical Hit and popular tribute band The Iron Maidens.
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Los Angeles born guitarist Nita Strauss has become a force to be reckoned with in the music world, dazzling audiences across the US, UK, Europe, South America, Asia, Australia and Africa. Most fans will recognize Nita as Alice Cooper’s touring guitarist of the past 5 years, but she has also played with R&B star Jermaine Jackson, early MTV darlings Femme Fatale, video game supergroup Critical Hit and popular tribute band The Iron Maidens. Her skill, exuberant stage presence and love for all things about her instrument have earned her a stellar reputation in the music industry and endorsements including Ibanez Guitars, Marshall Amplification, DiMarzio pickups, Monster Energy and more.

In January of 2018 Nita was officially announced as the first ever female Ibanez signature artist with her own model guitar, the Ibanez JIVA10. She also released her signature pickups, the DiMarzio Pandemonium. April saw Nita playing WWE Superstar Shinsuke Nakamura’s entrance music at Wrestlemania in New Orleans in front of an audience of 78,000 fans and millions streaming worldwide, and in the same month she launched a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign for her debut solo record Controlled Chaos. The campaign reached its goal in two hours, doubled it by the end of the day, tripled the following day and ended up over 800% funded. Nita produced the record herself and did the majority of the engineering, as well as playing all the guitars and bass on the record.

After the record was completed, Nita signed with Sumerian Records to release and distribute the album worldwide. The first single “Our Most Desperate Hour” was released in September of 2018 along with pre orders for the record on both CD and vinyl, with the vinyl completely selling out before even bring released. Her record CONTROLLED CHAOS made a huge debut on the Billboard charts at #1 Top New Artist, #3 Label Independent, $4 Top Hard Music, #8 Top Rock, #8 Top Internet, #20 Top albums, and #7 on the iTunes Rock chart. The album’s second single, “Mariana Trench” was chosen by WWE as an official theme for NXT Takeover: War Games. Nita immediately followed the release with a successful co-headline tour with modern guitar virtuoso Angel Vivaldi.

Nita has been featured on the covers of worldwide print magazines including Guitar World and Guitar Player, and on dozens of albums, trailers, and soundtracks, including Heroes Of The Storm (Blizzard) and Grammy-nominated Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (Konami/ Platinum Games). is the author of the monthly Guitar World column “Like A Hurricane”. Nita was also the official in-house guitarist for the LA KISS, the arena football team owned by Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of KISS. She is one of the most sought after clinicians in the industry and has done extensive clinic tours across multiple continents. Her consistent touring schedule has shown her to play in front of over a million audience members per year consistently for the past several years.

Outside of music, Nita is also extremely passionate about health and fitness. She uses her wide social media reach to inspire and educate people about maintaining a healthy lifestyle while traveling on tour. She has been featured by publications like Muscle and Fitness and Bodybuilding.com. Most recently, she launched a fitness challenge entitled Nita Strauss: Body Shred, with a companion e-book via her website. The challenge is aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle in both body and mind.

Nita’s debut solo album Controlled Chaos is available worldwide through Sumerian Records.
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Paul Reed Smith
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The road from my workshop in a historic, haunted Annapolis garret to a state-of-the-art factory was a tough one. Fact is, I always loved working with my hands. Why else would a high school kid sign up for three or four shop classes at a time? My first guitar was built as a challenge to my college music professor for some credits. I got an "A" and decided to pursue my dream of making guitars for a living…

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The Journey Begins
by Paul Reed Smith

The road from my workshop in a historic, haunted Annapolis garret to a state-of-the-art factory was a tough one. Fact is, I always loved working with my hands. Why else would a high school kid sign up for three or four shop classes at a time? My first guitar was built as a challenge to my college music professor for some credits. I got an "A" and decided to pursue my dream of making guitars for a living.
There were a lot of late night brainstorms. I was lucky if I finished a guitar a month. Once a guitar was completed, I'd play it at a gig - field testing in the purest sense. Every design change taught me something new. The next change was built on what I had learned or on feedback from other players test driving the equipment. Over ten years we went through three headstocks, several renditions of body shapes, many tremolo designs, and many experiments with woods and construction methods to get the right mix.

