Joe Connolly of Gunnar & the Grizzly Boys

Drummer Joe Connolly of Gunnar & the Grizzly Boys

Photo by Steve Galli

What up, Modern Drummer family! I can’t tell you how excited I was when asked to be a part of the blog. I have been reading Modern Drummer since I was twelve years old! Hope you enjoy getting to know this grizzly drummer.

My name is Joe Connolly, and I play drums in Gunnar & the Grizzly Boys. The last two years have been insane and filled with amazing opportunities and success for me and the Grizzly Boys. We started playing music in an attic at Michigan State University, and a few months later we found ourselves playing in front of 60,000 people—talk about living out your childhood dream! We have recorded two albums, Homegrown and Country My Whole Life, and we’ve begun to tour our way across the country.

Gunnar is a phenomenal songwriter. His songs bring a special passion and energy to country music that the Grizzly Boys feed off of to bring the fans one hell of a high-energy show. Our style of country music allows me to really let loose on the drums. One sound guy said, “Hey, you guys are like country metal.” Advertisement

A few of the more memorable moments of the last two years have included being “removed” from a hotel in Detroit after fireworks were “accidentally” lit outside the sixteenth-floor window, having a charter bus full of fans follow us to Chicago for a performance at the House of Blues, and partying with Colt Ford and Detroit’s American bad-ass, Kid Rock, in Flint, Michigan.

There are many challenges being a young band, making all of our own decisions. Most of those decisions are made over a thirty-pack of beer in a farmhouse in West Michigan.

I want to thank all the fans and supporters of Gunnar & the Grizzly Boys. No band can have the instant success we have enjoyed without you! You are as big a part of this as each band member, and we don’t forget that. A special thanks to the guys at DW Drums, Andrew Weber, and SS Custom Drums for all your support.

You can keep up with us on FaceBook and Twitter, and of course at I love connecting with new people, especially drummers—we are a different breed.