Danny Carey

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Danny Carey
Danny Carey on stage with Tool in 2019.
Danny Carey on stage with Tool in 2019.
Background information
Birth nameDaniel Edwin Carey
Born (1961-05-10) May 10, 1961 (age 59)
Lawrence, Kansas, U.S.
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • Drums
  • percussion
  • tabla
  • guitar
  • bass
  • synthesizer
Associated acts

Daniel Edwin Carey (born May 10, 1961) is an American musician and songwriter. He is the drummer for the American rock band Tool. He has also contributed to albums by artists such as Zaum, Green Jellö, Pigface, Skinny Puppy, Adrian Belew, Carole King, Collide, Meat Puppets, Lusk, and the Melvins.

He was ranked among the 100 greatest drummers of all time by Rolling Stone magazine, occupying the 26th position,[1] in addition to being frequently considered by other magazines.[2][3][4][5]


Born in Lawrence, Kansas, Carey's first encounter with the drums began at the age of ten by joining the school band and taking private lessons on the snare drum.[6] Two years later, Carey began to practice on a drum set. In his senior year of high school in Paola, Kansas, Carey joined the high school jazz band. Jazz would later play a huge role in his signature approach to the drum set in a rock setting. As Carey progressed through high school and later college at the University of Missouri–Kansas City, he began expanding his studies in percussion with theory into the principles of geometry, science, and metaphysics as well as delving into the occult. [7] Carey also played jazz while attending college and got to experience the jazz scene in Kansas City.

After college, a friend and bandmate convinced Carey to leave Kansas for Portland, Oregon, where he played briefly in various bands before moving to Los Angeles, where he was able to perform as a studio drummer with Carole King and perform live sets with Pigmy Love Circus. He also played in Green Jellö as Danny Longlegs and recorded the album Cereal Killer. He would later find his way to Tool after coming to know singer Maynard James Keenan and guitarist Adam Jones and practicing with them in place of drummers the two had requested but had never shown up. Besides Tool, Carey also finds time for other projects new and old such as Legend of the Seagullmen, Pigmy Love Circus, Volto!, and Zaum.


Danny Carey uses the wood tip version of his own signature model of drumstick made by Vic Firth.[8] He previously had endorsed a signature model with Trueline Drumsticks (now Trueline's Tribal Assault model).[9] Carey also uses Sonor drums, Paiste cymbals, Evans Drumheads, Hammerax, and electronic devices such as Mandala, Korg and Roland.

Paiste and Jeff Ocheltree (noted drumtech for Billy Cobham, John Bonham, Lenny White, etc) teamed up in the late 90s to develop an entire drumset made out of recycle cymbals. The final product was a melted down Paiste's Signature bronze custom cast cymbals.[10][11] Danny Carey used the kit during the Lateralus 2002 tour and during some drum clinics through the years.

Only three versions of this kit were ever created. Two are owned by Danny Carey and Carl Palmer and other one is located in Paiste's Switzerland headquarters.

At Winter NAMM 2009 Sonor released a Danny Carey signature snare drum, which is a 1 mm thick bronze 14x8" snare with laser etched talisman symbols and his signature engraved around the vent hole.[12]

In 2016 Paiste released a Danny Carey signature ride cymbal called "Dry Heavy Ride - Monad" based on their discontinued model that Carey always used since a Paiste artist. The cymbal has a purple color and sigils printed on. It is named "Monad" because the main print is an esoteric glyph from John Dee.[13]

During 2019, builder Alan Van Kleef from VK Drums was contacted by Carey to create a drum kit and a snare drum. After much debate Alan developed the set called "Monad",[14] made by hand in Sheffield, England. Shortly after the completion of the Monad set, It was announced that a snare drum replica called "7empest" (after Tool's grammy award winning song) would be made available as part of a limited collection of 33 individual pieces. At the same time that the 7empest snare was launched, Alan was also developing the first complete 7empest drum set. Like the snare, the 7empest drums is a Monad replica in almost every way, except for the engravings.[15][16]

Drumming techniques[edit]

Carey in 2009

Carey's popularity among drummers and non-drummers alike stems from the diversity of his sound and dynamics through his years of learning jazz music, his technical ability, frequent use of odd time signatures, polyrhythms and polymeters. He has stated in interviews that he effectively treats his feet as he does his hands: he practices rudiments (used for sticking techniques) and even snare drum solos with his feet to improve his double bass drumming, hi-hat control and foot independence.