I remember hanging out at the local concert arenas for six or seven hours before a show to make friends with the roadies. With a backstage pass in hand, I'd peddle my guitars to the stars. One night in ten I'd make a sale. Carlos Santana, Al Di Meola, Howard Leese, and other well known players agreed to check one out. I made deals. If someone gave me an order, made a deposit, and then didn't love the finished guitar, I'd give them their deposit back even if I couldn't make my rent the next day.

After getting a small following and orders for more than 50 guitars, we built two prototypes. I popped them in the back seat of my truck and cranked it up, calling on guitar dealers up and down the East Coast. After many days and many miles I came back with enough orders to start a company. With the support of my wife, skilled assistants, engineers, lawyers, top salesmen, artists, machinists, and friends who emptied their bank accounts to help me get started, we developed a strong team.

We've come a long way, with steady growth in factory capacity, employees, distribution, and the number of prominent artists using our instruments. We're not stopping here. Every inch of your PRS guitar is based on decades of testing, rethinking, and reinventing. We continue to push the curve beyond what others would consider perfection. With experts to make sure the technology is unsurpassed, and dedicated craftspeople who guarantee a finished product you can't keep your hands off of, we make no compromises. That's the story of the beginning of the journey. Not so short, but very sweet. The moral? Believe in your dreams.

- Paul Reed Smith, 1992

The Journey Continues

If becoming the gold standard of quality in the guitar business was a remarkable achievement for PRS, equally impressive has been its maintaining that standard as the company has grown into a major industry presence. While PRS’s continuing success in this regard demands a constant re-evaluation of materials, tools, and procedures, the bottom-line goal hasn’t changed since the days when Paul Smith hand-crafted his first instruments in an upstairs loft: Build extraordinary guitars, guitars with magic.
National Sales and Marketing Manager Larry Urie: “With every increase in factory size or production output, we build in even tighter quality control to make sure our standards remain extremely high. If anything, the quality control at PRS is tighter than it’s ever been.” Some companies see a public relations benefit to invoking the romance of historic guitars from the ’50s and ’60s, but Paul Smith knows that for the people who actually designed and built those classic instruments (people like his mentor, Ted McCarty), PR and romance were the furthest things from their minds. Their goal was to manufacture great instruments, period. Build a guitar whose tone inspires you to be a better player, whose durability will get you through a thousand gigs, whose elegance makes it an artwork in its own right. Build a guitar that players can’t put down, and the romance and the PR and all the rest will follow.

Paul Smith: “We don’t do something just because that’s the traditional way. If the best possible guitar results from using a robot for one procedure and a lot of hand-sanding or hand-inlaying for another, then that’s how we do it. Our tradition is a byproduct of our quality, so excellence is always the goal. We never lose sight of that.”
Larry Urie adds: “The automation and the individual craftsmanship go together at PRS. Using automation in one area where it produces superior results allows us to do even more handwork and detail work in those areas where there’s no substitute for the individual craftsman’s eye and skill. People who tour the factory come away amazed at how much handwork they see, and even with the machinery, it’s all dominated by the human element. It’s all about the commitment and the judgment of a highly skilled individual.”

In other words, even in the age of CNC machinery, the essence of the PRS magic still comes down to a pair of hands.

