Home / A Conversation With Bogie Bowles of the Joe Bonamassa Band

A Conversation With Bogie Bowles of the Joe Bonamassa Band

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Here's a peek at blues drummer Bogie Bowles, currently on tour with the Joe Bonamassa Band. Wanting to play the drums since he was eleven, Bogie finally got his chance a few years later. At thirteen, and after wearing his father down, Bogie got his first set of drums.

TLC: What started you drumming?

BB: MTV. I saw Rick Allen from Def Leppard and Jeff Porcaro from Toto and they looked like they were having a blast. It made me want to do it.

TLC: Who was/is your influence?

BB: John Bonham, Jeff Porcaro, Nicko McBrain, Harvey Mason, Steve Gadd, Bill Ward, Mitch Mitchell and The Nature Boy Ric Flair.

TLC: First band you were in?
Bogie Bowles in Las VegasBB: Enforcer, a metal cover band put together by myself, two other 8th graders, and a 7th grader. Two of the three of us are still very close, that's going on 20 years ago, pretty cool huh?

While in high school, Bogie discovered Led Zeppelin and was inspired by John Bonham’s style, and stated that this was a turning point for him. Rock and metal drumming was his preference until one summer he attended Berklee college of Music and began experimenting with the R&B and pop genres.

TLC: First touring band you were in?

BB: Knocked Down Smilin' from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Home of the Tarheels.

After six years with his college band, Bogie decided he needed a change and in his spare time, studied Jazz with Frank Worrell over the next year and a half. After seven years with Knocked Down Smilin', they went their separate ways and Bogie moved to LA, where he currently resides.

TLC: How would you describe the "soup to nuts" variety that you have in your iPod?

BB: I like good songs, no matter what genre or band; therefore I have a really wide variety. I call it Hall and Oates to Judas Priest.

TLC: What artist would be the shocker (in your iPod)?

BB: Any bad '80s pop that I grew up on, insert your worst nightmare here.

TLC: Could you list some of your discography?

I did two independent records with Knocked Down Smilin. Natural Was the Static and a self-titled one in the early to mid-'90s. I did a great record with Jeff Witzeman and the Jealous Housewives in 2000, called In The Middle of the Riddle; it's one of my favorite records that I'm on. I also did an independent record with my old band My Precious Days. That was great! It was also self-titled. I played percussion on Ozzy Osbourne's Box Set, the Prince of Darkness and subsequent Undercovers CD. I've also recorded with Shannon Curfman, Sarah Hudson, and Keith Anderson.

In the fall of 2004, Bogie started touring with Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Toward the end of this tour, Kenny’s band, along with Joe Bonamassa, was invited to tour with BB King, to celebrate his 80th birthday. This was how Joe and Bogie met. In November 2005, Joe invited Bogie to join his band on tour.

TLC: What has been your favorite venue to perform at?

Bogie Bowles at Jazz AlleyBB:
The Paradiso in Amsterdam was awesome. Carnegie Hall was special because of all the history. Those two come to mind first.

Bogie has endorsements with all the gear that he performs with.

BB: As far as drums go, it's Yamaha all the way. An Absolute Maple Nouveau kit with 24×18 bass drum, 12×9, 14×12, and 16×14 toms, 14×6 1/2 Mike Bordin Signature model(Bell Copper) snare drum and my newest addition the 14×6 1/2 Manu Katche Signature model (Nickel over Brass) snare drum. I also use the Subkick; I get a lot of questions about that thing. It's the little drum looking thing in front of my bass drum. It's actually a microphone that picks up low end frequencies and sends that to the sound board out front. That, combined with a Shure SM91 mic mounted inside the drum, gives me the sound I've always wanted.

I use Remo heads, coated ambassadors on the snare, and clear emperors on the toms and the Powerstroke 3 on the Bass Drum. I also do NOT have a hole in the front bass drum head. My Cymbals are, 14" Signature heavy Hi Hats, then my crashes and ride are 2002's 20" medium, 19" Rock Crash, and 18" medium. My ride is a 22" Power Ride. All these are Paiste Cymbals. Bogie also uses Vic Firth sticks.

Special thanks and photo credits to Pierre Catellier and Joan Hunt at Laughing Rhino Photos.

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About Tara Clark

  • Jane Hall

    cool interview! I have been wondering what Bogie’s story was. Great links also.

  • Lars P

    Yes, nice reading the interview

    Hope Bogie has “recovered” since my “attack” on the tourbus in Malmö, Sweden


  • David

    I just attended the 2008 portland Blues festival where I saw him drumming with Joe. Amazing strength and endurance! Actually the entire band was amazing!
    As a side line… at the end of the gig, the band came forward to bow. I was right down front center with my camera taking shots. Bogie threw his drum sticks out at the crowd. I didn’t see them coming because I had the camera at my eye. Just as I pulled it down, a drum stick hit me in the forehead. My instinct was to catch what it was that it me. I did. Woohoo! Thanks for the stick! I think I earned it! It has his autograph on it!