Vinnie Colaiuta

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Vinnie Colaiuta
Vinnie Colaiuta.jpg
Colaiuta with Jeff Beck at the Palais, Melbourne,
January 26, 2009
Background information
Birth name Vincent Colaiuta
Born (1956-02-05) February 5, 1956 (age 60)
Brownsville, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Genres Jazz, fusion, rock, funk, post-bop, pop, thrash metal, heavy metal
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Drums
Years active 1978–present
Associated acts Frank Zappa, Sting, Eric Clapton, Lynda Thomas, Chick Corea, Jeff Beck, Herbie Hancock, Tal Wilkenfeld, Five Peace Band, Megadeth, Nik Kershaw
Notable instruments
Gretsch Drums, Paiste Formula 602 Modern Essentials[1]

Vincent "Vinnie" Colaiuta (born February 5, 1956) is an American drummer based in Los Angeles. Originally from Republic, 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]


After attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston for a year, Colaiuta had his first big break as a member of the Christopher Morris Band in 1976–77. In 1977, he relocated with the band to Los Angeles. After leaving the band, he played with lounge bands. His next break came in April 1978, after auditioning for Frank Zappa. The audition entailed performing "The Black Page". Colaiuta went on to work with Zappa as his principal drummer for studio and live performances. He played on the successful Zappa albums Tinsel Town Rebellion, Joe's Garage, and Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar. Joe's Garage was named one of the top-25 drumming performances of all time in a 1993 Modern Drummer article.

After leaving Zappa's band in 1981, Colaiuta appeared on Gino Vannelli's album Nightwalker, and soon afterwards he became a frequently working studio drummer in Los Angeles. He also toured with Joni Mitchell in 1983.


Colaiuta performing with Kenny Garrett

In 1990, Colaiuta successfully auditioned as drummer in Sting's touring band in support of his album The Soul Cages. Colaiuta remained as a member of Sting's band for the next seven years. He declined the offer to go out on the road for the Brand New Day tour in 1999 due to the considerable length of a typical Sting world tour. His studio work with Sting can be heard on Ten Summoner's Tales (1993), Mercury Falling (1996), three songs on Brand New Day (1999) and two songs on Sacred Love (2003). Colaiuta rejoined Sting's touring band in 2009 and has performed on the subsequent Back to Bass Tour.[citation needed]

Colaiuta released a self-titled solo recording in 1994, and still remains one of the most in demand studio musicians playing on countless albums[3] 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.[4][5]

2000 to present[edit]

Five Peace Band (Chick Corea not pictured)

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.[5]

Playing his brand new Gretsch Kit

Selected Discography[edit]

With Frank Zappa[edit]

With Joe Satriani[edit]

With Joni Mitchell[edit]

With Nik Kershaw[edit]

With Megadeth[edit]

With Sting[edit]


  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. ^ Profile,; accessed August 10, 2015. accessed October 26, 2014.
  4. ^ Modern Drummer interview,; accessed October 26, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Profile,; accessed October 26, 2014.