Brian Viglione

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Brian Viglione
Background information
Birth nameBrian Viglione
Born (1979-05-16) May 16, 1979 (age 40)
OriginGreenville, New Hampshire, United States
GenresAlternative rock, punk cabaret, heavy metal, dark cabaret, industrial, darkwave
Occupation(s)Musician, performer
InstrumentsDrums, percussion, bass guitar, guitar, piano, double bass, vocals
Associated actsThe Dresden Dolls, The Cliks, The World/Inferno Friendship Society, Nine Inch Nails, Scarlet Sails, Franz Nicolay & Major General, Botanica, Black Tape For A Blue Girl, H.U.M.A.N.W.I.N.E., The Gill Aharon Trio, Jesse Malin, Faun Fables, Reverend Glasseye, The Insect Fable, Steve Smith, Martin Bisi, Violent Femmes, Gentlemen & Assassins with Sxip Shirey, Elyas Khan and Phillip Boa, [Feline and Strange]

Brian Viglione (born May 16, 1979 in Greenville, New Hampshire) is an American drummer best known for his work with The Dresden Dolls and Violent Femmes.[1] He was also a prominent member of New York City's cabaret punk orchestra, The World/Inferno Friendship Society (having toured, written, and recorded with them in 2008–2009). Known for his energetic and expressive drumming style, Viglione has often aligned himself with groups who incorporate eclectic musical styles and theatrical elements. A multi-instrumentalist, Viglione also plays guitar, bass, percussion, and sings in several of his collaborations, as well as having done producing work. He starred in the American Repertory Theater's 2007 production of "The Onion Cellar" and performed in Addicted To Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre's 20th Century with The World/Inferno Friendship Society in 2008. Viglione also played drums on the Nine Inch Nails album "Ghosts I-IV" in 2008 on a drum kit he built on site out of scrap metal and found objects. In addition to his various recording and touring work, he also gives drumming workshops to help participants develop personal creativity on the instrument and has lectured at Harvard University, RISD, The Boston Day and Evening Academy,[2] as well as other schools around the northeastern US.


Brian Viglione was introduced to the drums by his father on Christmas Day at age five with his interest quickly deepening at age nine when rock music became a primary focus and passion. A pivotal moment occurred in 1990 when Viglione's father brought him to see The Elvin Jones Jazz Machine and Viglione witnessed his first up-close exposure to the drummer who would become his principal inspiration on the instrument. "I spent every possible hour jamming with my friends up in our attic from the time I was in the fourth grade through when I graduated high school. You could hardly tear us all away from playing!"[This quote needs a citation] At sixteen years old, Viglione began playing gigs in clubs with bands around New England before moving from New Hampshire to Boston in 1999. There, he played with several Boston punk bands on both drums and bass guitar. "I knew it was 'now or never' when I moved from my small town to pursue my dream. Both of my parents understood how dedicated I was to making it come true and I was very lucky to have their encouragement through all of the craziness and uncertainty of those times."[This quote needs a citation] Viglione played bass for a year in a and was exposed to music that played a large and influential role in his playing. "I was listening to a lot of Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Black Flag, Swans, Miles Davis, Diamanda Galas, The Gun Club, Einstürzende Neubauten, Charles Mingus, and John Coltrane records. Very cathartic music that taught me a lot about the beauty of how to balance using space and aggression in music."[This quote needs a citation]

The Dresden Dolls[edit]

At a Halloween party in October 2000, Viglione first met Amanda Palmer, and together they formed The Dresden Dolls after their first time playing together. They are a Boston-based keyboard/drum duo.

In addition to playing drums, Viglione also plays guitar and bass on several Dresden Dolls songs including the first single, "Sing", from their 2006 album Yes, Virginia... and sings back-up vocals, most notably on their version of "Pierre" from The Dresden Dolls: Live in Paradise DVD.

After signing with Roadrunner Records in early 2004, the duo re-released their self-titled debut The Dresden Dolls to worldwide acclaim and made their Billboard chart debut with the equally applauded follow-up Yes, Virginia.... In addition, the duo's live audiences continued to grow around the planet as The Dresden Dolls completed sold-out tours on four continents, supported Nine Inch Nails, and performed at prestigious world festivals including Reading, Bonnaroo, Leeds, Coachella, Fuji Rock, Roskilde, Glastonbury, and Download. Locally, they won numerous awards ranging from multiple Boston Music Awards to topping the Boston Phoenix/FNX Best Music Poll. In 2006, the band recorded their second live DVD chronicling their two sold out shows at The Roundhouse in London. The concert DVD captures the band with their fan base, many of whom traveled from all over the US, Australia, and Europe to attend in concert at the peak of the band's most active period.

