Charlie Zeleny

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Charlie Zeleny
Charlie Zeleny.jpg
Charlie Zeleny
Background information
Birth name Charles Thomas Zeleny
Also known as Charlie Z
Born (1981-09-18) September 18, 1981 (age 34)
Origin New Jersey, US
Genres Progressive rock, progressive metal, jazz fusion, pop, rock, jazz, hip hop
Occupation(s) Musician, drummer
Instruments Drums
Years active 1995–present
Associated acts Jordan Rudess, Terry Bozzio, Joe Lynn Turner, Behold... The Arctopus, Blotted Science, Suspyre, The Great Kat, Kristin Chenoweth, Outasight, XV, Gala, Rock of Ages

Charlie Zeleny is an American drummer, music director and producer most popular for his work playing duo with Jordan Rudess from Dream Theater and his drum duet work with Terry Bozzio for The Drum Channel. He also gained notoriety playing a nonstop 8-minute drum solo called "Drumageddon" while walking up and taking an elevator in a Brooklyn building, using drums placed in the building and parts of the building, in one continuous take. Zeleny has toured 39 US states, 19 countries and is on 70+ album releases and was an original member of progressive metal bands Blotted Science and Behold the Arctopus.

Early life[edit]

Zeleny was born September 18, 1981 in Northern New Jersey. Zeleny first entered the world of drumming through grammar school concert band when he was just 8 years old.[1] After taking jazz band and countless music courses in middle & high school, Zeleny graduated and moved on to Drew University, where he majored in music performance. In addition to his normal studies, Zeleny was the founder and head of Drew's jazz music department for the full 3 years of his higher education. During his time in college, Zeleny had the privilege to study under Tommy Igoe, Nick Scheuble and Joe Bergamini before being accepted to graduate school for jazz drumset performance at New York University. He did not attend but instead decided to become a professional musician.[2]

Professional music career[edit]

Since becoming involved in the music scene, Charlie Zeleny has toured 39 US states, and in 19 countries while working with countless musicians in numerous projects, many within a large variety of musical styles.[3] Unsatisfied to be contained in one genre of music, Zeleny has learned to accurately play many different styles as a versatile and working session drummer including pop, rock, jazz, fusion, progressive metal, hip hop, funk and R&B.[4]

In playing with such versatility, Zeleny has been able to perform with such acts as Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess, as well as classical violin & guitarist The Great Kat.[1] In addition, he has performed double drums with master drummer Terry Bozzio for The Drum Channel.[3] He also plays for Deep Purple and Rainbow's lead singer Joe Lynn Turner, Broadway & Glee Sony artist & Country Pop Star Kristin Chenoweth, Warner Bros. artist Outasight and has opened for such acts as The Blue Öyster Cult, Akon, Between the Buried and Me, and Bon Jovi in Puerto Rico.[5]

Besides his work as a session drummer, Zeleny was an original member of the group Behold...The Arctopus as well as internationally acclaimed band Blotted Science, featuring Ron Jarzombek of Spastic Ink and Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse.[5]

Current musical projects[edit]

Charlie Zeleny overlooking NYC Skyline after Drumageddon Drum Solo

In late 2011, Drummer Charlie Zeleny performed "Drumageddon" The Ultimate Drum Solo up an entire multi-floor building in Brooklyn NYC from the Street to Roof in one continuous take to launch his solo drumset career.

Zeleny played drums through multiple floors, hallways and up the freight elevator of the building without stopping using multiple 4 separate complete drumsets along with 5 Protools recording rigs. Stage hands dressed as different characters brought Zeleny to and from each drumset in the 8-minute Drum Solo video and a single HD camerman followed him up the building in one continuous shot.

The video garnered 18,000+ views within 2 weeks of uploading with viewers in 111 countries and is featured on 100 websites including New York Magazine, CNN, Wall Street Journal, Metal Hammer, Metal Injection, Metal Sucks, Rhythm Magazine, Rhythm Base, NME, Drummerzone, Rock Overdose, Spiked Nation, Voice (Finland), Whiplash (Brazil), Movook (Japan), Melodic Rock and many other news outlets.

In another project, Zeleny not only drums for, but is also the bandleader and music director for a large group, NYC-based Latin Band, featuring many of the biggest session musicians on the scene today. The band, named Cracked Latin, has been featured in People en Español, Aquarian Magazine, Radio Station WFMU and at Irving Plaza, Sullivan Hall and Iridium Jazz Club. Zeleny not only leads the band and plays drumset on the gigs but also scored the arrangements and produced a live album at Iridium Jazz Club in NYC.[6] The musicians used in the project are:

