Joe Crabtree

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Joe Crabtree
Drummer Joe Crabtree in concert.jpg
Joe Crabtree with Wishbone Ash
Background information
Birth nameJoseph Crabtree
BornBurnley, England, United Kingdom
GenresRock, alternative, jazz, funk
Occupation(s)Musician, arranger, producer
InstrumentsDrums, percussion, guitar, bass, flute
Years active1990s–present
Associated actsWishbone Ash, Pendragon, the David Cross Band, Mick McConnell, Bedspace, Elena, Upsetta
WebsiteOfficial website, Online Drum School

Joe Crabtree is a British drummer. He is a current member of Wishbone Ash and is also known for his work with Pendragon and the David Cross Band.[1]

Early life[edit]

Crabtree began his drumming career at age 11 studying with a local self-taught drummer, Harry Hindle. It was while studying with Hindle that Crabtree was first introduced to the drumming of Dave Weckl via his instructional video The Next Step. Crabtree cites this as a defining moment in his understanding of what was possible on the drums.[2]

He started playing live shows at age 14, and began teaching drums to local drummers at age 15. Having taken up guitar at age 12, he also taught guitar to beginner students for a number of years.[2]

While studying physics at Durham University between 1998 and 2000, Crabtree wrote and recorded with original band Breakmaus. Breakmaus recorded two self-released albums, That White Door and Arrested, and made an appearance on Sky TV on the show Where It's At. Crabtree also played with many cover bands, small jazz bands, and the university big band while studying at Durham.[2]

Moving to London in 2004, Crabtree continued his drum studies with London musician Bob Armstrong, whose former students include Oasis's Alan White, and The Who's Zak Starkey (also the son of Ringo Starr from The Beatles).[2]

Professional career[edit]

After moving to London in 2004, Crabtree played and recorded with numerous original bands, including a stint with Goldie co-writer Tim Philbert's original project Upsetta.

In 2005, Crabtree joined former King Crimson member David Cross in the David Cross Band,[3] which toured Japan, Italy and the UK resulting in the recording of Alive in the Underworld.[4]

Bass player Mick Paul recommended Crabtree to Colosseum guitarist James Litherland to play with 1970s folk band Jade for a reunion show.

Litherland in turn passed Crabtree's name to Sunshine of Your Love lyricist Pete Brown, who then recommended Crabtree for the Xanda Howe band. In 2006, Crabtree joined Xanda Howe for a short tour along with Malcolm Bruce (son of Jack Bruce), with whom he later recorded.

Also between 2006 and 2008, Crabtree became a member of Pendragon and completed two European tours, appearing on the DVDs And Now Everybody to the Stage and Jewel - Past and Presence.

Wishbone Ash[edit]

Crabtree performing on tour with Wishbone Ash.

Crabtree joined Wishbone Ash in 2007[3] for the Power Of Eternity album and subsequent tour, replacing previous drummer Ray Weston.

He co-wrote songs on the Elegant Stealth and Blue Horizon albums, the latter of which he co-produced and contributed a guitar solo to the song "Take It Back".

He appears on the live DVDs Live in London, Live in Paris, and the rockumentary This Is Wishbone Ash[5] as well as the live albums Argus Live, recorded live for Sirius XM radio, and the Roadworks series of releases.

As of 2017, Crabtree has played over 1,000 shows with Wishbone Ash in 29 countries, including an arena tour of South Africa along with Deep Purple and Uriah Heep.


Having taught private students for many years, Crabtree began a short stint teaching at the Academy of Contemporary Music before having to leave in 2007 when the Wishbone Ash touring schedule coincided with term time.

Inspired by how much he learned from DCI music videos, Crabtree set up an online drum school,, in 2006. The school has attracted more than 2,000 students, and his YouTube channel of drum lessons has garnered more than 5 million views.[6] Outside of his own channels, Crabtree creates educational videos for the drumstick manufacturer Vic Firth's website.[7]

Crabtree also contributes articles to Modern Drummer and provides regular "Joe Knows" columns to Drumhead Magazine.

Software development[edit]

Crabtree also creates musical software for Mac and PC, including RhythMachine, OctopuSequencer, Pyramid and PolyNome - The Ultimate Practice Tool for iOS.[8]


Wishbone Ash[edit]

Wishbone Ash Discography






David Cross Band[edit]



Crabtree uses and endorses Sonor drums, Evans drum heads, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, Porter and Davies drum thrones, Sensaphonics in ear monitors and Tunerfish Lug Locks.[9]


  1. ^ Doolan, Susan (9 September 2015). "Wishbone Ash formed in 1969; playing Violet's Venue in Barrie on Sept. 18". The Barrie Examiner. Retrieved 20 March 2017. Joe Crabtree, the newest member, joined Wishbone Ash in 2007. The drummer has a range of styles that includes progressive rock to jazz. He has performed with Pendragon (and still does) as well as David Cross of King Crimson. He also has a degree in physics and in his free time, develops iPhone apps for musicians.
  2. ^ a b c d Mover, Jonathan (March–April 2014). "A Wish Come True". Drumhead. Los Angeles, California.
  3. ^ a b "Wishbone Ash". Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  4. ^ "David Cross Band - Alive in the Underground". Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  5. ^ Prince, Patrick (24 March 2011). "Wishbone Ash to tour US in support of new DVD". Goldmine. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Joe Crabtree's Drum Lessons". YouTube. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  7. ^ "Joe Crabtree Lesson Series". Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  8. ^ "Software For Drummers!". Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  9. ^ "Joe Crabtree | Drummer, Educator, Developer". Retrieved 20 March 2017.