LoginCreate ProfileSubscribe


Jamey Heim

Interview by Donn Garrett // July 16 2014
Jamey Heim

The reality of it is that musicians are very selfish creatures, and whether we mean to or not, music always creeps its way to the forefront of whatever priorities may be happening at that time.

Part three of our Drummers of the Pacific Northwest series features Jamie Heim, who has held the throne for Nashville superstar Toby Keith. Donn Garrett recently chatted with Jamie and gives us a look into a drummer who has never forgotten his roots.

How long have you been playing drums?

I spent my childhood playing on a toy drum set I got for my birthday when I five years old. My parents refused to buy me a real drum set, so I made due with practice pads, pillows, pots and pans, and friends' kits if they were fortunate enough to have one. I started playing drums in church when I was 14 and I was hooked. I put together make-shift drum sets until I had enough money to buy my first kit when I was 23. I've been playing on a daily basis every since.

Are you self-taught?

I basically played for 10 years on my own before I ever took a lesson. I relied on books, VHS videos and playing along to my favorite songs to learn the basic fundamentals and technique. I took my first lessons from Rich Redmond (Jason Aldean), Gary Williams (Ecstasy in Numbers), and Tommy Cluefotis (Rob Zombie). Playing on the road for Toby Keith taught me how to play tight in the pocket and play for the song.

How do you strike the balance between business and music?

The reality of it is that musicians are very selfish creatures, and whether we mean to or not, music always creeps its way to the forefront of whatever priorities may be happening at that time. I'm fortunate enough that I have a supportive family who understands my drive and has given me the flexibility and freedom to incorporate my music as my business.

What made you decide to play drums?

Both my dad and my grandfather were drummers. I grew up listening to my grandfather play in Big Bands in Northern California. My dad was into '70s classic rock and he was always playing music around the house. I remember my mom playing Led Zeppelin albums and I can honestly say that listening to John Bonham was all it took.

Do you sing or play other instruments?

Yes, I've played guitar for 28 years and will sing back-up, if left no other option.

What was your first kit? Do you still have it or pieces of it?

My first kit was a beginner's model Pearl Forum and I upgraded as fast as I could to a Pearl Export!

Who did you most want to be like?

Hands down, John Bonham from Led Zeppelin! He had thunderous grooves, played with amazing intensity, and could make a very small kit sound huge.

Name the venue that you dream of playing at or that you've already played.

I played Madison Square Garden in 2009 and that was pretty incredible! It was hard not to be overwhelmed thinking about the history of that venue while playing there. I really enjoy playing outdoor venues and would love the opportunity to perform at the Gorge in George, WA.

Who would you love to jam with?

If given the chance, it would be Tony Royster Jr. He has been an inspiration in my playing the last few years and a driving force for me to want to improve my speed and skill around the entire kit.

What kind of set do you play on and why?

I have always wanted to own a DW Collectors' Series and made it happen this year with a kit in blue fade. This instrument is beautiful and sounds wonderful! I enjoy the fact that I have so many tuning ranges and the overall craftsmanship proves how well built DW drums are. I was turned on to DW through Rich Redmond and Gary Williams and was able to hear DW's ability to incorporate rich, warm tones with a lot of punchy, bottom-end.



Login to view comments and join the discussion.

About the Author
Donn  Garrett

Donn Garrett is an accomplished drummer, songwriter and producer. He has performed with Alan White, Liberty DeVitto, Reek Havok, Shelley Tomberg, Steve Fossen, Chris Slade and many other talents. Visit Donn online at http://www.donngarrett.net/

Editor's Choice
  • For Your Ears Only

    For Your Ears Only
    Unless you have been living under a rock, you are probably well aware of the dangers we as drummers face... (more)
  • 7 Must-Have Drum Toys For 2017

    7 Must-Have Drum Toys For 2017
    Tax season is soon upon us, and for those of us getting a return it's time to start thinking about that... (more)
  • Billy Cobham

    Billy Cobham
      It is incedibly humbling to talk to someone you respect and admire. And when that person can also... (more)