View Full Version : When and how did you first come across Virg's drumming??

06-23-2003, 12:18 PM
I'm sure everyone has an interesting story to tell!

I first heard Virg playing 'Virtue or Reality' from his MD'97 vid when i downloaded the clip from the net. I was completely blown away by his incredible skill and eventually found out he played for Planet X. Got the album and never looked back! I'd like to think i'm a dedicated fan although i find jazz fusion a bit difficult to listen to.
All in all i go to sleep and wake up thinking of drums and Virg is the biggest idol and influence for me.

What about you guys?

06-23-2003, 03:50 PM
For me it was in 1999, the drummer of my band had bought the issue of Modern Drummer with Virgil on the cover and he was telling all about how he so wanted to hear that guy play from reading the interview.... at that time I was totally tripping on Mike Portnoy and Mike Mangini so didn't gave much attention.... :D

then a week later, I ended up buying the new Derek solo album "Planet X"............

game over...............

since then, that Derek solo album "PX" is one of my all-time favorite album.... I wish Derek and Virgil would write more songs just them 2, without Tony..... their chemistry is absolutely amazing! I love that last song on Inertia, it really sounds like that first PX album....

06-23-2003, 09:58 PM
It was 1995 through 96 and I am seeing loads of Vater and Premier ads in Modern Drummer and other Drum publications talking about how every so often someone comes along with skill and talent that is so rare that it is Amazing to behold, how this guy was doing things that seemed physically almost impossible and I am thinking WOW! this guy must be pretty darn good.

At that time I was still listening alot to Vinnie and Weckl, Phillips
Tony Williams alot of the Great Fusion Cats but I wanted to hear someone fresh and original, someone who had the REAL good fusion technique and musical imagination but I was looking for someone with "that" but someone that "KICKED" a little more.
It was not easy to get ahold of Virgil's recording's but I found Audiophile Imports and the guy was like yeah Virgil is "INSANE" his personal comment was this guy is like Vinnie but with much better feet alot more power and greater interdependence and I said CRAP I better listen to him. He said hey Man you got to check him out, he had Virgil's Just Add Water just released(in 96) and Stretch.

So I got both and can you say "BLOWN AWAY" I honestly was never that knocked over, by someones ability. First time I listened to Vinnie I was stunned and same with Weckl but Virgil just obliterated me to pieces Amazing technique, outrageous and original chops an amazing musical imagination and the guy played with amazing Power and energy which is lacking in the fusion realm at times. I was immediately hooked and then the MD
97 video came out and got that and was even more shocked, but now I have so much more respect than before for his desire and commitment to not rest on his laurels and continue to push boundaries in the drumming world and for his DIVERSITY which many do not realize, this guy can play it ALL, he is a technical and compositional "genius" but he can sit in with a band and lay down some nasty rock or funk and play with the simplicity and feel needed. The Guy is truly amazing and it has been 8 years of drumming "BLISS" and have been fortunate to see him 3 times.
Cannot wait for what he puts out next!

Regards Kirk

06-24-2003, 02:52 AM
I was invited to a clinic with a totally unknown australian drummer back in march of 1996, and had received a call from my good friend at the drumshop (where I work now btw!) who told me that this was a thing I should be sure not to miss! He had seen the Powerdrumming video and was stunned.

I went with a good friend and was shocked! Virgil pushed the limits of drumming to the point where we were laughing to eachother,- this is insane!
After that spring evening I went into Virgil mode, and practiced my ass off while gathering every bit of music with him that I possibly could get my hands on, including making friends with some Aussies, who helped me alot in my search! I have managed to track down around 10 pieces of Video (incl. Obsessive Rhythms, Powerdrumming & MD 1997) and around 25 cd´s.... both official and bootleg. He has pushed me and led the way like no other drummer before him! He is my main inspiration for 7 years now! Amazing!! I cannot begin to describe how much he has ment to me! And what a great guy, on top of his drumming!!
I am proud to be his good friend, and that he dubbed me "His Ambassador" back in 2000 when we met the 2nd time! The most amazing drummer to ever sit behind a kit in my opinion!!!
And he dosn't stop! He keeps improving more and more! Uncanny. My favorite moments include Loose Change Live At The Grainstore, Stretch, OTV, Undefined (Hoekstra) and the Connecticut bootleg video!