Charlie Zeleny Leading Large Latin Band at Iridium Jazz Club in NYC.
  • Bashiri Johnson on Percussion (Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston)
  • Gerardo Velez on Percussion (Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder)
  • Richie Cannata on Sax (Billy Joel, Celine Dion)
  • Brad Mason on Trumpet (John Mayer, Alicia Keys)
  • Fred Maxwell on Trumpet (Rolling Stones, The Police)
  • Clark Gayton on Trombone (Bruce Springsteen, Ray Charles)
  • Ryan Kemberle on Trombone (Rihanna, Mariah Carey)
  • Richie Goods on Bass (Christina Aguilera, Herbie Hancock)
  • Leo Traversa on Bass (Tania Maria, New York Voices)
  • Everett Bradley on Backing Vocals (Hall & Oates, Bon Jovi)
  • Mike Harvey on Backing Vocals (Seal, Sting)
  • Neal Coomer on Backing Vocals (Cyndi Lauper, Dolly Parton)
  • Oz Noy on Guitar (Toni Braxton, Chris Botti)
  • Doug Derryberry on Guitar (Bruce Hornsby, Sesame Street)
  • Matt Beck on Guitar (Rob Thomas, Rod Stewart)
  • Mark Soskin on Keys (Sonny Rollins, Billy Cobham)
  • Luis Accorsi on Lead Vocals
  • Lane Steinberg on Vocals/Guitar

Charlie Zeleny also led 30 of the top session musicians performing a variety of Rock, Funk, Jazz and Fusion tunes at The Bitter End on September 19, 2011 (the night after his birthday).

Charlie Zeleny at his 2011 Birthday Concert

The Charlie Z Birthday Concert Musicians were:

  • Bashiri Johnson on Percussion (Michael Jackson)
  • Karl Cochran on Guitar (Ace Freeley)
  • Nir Felder on Guitar (Stanley Clark)
  • Robbie Hoffman on Guitar (Extreme)
  • Oz Noy on Guitar (Chris Botti)
  • Eli Menezes on Guitar (Estelle)
  • Doug Derryberry on Guitar (Bruce Hornsby)
  • Suke Cerulo on Guitar (Schleigo)
  • Kiyanu Kim on Guitar (Gwen Stefani)
  • Paul Morris on Keys (Transiberian Orchestra)
  • Mark Soskin on Keys (Sonny Rollins)
  • Jesse Gibbon on Keys (Schleigo)
  • Benny Harrison on Keys (Springsteen)
  • Richard Maheux on Keys (Rihanna)
Charlie Zeleny plays with Richie Cannata, Brad Mason & Fred Maxwell at his Birthday Concert.
  • Richie Goods on Bass (Headhunters)
  • Jon Price on Bass (Van Davis)
  • Keith Golden on Bass (Eminem)
  • Tom Welsch on Bass (Julian Lennon)
  • Ivan Bodley on Bass (Sam Moore)
  • Fred Maxwell on Trumpet (Rolling Stones)
  • Don Harris on Trumpet (Tower of Power)
  • Brad Mason on Trumpet (John Mayer)
  • Mike Fahn on Trombone (Brecker Brothers)
  • Kevin Neal on Trombone (Carole King)
  • Richie Cannata on Sax (Billy Joel)
  • Brandon Wright on Sax (Chuck Mangioni)
  • Jimmy Kunes on Vocals (Cactus)
  • Chandler Mogul on Vocals (Outloud)
  • Michael Schmidt on Vocals (Beautiful Day)
  • Deana Dee on Vocals (Heartless)

Other credits[edit]

Charlie Z Live in action

In his non-studio career, Zeleny has been seen and heard on MTV, VH1, E!, XM & Sirius Satellite Radio, Oxygen TV, The View, AOL Sessions, The CBS Morning Show, WPIX, NFL Network, on Tone Maker DJ Ringtone Creator featuring Method Man and Cee Lo Green and on various major label projects on Sony Music and Warner Bros. Records like hiphop artist XV.

In live performances, he has played such venues as Irving Plaza,[7] Lincoln Center,[8] Iridium Jazz Club, and a New York Jets half time show with the Broadway act Rock of Ages at New Meadowlands Stadium (formerly Giants Stadium) for 82,500 fans.

He has also played The Bowery Ballroom, Six Flags Mainstage, Avatar Recording Studios, Sony Music Studios, Highline Ballroom, Cove City Sound Studios, BB Kings Jazz & Blues Club and The Knitting Factory NYC & LA among many others. He's performed at and has been a featured artist at endorser signings at the NAMM Show in California[1] and has played radio station Z100's Zootopia Concert at the Izod Center.

Zeleny is featured as a member of the Sick Drummer Magazine "Hall of Fame" and also in Blender Magazine as "One of the Best Drummers of All Time".[9]

As of December 7, 2011, Zeleny's official YouTube page has over 1,700 subscribers, 38,500+ channel views and has received over 900,000 total views since being established, offering live performances as well as drum training videos for those willing to learn.[3]


Zeleny is an endorser of Pearl_Drums, Paiste cymbals, Evans Drumheads, Vic Firth sticks, Rhythm Tech percussion, Protection Racket bags, Audix drum mics, Hansenfutz practice pedals, Onboard Research Beatnik practice pads, Duallist pedals, Presonus preamps, DRM EARZ in-ear monitors, Ddrum triggers, Drumageddon Productions, Evil Dog Films, Three Egg Studios, Universal Live Audio Video, Connector Entertainment Group and Cablesmith.

