Keep up with Tony here:
Born and raised in Passaic, New Jersey, Tony began playing the drums at age ten. elementary school. Throughout his school years, the valuable experience gained playing in the concert, jazz, and marching bands helped build a solid foundation and shaped him into the musician he is today.
Tony originally gained notoriety in the mid-eighties with his powerful drumming on Whiplash’s debut album, “Power and Pain”. Today this recording is still hailed by many as one of the essential thrash metal releases of all time. Throughout the years, Tony went on to perform and record with some of the most popular names in the metal and hardcore scenes while branching out into many other diverse areas. From drumming for thrash kings Slayer (Tony was asked to fill in on the Reign In Blood tour when Dave Lombardo left the band the first time), to Southern fried rockers Raging Slab, to hardcore pioneers Cause For Alarm, M.O.D. and Sheer Terror, Tony’s ability to fit into a wide variety of musical genres has established him as a highly in demand musician.
He has also played with many other artists including North Side Kings, Eightfold, Jackhammer, Deathrash, Zero Hour, Ludichrist, Cerebral Hemmorhage, power pop rockers Frank Lloyd Vinyl, and blues masters Michael Nitro and 7 Licks. Tony is also very active in the field of drum education with more than twenty years of teaching experience. He proudly endorses Vic Firth drumsticks and Attack drumheads.
Tony Scaglione Interview:
SDM: How old were you when you started playing?
Tony: I began playing when I was ten. I started in elementary school with a pair of sticks and a practice pad. Then my Mom bought me a five piece Slingerland kit for my twelfth birthday.
SDM: Did you play in a school band or any drum corps?
Tony: I played in the orchestral band from elementary through high school. I was also part of the jazz ensemble in high school and a member of our high school marching band. I got to do some traveling with the marching band and performed at many competitions. It was a great learning experience.
SDM: Who are your top 5 metal influences?
1. Mackie Jayson (Cro-Mags, Bad Brains) Mackie may not be categorized as “metal”, but his fluid, hard as nails style has been hugely influential to me. When I first met him many years ago, he was playing in the Cro Mags and a ska band called Urban Blight! He then went on to drum with a wide variety of different artists including the Bad Brains and the Fun Lovin’ Criminals. Talk about diversity!. He is an excellent drummer.
2. Clive Burr (Iron Maiden) When I first heard Iron Maiden I was blown away. Clive was just slamming and I had the opportunity to see him perform with Maiden twice. When he left the band I was devastated. Those first 3 Maiden records are essential.
3. Tom Hunting (Exodus) Bonded By Blood from Exodus is, in my opinion, the greatest thrash album ever recorded. Tom’s drumming is such an integral part of the band’s sound. Truly a unique style and he is still going strong after all of these years!
4. Cozy Powell (Rainbow) I was always a huge Rainbow fan. Rainbow’s Rising record was my introduction to Cozy. The intro to Stargazer still gives me chills. After hearing this album, I went out and bought everything I could find that Cozy played on.
5. Phil Taylor (Motorhead) Philthy Phil is so underrated! I love his raw, aggressive approach. All of Motorhead’s recordings are classics. Ace of Spades album influenced so many metal musicians and I was actually fortunate enough to see the band on the tour supporting that record.
SDM: Who are some other of your favorites?
Tony: There are numerous different players in many different genres that I really enjoy. Al Jackson, the great drummer on all of the great Stax Records hits is one of my all time favorites. His groove is unmatched. I love Tony Williams and his incredible work with Miles Davis and Lifetime. Matt Abts from Gov’t Mule is awesome! I always see them when they come to town and have all of their albums. He is such a well rounded, creative player. Jean Paul Gastier from Clutch is just so tasty. Bill Bruford of King Crimson/Yes fame never fails to amaze me. I have been in to studying congas the past few years and the great conguero Giovanni Hidalgo is someone who is just mind blowing. Karl Perazzo, the outstanding timbalero from Santana is fantastic. I love the tabla master Zakir Hussain and all of his work with Shakti. Jack DeJohnette, Bill Kreutzmann, Jeff Sipe, Billy Cobham, the late Barry Stern’s playing with Trouble was so good. Kim Ruzz from Mercyful Fate. There are just so many great players out there. David Garibaldi from Tower of Power and his super slick funk. In the extreme metal genre. I really enjoy the drumming of Sean Reinert, Derek Roddy and George Kollias in particular. These guys are just so technically adept and creative it’s insane!
SDM: Let us know 5 CD’s that are in your current rotation
1. Gov’t Mule – Dose
2. Clutch – Blast Tyrant
3. Minor Threat – Out of Step
4. King Crimson – Absent Lovers
5. Jonas Hellborg – Temporal Analogues of Paradise
SDM: What do you do to warm up before a show?
Tony: I like to do some stretching exercises and I also try and do at least a half hour of rudimental drills on the practice pad to get loose. I really like to work out of Joe Morello’s Master Studies book and Charlie Wilcoxon’s classic Modern Rudimental Swing Solos.
SDM: Do you read music? Regardless of answering yes or no, please tell us how it might have effected your playing?
Tony: Yes, I do read music. I think it has had a deep effect on my playing. In my mid twenties I got to a point where I felt that I wanted to expand my musical horizons and I hooked up with a fantastic drum teacher named Pat Petrillo. He really opened my eyes (and ears) to what being a true well rounded drummer and musician really is and I am forever grateful to him for that. I was able to read before this but Pat really got me on the fast track of serious study. Once I learned to read (and listen) more efficiently, I was able to pick up different technique books and run through exercises that really opened my mind. This is how I learned to become fluid in latin and jazz playing in particular. Also, I learned how to apply rudiments to the drumset in many imaginative ways. In my opinion, reading music is a very important addition to simply learning by ear.
SDM: Can you tell us about the gear you use?
Tony: I am endorsed by Vic Firth Drumsticks and Attack Drumheads. I like the Vic Firth 5B model with the wood tip, I prefer Yamaha or Tama drums and Zildjian cymbals and Latin Percussion congas. I want to be able to be comfortable in any musical situation and I make a point to vary my setup accordingly.
SDM: If you could give one piece of advice to young drummers, it would be…
Tony: The one thing I feel is most important is to have an open mind toward different styles of music. Many drummers that I have met seem to only listen to drummers in the genre that they play. I think this type of thinking will make you a one dimensional type of player. It is so exciting to listen to something outside of your comfort zone and then attempt to inject these exotic ideas into your normal approach. It is my experience that true great musicians have this ability and are constantly able to create and advance their playing to new levels.
SDM: Who gave the best live performance you’ve ever seen?
Tony: Rush on the Moving Pictures tour at Madison Square Garden. Neil Peart was unbelievable!
SDM: Aside from drumming, what else do you like to do?
Tony: I really enjoy cooking and I hope to open a restaurant someday.