Aside from his family, friends, and business, one of the most important things in Paul Smith’s life is his music — his songwriting, guitar playing, recording, and performing. I mention it because Paul’s enthusiasm for killer tone and for exhilarating music inspires a kind of top-down passion for craftsmanship that as far as I can tell reaches to every workbench in the factory. He estimates that 80% of PRS workers are musicians; many of them gig regularly in bands. PRS President Jack Higginbotham: “These builders have a special kind of pride, an individual ownership of the instruments they’re making. Every one of them treats each guitar as their own, because it is their own. It’s a very personal thing for these builders.”
This passion for quality affects not only the work habits of individuals but also the structure of the whole company. Paul Smith: “We’re not organized like other companies. Every PRS craftsperson is a self-contained quality control ‘department.’ They have a lot of authority over their work, and if a guitar falls short in any way, they don’t pass it on to the next stage, and they make that decision themselves. They hand guitars back and forth all the time, and they inspect everything over and over. It’s like an old European guild or a shop. There’s a constant ‘is this good enough?’ conversation out there on the factory floor. So the quality control begins at the workbench. It’s not something we overlay or tack on. It’s an integral, organic part of the process, beginning with design and materials selection and going through every single step in construction and testing.”
I’ve had many conversations with Paul Smith over the past 15 years or so, most of them beginning with his asking “Guess what?” and continuing with an enthusiastic explanation of a new discovery about tone. The latest improvement to PRS guitars could be something as minor as the tonal effects of substituting a small part made of a different material. Yes, Paul Smith can hear things most of us can’t hear, or can barely hear, but what’s more remarkable is that the mechanical and engineering savvy of Paul and his brilliant collaborators enables them to convert those observations into improvements in PRS guitars — improvements you can hear and feel.
My son Joe is a black belt in karate. I always assumed the black belt was the end of the road, but he explained to me that it’s just the beginning of a new road. I sense a similar philosophy from the people who build PRS guitars. While players and magazine writers have been waxing eloquent for years about these workers’ mastery of their craft, the builders see themselves as travelers only midway on a journey of discovery. “We’re not there yet,” Paul explains. “It’s a continuing thing. We’re never finished. It’s the quest, the challenge — that’s what brings us to the factory every day.” Back when he started crafting instruments one at a time, Paul Smith was steeped in the traditions of the great electric guitars of the ’50s and ’60s. Today he finds himself absorbed with the traditions of another revered company — his own. While he fondly recalls the early days of PRS, nostalgia is not a top priority. The best way he can honor the traditions of his own past is to look forward. At PRS, yesterday always takes a back seat to tomorrow. Paul Smith: “I am lucky to have an extremely talented team — not just craftspeople and artists but marketers, salespeople, programmers, administrators, and others — and everyone who works here feels the same way: We want players to know that no matter how great that old PRS guitar is, we’re pushing for the new one to be even better.”
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Doyle Dykes
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Although influenced by a wide variety of musical styles and musicians from the country of Chet Atkins to the rock and roll of Duane Eddy and the Beatles, Doyle has developed a distinct, recognizable sound that amazes audiences with skill while capturing hearts with sincerity and soul.
Doyle’s appreciation for various styles of music is reflected in his albums as they include signature compositions like “Jazz in the Box” and…
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Although influenced by a wide variety of musical styles and musicians from the country of Chet Atkins to the rock and roll of Duane Eddy and the Beatles, Doyle has developed a distinct, recognizable sound that amazes audiences with skill while capturing hearts with sincerity and soul.

Doyle’s appreciation for various styles of music is reflected in his albums as they include signature compositions like “Jazz in the Box” and “Martha’s Kitchen” and hymns like the powerful “How Great Thou Art.” “Gitarre 2000″ was released by Windham Hill Records, and Doyle’s music has appeared on several of the label’s compilation albums like “Here, There, and Everywhere” (a tribute to the Beatles). In addition, Doyle’s music has been heard on United Airlines, Air Canada, NPR’s Morning News and All Things Considered, Disney’s California Adventure, and even the Space Shuttle Atlantis in September, 2000.

Doyle’s early years as a guitarist took him around the world as he toured with The Stamps Quartet and later with Grand Ole Opry Star, Grandpa Jones. Doyle has since returned to the Grand Ole Opry for numerous performances, many appearing live on national television.

