Vinnie Colaiuta

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Vinnie Colaiuta
Vinnie Colaiuta.jpg
Colaiuta with Jeff Beck, at the Palais, Melbourne,
January 26, 2009
Background information
Born (1956-02-05) February 5, 1956 (age 60)
Brownsville, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Genres Jazz fusion, rock, pop, funk, heavy metal
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Drums
Years active 1970s–present
Labels Stretch, Moonjune
Associated acts Frank Zappa, Joni Mitchell, Sting, Wishful Thinking, Jing Chi, Five Peace Band
Notable instruments
Gretsch Drums, Paiste Formula 602 Modern Essentials, Remo Drumheads, Vic Firth Drumsticks[1]

Vincent "Vinnie" Colaiuta (born February 5, 1956) is an American drummer based in Los Angeles. Originally from Brownsville, Pennsylvania, he began playing drums as a child and received his first full drum kit from his parents at the age of fourteen. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1996.[2]

Music career[edit]

Colaiuta performing with Kenny Garrett
Five Peace Band (Chick Corea not pictured)
Playing his brand new Gretsch Kit

After attending the Berklee College of Music, Colaiuta played gigs in Boston. He joined a brief tour organized by Al Kooper, then worked in California on an album by Christopher Morris, which Kooper was producing. Although he returned to Boston, he was drawn back to California by friends and his experience recording. He took the bus from Boston to Los Angeles during the blizzard of 1978. After performing in jazz clubs, he won the audition to play drums for Frank Zappa. He toured with Zappa and appeared on the albums Joe's Garage, Tinsel Town Rebellion, and Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar.[3]

In 1981, he left touring with Zappa to become a studio musician, recording for the band Pages and pop singer Gino Vannelli. Opportunities arose with saxophonist Tom Scott and bassist Larry Klein, who invited Colaiuta to play on a record by Joni Mitchell. When Klein and Mitchell got married, Colaiuta was the best man. During the 1980s, he toured with Mitchell. By the end of the 1980s he was living the busy life of a studio musician, recording albums, doing TV and film work during the day, and playing clubs at night.[3]

Colaiuta got a phone call from Sting in 1990, then flew to England and became a member of his band.[3] He remained with Sting for much of the 1990s, touring and recording the albums Ten Summoner's Tales (1993), Mercury Falling (1996), Brand New Day (1999) and Sacred Love (2003).

Colaiuta released a solo album in 1994. He remains one of the most in demand studio musicians, appearing on albums by a variety of acts[4] and film soundtracks, TV, and radio jingles. He has won a total of 18 Drummer of the Year awards from Modern Drummer magazine's annual reader polls. These include 10 awards in the "Best Overall" category.[5][6]

In 2002, Colaiuta played on the soundtrack to Queen of the Damned where he reunited with fellow Zappa alumnus Terry Bozzio on the song "Slept So Long". In 2004, Colaiuta played drums on the film score of Elektra as director Rob Bowman is a great fan of his.

In 2006-07, Colaiuta toured with Jeff Beck and Tal Wilkenfeld on bass, with Jason Rebello playing keyboards, in Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival. He has recorded and performed with artists as diverse as country artist Faith Hill, whom he toured with and played on the albums Cry and Fireflies, thrash metal outfit Megadeth on their album The System Has Failed, actress Lindsay Lohan on her 2004 teen pop album Speak and jazz musician Herbie Hancock.[6]

On 12 November 2016, Colaiuta played alongside Sting in the first concert to be held at the Bataclan in Paris since the terrorist attack a year earlier.[7] Vinnie Colaiuta will be featuring in Contemporary Christian Artist - Lincoln Brewster's new instrumental album which is due early 2017.[8]

Selected discography[edit]

With Frank Zappa

With Joni Mitchell

With Sting

With Nik Kershaw

With Megadeth

With Joe Satriani

With Ron Kenoly


  1. ^ Colaiuta, Vinnie (February 26, 2013). "Vinnie Colaiuta Plays Paiste Formula 602 Modern Essentials". Paiste Artist Vinnie Colaiuta discusses the Paiste Formula 602 Modern Essentials line. This video features an in-depth interview and in-studio performance footage. Paiste. pp. Documentary by Colaiuta promoting Paiste. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Modern Drummer's Readers Poll Archive, 1979–2014". Modern Drummer. Retrieved August 10, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "Vinnie Colaiuta | Interviews | Berklee Press, 2001". Berklee Press. 2001. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  4. ^ Profile,; accessed August 10, 2015. accessed October 26, 2014.
  5. ^ Modern Drummer interview,; accessed October 26, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Profile,; accessed October 26, 2014.
  7. ^ Report in La Stampa 14 November 2016
  8. ^ [1],; accessed November 22, 2016.