Born in the small town of Bethlehem,
Pennsylvania, world-renowned Rock drummer Jimmy DeGrasso began playing drums at
a very early age and landed his first gig at age 7. He played weddings, private parties and joined
local bands all through high school. His
hardcore dedication and work ethic eventually led him to move to Los Angeles
with hopes of bettering his music career. Having no connections or work lined up, Jimmy
relocated with nothing but natural talent and a positive attitude and, as he
remembers: “…hoping that someone like Ozzy would be looking for a drummer!” Ironically,
soon after he arrived he landed a gig playing on Ozzy’s Ultimate Sin album, giving him his first big break.
After his work with Ozzy,
Jimmy’s career exploded. He joined Y
& T for 3 years and played with White Lion and also teamed up with
Metallica’s Robert Trujillo, during his days with Suicidal Tendencies. Together, they released Suicidal for Life and toured with them, opening for both Guns N’
Roses and Metallica on their world
tours, while also simultaneously filling in with Alice in Chains. In 1995, DeGrasso joined Alice Cooper’s Band
and began a long time relationship that’s still alive today. Jimmy appeared on Cooper’s live album Fistful of Alice and continues to
occasionally work on and off with him.
It was becoming evident in the drum industry that Jimmy could handle
pretty much any Rock gig that came his way.
Perhaps best known for his
work with Megadeth, DeGrasso was asked to permanently join the band in 1998,
after playing on Dave Mustaine’s side project band - MD.45. He continued to work with the band until 2002
and then began getting calls to perform at a number of drum festivals including
the prestigious Modern Drummer Festival, the Ultimate Drummers Weekend in
Australia and Drummer Live in the UK. Always
experimenting with new sounds and developing new techniques, DeGrasso became
well known as a quick-study, being ‘the guy’ who would not only get the job
done, but perform the music like he’d been part of whatever band hired him, for
years. An immediate, comfortable fit. His technical skills, powerful style, solid
groove and ability to learn quickly have caused his phone to ring continually.
Jimmy DeGrasso has also
worked with Stonesour, Marty Friedman, Ronnie Montrose, Lita Ford, David Lee
Roth, as well as recent appearances with Ratt & Dokken. In December of 2012, Jimmy joined Black Star
Riders, a band that features most of the original members from Thin Lizzy. Black Star Riders released their first album in
May of 2013, receiving both critical and popular acclaim and charted well in
over 17 countries. Plans are set for a second album with Def
Leppard’s lead vocalist Joe Elliott as producer.
After already having such a
long and fulfilling career, Jimmy Degrasso is right where he wants to be. He states: "I'm
really happy with this Black Star Riders situation. I've always been a huge Thin Lizzy fan and I
like to be creative and make music. Our
album, All Hell Breaks Loose, is so
good. It's such a great gig because it's
a creative outlet and, at the same time, we have the entire Thin Lizzy
catalogue. I look down during the night
at the set-list, at those Thin Lizzy songs and laugh…I can't believe I get to
play all these great songs! Right now,
I'm in the best situation I've been in a long time. It's really exciting right now."
Photo courtesy of Jane Smith