“Determined, talented, driven, passionate”…these are just a few of the adjectives people use to describe this multifaceted percussionist. A professional musician since 1972, Doane Perry has been called one of the most prolific and versatile drummers in contemporary music.
His career spans over 28 years with the internationally acclaimed progressive rock band Jethro Tull, incorporating 18 world tours, countless records, videos, and DVDs, and a Grammy. As a performer, composer or producer, he has appeared on more than 100 records to date, many of which have attained gold or multi-platinum status, and also on numerous #1 records in multiple genres. He has worked in the recording studios of New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, and London. And as an author, he has been a featured writer for musical magazines, anthologies, book publications, websites, CD liner notes, Jethro Tull concert programs, four treasure hunts and one crossword puzzle!
Born June 16, 1954, in Mount Kisco, New York, Doane began piano lessons at the age of seven and later picked up drums when he was eleven. “The Beatles arrived on the scene and changed everything,” he says, adding with a smile and his characteristic charm, “and the possibility, however unlikely that might have been, of young girls chasing me down the street if I took up the drums!”
Determined and smart, even at the young age of 14, Perry had his own working band. He spent his time gigging on weekends until he graduated from high school at 17, filling a brief beat as a Baskin-Robbins ice cream vendor. He never stopped studying music, crossing a myriad of styles and absorbing music from some of his major percussive influences, which included Ginger Baker, John Bonham, Mitch Mitchell, Keith Moon, Billy Cobham, Tony Williams, Elvin Jones, Max Roach, Barry Altschul and Clive Bunker (Jethro Tull’s first drummer) amongst many others.
The year 1972 found the 18-year-old already a professional, juggling time between school and gigging — which ultimately created a serious conflict. Having to choose which direction to go, Perry made the life-changing decision to pursue his music full time.
No sooner had he made his choice, than Doane embarked on gaining a broader understanding of as many musical genres as possible. This opened up doors to both live and studio work — Rock, Pop, Jazz, Fusion, Latin, Classical, R&B, Folk, Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian, Celtic, Broadway Shows, TV, and numerous film scores. It was New York City, and the age of diverse thriving ethnic and world music surrounded him. “It was a wonderful time to be a young musician, particularly in that city,” says Doane.
Perry’s love not just for music but also for literature and learning had him attending Browning, St. Bernard’s, and Collegiate Schools in New York City. He also spent a brief time at New York University, and was part of extension programs at The New School, Rutgers, Julliard…anytime his busy music schedule would permit and immersed himself in private musical study in Jazz and Orchestral Percussion.