Thomas Pridgen

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Thomas Pridgen
Thomas Pridgen.JPG
Thomas Pridgen performing in St. Paul, MN with The Mars Volta in 2008
Background information
Birth nameThomas Armon Pridgen
Also known as"Thomas 'Perpetual Solo' Pridgen"[1]
Born (1983-11-23) November 23, 1983 (age 36)
OriginEl Cerrito, California, United States
GenresJazz, gospel, experimental, fusion, progressive rock, hard rock, hardcore punk
Years active1999-present
Associated actsResidente, The Memorials, The Mars Volta, Christian Scott, Wicked Wisdom, Keyshia Cole, Giraffe Tongue Orchestra, Trash Talk, Pinnick Gales Pridgen, Suicidal Tendencies, Chiodos, Eros Ramazzotti, Thundercat

Thomas Armon Pridgen (born November 23, 1983, Alameda County, California, United States) is an American drummer, best known for his role as the drummer of The Mars Volta from October 2006 until October 2009. He is currently touring with rapper Residente and is the drummer for his own project The Memorials.


Pridgen won the Guitar Center Drum-Off at age 9 and at age 10 was the youngest recipient for a Zildjian endorsement in the nearly 40-year history of the company. Pridgen is also naturally left-handed, but plays the drum kit as if he is a right-hander with his kit set-up right-handed. Thomas has studied with David Garibaldi, Walfredo Reyes, Sr., Troy Lucketta, and Curtis Nutall. He endorses DW Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Evans Drumheads, Audix Microphones, and Zildjian Drumsticks (as of 2017). Thomas was also the recipient of a 4-year scholarship to Berklee College of Music in 1999 at the age of 15; he was the youngest musician to ever receive this scholarship.[2] He has played in clinics with Walfredo Reyes, Jr. and Dennis Chambers. By his teenage years he had already done studio sessions with many Bay Area Gospel artists.

Thomas's first non-gospel touring experience was as the drummer for The Coup, who he worked with in 2001 and 2002.[3]

In 2006, Pridgen received a call from Omar Rodríguez-López of The Mars Volta:

In 2007, Pridgen became the new permanent drummer for The Mars Volta. Pridgen's first appearance was at the March 12th show in New Zealand, where the band debuted the song "Idle Tooth" which was later renamed "Wax Simulacra" for the forthcoming album. After shows in New Zealand and Australia, The Mars Volta toured a few West Coast venues as the headliner, then entered the studio to record their fourth LP, The Bedlam in Goliath.[5] Pridgen's style on Bedlam in Goliath used "blistering 32nd-note full-set combinations, stunning single-stroke rolls, and blazing single bass drum patterns"[4] along with creative and precise paradiddle technique.

Thomas Pridgen has been voted as Best Up and Coming Drummer by Modern Drummer magazine.

Besides his work with The Mars Volta, he has also been involved with Christian Scott and Wicked Wisdom. Thomas, for some time, was working with singer Keyshia Cole as her live and session drummer and being her music director. He also was featured alongside Tony Royster Jr., Eric Moore, and others in drumming DVD entitled "Shed Sessions", a Gospel Chops DVD.

Thomas was also featured on the Modern Drummer 2008 DVD with footage from his performance at the festival.

On one of the last dates of the Bedlam Tour in Mexico, Thomas and the band 'wrecked' the kit and cracked the 20"x24" acrylic bass drum. After this Thomas was seen only using DW maple jazz kits live, but he now uses his Acrylic kit again with his new band The Memorials.

Best alternative drummer by Modern Drummer 2012 Readers Poll.

While not on tour or recording sessions, Thomas is also available for drum lessons mainly in San Francisco Bay Area.

Part ways with The Mars Volta (2009)[edit]

In October 2009, Thomas Pridgen left The Mars Volta. To this day, the band has made no official statement as to the reason for the departure. Dave Elitch subsequently filled in the drummer position for the remainder of the tour, who was then replaced by Deantoni Parks.

On 14 October 2013, Mars Volta bassist Juan Alderete said on the podcast Let There Be Talk, that "He's an amazing drummer, just not a mature dude. […][6] One night, he got super wasted, peed on the bus, started fighting with Cedric […]."[7]

The Memorials (December, 2009)[edit]

In December 2009, Thomas Pridgen formed another band called The Memorials with friends and former students from Berklee College of Music - Viveca Hawkins (vocals) and Nick Brewer (guitars).

The band's self-titled debut was released on January 18, 2011.

Played mainly US west coast in 2010. Roaded the US on the Freedom Tour (1st trimester 2011), Equinox Tour (2nd trimester 2011), now summer 2012 Waterguns, Bar B.Q. & Hot Chocolate Tour.

