North Yarmouth, ME, USA
band: Session / Independent Drummer
STICK SIZE: 7A
Portland, ME based drummer and percussionist Joe Beninati is the youngest of three children. He grew up in a suburb of NYC surrounded by musicians. With music running in his blood, Joe begged his parents for a drum set at the age of 9. While on vacation in upstate, NY, Joe and his parents found a music store called “Joe’s Drumshop”. After stopping in, they ended up coming home in the family station wagon with both their luggage and a new drum set surrounding him in the back seat. This was the beginning. Throughout his journey as a drummer, Joe has found inspiration from such jazz legends as Buddy Rich, Tony Williams and Elvin Jones, to classic rockers like John Bonham and Mick Fleetwood, to the more contemporary influences of Steve Gadd, Jojo Mayer, Eric Harland, Chris Dave, Mark Guiliana, Matt Chamberlain, Carter Beauford and Jimmy Chamberlin.
While drawing much inspiration from well-known musicians and learning from various teachers, Joe credits his development to three drum mentors in particular: Jazz drummer David Jones Jr., Howard Hirsh, (Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra, countless orchestras and Broadway) Bob Meyer (John Abercrombie and Joe Lovano) and Jordan Perlson (Snarky Puppy, Matisyahu, Charlie Hunter, Blue Man Group, Becca Stevens, Kaki King). Though Joe had been playing professionally for over twenty-five years with numerous bands, he attended Lehman College in the Bronx, NY in 2004 to study percussion, theory, ear training and composition to become a more rounded musician. While he is skilled in piano, guitar and bass, he has always felt the strongest gravitational pull from the drums. “I always loved rhythm, because as a drummer, playing drums utilizes your entire being.”
Versatile in styles from rock, pop, Latin, soul, funk, and jazz, Joe’s abilities are boundless. Currently, you can find him performing and recording with Viva and the Reinforcements, Jason Ward and the West End Mules, Matt Newberg and the Heart of Gold, Myles Bullen, Pretty Sad, a Jazz trio under his name and many other groups all around New England. He is also Otis Redding III’s drummer when he plays Maine. Joe’s outlook on music is refreshing. He is grounded in his desire to continuously evolve as a player.
WHY DO YOU PLAY COLLISION?
I play 7a sticks. I love the durability, balance and weight of the sticks. They feel more substantial than most 7a’s I have played so I can use them for Rock and Soul but still have the light touch and bounce that I need for quieter, more intricate gigs such as jazz combo/trio. I would recommend these sticks because they last, they feel good and most importantly Collision is a company that really cares a lot about their product and players.
Joe Beninati is the rare drummer who is equally adept at both the art and the craft of music. Whether he’s banging out a heavy 4/4 beat, a cut-time shuffle, or more sophisticated jazz-influenced rhythms, his playing is always sympathetic, and serves the song above all else.
– Jonathan Andrew
Joe Beninati is an amazingly passionate and talented musician. This comes through in his drumming, which is tasteful, creative, and always supports the music. Joe has an incredible sense of timing, does not overplay, has amazing chops, and knows when to show them off, which is something a lot of drummers don’t know how to do.
– Rob Meyer, former bandmate