06.07.12 The July issue of Rhythm features a world-exclusive interview with Vinnie Colauita who reflects on his amazing career with Zappa, Hancock, Beck and more plus being back on the road with Sting...


On an unseasonably warm March day, Vinnie Colaiuta and I are making the most of the unexpected London sunshine with an al fresco lunch at a little Italian deli he's been keen to try since arriving in the capital.

Currently back in the UK with Sting, on his Back To Bass tour, tonight the band will play the second of their three sold-out shows at Hammersmith Apollo. "It's actually quite poignant that we are performing there," Vinnie explains, "because it's where I played with Frank Zappa on my first trip to London all those years ago..."

With a remarkable versatile session career that, in addition to Sting and Zappa, also boasts Joni Mitchell. Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Jeff Beck and Faith Hill to name but a few, Mr Colaiuta has become one of the most in-demand and revered players of his generation - his awesome technique, sublime groove and impeccable musicianship inspiring and influencing a plethora of drummers in the process.

"I have so much to be thankful for," he reflect, "and I'm blessed, deeply honoured and so grateful to have had the privilege of working with so many people that I love and respect."

Born and raised in Pennsylvania, the young Vinnie's interest in drums was further fuelled after he saw Ringo Starr perform with The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. "That's when I started hounding my folks for a real drum kit," he laughs. And, once he'd got his hands on one, there was no stopping the dedicated student and his insatiable appetite for knowledge and self-improvement...

After leaving school Vinnie continued his studies at the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston, and would have enrolled for a second year had he been able to afford to. Instead, with just $80 in his pocket, he jumped on a bus with his drums and travelled across the United States to LA in search of that first big gig. "I thought at least if I was starving I wouldn't freeze if I had to sleep outside," he chuckles. But, as fate would have it, not long after arriving in the City of Angels, Vinnie heard that a certain Frank Zappa was looking for a new rhythm section. He bagged himself an audition and the rest is history.

After three intense and challenging years with Zappa, Vinnie decided that it was time to pursue his dream of becoming a session drummer and left the band to with Frank's blessing. "I wanted to play all different kinds of music," he explains. "It was a risk, but I had to take that chance." It paid off in spectacular style because, after three decades on the session scene, Vinnie remains one of the most sought-after drummers in the business...

It's great to see you back with Sting... How has everything been going on the Back To Bass Tour?

"Good, really good... The old guard - Sting on bass, Dominic Miller on guitar and me on drums - has been joined by Dominic's son Rufus, on rhythm guitar, Peter Tickell on violin, and Jo Lawry on vocals and violin. This particular touring segment has a freshness too, because we are playing things that we haven't done before and Sting has also been focussing a lot on narrative. We have great songs, great content and great stories, and I think it's so important to be able to engage with the audience on all those different levels.

"Let's face it, Sting is a master lyricist and his command of the language, and his knowledge about how to encapsulate that in a song, is of an extremely high level. This is the songwriting art form, coupled with musicianship and all the skill sets that structure demands, and there are very few situations in this day and age that require those capabilities on so many different levels. As a musician, when you are privileged enough to enjoy that kind of an experience, it's like soul food - it's good for you - and you want to give your very best back."

For the rest of this lengthy interview check out the July 2012 issue of Rhythm which is out now.
(1) Reviews and Comments
iburn4u - 06.07.12
Way to go Vinnie
Best drummer in the world and such a nice guy.
Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Sting performed in St. Louis Tuesday as he continues to kick off the next leg of his Back to Bass Tour. His stop in St. Louis is one of only a handful of shows Sting is performing in the United States before heading back to Europe for the next couple months. The last time Sting appeared in the Gateway City was for a performance with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at a sweltering Verizon Wireless Amphitheater two years ago. At that time his concert tilted towards a very subdued nature. This time, with help of a much smaller backing of Dominic Miller on guitar, Vinnie Colauita on drums, David Sancious on keyboards, Peter Tickell on electric fiddle and vocalist Jo Lawry, Sting was able to perform a more up-tempo show...
English rocker Sting kept it simple and straightforward at his concert Tuesday night at the Fox Theatre. When Sting last visited these parts two years ago at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, he lushly recreated his classics with the help of the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. This time, Sting came with a band including Dominic Miller on guitar, Vinnie Colauita on drums, David Sancious on keyboards and Peter Tickell on a mean electric fiddle for a show that took fans in another direction. Sting and his band were most interested in rocking out, pumping up songs such as 'Demolition Man', 'Driven to Tears' and 'Next to You' to maximum effect, in ways that couldn't play out with the orchestra show...

[3] Comments
For those of you who didn't make the trek to Thackerville, Okla. last night to hear Sting, you missed a good one. It was the second of two concerts at WinStar World Casino this weekend that kicked off his latest tour, not long since the finish of his “Back to Bass Tour” that brought Sting to the Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie last November. This was his first time to perform at WinStar in the Global Event Center, a comfortable venue much like a hotel ballroom. The room seats just under 3,500, with cushy chairs, bars in the back and dry acoustics. It was the perfect place to hear Sting, who was in prime form...

[1] Comments
Following the Back To Bass tour which ended in Cape Town in March, tonight Sting commences his latest tour in Thackerville, Oklahoma, the first of 35 summer dates across North America, Canada and Europe. The tour will find Sting performing many of his greatest hits and he will be joined on the tour by a 5-piece band featuring Dominic Miller (guitar), David Sancious (keyboards), Vinnie Colaiuta (drums), Peter Tickell (electric fiddle), and Jo Lawry (vocals). If you are attending of the shows remember to share your reviews, thoughts and photos with other Sting fans on the relevant tour page for the show - as everyone would love to know what you think. The full tour schedule is below. Some tickets may still be available for certain shows - check the ticket links on this page http://sting.com/tour/index/...
Voting for the CMT Awards closes Monday, June 4 at 12:01AM/EST, so this is your last chance to vote for Sting & Vince Gill for CMT's Performance of the Year award. Please cast your vote for the duo NOW at www.cmt.com/cmt-music-awards. The CMT Awards is country music's original fan-voted awards show, airing live from Nashville on Wednesday, June 6 at 8PM/EST...

[1] Comments