Doyle performs in venues ranging from Theatres, Bluegrass festivals, and churches, to major Conventions, such as the NAMM Show (Anaheim, CA and Nashville, TN), the Musikmesse (largest music trade show in the world; Frankfurt, Germany), Music Live (UK), and the National Executive Institute, which is made up of honored FBI Agents, major city Police Chiefs, and Law Enforcement Officers from around the world. Internationally, Doyle attracts record audiences in many Continents around the world. Whether to a guitar player or music enthusiast, Doyle’s music will make a lasting impression on anyone given the opportunity to listen.

Highlights in Doyle’s Career
~ Awarded a brick in the Wall of Fame at “The Cavern Club” in Liverpool, England.

~ Performed and interviewed by the very popular Big George on the BBC (UK).

~ The ICGMA (International Country Gospel Music Association) awarded Doyle “Instrumentalist of the Year” twice in 2006 and 2014. They also inducted Doyle into the Hall of Fame in 2011.

~ Nominated to be in the National Thumpicker’s Association Hall of Fame in 2014 which will be held September 2014.

~ Performed and interviewed by “Steve and Johnnie” on WGN Chicago Radio (in-studio).

~ Played on stage with Les Paul, Chet Atkins, Duane Eddy, Peter Frampton, John Fogerty, Vince Gill, and many others.

~ Played a special tribute to Chet Atkins at the Grand Ole Opry that aired multiple times on national television.

~ Performed a concert tour, including the Florida Theatre, accompanied by a String Orchestra with Composer and Conductor, Tom Keene.

Quotes
Vintage Guitar Magazine Interview with Chet Atkins:
VG “You’ve played and recorded with so many of the greats, is there anybody out there that you personally would pay to go see?”
CA “People like Doyle Dykes, who is just an amazing finger picker, I think.”

Musicians
“Doyle is one of the finest fingerpicking guitarists around. I sincerely admire him as a person and as a musician.” Chet Atkins, CGP

“I’ve been fortunate enough to know Doyle and his great guitar playing for quite some time. In a word, he is absolutely a MONSTER!!” Steve Wariner

“Doyle’s clever use of dynamics, the warm tone he achieves with an acoustic guitar and his exceptional skill with the instrument is wonderful to hear…He is one of the most fantastic players I have heard in years.” Duane Eddy

“Magnificent chops, refined musicianship and tons of personality!” Laurence Juber

Music Media

“Doyle Dykes is one of the most convincing cross-genre fingerstylists today. He successfully metes out Jazz, Latin, Gospel, Hawaiian, and Country arrangements from his nylon and steel-string guitars with equal grace and aplomb. But grace is only one facet of Doyle’s talents. He also brings an incredible virility and indefatigable fire to his music, which makes listening to his arrangements an exhausting but satisfying experience.” Jon Chappell, Editor-in-Chief, Guitar Magazine
“I thought it was impossible, but Doyle Dykes has raised the standard. Amazing guitarmanship. Imaginative arrangements. Great sound.” John Schroeter, John August Music

“There are good fingerpickers, great fingerpickers, and then Doyle Dykes. This amazing guitarist brings the art of fingerstyle to new levels of technical and creative brilliance. For fingerstyle fans, it doesn’t get any better than this.” Pete Prown, Editor-in-Chief, Guitar Shop Magazine

“Many of today’s virtuosos get their tone wrong and then everything else is reduced to mathematical finger exercises. Dykes gets the tone right, which makes everything else possible, which is a lot. Somewhere between Chet Atkins and Leo Kottke, he is fast, accurate, and warm. Amazing technique, cheerful melodies, plenty of drive, minimal abstraction.” Charles M. Young, Musician Magazine