06-29-2003, 10:33 AM
Virg really does make great first impressions, I'm still obsessively hooked on his drumming and it's great to hear other people reacting the same way :)

06-29-2003, 12:13 PM
The first time I met him was Dec. 2001 in Munich with Steve Vai on Tour. Incredible show ... only costed about ~25€ and lasted about 3hours - very cool. Then I decided to continue drumming (after a break of about 4 years) and decided to buy a double pedal :) ... my biggest inspiration ever: VIRGIL DONATI ... one of my greatest day was then on 2nd October 2002 where I had the chance to do some sightseeing with him in Italy ... I was really excited, especially because he filmed me with his private camera ... so I'm stored to his memories :) ... I'll never forget this great day in my life.

06-29-2003, 12:24 PM
Virgils gives good first impression indeed...
...I don´t remember the "first" time I heard Virgil, but I remember my reaction sometime in 99/00 when I was with a friend and I downloaded a clip from "dogboots" from the website. I was completely knocked, and since then I´ve been a fan of his playing. And his article in Modern drummer in 99 did inspire me so much to be more dedicated to the instrument, just reading his lines and about his philosophy was so inspiring.
He is one of the greatest drummers alive today and will ever be!

Fat Mike
06-30-2003, 01:12 AM
Being from the same city in Australia as Virgil, i had heard his name mentioned as a kid growing up in my teens, but not even knowing what fusion was back then i guess i never looked into it further. Then when i got into drumming more full on in my late teens and would hear other drummer friends mention Virgil and how he would practice for 8-12 hours a day...i thought this was insane! But kinda cool also! :) Those stories have been legend in the melbourne drumming community for years, and virg even touches on the subkect in his modern drummer feature acticle.
The drum shop i would frequent, Drumtek, would have flyers on the walls for clinics with Virgil Donati, i remember asking a salesman there who i'm now on a first name basis with, "who the hell is this Virgil guy"!? He goes to me "Dude, you have to see him, mark my words...he will be the greatest drummer ever...bigger than Vinnie or Buddy or Weckl or Chambers. Buy his power drumming video, you will not regret it!" so i did and my jaw dropped watching the video...since then i have pretty much bought whatever Virg gear i could, including owning a copy of the famous late 80's video double bass drums. He sure makes me proud to be a drummer and he is an Aussie who is kicking major ass in the U.S.! Go Virg
I defenitely would love Virg to do another O.T.V cd...because serious young insects is an amazing album, i still have it on high rotation in my CD player. And although i love his crazy double bass patterns, i like how he has the smarts to make a track amazing, and not by just blazing away the whole time. And i would kill to see Virg do a new dvd or video on his playing, breaking down parts for songs such as alien hip hop, dog boots, ground zero, dragon bones etc... this would be amazing...i hope he does do it one day soon, when he has the time :D

06-30-2003, 03:40 PM
Maybe he will have a DVD attachment to his upcoming book, there's a suggestion Virg, ... pretty please with sugar on top??

06-30-2003, 03:53 PM
Very good suggestion indeed Jimi:D at least think about it Virg;)

Regards Kirk

07-01-2003, 02:43 AM
I first heard and saw Virgil in 1987 at the Grainstore Tavern in Melbourne in a band called loose Change. He was awesome back then and they did a live vinyl recording and finished with a magic rendition of cruise missile ( steve morse) Did anyone else ever see him back then?

07-01-2003, 03:10 AM
Nope..... but fortunately i have that great piece of Vinyl!!

