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. His 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.
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.
Following his graduation from NTSU, Gregg made the move to Los Angeles. 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 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.
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.
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!