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Gregg Bissonette
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Gregg Bissonette has become known as one of the most versatile drummers in the business, his broad experience ranging from big band, blues, and rock, to Latin, fusion, and much more. Gregg’s warm, easy-going down-to-earth manner is refreshing from one of the top drummers in the world. Gregg’s incredible sense of humor comes across clearly whether he’s recording or teaching at a drum clinic. Gregg's perfect balance between professionalism, strong work ethic, and congeniality make him a wonderful colleague and session artist, and a much-respected name in the music industry.
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Gregg Bissonette has become known as one of the most versatile drummers in the business, his broad experience ranging from big band, blues, and rock, to Latin, fusion, and much more. Gregg’s warm, easy-going down-to-earth manner is refreshing from one of the top drummers in the world.
Gregg’s incredible sense of humor comes across clearly whether he’s recording or teaching at a drum clinic. Gregg's perfect balance between professionalism, strong work ethic, and congeniality make him a wonderful colleague and session artist, and a much-respected name in the music industry.
The Detroit native comes from a family of talented musicians. Gregg’s dad Bud was a drummer and his mother Phyllis played piano and vibes. Gregg started playing on his dad’s drum kit from about the age of 5! His brother Matt is a bassist and producer, and their sister Kathy also lives and works in concert promotion in LA.Gregg’s dad was his first teacher, and at age 10, Gregg started taking private rudimental snare drum lessons with Bob Yarborough, a local teacher in Warren, Michigan. By age 11, Bob had started Gregg on reading drum set music. At the same time, Gregg also started taking private trumpet lessons from Jim Ruffner. Proficient in both instruments, Gregg would trade off between drums and trumpet with the Warren Michigan Wildwood Elementary School Band.
At 14, Gregg and his brother Matt started a band called Today’s People, inspired by their junior high stage band/jazz band performances while at school under the direction of their teacher, expert drummer Jerry Hasspatcher. That same year, Gregg began taking drum set lessons from popular Detroit drummer Myron MacDonald.
At 15 years old, Gregg won a scholarship to attend the Interlochen School of Music summer band program in Michigan. By this time, both Gregg and Matt were performing professionally in and around Detroit with their dad’s band The Buddy Blair Band, a name their dad chose because he thought Bissonette was just too hard to remember! (Bud’s band when he was young was called Buddy Bissonette and His Bouncing Bulgarian Bean Band!)
Soon after, under the direction of Bill Baker, Gregg became the drummer of the Warren Mott High School Jazz band. With Bill’s recommendation, Gregg got to play with many professional groups in the area, including The Brookside Jazz Band, The Austin/Moro Band, and a progressive big band called Concertjazz.
The following year, Gregg and Matt started Grand Circus Park, named after a park in downtown Detroit. This band featured their high school friends — Brian Biggs on guitar, Doug Burns on lead vocals, Sante Bologna on keyboards, Rick Kastruba on trumpet, Burt Snover on trombone, and Eric Kott on saxophone. Grand Circus Park started as a band that primarily played tunes by one of their favorite bands, Chicago (formerly Chicago Transit Authority). The band even had the same exact instrumentation! They originally named their group Chicago 2…but changed the name after realizing more creativity was needed.
After high school, Gregg left Detroit for North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas). He became the drummer for the famed NTSU One O’Clock Big Band. Under the direction of Leon Breeden, Gregg recorded two albums with the One O’Clock Band, Lab 80 and Lab 81. He joined one of his favorite R&B bands in Dallas called The Buster Brown Band. He also was a member of the Dallas-based band Network with his brother Matt on bass and vocals and Paul Ventimiglia on keyboards and vocals.
