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Virgil Donati


Many drummers come to mind who've had a hand in raising the bar - leading by example with faster chops, innovative use of the instrument, more complex rhythms, more creative phrasing, and in general, better musicmanship.Virgil Donati established himself as a premier session and touring drummer in his native Australia as a member of fusion groups Loose Change and On The Virg, a fouding member of Southern Sons, and plenty of touring with acts such as Tina Arena, Tribal Tech, Scott Henderson, Branford Marsalis, and many others. He has become known as a near-obsessively disciplined player who sets herculean standards for himself. He has recently moved to the United States.
Since then, Virgil has joined Derek Sherinian's L.A. prog-metal group Planet X, and either with this group or solo, he's been causing heads to turn and jaws to drop across the country, on the clinic trail, and setting new performance standards for the L.A. studio scene. This sensation from "down under" had the advantage of starting a very young age.
Though practice and sheer determination, he learned to tame his chosen instument, to coax his sound from it, and to fully express without impediment his musical personality. Since securing his first drum set just one month before his third birthday, he has devoted his whole life and soul to his art. The catalyst has been his endless and restless pursuit to express himself through his playing. Virgil is known amongst drummers as a technical virtuoso, having developed incredible power and flexibility (whilst playing traditional grip), mastered polyrhythyms, odd-time playing and intricate phrasing, attained blinding quickness and powerful, metronomic precision - all with a rare attention to showmanship and visual playing. While currently carving a career in Los Angeles while maintaining his busy schedule of clinics, Virgil's diverse influences of rock, jazz, and fusion from the likes of Miles, Coltrane, Buddy, Deep Purple, Carl Palmer, Zeppelin, The Police and Soundgarden all contribute to his tremendous performance.But it is no secret that it's Virgil's feet that have gained him the most attention, both in Australia and internationally. Having developed incredible speed both with single and double-stroke rolls on the bass drums, he is able to hold complex, often odd-time and syncopated ostinatos at ridiculous tempos with his feet whilst soloing freely and musically with his hands. Donati is beginning to be recognised as one of the true enduring masters - hence this quote from Modern Drummer Awards' Hall of Famer Dave Weckl - "I mean look at Virgil. Imagine how much you'd have to practice to get that good!" A lot of people have been mind warped after they've seen Virgil rip it apart on the kit!

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