Steve Holmes
07-06-2003, 02:03 PM
I first saw Virgil on the Power Drumming video in Guitar Center a few years ago. It was the first time in a while I was really blown away by someone. Needless to say I got the video and am still trying to digest his stuff on there. His solo phrasing in particular I find challenging and enjoyable.
THEN soon after me and some friends were at the Baked Potato (famous jazz club in LA) seeing Gary Novak (who smokes as well to those not familiar, definitely check him out). We were all on a Virgil kick then having just discovered him, then.....HE WALKS IN. We were all like HOLY SH** VIRG IS HERE.
Anyways I got his number and ended up taking a lesson with him. Since then whenever we see eachother he remembers me and is always very nice.
Virg rocks! \m/

07-06-2003, 11:33 PM
Steve what was the focus of your lesson with Virgil just very curious? Was it more the hands or feet etc.

Regards Kirk

07-07-2003, 05:12 PM
The first time I heard Virg was at my good friends house and he showed me a Planet X clip and I didnt realy pay attention b/c I was also on a mike portnoy trip and I was ignorant and thought nobody could be better than him( obviosly I had not been exposed to hardly any drummers except main stream drummers so I hope you know where I am coming from). That was in '99. Then a few years later I heard that Derek S. was leaving DT and heard he had already started a group called planet x. So I picked it up and was totaly blown away by the music and of course Virg. So every since I have been hooked on the man and must have more.

07-08-2003, 01:16 PM
The first time I heard Virgil was sitting on a train back in about 1985 or so with a good friend of mine Phil Turcio (Keyboards on OTV). Phil had a walkman with the "Loose Change - Live at the Grainstore" record. I heard it and was blown away, we were about 14-15 years old, when we hit 18, we would go to Virgils gigs at The Grainstore in Melbourne and watch Virgil play with Lungfish, Hans Valen, Southern Sons etc.

On one gig, Phil brought a demo tape to Virgil and asked him if he could listen to it, didn't hear from Virgil for months and then a phone call to come and have a jam. The rest is history, OTV was born a few years later.

I still remember all the master classes that I was fortunate enough to attend with Virgil, I would call work and say I was sick so I could attend!!!

Although I don't play drums now (because my kit is halfway around the world in Melbourne, i live in the UK), I still follow Virgils career and buy everything that he plays on and aquire all the bootlegs of Loose Change, Lungfish etc. He has inspired me for years and will continue to do so.

07-08-2003, 04:48 PM
Great story, it is very cool to hear how something which is amazing and significant(OTV coming to life) really started. How I wish I was one of those young guys back then going and seeing Virgil play all the time, you are very fortunate. Welcome to the board v1rotate.

Regards Kirk

07-10-2003, 02:33 AM
I remember seeing the first time the guys got together in a studion in Melbourne (Sound Rehersal Studios), i was there rehersing with the band that I was then with and walked past the room that they were in.

The bass player in my band and I sneaked out during breaks in rehersal and stand outside their studio listening to the OTV first jam. Amazing stuff they were playing after only a couple of hours.

07-10-2003, 12:57 PM
I always sees this serious loking dude name Virgil Donati on modern drmr mags praising him how awesome his double bass playing is. Yeah, I'm sure he is, I said to myself. Then finally saw him live on a nice drum clinic. WOW! He was really amazing and his hands are as powerful and creative as his feets. Those drum modulation he was yacking about, it will takes months before i could even get them flying on my set. Well, Virgil is just inspiring especially for a burnt out drummer like me. He brought back my interest to drumming in general.

07-28-2003, 05:35 AM
well,if u wanna read my story jimi,here it is:i didn't know anything about virgil or planet x,until i saw moonbabies in local store!i found the band's name great and i said:why not check it out?i turned to see the back of the cd and i saw 3 guys.the only one i knew was derek!then i read virgil donati and said to myself:why not check him at drummerworld.com?if he plays with derek he must be good(and the guitarist too!!).i checked him,i asked my teacher about him and i went to buy the cd!after that i went to the school and the whole flat was being devastated by the pounding of virgil/tony/derek/bass playing!and then i started becoming a virgomaniac,too,heehe!long story but funny too!
p.s.another strange thing was that none was buying the cd from the store for a long time!it was waiting,haha!bye guys!

