|Born on: 16.06.1954
"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.
For many, 1984 brings to mind George Orwell, but for Jethro Tull, it was a very good year. Doane became their drummer, making him the second American to join the band and the third longest serving member of the band.
Doane's passion for learning different music styles has served him well as Tull's drummer, and each show has been for him an exercise in ever-expanding skill and insight. Doane says he records nearly every performance, reviewing the music in detail and determining how he can improve his playing the next time around. A few of his tips? "Very often it's harder to play slower and quieter than louder and faster. You learn what not to play. The space between the notes is just as important. Any good musician will tell you that."
Even after all these years, Doane remains human and humble, and still admits to getting a few butterflies before going on stage — something he considers very helpful to keeping one on their toes.
"You want to play as well as you can," he says. "Being prepared helps counteract that, although it would feel strange not to feel a bit of nerves before a performance. There is a fine line between being relaxed and complacency, and I can say with the benefit of some experience that complacency does not often result in a great performance.
"However, after it's over, more times than not I feel dissatisfied rather than satisfied. But every once in a while when you really do get it right, there is tremendous satisfaction, until you are faced with the next performance! I think it is just the nature of the beast — whether playing live or recording. All I can do is to keep trying harder."
Even with the level of expertise he has achieved in his career, Doane continues to display the sincerity and dedication to his craft that started him on his drumming journey.
The 40th Anniversary Jethro Tull Tour commenced in 2008, which extended itself into the 41st, 42nd, and 43rd Anniversary Tours around the globe, wrapping up in the summer of 2011.