Hey all! My name is Jeff Tortora, originally from Syracuse, New York, and this is my first Modern Drummer blog post, which I am very excited about! I’ve been playing drums since I was five (starting on pots and pans, which I still do today!), took private lessons for many years, taught a few, played in all the school bands and competitions, plus many rock bands, with the first well-known one being with Joey Belladonna, the singer of Anthrax.
I’ve been one of the drummers in Blue Man Group, Las Vegas, for the past fourteen years. Besides the Vegas show, I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in many other Blue Man–related projects: recording, touring the world, doing unique gigs like Carnival in Brazil, the Super Bowl, and a recent production in Australia.
Being a part of BMG, and being in the scene in Vegas, I’ve been able to hang out and perform with a lot of players that I was a big fan of when I was growing up and currently am into today. My schedule allows me to do other projects, as well, like playing drums with the improv band Uberschall, which features two guitars, bass, and three or four drummers, with Tim “Herb” Alexander and Terry Bozzio being the fourth. It’s pretty interesting stuff!
I sing in my band, Tinnitus, which has quite a theatrical, intense show even though we play previously recorded music. Recently I recorded on Stony Curtis’ CD Halo of Dark Matter for Mike Varney’s label.
Well, thanks for letting me ramble. Until next time, I’m going to attach a few links, including promos of Uberschall, Tinnitus, and a clip from the second John Wackerman drum festival, where four of us drummers in Blue Man (Todd Waetzig, Blas Elias, Vince Verderame, and myself) demonstrated the drum parts of a original song called “Your Attention.” In the middle, I get to do a drum solo, which is not part of the original version.
For videos, visit facebook.com/Uberschall, and watch below.