07-28-2003, 03:26 PM
Thanks for all the stories guys, interesting for me, and i bet virgil too:)

05-01-2004, 01:14 PM
I met Virgil at first time two years ago in July. Well, I didn't hear much about him before, just my teacher from music school said - go and see him, he is great! So before I went there I've downloaded some samples track (Native Metal and Pyramids on the Mars - from old Virg's site) and what can I say - I wasn't impressed... But I went to see him anyway... It was in Music Academy in Warsaw - I was standing outside and somking a cigarette - and suddenly I saw someone looking familiar walking into building just about 2 meters from me, he was looking at me and I was looking at him and I was wandering -who the hell could it be? Can you believe it - I didn't recognize the great VIRGIL DONATI!!! Later I felt so stupid and shamed like never before. But anyway: I went to his clinic still with sceptic opinion about him. He started to play some basic 4/4 rhytm so I thought - is that all what you've got? (I was stupid:) ). And sudenly he stop to playing this groove with one hand and began to do some rhytm brake but he was still playing ostinato with other limbs. And then everything started....................... After the show I didn't know what actually I just saw a minute ago, everything what I could do was stand up and clap my hands... It absolutely blew me away... After that I went to his concert and another clinic and I was still impressed as never before... Since then I'm great Virgil's fan... BTW: WHEN HE WILL COME TO POLAND AGAIN?????:)

05-01-2004, 01:17 PM
I forget - since then I dropped smoking and I try to practice at least 2-3 hours per day. Generaly he changed my life for better... :)

Kinetic drummer
05-01-2004, 01:33 PM
four years ago.... i saw pearl ad from this monster from down under telling he wasdamn fast. then... a friend of mine, told me that.. he wasnt a very good drummer. and still i heard about his stick twirling.. and i thought it was just a lie.

then... finally i heard on the virg..... AND I SAID.... FUUUUUUUKKKCCCCCCCC....is this a real drummer... he was my favorite drummer of all times in about 4 minutes listening native metal.
for sure, i bought all planet x cds, and every time i listen to my cds, i was shocked. we dont have material herein mexico. ITS IMPOSSIBLE. you only can get pirate dvds, and honestly i dont like that. i just bought the mdfest and i was jaw dropped.

i traveled to canada and bought power drumming and the video from mdfest . then thanks to life, planet x played in montreal. thats when i first saw virgil, my idol and my favorite drummer.

i have a picture on him in my room (sorry for the religious ones, forgive me please) that says.. THIS IS GOD, ESTE ES DIOS, VOICI DIEUX. its the same meaning in spanish and french.

i love virgil donati...

05-01-2004, 02:31 PM
A couple of years ago I saw ads for him and he was in this pearl promotional video that I saw (no performance, just plugging pearl) and I was like who the fuck is this guy? Then I kept hearing stuff about his feet so I decided to check him out. I came to the site and listened to the clip from the PX cd Box and that little bit of double bass it has knocked me on my ass. I went out on a limb and bought MoonBabies and loved it, but the problem was I was too focused on his feet and I didn't realize his full talent. After that I got the live from oz cd and it still didn't click with me about how good he is. Finally I got the power drumming video because I needed help getting around my kit more smoothly and reviews said it would help. I put it in and my jaw hit the floor. All I could think was how can he be so good, he's like a drum god. I then checked the date on it (1990 something....). It's about ten years old or so and I couldn't even comprehend how good he would be presently. Blew my mind! Ever since I've been enthralled with everything virgil, but I live in Colorado so I will never see a clinic of his until I move somewhere else. DAMN YOU MIDWEST!!!

