Virgil Donati

Virgil Donati was born 22 October 1958 in Melbourne, Australia. He is of Italian descent. At age 2, he got his first drumset. At age 2, he began playing with his father’s band and continued to do these shows until he was six years old. At the age of 15, he joined his first major band and signed with his second major record label. He recorded three albums with the band, which was originally called Cloud Nine. Donati, who was 16 years old, left school to focus mainly on drums but also played piano. Donati, then 19, traveled to the U.S. at the age of 19 to study with Philly Joe Jones and Dick Groves School Los Angeles. Murray Spivack, a specialist in the snare drum, taught Donati lessons. Donati, at 21 years old, returned to Australia where his career took off. He was an active touring and session drummer in Australia, playing jazz with Allan Zavod, Brian Brown, as well as rock with Peter Cupples’ group. Donati was the first to experience international fame with his own pop band, The State. Their self-titled debut sold multi-platinum, and produced the hit song ‘Heart In Danger. Donati’s drummering was a key feature of Melbourne’s jazz-rock fusion group ‘Changes. (Virgil Donati Drums and Joe Chindamo Keyboards), later becoming ‘Loose Change. (A quartet – same lineup, but without the Saxophone). Donati’s debut solo album, Stretch, was released in 1995. Donati’s 1999 solo album, On The Virg was released by Melbourne-based record label Vorticity Music. Derek Sherinian, ex-dream theater keyboardist, hired Virgil in 1999 to play the drums and co-write his first solo album, Planet X. This collaboration evolved into the metal-fusion group Planet X. They have three studio albums, Universe, MoonBabies and Quantum, as well as one live album, Live from Oz. Donati has made many live appearances around the world with Scott Henderson and Tribal Tech, fusion artists. Readers of Modern Drummer magazine voted Donati the number one clinician of 2004. He toured France with French superstar Michel Polnareff in 2007 on his successful comeback tour. His website launched a 2-disc DVD digipak exclusively from his clinic in Stockholm on the 15th March 2007. This was during 2005’s Bass n’ Drum festival. Donati was back in Australia in 2009 for the first time since 2005. He played on the Drumscene Live Tour with Thomas Pridgen, Dom Famularo and also performed at the Australia’s Ultimate Drummers Weekend. Donati now lives in the United States and plays with many different bands. Donati was also among seven drummers who auditioned for Mike Portnoy’s Dream Theater replacement. Donati, along with Allan Holdsworth, guitarist, and bassists Jimmy Haslip, and Anthony Crawford, has been extensively touring the United States, Canada, and Europe since fall 2012. Virgil is a famously independent man who is very strict about following his own rules. Virgil spoke out about marriage in a interview with Modern Drummer magazine (issue dated mid-99). So far, I have resisted the temptation of marriage and all the distractions it can bring. Donati was quickly drawn to the great jazz drummers of Louie Bellson, Buddy Rich, and his father’s selection of records. Ian Paice, Deep Purple’s rock drummer, was the first to have a major impact on Donati. Donati was “blown by his clarity, power and charisma.” Donati preferred traditional grip in an interview with Modern Drummer magazine. The issue was published in 1999. Donati stated, “I decided that it was just how I wanted… Sometimes traditional grip feels more comfortable on my left hand than my right. Traditional grip does not limit me in any way. Traditional grip is not something I recommend. This grip is much more difficult to master and develop power with. If you are serious about learning this instrument, it is better to focus on matched. Traditional grip is still more popular today than it was in the past. He also discusses his method of playing double strokes using the feet on kick drum. In 1999, he was able to comfortably play 16 note double strokes using the feet at 200 beats per min and can’squeeze through sixteen notes at 220 beats a minute. From Wikipedia

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