Ronnie Vannucci, Jr.
|Birth name||Ronald Vannucci, Jr.|
|Born||February 15, 1976|
|Origin||Las Vegas, Nevada|
|Genres||Alternative rock, Post-punk revival, New wave, Heartland rock|
|Instruments||Vocals, drums, guitar, percussion, piano, keyboards, bass|
|Labels||Island, Little Oil|
|Associated acts||The Killers, Big Talk, Mt. Desolation|
Vannucci was born in Las Vegas to an American couple with Italian, French and German ancestry. He began drumming at the age of 6. He was a part of his junior high school's jazz ensemble and later attended both Clark and Western High Schools. Vannucci played in various local bands. His first band was Purple Dirt.
Vannucci drummed for several local bands including Ska-Punk band Attaboy Skip who enjoyed regional success in the mid 1990s and featured Brandon Campbell; Free Food, a cover band who played at prisons and homeless shelters in the Las Vegas area; and Expert On October, a band that also included Ted Sablay and Taylor Milne.
The Killers (2002-present)
Vannucci studied Classical percussion at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) whilst also was working as a photographer at Chapel of the Flowers, a wedding chapel on Las Vegas Boulevard. He was performing with a local group, Romance Fantasy, when he met Dave Keuning and Brandon Flowers who had recently begun performing as The Killers. He joined The Killers in August 2002. The band would practice at Vannucci's garage and Ronnie would also sneak the band into the Alta Ham Fine Arts Building at UNLV at night to practice. He later finalized his B.A. at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on May 14, 2011 while The Killers were on hiatus. The Killers have released four consecutive No. 1 albums in the United Kingdom, sold 25 million albums, and been nominated for seven GRAMMY Awards and seven BRIT Awards.
Big Talk (2011-present)
Vannucci recorded a side project album during 2010-2011 and titled it Big Talk aiming with tongue and cheek at the abundance of music being put out by labels before it's being fully prepared. NME named the eponymous album #24 on its Best Albums of 2011 list. Big Talk was mixed by Alan Moulder and recorded at Battle Born Studios with Joe Chiccarelli as producer. Matt Sharp (of Weezer) and long time friend Taylor Milne were enlisted to help record the album. Little Oil / Epitaph Records released the album on July 12, 2011. Big Talk was preceded by a single, Getaways, on May 10, 2011. Vannucci was listed at #49 on NME's Cool List of 2011.
In 2014, Big Talk reactivated its Twitter account, posting photos of band practices.
He was married to Lisa Vannucci on May 2, 2003. They have one pet dog, a boxer named Archie. Archie gained notoriety during the recording of Big Talk due to Vannucci's frequently tweeted pictures of him in the studio. He also enjoys ranching in his free time.
- 17" K Constantinople Crash/A Breakbeat Ride used as Hi-hats
- 20" A Custom Ride with rivets
- 24" K Light Ride
- 20" Swish Knocker with Rivets
- 22" K Light Ride
Current cymbal setup:
- 18" K Constantinople Crash (x2) as Hi-hats
- 17" K Constantinople Crash
- 18" K Constantinople Crash
- 20" K Constantinople Medium Ride
- 22" K Constantinople Medium Ride
- 24" K Light Ride
- 22" A Swish Knocker with Rivets
Note: Craviotto, Drum Workshop, Zildjian, Remo, Protection Racket (drum cases), and Latin Percussion are currently some of Vannucci 's sponsors. Zildjian has also produced the Ronnie Vannucci Artist Series Drumstick in recognition of Vannucci's work as a musician to further drumming play.
Craviotto Set-Up: Identical Maple and Mahogany wood kits.
- 24x14 bass drum
- 14x6.5 snare drum
- 13x9 rack tom
- 16x16 floor tom
- 18x16 floor tom
Vannucci mainly plays with his kit set up using a jazz technique with a high stool and hitched-up snare stand. He attributes this to his 6'1" frame, a former teacher who whipped him, and the examples of great drummers including Mitch Mitchell and many jazz performers.
He is known for crashing his hi-hats, skillful sixteenth notes, and a fluid playing style. Drummer Magazine labels them a "few distinctive hallmarks [that] help characterize Ronnie's style".
Vannucci and his band mate, bassist Mark Stoermer, have what they consider a rewarding relationship musically. Of Stoermer, Vannucci has said, "He almost intuitively knows what I am going to play and his parts are so rhythmic its a joy to dance around him I really enjoy thinking up parts with him. . . it works very well for us."
Vannucci was featured on the cover of Rhythm Magazine in October 2006, (where he was dubbed "pop's dynamic showman") and again in November 2008 and October 2012. He also featured on Drummer Magazine in June 2009 and Modern Drummer Magazine in 2013. He featured in Modern Drummer Magazine in March 2009 and in Drumhead Magazine, September 2008 and again in October 2008.
Vannucci cites influences such as jazz legend Papa Jo Jones, Mitch Mitchell of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Keith Moon of The Who, and John Bonham of Led Zeppelin. He also lists as influences The Cure, U2, Depeche Mode and more modern drummers including Charley Drayton, Steve Jordan, and Ahmir Thompson.
Big Talk albums
- Big Talk (2011)
- "Departure" - Mt. Desolation (2010)
- "Midnight Ghost" - Mt. Desolation (2010)
- "Crossfire" - Brandon Flowers (2010)
- "Playing with Fire" - Brandon Flowers (2010)
Awards and accolades
- University of Nevada Las Vegas College of Fine Arts Alumnus of the Year and Hall of Fame Inductee (2014)
- Modern Drummers Reader Poll (2007) - Winner
- Modern Drummers Reader Poll (2006) - Winner
- Micallef, Ken (March 2009). "Killer With A Cause". Modern Drummer. Retrieved on April 13, 2010.
- Scaggs, Austin (September 17, 2009). "Q&A". Rolling Stone. p. 42.
- Craviotto Drum Company (August 27, 2007). "Ronnie Vannucci joins Craviotto Drum Company". Press release. Retrieved on April 13, 2010.
- Protection Racket. Retrieved on April 13, 2010. NB: User needs to select "Endorsees" and then select "Ronnie Vannucci (The Killers)" in the drop-down list and click "Go".
- "Artist Roster". Drum Workshop. Retrieved on April 13, 2010. NB: User needs to enter "Ronnie Vannucci" and select "Search Roster".
- "Ronnie Vannucci Artist Series Drumstick". Zildjian. Retrieved on April 13, 2010.
- Hopkin, Owen (June 2009). "All Killer No Filler". Drummer: 68. London: Oyster House Media Ltd. Retrieved on April 13, 2010.
- a "Ronnie Vannucci: The Killers". Rhythm. Bath, UK: Future.
- West, David (November 2008). "Ronnie Vannucci: The Killers". Rhythm. Bath, UK: Future. Retrieved April 13, 2010.
- Drumhead. September 2008. New York: PPV Media.
- King, Kelly (October 2008). "Ronnie Vannucci: Portrait of a Killer". Drumhead. New York: PPV Media.
- "Ronnie Vannucci". Drummer World. Retrieved on April 13, 2010.
- "Modern Drummers Readers Poll". Latin Percussion (2007). Retrieved on April 13, 2010.
- "Modern Drummers Readers Poll". Latin Percussion (2006). Retrieved on April 13, 2010.
- The Killers official site, from Island Records
- The Killers official site (U.K.), from the Vertigo label
- Big Talk official site
- Big Talk Facebook Page
- Ronnie Vannucci Jr Facebook Fan Group