Elixir on Mute (2010)[edit]

By invitation of Elixir on Mute's headman Jordan Ferreira, Thomas Pridgen took part in the recording of the band's debut End of Sky (released September 1[clarification needed] 2010).

November 10, 2011, the band had decided upon a name, Giraffe Tongue Orchestra. By then the supergroup was working on writing songs.[8]

In January 2012, it was announced that fellow former The Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore replaced Thomas Pridgen in Giraffe Tongue Orchestra,[9] though by March 2015, Pridgen once again became the drummer of GTO.[10]

The Memorials (Delirium), TEN (Eric McFadden), Vigilant (Jon Reshard), Thundercat (Stephen Bruner), Elixir On Mute (Jordan Ferreira), Wicked Evolution (Jada Pinkett Smith) (2012)[edit]

The Memorials

Still working on his personal project The Memorials. Second album, Delirium, released on June 5, 2012. The track "Fluorescent's Unforgiving" was released via Soundcloud in November 2011. Going on another US tour with the band (summer 2012).


Spring of 2012, teamed up with guitarist, Eric McFadden (P-Funk, The Animals, Stockholm Syndrome), and Fishbone bassist, Norwood Fisher. phYne Entertainment produced five tracks for the new trio in a San Francisco studio. The project is called, TEN, as there is talk of a tour in the Fall.


Recording album with Jon Reshard, Chloe Pappas, Jordan Ferreira. Work to be released in 2012.


Guest live drummer in support of Stephen Bruner's project Thundercat. Toured all over Europe in spring 2012.

Wicked Evolution

Took part in Wicked Evolution Jada Pinkett Smith's Live Recorded Sessions.

European tour with The Memorials

After completing 3 tours (Freedom Tour, Equinox Tour, Waterguns, B B Q, & Hot Chocolate Tour) over the United States with The Memorials, the band are preparing for a European tour to launch in October 2012.

Pinnick Gales Pridgen

On 12 February 2013, Magna Carta released the Mike Varney-produced "Pinnick Gales Pridgen," featuring Eric Gales on guitar and vocals, dUg Pinnick (of King's X) on bass and vocals, and Pridgen on drums. The 13-track album features one cover song, "Sunshine of Your Love", originally by Cream, one short instrumental based on Ludwig van Beethoven's "Für Elise", and the remaining songs written by some combination of Pinnick, Gales, Pridgen and Varney.[11]

Suicidal Tendencies, Chiodos (2014)[edit]

On March 11, 2014, Pridgen confirmed on his Instagram and Facebook page that he has joined Suicidal Tendencies.[12] On September 3, Pridgen along with Joseph Troy have joined Chiodos after members Derrick Frost and Matt Goddard left the band.[13]

Giraffe Tongue Orchestra (2011, 2015-2017)[edit]

Over the summer of 2011 it was announced that Thomas Pridgen was working on a new group with Mastodon vocalist and guitarist Brent Hinds, the Dillinger Escape Plan guitarist Ben Weinman, and former Jane's Addiction bassist Eric Avery. Giraffe Tongue Orchestra was founded in 2012.[14]

The band's debut album Broken Lines was released September 23, 2016 with the main line-up featuring Hinds, Pridgen and Weinman, who were joined by William Duvall from Alice in Chains and Pete Griffin from Dethklok.[15]

Residente (2017–present)[edit]

On March 31, 2017, rapper Residente released his debut solo album self-titled Residente. Thomas Pridgen was announced later as part of the touring members of the Residente band.


With The Mars Volta[edit]

Bedlam Tour Kit (2007 - 2008)[edit]

  • DW Collector's Series & Zildjian Cymbals:
  • Drums - Clear Acrylic
    • 12x8" Tom
    • 13x10" Tom
    • 15x13" Floor Tom
    • 16x14" Floor Tom
    • 18x16" Floor Tom
    • 24x20" Bass Drum
    • 14x6.5" DW Copper Snare
  • Cymbals - Zildjian
    • 18" [x2] A Crashes used as Hi-Hats
    • 24" A Medium Ride
    • 20" A Armand Ride
    • 20" A Custom Crash
    • 20" Oriental Crash Of Doom
    • 18" A Custom EFX Crash, 9" Oriental Splash, 16" Oriental China (x2) (cymbals stacked)
    • 19" K Custom Hybrid China

Octahedron Tour Kit (2009)[edit]