In 1982, following his graduation from NTSU, Gregg made the move to Los Angeles. In his new home of LA, he made friends with three of his favorite drummers: Myron Grombacher from the Pat Benatar band, the late Mark Craney from Gino Vannelli’s band, and Doane Perry from Jethro Tull. They started a fun drummers club called The Woodland Hills Drum Club with friends Jay Rubin, Barry Schnider, Dean Zimmer, Tony Pia, and many others.
Gregg’s trumpet hero was always Maynard Ferguson and his dream was to play drums for Maynard’s band someday. This dream became a reality in 1982, when Gregg became the drummer for Maynard Ferguson’s Big Band. An added bonus for him was that the band already included his brother Matt on bass! The band toured the world and recorded a live CD called Live in San Francisco.
After the Maynard gig, Gregg joined The Brandon Fields Band and recorded The Other Side of the Story. The members on that CD included Brandon Fields, saxes, Walt Fowler, trumpet and keys, David Garfield, keyboards, John Pattitucci, bass, and Gregg on drums. Later that year, Gregg went on tour with Tania Maria’s Latin/jazz group with Luis Conte on percussion and John Pena on bass.
Gregg’s next gig was also with his brother Matt, playing with one of their heroes, Gino Vannelli. After their audition, the band became Gregg and Matt on drums and bass, Gino Vannelli on vocals, Joe Vannelli and Karen Childs on keyboards, and Mike Miller on guitar.
Gregg’s big break came in the summer of 1985, when David Lee Roth left Van Halen and started his own band. Gregg landed the gig playing drums, with Steve Vai on guitar, Billy Sheehan on bass, and Brett Tuggle on keys. The band recorded the albums Eat ‘Em & Smile and Skyscraper, both of which went multi-platinum. Gregg’s brother Matt joined the band for the Skyscraper tour and the next studio album, A Little Ain’t Enough. The videos for “Yankee Rose,” “Goin’ Crazy,” “Just like Paradise,” “Stand Up,” and “That’s Life” got plenty of airtime on MTV.
In 1989, Gregg had the great experience and honor to perform with The Buddy Rich Big Band on the Buddy Rich Memorial Scholarship Concert video. This video also featured Vinnie Colaiuta, Steve Gadd, and Louie Bellson.
In 1992, Gregg and Matt recorded with Joe Satriani on his CD The Extremist, produced by one of Gregg’s favorite engineers/producers, Andy Johns, who also engineered lots of Led Zeppelin tunes. When Andy asked Gregg what he would like his drums to sound like, Gregg replied, “How about like ANY of the stuff you did with John Bonham?!” Andy quickly smiled and answered, “We can do that!” Gregg and Matt toured with Joe Satriani right after the release of “The Extremist,” and also did a live CD of that tour called “Time Machine.” Matt went on to record three other CDs with Joe Satriani and still tours with Joe when he can.
Gregg and Matt started their own band called The Mustard Seeds in 1993 with guitarists Doug Bossi and George Bernhardt. All four of the members wrote the songs together and sang lead vocals and harmonies. Gregg remembers this band as being a very creative and rewarding time musically. “There is something very special about being in your own band with your brother,” he says.
In 1995, Gregg did a European tour with the band Toto after Simon Phillips (Toto’s drummer since Jeff Porcaro’s unexpected death) asked Gregg to fill in for him for four months due to an injury. The tour led to lots of playing time with Steve Lukather, and a couple years later he worked with Steve on the album Luke, which included a tour of Europe and Japan. Gregg also played on the 2003 Lukather Christmas album SantaMental, featuring Steve, Gregg, Jeff Babko on keyboards, and John Pierce on bass. Gregg played trumpet as well, along with Walt Fowler on trumpet and Jeff Babko on trombone.
Gregg celebrated another milestone in 1998 — the birth of his wonderful son Noah. Later that year, he also had the chance to work with one of his longtime heroes, Don Henley, on Don’s album Inside Job. Don’s producer was Stan Lynch, the drummer for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and one of Gregg’s best friends.
In 2000, Gregg had the honor of playing with Carlos Santana on the multi-Grammy winning CD Supernatural. This session came about because the producer originally called one of Gregg’s favorite drummers, Vinnie Colaiuta, to do the session, but Vinnie was unavailable and recommended Gregg.
In 2001 Gregg celebrated the birth of his second child, his wonderful daughter Mary. In the same year, Gregg and Matt toured with Jeff Lynne and ELO on their Zoom Tour Live. Gregg and Matt had both been big fans of ELO and Jeff Lynne, who played with the Traveling Willberries, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, and more.
