Charlie Adams (drummer)

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Charlie Adams
Charlie Adams (drummer).JPG
Background information
Born (1954-05-08) May 8, 1954 (age 61)
Joliet, Illinois, United States
Instruments Drums
Drum engineer
Years active 1975–present
Associated acts Chameleon
United States Air Force Heritage of America Band
Dugan McNeill
Bradley Joseph

Charlie Adams is an American drummer, percussionist, drum engineer, composer, music producer, and film producer. He formed the rock band Chameleon in the 1980s, and was known for his revolving, upside-down drum set. He has been drum lead for Yanni through nine major concert tours. The two have recorded 15 albums, some reaching multi-platinum status; and their music has been used in soundtracks of various films, television, and televised sporting events. Adams is widely recognized for his drum solos and is featured in the concert films Live at the Acropolis, Live at Royal Albert Hall, Yanni Live! The Concert Event, and Yanni Voices.

He has recorded with Dugan McNeill and Bradley Joseph, and has played for the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band. He gives motivational talks and seminars, conducts drum clinics, and provides private lessons, a few of whom have included Jimmy Chamberlin of the Smashing Pumpkins and Billy Mason, drummer for Tim McGraw. He also runs an on-line music store. In 2004 he produced an autobiographical video about his career and family, focusing on his two sons with autism.


Charlie Adams was born in Joliet, Illinois.[1][2]


Band members of Chameleon included Adams on drums, vocals, and percussion; Yanni on keyboards and synthesizers; Dugan McNeill on lead vocals and bass guitars; Johnny Donaldson on all guitars; and Mark Anthony on lead vocals and keyboards.[3] Their albums included Chameleon, Techno-color, Hologram Sky, and Balance.[3]


In 1987, Yanni was putting together his first touring band to promote his album Out of Silence, as well as selections from Keys to Imagination. This early band included Yanni, John Tesh and Joyce Imbesi on keyboards, and Adams on drums.[4] Adams is widely recognized for his drum solo on the Live at the Acropolis concert film.[5] He is also featured in the Live at Royal Albert Hall released in 1995. Adams reunited with Yanni for the 2003/2004 Ethnicity concert tour.[6] In a 2003 concert review by Melonee McKinney of the The Tennessean, she states, "Nashvillian Charlie Adams, who has played with Yanni for more than 20 years, stepped away from his massive drum rig at the back of the stage and came stage front to sit behind a stripped-down basic drum kit and after a few comical exchanges with Yanni, kicked into one of live music's tightest, most impressive drum solos that brought the crowd to its feet. Twice."[7] During the 2004/2005 tour, Yanni Live! The Concert Event was recorded and later released in 2006.

In a 2004 interview with Chip Ritter, Adams was asked to point out which shows stood out in his mind in the last 25+ years. Adams replied, "Obviously the most exciting one for me was Live at the Acropolis. Playing in front of over 10,000 people every night, right below the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. The thing that made it so exciting was it was the first time for Yanni to be playing at home in front of his fellow Greek citizens it made you feel warm in the heart for him. And also I was playing a drum solo in front of a majority of people who did not speak English yet responded to my drums, I really felt that the drums communicated with them, you know. Like drumming and music is in fact an international language. A great experience that will stay with me the rest of my life."[8]

Continued career[edit]

Adams has played with the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band. He is credited for percussion on the album In The Velvet Night by Dugan McNeill. He is also credited on the albums Hear the Masses and Rapture by Bradley Joseph, a long-time bandmate and keyboardist for Yanni. Two of his more well-known students as a drum teacher are Jimmy Chamberlin (Smashing Pumpkins),[9] and Billy Mason (Tim McGraw). He also runs an on-line music store and owns a 24-track digital recording studio, Adams Apple Studio, in Nashville, TN.


In 2004 Adams partnered with the Autism Society of America (ASA) to increase autism "awareness".[10] As part of this effort he published an autobiographical video Charlie Adams, Stories and Solos: Life's Journey Through Music, Family and Autism.[11] Adams later began co-producing a full-length feature film project entitled Jason's Run, intended to portray the life of an autistic character.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Official bio". Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  2. ^ "Bio at the City of Joliet website". Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  3. ^ a b "Chameleon". Archived from the original on 2009-10-24. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  4. ^ Yanni; Rensin, David (2002). Yanni in Words. Miramax Books. p. 123. ISBN 1-4013-5194-8. 
  5. ^ "Profile at Drum Solo Artist". Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  6. ^ Yanni Newsletter: Fall 2003; volume 8 number 2. 2003. 
  7. ^ McKinney, Melonee (2003-03-13). "New age icon Yanni keeps focus on the music". The Tennessean ( 
  8. ^ "2004 Interview with Chip Ritter". Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  9. ^ Bekkala, Steve. "Jimmy Chamberlin > Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-09-06. 
  10. ^ "Autism society joins forces with Yanni drummer Charlie Adams to increase awareness and education reach" (Press release). 2004-04-15. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  11. ^ "Yanni's drummer Charlie Adams launches DVD – Life's Journey Through Music, Family & Autism" (Press release). 2004-07-07. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  12. ^ "Charlie Adams and the movie Jason’s Run". 2008-06-08. Archived from the original on March 15, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 

External links[edit]