05-01-2004, 03:04 PM
OH MY GOD!!! I just downloaded Native metal off the sound page, IT'S THE COOLEST THING I'VE EVER HEARD!!! I think I just shit my pants, just kidding but that is like the best song ever... dude Virgil is the man, THE MAN!!!! No one's better! NO ONE!!!! Wow I got a little excited there. I think I'm going to cry myself to sleep tonight listening to that because I'll never be as good as him. Damn, I feel inspired... Thank you for drumming virgil you give meaning to my life. haha I'm such a dork

05-01-2004, 09:47 PM
You know what... I dont really remember! :confused:

05-02-2004, 10:57 AM
i remember. i typed in "drum solo" on kazaa a long time ago. and i just clicked a whole bunch of em and one of em came up as virgil donati. it was the one with virg on a green premier with his long hair wearing a black shirt..u know what im talking about? i cant remember where that is. ahh, anyways, it blew me away. i mean literally i fell to the back of my chair and my friend and i, at the same time, said "holy shit!":D

05-02-2004, 01:56 PM
This web page

05-04-2004, 07:48 AM
Well, it was an jazz-drummer, actually. He told me stories that I,
frankly, just could not believe. He kept encouraging me to look
into him. I heard a more subdued recording and was mildly im-
pressed. At the time, I was not as appreciative of the linear ap-
proach. THEN, I HEARD PLANET X! That got me to go to see him
in a clinic and that's when I was BORN AGAIN! :D

05-04-2004, 07:51 PM
lars ulrich

05-04-2004, 08:33 PM

Umm, I just typed in "drum solo" in kazaa and downloaded a whole bunch. Tony Royster, Weckl...they were really good, but I thought that was as good as it got...well anyway, I found "virgil donati" the exact one someone else was talking about (long hair green drums) and I thought he just looked so smooth and relaxed with his drums. He's probably the most impressive drum to watch in the world, and then he went from a floor tom to a tom beside his left leg and back sooo fast that I thought it went into fast motion for a second...so I called my dad in (he's an amazing bassist) and even he was wetting himself...since then I've heard and grown more apreciative of Virgil and his complete dedicated lifestyle

Christ Magnum
05-07-2004, 08:47 PM
I first discovered him about a year ago when my drum instructor, Dustin Rhodes, let me listen to Stretch.

05-07-2004, 10:17 PM
Nov 24th 2002 I was going to a Niacin show in Boston to see Sheehan and Chambers. It was mentioned at a Sheehan clinic that they (The people from Daddys Junky Music) were going to the Niacin show, then to see planet X Right after, around the corner, so I decided to check PX out.. Next thing I know My GF is Yelling FUCK because of how amazing Virgil was. It was the perfect 2 show date ever! 3 days later I drove up to Montreal to see more! I saw him in 01 with steve vai, but was to into Vai that It didn't make a huge impression (sounds lame now I know) ,
3.23.3 Saw Virg with Cab in Boston
7.9.3 went to Rochester to catch my first Virg Clinic. Stunnned
2.13.4 Went to Hollywood to see the Virgil Donati Band at the Baked potato
4.14.4 Caught another Virgil clinic in Connecticut

next sighting??? NearFest

05-08-2004, 09:18 AM
This is to say hello and relate the story of my first encounter with “THE VIRG”.
I have been battling chronic fatigue syndrome for about 4 years, along with a laundry list of other symptoms. I was a marathon runner and fitness freak for many years prior to that and the fatigue really gets me down.
I was spending more and more time just lying around after work because that is all I have had energy for. I travel extensively with work and spend a lot of time in hotel rooms (kind of like a rock star but not quite%%^&^$#&^%*&) . I needed to do something or something really bad was going to happen. I was out crusing around West Palm Beach when I saw a Guitar Center. I walked in to look around not really knowing why. I gravitated over to the percussion area because as a teenager I had played drums but sold them when I joined the Marine Corps in 1980.
Well I hadn’t seen a drum department in about twenty years and I was entranced with it all. On the video screen was this Hair Bag with python arms flying around the kit (Just kidding about the Hair Bag stuff VIRG!!!!!!). It was very impressive ….so much so that words are really inadequate to describe the impact on me. The POWER, Clarity, fluidity and the expressive love for the instrument were flooring me. The use of traditional grip in such a monstrous way I found particularly fascinating.
Then the voice in my head began to pound…..You Love Drums …..Play Dums…..Save Your Life……..You Love Drums…….Play Drums……..Save Your Life.
I turned and there they were, the answer to a prayer (and something my loving Mother would have given her right leg for when I was young) a set of electronic drums. I sat down with the headphones and began to bang away for about two and a half hours messing with all the settings and having the time of my life. I told the guy at Guitar center to wrap’em up and I had them set up in the hotel that night. I also bought the video and the Power Drumming Vid.
I was a matched grip player the first time around and now I am employing the traditional grip. It always engendered a sense of discipline and honoring the instrument to me and as long as I was starting over I might as well start over.
That was two years ago and I can’t tell you how great it has been to get reacquainted with the instrument. I could go on BLAH,BLAH, BLAH …..Time to practice
Thanks Virg for the inspiration, a great website and many years of healthy gratifying expression.