Gregg has recorded and released two solo albums, Gregg Bissonette on Shrapnel Records (which includes a cover of one of Gregg’s favorite songs, “No Matter What” by Badfinger, with Gregg on vocals), and Submarine on Favored Nations Records. All songs were written and produced by Matt Bissonette, featured on bass, vocals, trombone and cello. Gregg sings leads on both CDs, besides playing drums, trumpet, and percussion.
Gregg Bissonette features guest guitarists Steve Vai, Ty Tabor, Andy Summers, Paul Gilbert, Doug Bossi, George Bernhardt, Steve Lukather, Scott Henderson, Michael Thompson, and Mike Miller. Submarine features Joe Satriani, Frank Gambale, Steve Stevens, Tim Pierce, Steve Vai, Gary Hoey, Doug Bossi, Ritchie Kotzen, and the great piano player David Garfield.
From Maynard Ferguson, to multi-platinum albums, to world tours and a Grammy, Gregg has seen his musical dreams come true one by one. And in 2003, another dream became a reality when he and Matt were asked to tour with Ringo Starr to promote Ringo’s album Ringo Rama. Ringo has been Gregg’s drumming hero since his dad took him to see the Beatles live in 1966!
In addition to playing drums while Ringo fronted the band on the songs “Yellow Submarine,” “With A Little Help From My Friends,” “Photograph,” “It Don’t Come Easy,” and Ringo’s tribute to George Harrison, “Never Without You,” Gregg and Ringo also played double drums on Beatles hits like “I Wanna Be Your Man” and “Boys.” Besides a great live concert in New York, they also played on the TV shows The Tonite Show with Jay Leno, Conan O’Brian, Good Morning America, Regis and Kelly, and Last Call with Carson Daly. Gregg also did a music video with Ringo for “Never Without You.”
Some of you might know Gregg as his alter ego, Skippy Skuffleton! Gregg has played with England’s loudest rock band, Spinal Tap, since he first toured with them in 2001. He also played with Tap at Live Earth 2007, and the Glastonbury Festival and Wembley Stadium in 2009. You can hear him on drums on the Back from the Dead album, released 2009.
Gregg got to tour again with Ringo, this time as an All Starr in Ringo’s All Starr band, for their 2008 and 2010 tours. Band members of the 2008 All-Starr tour were Colin Hay (from Men At Work), Billy Squier, Hamish Stuart (Average White Band), Edgar Winter, and Gary Wright. For the 2010 Tour, the band included Wally Palmar (The Romantics), Rick Derringer (The McCoys), Edgar Winter, Gary Wright, and Richard Page (Mister Mister). In July of the 2010 tour, Gregg was part of a birthday celebration when Paul McCartney surprised Ringo for Ringo’s 70th birthday in Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Gregg got to play the Beatles song “Birthday” with both Ringo and Paul, and a star-studded musical cast!
Gregg’s definitive instructional DVD, Musical Drumming in Different Styles, was released by Hudson Music in 2005. It was shot at the Allaire studio in upstate NY, where Norah Jones and David Bowie had just recorded albums. Musical Drumming features eight band tracks from Gregg’s solo albums, in styles ranging from jazz, to funk, to latin, to swing.
With all his drumming accomplishments and accolades, to Gregg his children are his greatest attributes. A strong and committed family man, he loves spending time with his son and daughter. As a single dad, Gregg values his time with them and is an inspiration to other single dads trying to balance the challenges of a hectic musician’s life with raising kids.
Today, Gregg continues to record with and for many other artists, films, and TV shows. Gregg’s favorite advice to drummers? “Be a musical drummer!” he says. “Concentrate on keeping the tempo and the groove for the whole song, and play dynamically. Learn to play big band, Latin, funk, Afro-Cuban, hip-hop, R&B, play with brushes, in small groups, large groups, small or large venues, all ages and all kinds of styles and approaches. Remember, it’s not about playing drum solos, it’s about making a joyful noise…hopefully making a living out of it someday!”
Gregg exclusively uses Dixon Drums, Sabian Cymbals, DW Drum Pedals, Remo Drum Heads, Vic Firth Drum Sticks, Samson Audio, Audix Mics, the Gregg Bissonette Signature Stick Bag by Kaces, XL Specialty road cases, Beato Drum Bags, LT Lug Locks, and LP Percussion products.
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