In January 2007, Viglione co-starred in the American Repertory Theater's production of The Onion Cellar, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The show was co-written by The Dresden Dolls, cast, and director, Marcus Stern, loosely based on a chapter from Günter Grass's book, The Tin Drum. The band's music was often used in unconventional ways to depict the drama and humor in a "call and response" method with the actors on stage, and Viglione was given a featured drum solo following one actor's moving scene recalling childhood abuse. The entire 40-show run sold out and the production garnered rave reviews.[3][4]


In June 2007, as part of the Dresden Dolls, he toured with the True Colors Tour 2007,[5] including his debut at Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall,[6] and his first review in The New York Times.[6]

In 2010, a brief reunion tour of The Dresden Dolls occurred. It started on Halloween in New York City and ended in San Francisco on New Year's Eve. The Dresden Dolls also toured Australia and New Zealand in January 2012, before going their separate ways again.[7]

Solo career[edit]

For years, Viglione has given drum lessons and collaborated with many other Boston musicians including the Gill Aharon Trio, Neovoxer Ensemble, and Reverend Glasseye. He's also given a series of drum workshops at schools around New England.

Viglione played drums on Fighting Naked, the debut album from his childhood friend Holly Brewer's band, HUMANWINE[8] released through Warner Music Group's Cordless Recordings. Through March and April 2007, he went on a US national tour to support this release. Shortly thereafter, he performed drums for the Nine Inch Nails album, Ghosts I-IV. "Collaborating with Trent on 'Ghosts' was a great experience and he really allowed it to be a truly creative atmosphere, in having me build a drum kit and allowing me to improvise my drum parts."[9] Around that time, he also wrote, toured, and recorded with various artists including the likes of Jules Shear, Jesse Malin, Martin Bisi, as well as Franz Nicolay/Major General.

From May 2008 – October 2009, Viglione was the drummer for Brooklyn's punk-orchestra, The WORLD/INFERNO Friendship Society,[10] touring 16 countries and recording a new studio album with The Dresden Dolls' production team of Sean Slade, Paul Q. Kolderie, Adam Taylor, and Benny Grotto at Mad Oak Studios in Allston, Massachusetts. He also performed in the band's theatrical production, Addicted To Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre's 20th Century, in the US, Canada, Netherlands, and Finland. Viglione's final performance with the group was a sold-out performance at The Grand Ball Room, NYC, for the annual HALLOWMAS 2009 gala, where amidst a sea of balloons and video projections, hundreds of fans rushed the stage during the encore.

During this period, Viglione also was heavily involved with various side-projects and albums; First with New York singer, Emilyn Brodsky. Of playing with Emilyn, Viglione has been quoted as saying "Emilyn and I have been friends for a long time and when she asked me to produce and play on her album of ukulele songs I was thrilled and, surprisingly, wound up playing marimba on it as well." After that, he worked on Black Tape for a Blue Girl's album 10 Neurotics.[11] Viglione recorded his parts for 12 of the 14 tracks (drums, bass & guitar) in December 2008 and January 2009, at B.C. Studio, owned by Martin Bisi,[12] where the first Dresden Dolls album was recorded.[13] He also co-produced the album.[14] In both cases, Viglione performed multiple instruments and helped shape the arrangements and sonic direction of the albums.

On November 8, 2009 an official press release was issued, announcing that Viglione would be joining up with Toronto-based rock outfit, The Cliks for a small handful of shows around New England in the fall and winter of 2009.[15] These shows consisted of Viglione on drums, founder Lucas Silveira on guitar and vocals, and bassist Tobi Parks. In February and March 2010, Viglione toured throughout Europe with NYC based punk-cabaret band Botanica.[16] He also played shows with Martin Bisi, The Land of Dreams, and Black Tape for a Blue Girl. Currently, Brian is working on two albums, both of which will presumably be released sometime in 2010; The first is with Franz Nicolay,[17][18] and the other is with 18-year-old NYC folk singer, Anthony da Costa.[17]

Since January 2009, when not on the road, Viglione has performed with a number of artists and musicians at Dances Of Vice, a monthly Victorian and Jazz Age-themed cabaret in New York City. Past collaborators at Dances of Vice have included Nicki Jaine, Fern Knight, and The Ragwater Review.

On January 29, 2011 he collaborated with pianist Viktoriya Yermolyeva on a live concert (VIGGIE & VIKA: Live in Iceland), where they performed heavy metal covers.[19]

On July 15, 2013, it was announced that Brian joined Violent Femmes as their new drummer.[20][21][22] Viglione later went on to record 2016’s “We Can Do Anything” with Violent Femmes. He left the band shortly after.

