Ask the Pro’s: Gregg Bissonette (Dave Lee Roth, Joe Satriani, Ringo Starr Band)

We are delighted to announce that throughout the Lock down period, we have been busy putting together a new and exclusive 'Ask the Pro's' feature where we ask some of the worlds most respected musicians how they learned to play their instrument and what advice they would give to new musicians.

These features are exclusive to Progress Music Academy and offer a real insight into how they did it and how you can too.


Photo: Jim Belmont

The third instalment is from Legendary Drummer Gregg Bissonette (Dave Lee Roth, Joe Satriani, The Ringo Starr Band, Spinal Tap):

1. Did you have lessons or are you completely self-taught?

Yes.. I have always and still to this day have lessons..
I also have and still teach myself by listening and watching other drummers..

If you had lessons, how long did you take lessons for?

I have always played along with albums and now watch and play along with videos to try to emulate things that I hear and see great drummers do. but I started taking drum set lessons at 6 years old and have never stopped .. I’m now 61 and whenever I see a drummer doing something I can’t figure out, I ask them to teach me..

2. How important do you think it is to learn to read/write music?

Reading drum set music and transcribing drum set music is absolutely essential in EVERY part of what I do as a recording and touring drummer

3. We’re there any ‘lightbulb’ moments you remember having whilst you were learning?

The biggest light bulb moment to me was that I needed to record my practising and listen back
( now with my iPhone.. years ago with a cassette recorder).  It’s kind of like being in the studio and learning from listening to your playback of a take.

4. Do you have any specific tips for a good practise regime?

Yes.. anytime you can’t get a new pattern or fill.. SLOW IT DOWN IMMEDIATELY!
Don’t beat your head against the wall trying to run before you can walk.

5. Do you have any advice for a drummer (or musician) who is just starting out on their learning journey?

1. Yes.. go to the next Freddie G Academy
2. Take notes
3. Learn all styles
4. Read and transcribe
5. Treat others the way you wish they would treat you
6. Record yourself when you practice and perform
7. Listen back critically to what you recorded .. be kind of like your own producer ..

You can catch Gregg in action below:

Progress Music Academy

Book your introductory session here:

logos strip