Charlie Z's 2011 Drumset Setup
  • Drums: Pearl_Drums
    • 22" x 17.5" Kick Drum
    • 8" x 7" Tom
    • 10" x 8" Tom
    • 12" x 9" Tom
    • 14" x 14" Floor Tom
    • 16" x 16" Floor Tom
    • 14" x 12" Left Side Floor Tom
    • 12" x 5" Aux Snare
    • 14" x 5" Main Snare: Artist Series Steel Black
    • 6" Rototom
    • 8" Rototom
    • 10" Rototom
Front View of Charlie Z's Drumkit
    • 18" Paiste Rude China
    • 20" Paiste Dark Energy Dark Dry Ride
    • 10" Paiste Rude Splash on top of:
    • 10" Paiste PST Splash Hihat
    • 16" Paiste Dark Energy Crash
    • 8" Paiste Signature Splash
    • 6" Paiste Accent Bell on top of:
    • 18" Paiste Twenty Thin Crash
    • 13" Paiste Signature Dark Crisp Hihats
    • 10" Paiste Signature Splash
    • 17" Paiste Signature Reflector Crash
    • 13" Paiste Signature Mega Cup Chime
    • 6" Paiste 2002 Cup Chime on top of:
    • 12"/14"/14" Paiste Noiseworks Tripple Raw Smash
    • 12" Paiste Signature Flanger Bell
    • 19" Paiste Signature Reflector Crash
    • 8" Paiste Twenty Splash on top of:
    • 17" Paiste Twenty Thin Crash
Charlie Zeleny behind drumset in studio.
    • 18" Paiste Dark Energy Crash
    • 22" Paiste Signature Dark Metal Ride
    • 21" Paiste Dark Energy Light Dark Ride
    • 18" Paiste Signature Reflector China
    • 14" Paiste Signature Soundedge Hihats
    • 20" Paiste Twenty China
  • Drumheads: Evans[11]
    • G2 Clear Heads on Toms
    • HD Dry Head on Snares
    • EMAD Head on Kick
  • Drumsticks: Vic Firth[12]
    • 5A Drumsticks weighted on the heavy side for power and versatility
  • Pedals: DW 5000AD3s, Sonor Giant Step & Duallist Pedals
    • Plastic side of beater for more attack and volume

Discography (partial)[edit]

Charlie Zeleny with Terry Bozzio at Drum Channel in CA.


  • Jurgen Blackmore "JR Blackmore & Friends" JR Records 2011
  • Behold the Arctopus “Skullgrid” 2007 Black Market Activities/Metal Blade Records
  • Blotted Science “Machinations of Dementia” 2007 Eclectic Electric
  • Shannon Corey “Unsaid” 2007 Motherwest Records
  • Behold the Arctopus “Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning+” 2006 BMA/Metal Blade
  • Behold the Arctopus “Orthrealm Split” 2005 Troubleman Unlimited
  • Behold the Arctopus “Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning” 2005 Troubleman
  • Thing One “Miles from the Road” 2005 Rhythm Method Records
  • Ken Rubenstein “Invert and Transcend” 2005 Inverted Music
  • Steve Salerno Jazz Quartet “self-titled” 2004 Steve Salerno Jazz
  • Jay Hansen “Within this Process of Adaptation” Anonymously Known Records 2004
  • Behold the Arctopus “Alcoholocaust Now…Warmaggedeon Later” 2004 Epicine Sound
Charlie Zeleny & Jordan Rudess Duo signing at AIRS in Japan.
  • Kayo Dot "Blue Lambency Downward" 2008 Hydrahead Records
  • Suspyre "When Time Fades..." 2008 Sensory Records
  • Anuryzm "All Is Not For All" 2015 Melodic Revolution Records


  • Charlie Zeleny "Drumageddon" Drum Solo 2011
  • Charlie Zeleny & Terry Bozzio Drum Duets & Interview The Drum Channel 2011
  • Kristin Chenoweth Live on The View 2011
  • Kristin Chenoweth on AOL Sessions 2011
  • Jordan Rudess/Charlie Zeleny Duo Roland Sound Spark Live 2007
  • Jordan Rudess/Charlie Zeleny Duo Roland Factory Promo Video 2007
  • Telling on Trixie “Halfway Back to Sane” Music Video 2007
  • Shannon Corey Canal Room CD Release Party for “Unsaid” 2007
  • Behold the Arctopus Live at the Hi-Tone: Memphis TN; SLAP! Productions 2007
  • Jordan Rudess Online Conservatory Drum Instruction Series “Drumset Core Course” 2006[13]
  • Jordan Rudess Online Conservatory "Extreme Drum Solo Mastery Satellite Course" 2008[13]


Charlie Zeleny live shot.