In search of new techniques, Carey has studied tabla with Aloke Dutta, who can be heard playing on the live version of the song "Pushit" (from Salival). This is especially apparent on tracks such as "Disposition" (Lateralus) or "Right in Two" (10,000 Days), for which Carey has recorded the tabla parts himself in the studio. The tabla (and other percussive instruments) used in Tool's music are replicated live using the Mandala pads (in fact the pads are also used when recording in the studio, a notable example being the tabla solo of "Right in Two" from 10,000 Days).

He has also stated that when he is playing to an odd time signature, he tries to drum to the "feel" of the song and establish general "inner pulse" for the given time signature instead of fully counting it out.

Carey has been featured in many drum and music magazines.[17]

Geometric designs[edit]

Carey has laid claim to various drumming techniques that use sacred geometric figures such as the unicursal hexagram. The final product is very recognizable, fluent drumming, although to him it is much more: the official Tool website claims that Danny uses drumming as a ritual similar to occult rituals,[18] with purposes varying from spiritual exploration to "a gateway [which] summoned a daemon he has contained...that has been delivering short parables similar to passages within The Book of Lies". Another geometric reference from the website was the inclusion of Nothing in This Book Is True, But It's Exactly How Things Are by Bob Frissell[19] on the band's recommended reading list, a book that deals with sacred geometry and the evolution of human consciousness.[20]

Side projects and other musical endeavors[edit]

In his time away from Tool, Carey has contributed (and still regularly does) to a vast number of projects:


  1. ^ "Rolling Stone - 100 Greatest Drummers of All Time".
  2. ^ "Modern Drummer - 50 Greatest Drummers of All Time".
  3. ^ "Loudwire - Top 66 Hard and Metal Drummers of All Time".
  4. ^ "Ranker - Best Drummers of All Time".
  5. ^ "MusicRadar - The 7 Best Prog Drummers in the World Right Now".
  6. ^ Mahaffey, Joel (August 6, 2001). "The Tool Page: Danny Carey Biography". The Tool Page (t.d.n).
  7. ^ "Tool's Danny Carey on New Album, Sacred Geometry, Being Band's "Enforcer"". August 15, 2019.
  8. ^ "Vic Firth". vicfirth.com.
  9. ^ "Trueline Drumsticks". truelinedrumsticks.com. Retrieved October 9, 2012.
  10. ^ "Danny Carey Paiste Signature Bronze Custom Cast".
  11. ^ "Carey's Paiste Signature Bronze Custom Cast".
  12. ^ "Danny Carey's Sonor Snare". musicradar.com.
  13. ^ "Paiste Monad Dry Heavy Ride".
  14. ^ "Danny Carey Monad Set".
  15. ^ "VK Drums 7empest Danny Carey Drum Kit".
  16. ^ "VK Drums 7empest Danny Carey Signature Snare Drum".
  17. ^ "Danny Carey: Artists: Modern Drummer Magazine". Moderndrummer.com. Archived from the original on September 13, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
  18. ^ "Official Tool website – Danny Carey's personal profile". Toolband.com. Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
  19. ^ "Bob Frissell's home page". Bobfrissell.com. October 1, 2011. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
  20. ^ "Fall 1994 newsletter". Toolshed.down.net. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
  21. ^ "Tool Drummer Danny Carey to Release Album With New Project Volto!". Loudwire.com. May 31, 2013.
  22. ^ Geist, Brandon (November 17, 2011). "Exclusive: Feersum Ennjin Premiere "The Fourth," Featuring Tool's Danny Carey". Revolver Magazine. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved October 9, 2012.
  23. ^ Amit Sharma (January 9, 2018). "Danny Carey: "It's a sad thing when almost every band you see is keeping time to clicks and backing tracks"". Musicradar.com. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
  24. ^ Jordan Blum (February 7, 2018). "Album Review: LEGEND OF THE SEAGULLMEN Legend of the Seagullmen". Metalinjection.net. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
  25. ^ Calum Slingerland, "Daniel Romano's Outfit Share New Song with Tool's Danny Carey". Exclaim!, May 6, 2020.

External links[edit]