Equally experienced as a musician, and educator, Donny Gruendler earned a Bachelor's of Music from Berklee and a Doctor of Education from Pepperdine University. He has worked alongside artists including Chaka Kahn, Oz Noy, Kenny Burrell, John Medeski, and DJ Logic and composed and played on jingles for Axe Body Spray, RE/MAX, and NPR. His select film/TV credits include Last Holiday, Father of Invention, NBA Game Time, TruTV Fameless and Mozart in the Jungle. Donny also released many instructional products, including Jazz Drumming (Hal Leonard), Private Lessons and Seeing Sounds (Hudson Music); and is a columnist for Modern Drummer magazine.
La Bête Noire; Rhett Frazier Inc; Independent
Most memorable Next-Level PerformancePlaying for 20,00 people in Cuba with La Bête Noire was life changing. I experienced the joy of the Cuban people, which inspired me to perform my best night after night (as well as take many joyful musical “chances” myself).
What Drives Your Creativity?I have an inherent need to create and I am influenced by records, artwork, architecture, and literature. Highlights include: John Coltrane or DJ Shadow records, minimalist mid-century art, and any book that piques my interest.
Why do you choose Vic Firth?I have used Vic sticks since the age of 9 and they are an extension of my thought process, drum sound, and approach to the instrument. That is, I cannot imagine using another stick to create sound.