Don Heffington - Modern Drummer Magazine

Don Heffington

Dec 20, 1950 – March 23, 2021

Drummer, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter Don Heffington died on March 23, after a short-term fight with leukemia—a loss so many were not ready for.

Born into a musical family in Los Angeles, Heffington was known as a drummer’s drummer. Often referred to as a swinging human metronome, he could play it all—jazz, rock, folk, country, and blues—and he was the go-to drummer for producers around Los Angeles for more than 30 years.

Heffington’s credits include decades of collaborations with Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Lowell George, Van Dyke Parks, Jackson Browne, Victoria Williams, Dwight Yoakam, Emmylou Harris, Randy Newman, Joe Cocker, Chuck Prophet, Sam Phillips, Matthew Sweet, Adam Sandler, and dozens more.

The luminous and unforgettably talented Heffington was tall, lean, and handsome, with a slow-moving walk and a signature mane that had turned silver by the time I met him. His kind smile lit up a room, and his humble nature downplayed his epic talent. I was one of the lucky ones who had the gift of working with him on my last album, which was produced by Jim Scott.


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In this Article

May 2021 Issue