Jason Hartless Talks of Lifestyle That is All About Drumming!

Jason Hartless, a 23 year old, whose music career took off in no time at all, as a youngster, has grown as an adult. Over time, he has gone on to play shows and tour, filling in as the drummer boy for such acts as  Joe Lynn Turner (Deep Purple/Rainbow)and currently guitar legend Ted Nugent, among many others. Jason Hartless himself discusses the drumming lifestyle that is his very own.

1. When and why did you start playing?

I started messing around on my dad’s drums when I was about 6 months old. Once I was about 3 years old, I really began to play the full kit and jamming with musician friends of my dad’s. By the time I was 5 years old, I began to play professionally around Detroit doing cover gigs and really found a love for the instrument. I never realized that this was a job and my career until I was much older and had been touring the country for a few years, because it has always been so much fun to play and never seemed like work.

2. Which instruments do you play?

I play drums and most percussion instruments. I can fumble through bass and some guitar chords when teaching drum students.

3. What was the first tune(s) you learned?

I'm not sure of the first song, but I learned how to play to bands like The Sweet, T-Rex, Alice Cooper, Styx and Kiss.

4. Is your family musical? Describe your family member's musical interests and abilities.

My dad was a professional drummer in the Detroit around before I was born and my great grandfather was a guitar player in the 40s and 50s in Arkansas. He even had his own music radio show in the area.

6.Which musicians do you admire and that you have learned from and why?

I have many different musicians that I have been influenced by such as Corky Laing, Jeff Porcaro, Buddy Rich, Todd Sucherman, Keith Moon, Zak Starkey, Bernie Dresel, Anton Fig, Eric Singer, Stewart Copeland, Mick Tucker, Steve Smith, and Vinnie Colaiuta. I have been lucky to have been able to been mentored by Corky Laing, Eric Singer, Tommy Clufetos, Anton Fig and Todd Sucherman.

7. Can you describe your first instrument or others that you have played?

The drum kit I learned how to play on was my dads late 80s Pearl World Series kit. Then for my 5th Christmas, my parents got me my first drum set which was a Pearl Export kit. Since then I have only played Pearl drums and proudly been endorsed by them since 2005.

8. Why did you decide upon playing the drums?

I really don’t know, I just found a love for the instrument very early on in my life.

9. What are your fondest musical memories, in your home, in your neighborhood or town?

Some of my favorite memories as a musician was playing music in high school. I was lucky that I grew up in Fraser, MI, which was a very strong performing arts department. I was in Concert Band, Symphony Band, Marching Band, Jazz Band, Percussion Ensemble, Drumline and played with the Show Choir for competitions. Being in all of those ensembles taught me discipline and elevated my ability to read music.

10. How do you handle mistakes during a performance?

No one is perfect and is bound to make a mistake or two once in a while. I have learned to never let it affect my performance. If a mistake happens, I make sure to recover seamless and unnoticed to the audience.

11. Do you get nervous before a performance even after all these years?

I have been performing since such a young age, so it has become so second nature to me that I never get nervous. I feel the same if I’m playing in front of 5 people or 35,000 people.

12. What advice would you give to the beginners out there?

Listen to as much music as possible and learn from as many musicians as possible.

13. How often and for how long do you practice? What do you practice - exercises, new tunes, hard tunes etc.?

Every time I play drums, I look at it that I am practicing and striving to be the best I can be. I usually don’t sit behind the kit and play along to songs unless it is something that I have to learn for a session or tour. However, I am always listening to music to learn and pick up different grooves and styles to implement into my playing.

15. Do you teach music? You have gone on to do drum clinics correct?

Yes, I am a music director at a School of Rock in Metro Detroit area when I am not touring. It is really great giving back to kids and teaching them all of the advice I have been given over the years. I have been doing drum clinics since I was 16 and continue to do them while I am off the road and even worked some into a tour during days off.

16. How do you balance your music with other obligations - mate, children, job?

I am single, never been married and have no kids. I try to put 110% into my work at all times. I think it wouldn’t be fair to a girlfriend to sit around while I am touring for weeks and months at a time. It just creates problems down the road.

17. What other sort of plans do you have for the rest of 2018?

I am lucky to be one of the most active session musicians in Detroit, so I will have a mix of recording sessions with various artists in Detroit, and then will be working on some sessions in Nashville. I am very excited for the release of the new Ted Nugent album that I recorded earlier this year that should be out sometime in August/September.

All The Best,
Jason Hartless
Touring/Session Drummer

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