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Thread: Vinnie Colaiuta

  1. #1

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    Vinnie Colaiuta


    Drummer: Vincent "Vinnie" Colaiuta
    Main Styles: Session player, fusion
    Main Band: Frank Zappa, hundreds upon hundreds of sessions
    Brief Summary: A consumate professional, Vinnie is proof that drumming is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. After attending Berklee College for one year in the 1970's and making a mediocre living playing in little known bands, Frank Zappa gave Vinnie his big break in 1978, after Vinnie had successfully auditioned and sight-read Frank's notorious "Black Page" piece. His groundbreaking work during his time with Zappa, displaying his ease with difficult time signatures, polyrhythms and changing feels at the drop of a hat, plus his uncanny ability to quickly sight read and work with practically anything put in front of him helped to cement his reputation as a top gun-for-hire. It's not an exaggeration to say that Vinnie is probably one of the top 5 in-demand drummers on the planet. To even start listing his credits would take pages, but he has played practically everyone and every genre including Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa, Sting, Gino Vanelli, Eros Ramazzotti, Megadeth, Glen Campbell, The Backstreet Boys and Barbra Streisand. Seriously, read his session list on Wikipedia!

    Other Facts: Vinnie was best friends with Jeff Porcaro. Quite often the two of them used to recommend each other for recording sessions in the 80's and early 90's. Humble to a fault, Vinnie said when he was recording Nik Kershaw's "The Works" album, that he felt not even he could play the shuffle on the tune "Walkabout" as great as his 'drum brother'. Vinnie and Jeff also double-drummed on the first Los Lobotomy's album (side project of Toto's guitarist Steve Lukather).

    Next time you play some Zildjian A Customs, thank Vinnie. It was he and the cymbalsmiths at Zildjian that came up with the design.
    "...it's the Paradigm Of The Cosmos!" Stewart Copeland on Youtube

    668: The Number Of The Guy Next Door To The Beast.

    "A random act of kindness; it keeps my heart in shape!" - Late8

  2. #2

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    I'm glad you posted Vinnie Colauita here. He's "Out of This World"!!!!! Here he is with Herbie Hanc_o_c_k


  3. #3

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    I was hoping to see someone start a Colaiuta thread. Thanks Drumbledore.

    I understand his prowess for sight reading is phenomenal. Here is a snippet I found entertaining to read from his Wikipedia page.

    About Colaiuta's ability to play Zappa's notoriously complex music and the complex style of polyrhythms, guitarist Steve Vai told the following story:

    He's one of the most amazing sight-readers that ever existed on the instrument. One day we were in a Frank rehearsal, this was early '80s, and Frank brought in this piece of music called "Mo 'N Herb's Vacation." Just unbelievably complex. All the drums were written out, just like "The Black Page" except even more complex. There were these runs of like 17 over 3 and every drumhead is notated differently. And there were a whole bunch of people there, I think Bozzio was there. Vinnie had this piece of music on the stand to his right. To his left he had another music stand with a plate of sushi on it, okay? Now the tempo of the piece was very slow, like "The Black Page." And then the first riff came in, [mimics bizarre Zappa-esque drum rhythm patterns] with all these choking of cymbals, and hi-hat, ruffs, spinning of rototoms and all this crazy stuff. And I saw Vinnie reading this thing. Now, Vinnie has this habit of pushing his glasses up with the middle finger of his right hand. Well I saw him look at this one bar of music, it was the last bar of music on the page. He started to play it as he was turning the page with one hand, and then once the page was turned he continued playing the riff with his right hand, as he reached over with his left hand, grabbed a piece of sushi and put it in his mouth, continued the riff with his left hand and feet, pushed his glasses up, and then played the remaining part of the bar. It was the sickest thing I have ever seen. Frank threw his music up in the air. Bozzio turned around and walked away. I just started laughing.

    ~Wikipedia
    Last edited by areFish; 09-02-2011 at 04:25 PM.

  4. #4

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    Vinnie grew up 7 miles from me . im my book hes the best ever. he grew up in Republic Pa. went to Brownsville highschool . you could tell back then that he was going to be awesome. his family still lives here ,and Vinnie comes back here a couple times a year .
    Tamaholic

  5. #5

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    Thanks for posting Drumbledore! Vinnie's talents are jaw dropping, mind twisting genius.

    Last edited by Olimpass; 03-05-2012 at 02:01 AM.

  6. #6

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    i was noticing in the vid that late posted how comfortable he looks playing , and how high he sets up his snare drum.
    Tamaholic

  7. #7

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    thanks, areFish...I just had to copy and paste the Wik review for my music room collection. Great story ! Great chops. Go getem' Vinnie !
    Most definitely. As a matter of fact, there will be "NO LIMIT"... just an unending quagmire of musical genius.

  8. #8

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    Ah the great Colaiuta! Excellent player, also had a hand in developing Zildjian's A custom line.
    ZildjianLeague/LP/Aquarian/Mapex/Pearl
    Snares: 4
    RIP- Frank, Wolvie, Les Paul
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  9. #9

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    Gotta love the Vinnster in this....check it out in the 1:15 mark.



    Plate of sushi sadly not present....
    Last edited by Drumbledore; 02-07-2014 at 01:50 PM.
    "...it's the Paradigm Of The Cosmos!" Stewart Copeland on Youtube

    668: The Number Of The Guy Next Door To The Beast.

