Charley Drayton

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Charley Drayton
Charley Drayton and Chrissy Amphlett.jpg
Charley Drayton (left) Chrissy Amphlett (right) on stage with Divinyls
Background information
Birth name Charles Leslie Drayton
Born (1965-05-09) May 9, 1965 (age 51)[1]
Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Instruments drums, bass guitar
Years active 1973-present
Associated acts X-pensive Winos, The Cult, Divinyls, Cold Chisel, The Dead Daisies

Charley Drayton (born May 9, 1965)[1] is an American multi-instrumentalist and producer, known primarily for his pioneering work on drums.

He was a child prodigy who first recorded as a drummer at age eight and began touring professionally at fourteen.

Drayton is responsible for one of the most famous drum tracks in pop, playing the infectious beat on The B-52's "Love Shack".

Keith Richards describes Drayton as one of his all-time favorite drummers.[2]

Charley played bass guitar alongside Neil Young, featuring in the legendary September 30, 1989 Saturday Night Live performance of Rockin in the Free World[3]

In 2012 he co-produced Fiona Apple's grammy nominated album The Idler Wheel...

Charley played with Australian rock band Divinyls from 1991–2008. He married Divinyls front woman Chrissy Amphlett on July 27, 1999. Amphlett died on April 21, 2013 after a long battle with breast cancer.

Career highlights[edit]

In 1985, Drayton contributed percussion work on the Rolling Stones' album Dirty Work, which led Keith Richards to ask him to become a founding member of his side project X-pensive Winos in 1987. As bassist, Drayton toured and recorded with Richards and the Winos until December 1992, and played on their albums Talk Is Cheap and Main Offender, and the live album and video Live at the Hollywood Palladium, December 15, 1988.[4]

Drayton's other credits include work with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Johnny Cash, Chaka Khan, Mariah Carey, Seal, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, Janet Jackson, Courtney Love, Michelle Branch, Andrés Calamaro, and many others.[5]

He played bass guitar on The Cult's 1991 album Ceremony.[6]

He played drums on two albums for Australian band Divinyls: 1991's Divinyls and 1996's Underworld (which he also produced), the band's last album before their hiatus in late 1996. In 1999, Drayton married Divinyls' lead singer Chrissy Amphlett and the couple lived in New York City. In 2007, Divinyls reformed and Drayton played drums in their touring band and in their new recording sessions, also producing the band's new album.[7] Amphlett died of complications from breast cancer and multiple sclerosis on April 21, 2013.

in 2008 and 2009 he recorded and toured with Paul Simon. In 2010 he toured with Simon & Garfunkel. Paul Simon said "Charley's the heart of the band and I'm very grateful that I have him. He comes in prepared, real serious and he’s a delight.He’s an all around great musician and a fine, fine drummer."

Drayton co-produced and played various instruments on Fiona Apple's album The Idler Wheel..., released in June 2012.[8]

He has been recording and touring with Australian rock band Cold Chisel since 2011, following the death of original drummer Steve Prestwich

In 2015 he played drums on French chart topper Johnny Hallyday's album De L'Amour, as well as on the number two charting album by Japanese artist Kazuyoshi Saito.

Musical family[edit]

Drayton was born in Brooklyn, New York City to a musical family: his grandfather, Charlie Drayton (né Charles H. Drayton; 1919–1953), a bassist, had performed and recorded with many jazz greats, notably Benny Carter, Ben Webster, Billy Holliday, Coleman Hawkins, Woody Herman, Jack Teagarden, Louis Armstrong, and Fletcher Henderson. His father, Bernard Drayton, was a prolific studio audio engineer and producer. Bernard was the audio engineer for John Coltrane's last recording, The Olatunji Concert: The Last Live Recording.


  1. ^ a b United States Public Record Number 60804371
  2. ^, retrieved 2016-01-12  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "Neil Young - Keep On Rockin' In The Free World - Video Dailymotion". Dailymotion. Retrieved 2016-01-12. 
  4. ^ Bockris, Victor (2003). Keith Richards: The Biography. New York: Da Capo Press. p. 394. ISBN 0-306-81278-9. 
  5. ^ Charley Drayton: Playing Both Sides of the Rhythm Section, Yamaha Access All Areas, Winter 2005.
  6. ^ The Cult Discography: Ceremony, The Cult.
  7. ^ Divinyls News, Divinyls.
  8. ^ [1], Rolling Stone