Hey everyone in Modern Drummer land! My name is Jason Hartless, and I come from The Motor City. I am fifteen years old and have been a drummer for all of my life. I have been fortunate enough to, by the age of fourteen, have already toured or performed with Mötley Crüe, Godsmack, Theory Of A Deadman, Drowning Pool, Rev Theory, 3 Days Grace, Seether, Mountain, Warrior Soul, and Cavo.
In 2009 I toured most of the summer with some of the biggest names in rock ’n’ roll, while performing on Mötley’s second annual Crüe Fest Tour. While touring with some of these great drummers, I have become life-long friends with many and continue to share some cool drumming techniques—namely Chad Laroy of Cavo and Dave Agoglia of Rev Theory.
When I was eight years old, I recorded my first album with rock legends Corky Laing of Mountain, Ritchie Scarlet of Ace Frehley, and Jim McCarty of Cactus and the Rockets fame. Since then Corky Laing has been my drum mentor. He also helps guide my musical career with his advice and past experiences.
Around the age of nine I was taking drum lessons with a great drummer from Detroit named Tommy Clufetos. At the time he was with Ted Nugent and Alice Cooper, and that was cool for me because Alice was my favorite band at the time. Tommy really made me realize how important hard work and practice was, if you wanted to excel.
When I turned ten, I was flown out to record drum tracks at Millbrook Studios in New York for Richie Scarlett’s record (Revelation Supreme) with Anton Fig and Carmine Appice drumming on it also. It was an incredible experience for me to watch Anton record and to get studio pointers from him. Both of us were learning our drum parts on the spot, and Anton thought me how to make my own chart so I could really nail the track. I will never forget that and can’t thank Anton enough for that handy tool that I now use all the time while recording.
Many great drummers have influenced me, but my main drumming influences are Corky Laing, Keith Moon, Eric Singer, Mick Tucker (Sweet), Gene Krupa, and Zak Starkey. I drum to their music all the time, picking up every little thing I can from these greats.
I have never owned another drumset other than a Pearl kit, and I have used Vater sticks for as long as I can remember. Since I was ten years old, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to start working with Mike Farriss from the Pearl Corporation and Chad Brandolini from Vater Percussion. I have developed a great relationship with both of them and I’m very grateful for everything that they and their companies have done for me over the years. One stipulation that Mike Farriss from Pearl put in our agreement is that my education is a number-one priority. I must send every report card to him and if my grades were to fall at all, I would receive a phone call from Mike discussing the poor grade and me telling him how I am going to fix it. I am proud to say that I only have received one of the dreaded “What’s up with the grade”? call from Mike. LOL!
At the age of twelve I became a Drumfun artist and have been working very close with its creator and president, Spencer Strand. Spence is an incredible part of the day-to-day dealings with my drumming career. Last year I signed on with Dream Cymbals and really like the product and enjoy working with Brian and Rob. Ultrasone headphones are what I use for all my studio work; Paul is the greatest guy and was very good to me while out on tour. All of my sponsors—Pearl, Vater, Dream Cymbals, Drumfun, and Ultrasone—take a real personal interest in that I am doing well in school, dealing with the music industry well, and growing up the right way. I do not use any of my sponsor’s products just because I became an artist with them—I use them because I truly love the products they produce and way they do business. It is all about good product and a good lifelong relationship to me.
Currently I am wrapping up production on my first drum instructional DVD, Learn To Rock With Jason Hartless & Friends. It is slated for release in late summer 2010 through Drumfun/Hal Leonard. I have taken an active roll in production of the film. It has been one of the hardest projects I have ever been apart of, but will be well worth the effort once done. I have some very special surprise guests that are making an appearance on the DVD. Right now dates are currently being set for a summer drum clinic tour to take place through out the Midwest, to gear up for the DVD release. I am currently recording for a cool new group called Roxy Roller, and also currently in talks with another national act discussing possibly taking over the drum seat for them—positive details hopefully coming soon.
Sometimes I get asked for drumming and music business advice from other kids and their parents. The number-one bit of advice I can give to all young drummers is to practice with a metronome every day while playing a beat, soloing, working rudiments, or reading music. I also recommend playing to your favorite drummers’ music, or picking up the Turn It Up series by Drumfun. I do that every day—it really is fun! If you can, record yourself playing the drums, then play it back and critique yourself. You can be your best critic if you are honest with yourself. Find a drum instructor that you can form a bond with; accept all constructive criticism from them, as it only make you a better player. Find the best musicians that you can get to jam with in your area. Playing with great players will make you a much better player. Most importantly, my best advice is, stay in school, and stay away from smoking, drugs, and alcohol.
I’d like to thank Modern Drummer for letting me talk to you. Check out www.myspace.com/jasonhartless, and go to www.youtube.com/user/jhartless94 to see my video tour blogs from the Mötley Crüe tour. Thanks for reading!