—- How did you get hooked on rock & roll as a kid?  Well, I wasn’t into Rock and Roll I was into Jazz (as my father wanted). I wanted a drum set and he bought me one with conditions that I learned how to play jazz for a couple of years. Then on one Christmas I was like 15 or 16 he bought me Led Zeppelin 4 and Rush’s “All the Worlds a stage”...changed me forever!

—- Who were your top few musical heroes as a kid and why?  Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, John Bonham, Neil Peart, Steve Gadd, Jeff Porcaro, Steve Smith and Stuart Copeland. Because they all played as who they truly are and offered something in drumming to me that I needed and wanted.

—- What was the first record you ever picked up and does it make the playlist still today?  Benny Goodman Live in Belgium and yes it would because of sing, sing, sing. (It could be a killer rock song today)

—- Who is your favorite drummer and what is it about their that fascinates you so?  I don’t have a pure favorite drummer because they all offer something. But if I had to pick 2 I would choose Bonham and Gadd.

—- What are your three favorite rock drum tracks of all-time?  Rush 2112 (The whole thing), Steely Dan, Aja and Led Zeppelin’s “Fool in the Rain”.

— It’s often said that no two drummer are alike — do you believe one drummer can duplicate another’s feel or parts perfectly without technology?  No and Technology would make it worse

—- If you got the call tomorrow, what band could you sit in most comfortably with without freaking out too much?  I would freak because my chops are not perfect because I have to work for a living. But once I had those screaming I could and would love to play for Seal and/or Peter Gabriel…Possibly Adelle!

—- You’re bit of a drum collector and aficionado — does the brand and year really make that much of difference once you get past materials used etc.. ?  I don’t know, for me it is just the sound and feel of the kit. I have many kits from many makers. I LOVE mid-60’s Rogers and Late-60’s / Early-70’s Ludwig!

—- What part of your personality do you think comes through / translates best / helps in your role as a Financial Advisor?  Creativity, Technicality and Empathy.

—- You are not sure if you are dreaming but suddenly you are thrown in to a heavenly Moby Dick drum jam with Bonzo and Mooney, a third kit awaits you. How do you approach the sudden rush to join the fray and hold your ground?  I see my Craviotto “Big Drum” kit….I honor the masters and hold my ground just fine because …I am prepared and I can play.




What was the first album you ever bought and what’s your favorite track on it today? I don’t remember the first album I bought, but I do remember one of the first albums that I remember hearing as a young kid. My dad played me the 1937/38 jazz concert at Carnegie Hall with Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson and the great Gene Krupa…..He is still my hero and my favorite drummer!! My dad also played me John Phillip Souza marching records as well and told me to listen to both and I would be allright….Ha !…I listened to Joey Dee and the Starlighters along with Chubby Checker with my parents……then the Beatles came along…favorite song was “Love Me Do”…great cymbal crash in that song.

Who were you favorite drummers as a kid? Growing up , I had a lot of drummers that I listened to….never tried to copy anyone…My favorite to this day would have to be Gene Krupa.

What groove, or musical style, came most natural to you at first? I started playing to records that I heard on top 40 radio…Beach Boys, etc. until the British invasion came to America…I still enjoyed the loose feel of Gene Krupa with the Goodman band….He seemed to play the way he wanted to…no rules. I am a huge bebop fan….1960 jazz from New York.


Looking back, was there a pivotal first ‘big break’ for you as it were?  Playing on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1971 was cool and my first semi rock star tour and album was with Bob Seger and I recorded the album Back in ’72 which contained the original version of ”Turn the Page “…  As you know, my career then started to go forward!!

Of all the kits you have owned and played, what is your all-time favorite?  Well, I have had a few…one was an old Camco kit which I wish I still had and my first Ludwig kit my Dad bought me when I was first starting out….Today, I am playing Sakae Almighty maple kit…..I left Yamaha after a 40 year relationship and endorsement with them….My favorite Yamaha kit would be my Maple Customs which are no longer available……Sakae made all Yamaha drums for 50 years.

Do you have a philosophy when it comes to recording?  Recording is a personal preference, but I will say that it is different than playing live, so I would recommend to any young drummer to learn how to do both…I did, and it was beneficial in my career.