    "A random act of kindness; it keeps my heart in shape!" - Late8

  10. #10

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    That dude's insane. Check out the light, airy, cross-tempo thing at 6:40. An oldy but a goodie! He doesn't miss the kick either!

    I'm equally as impressed with the execution as much as I am the chops and music itself. That's what really separates the men from the boys. They don't miss!
    - Tom

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  11. #11

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    Vinnie's drumming on Sting's 'Ten Summoner's Tales' is phenominal!
    And the trees are all kept equal by hatchet, axe, and saw. . .

  12. #12

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    i'd rather listen to vinnie than any other drummer!

    except for maybe jojo, i got a thing for both of them

    vinnie can play it all, impeccably! such a monster is he......

    blessings to vinnie colaiuta
    if you ask a drummer what time it is?!? they're likely to respond with a time signature "oh, it's 4/4"....


  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by kennabis View Post
    i'd rather listen to vinnie than any other drummer!

    except for maybe jojo, i got a thing for both of them

    vinnie can play it all, impeccably! such a monster is he......

    blessings to vinnie colaiuta
    You've got some good taste there, Kennabis.
    "...it's the Paradigm Of The Cosmos!" Stewart Copeland on Youtube

    668: The Number Of The Guy Next Door To The Beast.

    "A random act of kindness; it keeps my heart in shape!" - Late8

  14. #14

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    I myself enjoy vinne grestly,,,,
    from zappa to leeann rimes, sting, or jeff beck, to faith hill,,,
    even in his simplicity there is an intricacy(sp??).....
    Simply a pure joy to listen to each & every time,,,,,

    he does while the rest of us dream,,,,,,
    we all wanna be him when we grow up...!!!!
    "FEEL DA GROOVE & PLAY IT FORWARD..."

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    ENJOY IT ALL,,, MY BROTHERS & SISTERS"

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  15. #15

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    Vinnie Colaiuta - Drums


  16. #16

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    Just leaving these here



    Last edited by xweasel; 04-28-2012 at 02:37 AM.
    - Zack

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by xweasel View Post
    Just leaving these here
    but....wait....that.....cool.....I did not know that!

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olimpass View Post
    but....wait....that.....cool.....I did not know that!
    After listening to those youtubes I think I'll take up knitting and leave my drums for somebody else!

  19. #19

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    vinnie is my favorite!

    he's a drummers drummer
    if you ask a drummer what time it is?!? they're likely to respond with a time signature "oh, it's 4/4"....


  20. #20

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    One of the best on the planet. I did not know he play on Megadeth's "The System Has Failed" Album. I'll have to check it out. Hopefully I'll be able to put up with Mustaine's Popeye like voice.

    http://youtu.be/JVXznqvIPFg
    Last edited by NPYYZ; 06-04-2012 at 07:49 AM.

  21. #21

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    Wow! I just found some rare Vinnie, from around '83. Real scratchy quality video, but check out the line-up! Vinnie, Eric Johnson on guitar and Jeff Berlin on bass!

    "...it's the Paradigm Of The Cosmos!" Stewart Copeland on Youtube

    668: The Number Of The Guy Next Door To The Beast.

    "A random act of kindness; it keeps my heart in shape!" - Late8

  22. #22

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    I played with Jeff Berlin once. That was a highlight!
    - Tom

    Save up to 70% OFF CLEARANCE ITEMS!
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    That will also allow you to be eligible to win a free drum T-shirt. Drum Bum gives away a free T-shirt every month!

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  23. #23

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    I need to go through my old boxes and see if I can dig up my old stack of Modern Drummer magazines - there was an issue with a long interview with Vinnie, and it was amazing to read what he had to say. Part of it was really challenging, because he was knocking all the stuff I was working on trying to learn, like fancy licks and fills, and Vinnie was just tearing all of that apart. But the other side of what he was saying was talking about understanding the song your are playing, and playing to the idea of the song and the people that you are on stage with, making the music as strong as it can possibly be. Really next-level stuff. It was challenging, and amazing. I'm going to have to try and find that old issue and scan it so you guys can read it.
    "Guys, if you wanted Superman for this gig, you should have hired Superman. Instead, you got Batman." - Donny Gruendler

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  24. #24

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    Off the top of my head, but was it the October '93 issue? The one where he'd been with Sting only a short while? (around the time of "10 Summoner's Tales"). Had him wearing a black shirt & tie, with his fingers in a peace sign or something? I think I've still got that edition around.....been an MD reader for a long time now. If you can scan it, that's great then.
    "...it's the Paradigm Of The Cosmos!" Stewart Copeland on Youtube

    668: The Number Of The Guy Next Door To The Beast.

    "A random act of kindness; it keeps my heart in shape!" - Late8

  25. #25

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    I met Vinnie in 1985 and spoke to him for a while. He was easy to talk to and was cool. I was interested in hearing a story or two of the recording of Gino Vannelli's, "Nightwalker". He didn't say much, but said it was a lot of work, a good gig.
    I saw him do a clinic on Simmons drums with Tim Landers playing bass with him. Really fun clinic, but I wish he would've been playing an acoustic kit.
    He showed us how he was working on the concept of shifting time with a 16th note feel. Pretty out there for me back then!

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