In 2014, 2015 and 2016 Brian Viglione collaborated with the German Wave Cabaret act Feline&Strange (female vocals, piano, cello, synths) on 3 records, LIES, TRUTHS, and OUT (motor entertainment).[23]

In March 2015, Brian Viglione and his wife, Olya Viglione, formed Scarlet Sails - a band fronted by Olya (vocals, piano) with Brian (drums), Nick Emde (guitar) and Jesse Krakow (bass). Scarlet Sails released their self-titled debut EP on January 19, 2016.[24]


With The Dresden Dolls[edit]



  • Palmer, Amanda; Brian Viglione (2008). The Dresden Dolls – The Virginia Companion. Cherry Lane Music Company. ISBN 1-60378-079-3.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ interview by Chris Arnold (2007-01-17). "Band Tries to Make It Big Without Going Broke". All Things Considered. National Public Radio. The web page has audio and a transcript of the interview, and links to several of their songs.
  2. ^ "Welcome to Boston Day and Evening Academy | Boston Day and Evening Academy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-05. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
  3. ^ "The onion cellar". Web site of the American Repertory Theatre. American Repertory Theatre. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2007. Inside the small confines of the mysterious club The Onion Cellar, the internationally renowned rock duo The Dresden Dolls provides nightly entertainment while a series of stories unfold around them. As singer, songwriter, and keyboardist Amanda Palmer and drummer Brian Viglione play their songs, the Onion Cellar becomes a space where rock and roll meets cabaret with humor and humanity. World Premiere.
  4. ^ On The Download editors; photo by Kelly Davidson (2005-04-20). "Dresden Dolls take the ART". On The Download. The Phoenix Media/Communications Group. Archived from the original on 23 May 2006. Retrieved 21 August 2006. The Dresden Dolls are taking the world by storm. This punk cabaret duo from Boston are incredible musicians whose smart, personal, intricate songs and mesmerizing live performance have earned them a cult following. Now don't tell anyone, but there's a rumor that the Dolls may be appearing at a bizarre underground club somewhere in Cambridge – an Onion Cellar, where the audience peel onions for emotional release, where you never quite know who's sitting next to you, where your life could change forever. Somebody forgot to mention that he's fucking awesome!
  5. ^ "True Colors Tour web site". Retrieved 2011-10-30.
  6. ^ a b Chinen, Nate; photos by Hiroyuki Ito (2007-06-20). "Power to the People (and Some Pop Too)". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. pp. B1, B5. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 9 November 2007.
  7. ^ Amanda Palmer (7 September 2010). "THE DRESDEN DOLLS HALLOWEEN 10th ANNIVERSARY & FALL TOUR". Retrieved 7 September 2010.
  8. ^ HUMANWINE[dead link]
  9. ^ Video on YouTube
  10. ^ "all borders are porous to cats – world inferno live page". 2009-05-17. Archived from the original on 2009-08-15. Retrieved 9 Aug 2009.
  11. ^ " interview". 2009-05-17. Archived from the original on 2011-05-18. Retrieved 9 Aug 2009.
  12. ^ "Studio update – recording with Brian Viglione". 2009-05-17. Retrieved 9 Aug 2009.
  13. ^ "Martin Bisi production / recording discography". 2009-05-17. Retrieved 9 Aug 2009.
  14. ^ Sarah Rodman (2009-04-17). "He's Taking On the World". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 9 Aug 2009.
  15. ^ "PENETRATION INC: The Cliks 2.0". 2009-05-17. Retrieved 17 Nov 2009.
  16. ^ "EUROPEAN TOUR DATES UP NOW! With Brian Viglione on the drum throne... & Miriam Eicher, violin". 2009-12-22. Archived from the original on 2012-12-29. Retrieved 4 May 2009.
  17. ^ a b "BRIAN BLOG: STEAMPUNK WORLD'S FAIR, APRIL TOUR & NEW MUSIC..." 2010-04-13. Archived from the original on 2012-12-11. Retrieved 4 May 2009.
  18. ^ "APRIL: West Coast tour, new album news, Book Club CD". 2010-03-31. Archived from the original on 2012-12-09. Retrieved 4 May 2009.
  19. ^ Viggie and Vika Live in Iceland - YouTube
  20. ^ Levy, Piet (July 15, 2013). "Recently reunited Violent Femmes replaces founding drummer". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved July 15, 2013. Less than three weeks after the recently reunited alternative folk-rock band co-headlined the Marcus Amphitheater on Summerfest's opening night comes news that the band's lone Milwaukee resident, Victor DeLorenzo, is out of the group. He's been replaced by new drummer Brian Viglione of the Dresden Dolls, the cabaret rock act that features Amanda Palmer.
  21. ^ "VVN Music: Brian Viglione of the Dresden Dolls Joins the Violent Femmes". 2013-07-15. Retrieved 2013-07-16. Former Dresden Dolls drummer Brian Viglione is the new drummer for The Violent Femmes replacing Victor DeLorenzo who announced his departure today.
  22. ^ "Brian Viglione announces he's joined Violent Femmes". 2013-07-15. Retrieved 2013-07-15.
  23. ^ "Album LIES von Feline&Strange feat. Brian Viglione". 2015-03-30.
  24. ^ "Scarlet Sails announce debut EP". 2016-01-19.

External links[edit]