How important is your mind-set before going on stage and what do you do to get ‘ready’? Going on stage is still frightening to me…Their is always that split second thought before I go up on stage that I question if I really know what I am doing….Ha ! We are all insecure……But once the music starts, everything comes back to you and you feel comfortable ……I will walk around by myself before I go up on stage and think and say a few prayers to help me have a good show and remember the songs!!
Of all the studio material you recorded with Eric Clapton, which drum track are you most proud of today? I don’t really listen to myself after I have recorded an album….We spend enough time listening to tracks back in the studio, that by the time it is released, I don’t want to hear it anymore!!! probably “I Shot The Sheriff”, “She’s Waiting”, “Wonderful Tonight”, “Double Trouble”, “Motherless Children”….They are all pretty good I think. No real favorites.
What is the scariest moment you ever experienced on the road or playing live? Private plane with Eric going through bad weather was no fun, splitting my head open at Pine Knob with Eric, still played the show with a nurse holding a towel over my head….21 stitches after show….Military chaos with Peter Frampton in South America…..Held hostage by government for a few days…. more of this in my book!!
What 3 albums make your deserted island play list? Miles Davis…Kind of Blue, The Tractors…Christmas Album, Novabossa….Novabossa. – Jamie


How did your musical partnership with Chloe Orwell come about?

When putting together Big Hello (’96-’02) Chloe answered an ad I had in a local Chicago entertainment weekly. I was looking for a vocalist who played guitar, male or female, as long as they were good. I’m lucky she answered. We clicked immediately and have been together ever since.

Is the new The Handcuffs disc Waiting For The Robot, inspired social commentary or a space age fantasy?

Our newest album and our third is Waiting For The Robot. Thirteen rock songs with big nods to glam and pop. I sometimes call it “sarcastic glam rock” with titles like, “I’m So Happy That You’re Out Of My Life,” “The Scary Side Of Me,” “Kiss This Goodbye,” etc.. So if you need a feel good revenge song to make you feel better about breaking up with someone, these songs are for you. Of course there are other upbeat songs as well such as, Dirty Glitter and “Miss You On Tuesday” which have been getting lots of radio airplay. I’m proud of all of my releases in my lengthy career (Screams, The Elvis Brothers, Big Hello) but this third Handcuffs album is the best I’ve ever done. I’m really proud of this one.

Did you have specific goals for it in terms of sound or direction as it relates to your first two releases?

When starting on a new album, we (Chloe and I) select 15 or so that we think fit together for the sound of that album. Our first album, Model For a Revolution has a sound and a character but since it’s our first, it’s kind of a mixture of everything The Handcuffs were trying to convey. Rock songs with melody and hints of glam. It was a definite departure in sound from Big Hello (three albums) which was pretty much straight ahead pop/punk/rock. The Handcuffs mix retro inspiration with updated current production. We don’t want to be a retro time piece and, clearly, we’re not, which is probably why a number of current television shows have used our songs. Our second album, Electroluv is a step forward from our first and I think it’s the most pop of our releases. Our third and newest release, Waiting For The Robot, definitely was inspired by early Bowie, T. Rex, Mott The Hoople, etc. along with newer bands like Goldfrapp and the Ting Tings, etc.. Lots of underlying acoustic guitar and piano along with a Les Paul and Marshall bringing in the heavy. A good example of this is the song, “Eight Down”, about a friend who has used eight of his nine lives and needs to get it together before it’s too late. “Robot” is our most consistent yet and the response has been great.

You do a number off fun unorthodox things most drummers would never think of, who is your biggest influence as a player?

I am a self taught drummer. I’m lucky because I have natural timing and a good ear for music, and basically could just play drums from day one. Early on I thought I should find a role model to follow and I related to the drumming of “some drummer” named Keith Moon for a new band called The Who. Haha, who knew what they would turn into at the time?! They were just another 60s pop band at the time. As a kid, I liked to entertain, my family loved humor and so my personality and love for entertaining comes out in my drumming. Moon and I were a natural fit even before I saw him perform on television appearances. I always liked taking that surprise left turn in my drumming. I really think about and plan out my drum fills and intros on recordings. I try not to do the typical drum fills unless a song really calls for it. Another favorite drummer of mine was jazz musician Gene Krupa who was the first drummer to bring drums to the forefront as a lead instrument. Other influences for my drumming are guitar players and comedians where timing, dynamics and accents are very important. It all relates.

What were the first few records you bought as a kid?

I grew up in the single/45 era so a number of my first records were singles by Paul Revere and the Raiders (“Hungry”), The Who (“I Can See For Miles”), The Beatles (“Help,” though I mostly played the rocking b side, “I’m Down”), etc. It seems like the songs I was attracted to were songs with strong beats or heavier riffs. The first few albums I owned were by Paul Revere and The Raiders (Just Like Us), The Rolling Stones (High Tide and Green Grass), The Kinks (Greatest), The Beatles, (Magical Mystery Tour), Vanilla Fudge (first LP), etc.

