"I want to be remembered as someone who can play a lot of different things and had a well-rounded style," says Bissonette. "I'm always trying to learn as much as I can about various forms of music. The more you learn about music, the better a musician you are."
Passion and curiosity are driving forces behind drummer Gregg Bissonette’s playing. A veteran of diverse lineups including Ringo Starr, Carlos Santana, David Lee Roth, Maynard Ferguson, Enrique Iglesias, and Bette Midler, this popular session and touring musician is always charting new musical waters in a constantly renewing percussion adventure.
A student of the late Tony Williams, Bissonette's quest to master Afro-Cuban drums was renewed by his 1999 trip to Cuba as a member of a U.S. cultural entourage. To get the authentic sound and feel of Latin music, Gregg always integrates a variety of LP cowbells into his drumset.
Back in his native Detroit, Gregg's father had played drums, his mother the piano. "My brother Matt, sister Kathy, and I grew up playing in bands together," recalls Gregg. "My first gig was subbing for my dad at a private party. I was fourteen and too young to drive, so my uncle drove me to the gig."
Gregg's influences included icons Buddy Rich, Ringo Starr, Charlie Watts, Mitch Mitchell, John Bonham, Stewart Copeland, Danny Seraphine, Billy Cobham, and Bobby Colomby. He enrolled at North Texas State University, honed his skills in the lab bands, and earned a degree in Music Education. He then moved to Los Angeles at twenty-two.
In no time he was touring and recording with Maynard Ferguson, Gino Vanelli, and David Lee Roth. After his time with Roth, Gregg and Matt Bissonette formed the Mustard Seeds, a combo in the Beatles/Foo Fighters mode. Gregg's creative partnership with his brother continued with the release of two solo albums, Gregg Bissonette's and Submarine.
In 2003 Gregg toured for the first time with the legendary Ringo Starr to promote Ringo's album Ringo Rama. He joined again in 2008, this time as an All Starr, and has toured with the band multiple times in the United States, Europe, and South America.
Some of you might know Gregg as his alter ego, Skippy Skuffleton! He has played with England's loudest rock band, Spinal Tap, since 2001, performing with Tap at Live Earth 2007, the Glastonbury Festival, and Wembley Stadium.
Gregg also enjoys the clinic circuit. "Drummers have a real camaraderie," he enthuses, "whether they're from Tuna Fish, WY, or Japan!" And he's a huge appreciation for his fans, always looking for ways to reach out, offer insights, and share the passion for drums.
Back at home, Gregg loves raising two Bissonette treasures, his son Noah and daughter Mary, who are already tapping out time in the family tradition.