05-08-2004, 11:48 AM
I went to Orlando to see the 01 G3 tour and I ran into Steve Vai at the Virgin Megastore in downtown Diseny.I asked Steve about this new drummer he had for this tour and he said "you'll love Virgil" and you know what, I sure in the hell did. I didn't know it was humanly posable to play drums that well. I think that Virgil and Steve are both aliens.

Christ Magnum
05-08-2004, 01:07 PM
TVdrum, awesome story man.

05-08-2004, 11:14 PM
I recently purchased a set for the first time in my life though i've played drums since I was 10 or 11 (I'm 42 now). I am still waiting on the main shell kit but I've been trying to "do my homework" and get back in drumming shape as it's been several yeas since I've picked up any sticks for serious work outs. I also discovered drummers Forums which didn't exist 20 years ago when I was drumming more seriously. In all of this someone had posted a clip of a drum solo they had heard that lasted over 30 minutes. It was one of the most amazing things I've heard. This was yesterday. Last night, I found this forum and am walking through all the threads here. It's great to see so many questions already answered by those here. The whole drumming world has really grown up and I'm eager to get back to this dream I've had a long time. Thanks Virgil. You're very encouraging and a great example from what I've seen just in these two days.

05-09-2004, 07:40 AM
I recently purchased a set for the first time in my life though i've played drums since I was 10 or 11 (I'm 42 now). I am still waiting on the main shell kit but I've been trying to "do my homework" and get back in drumming shape as it's been several yeas since I've picked up any sticks for serious work outs. I also discovered drummers Forums which didn't exist 20 years ago when I was drumming more seriously. In all of this someone had posted a clip of a drum solo they had heard that lasted over 30 minutes. It was one of the most amazing things I've heard. This was yesterday. Last night, I found this forum and am walking through all the threads here. It's great to see so many questions already answered by those here. The whole drumming world has really grown up and I'm eager to get back to this dream I've had a long time. Thanks Virgil. You're very encouraging and a great example from what I've seen just in these two days.

wow! it must be pretty difficult trying to get into drumming through ALL of those years. course, if u naturally have it in u to play, im sure u'll pick it back up with no problem what so ever!:D well..maybe a little problem..but hey, whatever it takes. i hope u keep drumming this time. after this, never stop! sadly, ive only been drumming for a year, and im 15. i wish i couldve started at an age like 10 or 11. hell, i wish i couldve started at birth! but eh, cant change the past after all. anyways, i think all of us here r very proud of u for coming back to instrument. u drum on man, and i hope u enjoy the board!:D

05-09-2004, 09:19 AM
I think it was when I bought that Modern Drummer issue called Hot Trax. It featured Drumspeak/Banana Peels on it and I was like "who the hell is this guy???". Then I got Planet X, then Power Drumming and I was hooked :D
Since then I've been looking for more of his recordings but it's difficult to order them here so I'm basically downloading. Too bad, because I've been looking for an original copy of Serious Young Insects for years without luck. And credit card isn't a current option, ergh.

05-09-2004, 06:23 PM
:cool: Thanks my friend,it's how I got back into drumming , there are many great drummers but for my way of thinking Virgil is the best of the best. Rock on. T.V.TVdrum, awesome story man.