You have been in a string of well regarded bands, how important do you think each band’s commitment to image was key in their ultimate success? (does this come from a love of British Invasion for you?)

Yes, I grew up in that overwhelmingly important era of 60s British Invasion so I wanted to be like my heroes. The excitement of Carnaby Street, mod haircuts, velvet and striped jackets seems so alien and other-worldly compared to the drab Midwest. The image just stuck of how a band should look and I’ve always been image conscious with all of my bands. Not that I try and dress everyone like Austin Powers, but a cohesive look of some sort is important. Example: If you have three or four band members wearing black straight legs, jackets and a boa or two, you don’t want a sloppy guy with a beard, wearing blue jeans and a flannel shirt. People will think he’s the gardener for the band. But, on the other hand’ four sloppy guys with beards works also and they don’t particularly want a guy in a jacket and boa standing next to them. So yes, I think image is important and having the band look like the band sounds is an important part of the whole package. And rock and roll didn’t invent the image thing, it goes all the way back to the big band era, country and western bands, folk groups, etc.

Playing with The Romantics seems like such a great fit for your drumming style, was it something you had thought about ever before it happened?(in any way?)

I never really thought about it or dreamed of one day playing in The Romantics. In fact my former band, Screams had a major album release on Infinity/MCA in 1979, about a year before they did, so I had been around. It’s a case of we all grew up in the same era and liked the same bands. The Who, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, etc. I knew where they were coming from, I learned their songs and it works. Bottom line is that I’m a good drummer and it’s just an added plus that I fit in so well with the image. I got The Romantics gig through my friend and fellow drummer Clem Burke of Blondie, who had been playing with The Romantics and he suggested me as his replacement when Blondie got back together and became too busy with their own touring. Clem was a good fit with The Romantics and to this day I get people thinking I’m Clem because of our similar look and drumming style. We both were influenced by Keith Moon, The Beatles, etc. and, coincidentally, we are the two drummers that get identified stylistically with that. It’s not like we are influenced by each other thoughit seems that it would be that way. We were both playing in bands and releasing records before we even knew each other.

Which of their tunes are your favorites to play and which song did you find the most difficult to get down?

I enjoy playing all of The Romantics songs and I never really had any difficulty learning them. The original drummer Jimmy Marinos, plays left handed on a right handed kit so some of the original drum fills seemed a bit odd to me before I knew that – meaning that some of his fills start opposite or end opposite of what a right handed drummer like myself would naturally play. So, I had to change what comes naturally to me to get the same feel as the original.

Gene Simmons once said “when the drummer sucks, even the fat girls know,” what did he mean?

I have no idea what he meant, but I do know this: A good drummer can make a bad band sound good and a bad drummer can make a good band sound bad.

Can you give us side one of the seemingly reasonable sounding, Elvis Played Drums On This; Greatest Hits, including all your prior bands?

I have done quite a bit of session work for other bands with some nice stand out drumming bits. A few albums that I can recall: Jay Bennett and Edward Burch, The Palace at 4am album and The Spanic Boys, Sunshine album. I also played on Torture  and their latest, yet to be released and Three Hour Tour – 1st album, 1969, B Side Oblivion, Looking For Tomorrowall released on Parasol. A Brad Elvis drums greatest hits, side A:

Screams – “Angeline’s Toys”- from Screams, self-titled album (Infinity/MCA/Universal) – 1979

The Elvis Brothers -“Fire In The City” – from Movin’ Up (Portrait/Sony) – 1983

The Elvis Brothers – “Don’t Take My Guns Away” – from Adventure Time (Portrait/Sony) – 1985

The Elvis Brothers – “I’ve Got Skies For Her” – from Now Dig This (Recession Records) – 1992

Big Hello – “Sister Mary” – from The Apple Album (Parasol) 1998

Big Hello – “If You Don’t Stop Your Crying” – from The Orange Album (Break-Up Records) – 2000

Big Hello – “Slingerland Drums” – from Apples and Oranges (Break-Up Records) – 2001

The Handcuffs – “I’m Not Laughing” – from Model For a Revolution – (OOFL Records) 2006

The Handcuffs – “I Just Wanna’ be Free, Man” – from Electroluv (OOFL Records) – 2008

Three Hour Tour – “Heaven And Hell” (by The Who) – from Looking For Tomorrow (Parasol) – 2010

The Handcuffs – “Kiss This Goodbye” – from Waiting for the Robot (OOFL Records) – 2011