  • DW Jazz Series & Zildjian Cymbals:
  • Drums - Maple & Gum
    • 12x12" Tom
    • 13x13" Tom
    • 15x13" Floor Tom
    • 16x14" Floor Tom
    • 18x16" Floor Tom
    • 24x20" Bass Drum
    • 14x7 Red Maple Snare
  • Cymbals - Zildjian
    • 18" A Crashes [x2] used as Hi-Hats
    • 24" A Medium Ride
    • 24" K Custom Ride [x2]
    • 18" A Custom EFX Crash, 9" Oriental Splash, 16" Oriental China (x2) (cymbals stacked)
    • 20" A Custom China
    • 20" Crash of Doom

With The Memorials[edit]

  • DW Collector's Series & Zildjian Cymbals:
  • Drums - Clear Acrylic
    • 12x7" Tom
    • 13x8" Tom
    • 16x14" Floor Tom
    • 18x16" Floor Tom
    • 24x16" Bass Drum
    • 14x6.5" DW Stainless steel snare
  • Cymbals - Zildjian
    • 19" [x2] Z3 Custom Crashes used as Hi-Hats
    • 24" A Medium Ride
    • 20" A Custom Crash
    • 20" Z3 Crash
    • 18" A Custom EFX Crash, 9" Oriental Splash, 16" Oriental China (x2) (cymbals stacked)
    • 20" A Custom China
    • Wind Chimes
  • Drum Heads - Evans
    • Toms: (12", 13", 15", 16") Clear G2s (top), Clear Resonants (bottom)
    • Bass Drum: (24") Clear EQ3 (batter), Clear EQ3 (with small hole) (resonant)
    • Snares : (14") Clear G2 (top), 300 Hazy (bottom)
  • Thomas also used DW 9000 Series Hardware and Pedals, Pro-Mark TX510 Thomas Pridgen Autograph drumsticks, & Shure Microphones.
  • Thomas has recently been seen using a kit made from resin by a company based out of Ventura, CA Thump Drums.


For a more complete discography, see Thomas Pridgen's entry on Album Credits.

With Zenith Patrol[edit]

  • VU (2005)

With Christian Scott[edit]

With Eric Gales[edit]

  • Crystal Vision - (2006)
  • Psychedelic Underground (Eric Gales album) - (2007)

With dUg Pinnick and Eric Gales[edit]

  • "Pinnick Gales Pridgen" - (2013)
  • "PGP 2" - (2014)

With The Mars Volta[edit]

With Omar Rodríguez-López[edit]

With Juliette Lewis[edit]

With Elixir on Mute[edit]

  • End of Sky (2010)

With Foxy Shazam[edit]

With Jada Pinkett Smith[edit]

  • Live Recording Sessions (2012)

With The Memorials[edit]


  1. ^ "Another Shakeup In The Mars Volta Rhythm Section @ Antiquiet". 2009-11-20. Retrieved 2011-10-24.
  2. ^ "BERKLEE | Press Release". 1999-09-16. Retrieved 2011-10-24.
  3. ^ "Biography | T.E.N. featuring Thomas Pridgen (Mars Volta), Eric McFadden (pFunk), Norwood Fisher (Fishbone)". Retrieved 2014-07-22.
  4. ^ a b "Thomas Pridgen: Buzz Inspiring". Retrieved 2011-10-24.
  5. ^ "The Mars Volta Records New Album at Ocean Way". News. Digital Producer. 2007-06-15. Archived from the original on 2008-05-18. Retrieved 2008-07-28.
  6. ^ Dean Delray (15 October 2013). "Let There Be Talk EP54: Juan Alderete - The Mars Volta". Let There Be Talk (Podcast). Event occurs at 1:17:33. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  7. ^ Dean Delray (15 October 2013). "Let There Be Talk EP54: Juan Alderete - The Mars Volta". Let There Be Talk (Podcast). Event occurs at 1:18:36. Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  8. ^ "Mastodon / Jane's Addiction / Dillinger / Volta Supergroup Has a Name; Press Release". 2011-11-11. Retrieved 2011-11-11.
  9. ^ "Ex-THE MARS VOLTA Drummer Joins MASTODON, THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN Members In G.T.O.; Press Release". 2012-01-03. Archived from the original on 2012-01-08. Retrieved 2012-01-03.
  10. ^ "Interview: Dillinger Escape Plan's Ben Weinman Talks Party Smasher Inc., Side Projects, and More with Jose Mangin". Revolver Magazine. 2015-03-16. Archived from the original on 2016-04-30. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
  11. ^ "Pinnick Gales Pridgen". Retrieved 2014-07-22.
  12. ^ "Suicidal Tendencies announce new drummer!". 2014-03-12. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
  13. ^
  15. ^ "Giraffe Tongue Orchestra (Mastodon, Alice in Chains) Announce Debut Album, Share "Crucifixion": Listen | Pitchfork". Retrieved 2016-10-04.

External links[edit]