When you think about the leading rock bands of the 80’s, it’s likely that Bon Jovi and their stadium anthem ‘Livin On A Prayer’ comes to mind. The band established a loyal heavy metal fanbase with the release of their first album, and by the time they released ‘Slippery When Wet’ in 1986, they were hailed as one of the largest and most innovative rock-arena bands in music history.
The band’s famed drummer Tico Torres, also known as “The Hitman”, made waves as a skillful drummer even before his days with Bon Jovi. His success can be affiliated with his experience playing alongside award-winning artists such as Stevie Nicks, Alice Cooper, Cher, Chuck Berry, Pat Benatar, and many more. Tico Torres has since enjoyed the success of his craft for nearly three decades, and we had the opportunity to get a personal look into the musician’s life in this 4th edition of our #DrummerSeries.
Q. When did you first start to play the drums and who were your biggest influences?
A. It was 1967, I was about 14 years old. Funny enough, I actually started out playing the guitar, but my cousin introduced me to the drums. The Beatles and Joe Morello were huge influences for me back then.
Q. What is the best way to learn how to play the drums?
A. In the beginning, go to see as much live music as you can and watch a lot of YouTube. Try to play with as many people as you can and try out different types of music to play. Then, get out there and network, get in the scene. It gets your name out there and other musicians will then start to come out to see your chops.
Q. Do you have any other tips for drummers?
A. Social media is a good tool right now; use it to study other drummers and techniques. Develop your sound and hone your skill. Keep at it and never quit.
Q. When did you feel like you were an accomplished drummer?
A. I don’t think you ever really feel it. There is always more new music, more new techniques, and so much more you can do and learn to constantly improve and add it to your own style.
Q. What are your favorite tours you’ve been on?
A. I’ve toured with several major acts throughout the years, but once I became the drummer of Bon Jovi 30 plus years ago, those tours have been my absolute favorite.
Q. What is your most essential packing item when leaving for a long tour?
A. I always make sure I have a desk fan with me just in case the hotel rooms are too hot. I also never travel without my golf clubs. I’ve been lucky to play at some of the greatest golf clubs in the world.
Q. Do you have any upcoming projects we should be on the lookout for?
A. I’m excited to say, we’re releasing a new Bon Jovi album next year called, 2020! Aside from music, I’ll be creating more of my visual art. I love painting and working with different mediums. In 1996 I started showing art galleries and it’s been very well received ever since. I’m also planning to work a bit closer with fashion design. In ’97, I received VH-1’s Best New Designer Award after designing clothing for kids and opening my own line, Rock Star Baby.
For a firsthand look into the life of “The Hitman” Tico Torres, drummer for Bon Jovi, follow him on Instagram at @tico_torres_official. For more interviews with amazing drummers, check out our conversation with Elton John’s drummer.