Paiste Artist Since May 2009
16" Alpha Boomer Boomer Crash
14" Alpha Boomer Boomer Hats
17" Alpha Boomer Boomer Crash
12" Alpha Boomer Boomer Splash
18" Alpha Boomer Boomer Crash
22" Alpha Boomer Boomer Ride
18" RUDE Novo China
My name is Jason Anthony Soldano and I am originally from Lindenhurst, Long Island, New York.
My family has been in the music industry and music scene before I was born and throughout my whole life. My Grandfather is Buddy Greco, the famous piano player and jazz singer. He and Tony Bennett are the last 2 scat cats left from their generation. He has performed with some of the greatest musicians of all time: Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Louie Armstrong, Bennie Goodman, B.B. King, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Tony Bennett and many others. My Grandmother Sally, who was married to my Grandfather Buddy Greco, was a singer, as was my Mom (Cindy Soldano) and my Aunt Joann (O'Connell). Playing drums runs in my family and is in my blood. My Uncle Buddy Greco Jr. plays along with my idol and Dad (Vinnie Soldano). My dad and uncle have had a few albums recorded and still play until this day.
My dad put sticks in my hand when I was about 5 years old, but I just banged on things throughout the house until he taught me how to play. I also learned how to play drums and to write and read music during my years of schooling. I played at local events and mainly just jammed with friends throughout my years in school. I was 16 when my family moved to Florida and attended Tarpon Springs High. My music teacher at the time, Mr. Mukunis, was a huge fan of my grandfather’s playing and just about had a heart attack when he found out that I was Buddy Greco’s grandson. He quickly realized that this cocky Italian kid from New York could play drums and immediately threw me into the fire competing with the other drummers in the class.
I had a bad accident at my job when I was 20 yrs old and almost lost my left hand in an accident involving a saw. I thought my drumming days were over but the surgeons did a fantastic job and saved my hand (I underwent three surgeries and two years of therapy). Obviously I couldn't play drums for a few years and didn’t start playing again until I got a new drumset for 30th my birthday. I was just playing drums in my room to my favorite CDs to get my chops back and to get rid of all the rust for the next few years. In the year 2000 I got to meet one of my idols, Morgan Rose from the band Sevendust. We met backstage, exchanged phone numbers and became friends over the next few years. I never missed a Sevendust show in Florida and traveled to NY, Georgia and Las Vegas to see Morgan play. My friendship with Morgan has taught me a lot about the art of drumming and the business of music. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet many bands, musicians and great people over the years.
At around the same time I was at a Nonpoint show – a band with whom I became friends - and a friend of mine introduced me to Raven Chain who was the singer in the band Sister Kill Cycle. Raven was looking for a new drummer and my friend said to him, “this is your man.” I didn’t know anything about him or the band but soon found out that they were an industrial rock band and that he wanted to start a new project. We jammed together and after an audition, I was chosen as their new drummer. Along with becoming the new drummer I was offered a drum endorsement with Ddrums and a stick endorsement from X-cel drumsticks. That’s where I met Terry Platt and Rick Hughes from Ddrums, who believed in me and my talent, and gave me my first break. Torry from X-cel drumsticks made me my own signature (Diesel) drumsticks. I was thrilled and blown away that I was getting my first endorsements!
I stayed with Sister Kill Cycle for about 8 months. We played local shows, traveled throughout Florida and started some recording until I got noticed and recruited by another local band, Crossbreed. The members of Crossbreed introduced themselves to me before a show and came to see me play to see if I was what they were looking for (no pressure, lol). After the show they said they liked what they heard and saw from me, and invited me to their studio to fill me in on what they were working on. Crossbreed was a signed national act, had two albums go national, toured the country, etc. I was blown away by their studio, their past projects and especially by the new album they were working on (“KE 101”). They told me I had four weeks to get ready for a Christmas show. Although I knew very little about them and nothing about their music, I had to practice at home and rehearse with the band four to five times a week to learn 14 songs. I found out that their manager Bill Aucoin, who was also the manager for Kiss, Spider, Manowar, and Billy Idol just to name a few, was coming to this Christmas show and to see me play. We played a sold out show on Bourbon Street for NPR for about 1000 Crossbreed fans. I had no idea it was going to be like this but it was awesome and I killed it! Bill told the guys in Crossbreed "This is your guy (sound familiar?)…power guy, bald head, muscles, arms and sticks flying, makeup everywhere.” That was the ultimate compliment coming from Bill and once again I was blown away.
The following month, after being named Crossbreed’s new drummer, we continued to rehearse, worked on the new album, played shows, did photo shoots, etc. (all this while still holding down a full time job). With our new album coming out and more shows scheduled I started thinking about the need for a cymbal and drumhead endorsement. Bill Aucoin had to wait until all our work was done before he could get our press packs together so I didn’t waste any time trying to get those endorsements myself. I got in touch with Morgan who put me in touch with Steve Underwood, the drummer for Stuck Mojo at the time. Steve referred me to his contacts at Paiste cymbals and Evans drumheads. I spoke to the reps from both companies and was asked to put an email package (photos, music, etc.) together of our new project “KE 101” and that they would review it and get back with me. Reps from both companies called me the following day and said, "we would love to have you join our family and endorse our products." It seemed as if out of nowhere I was suddenly being endorsed by some of the top companies in the world…it was a dream come true! I thought, "who am I and what have I done to deserve this?” Then I realized that I had worked hard to accomplish this dream and now had the opportunity to share it with my family, friends, fans and supporters.
When our album was released and we started tour across the country I start marking off the venues and stages where I would see Sevendust play. I also participated in my first trip to NAMM in California to represent all my companies. Once again, I was blown away by the event and got to meet some more of the best musicians, including musicians I grew up listening to. I had my friend Doug Brackett, whom I met years ago at a Sevendust show and who was also friends with Morgan, punch me in the face! It was incredible to see my name along with all the other great artists on the artist boards of all the companies I endorse.
When I returned home from that NAMM show, Terry from Ddrums took me to out dinner and informed me that he, Rick and a few other guys were leaving Ddrums to start a new drum company called Crush Drums and Percussion. He was hand-picking some of the artists he wanted to go with him to Crush and wanted me to be part of his new company’s roster. I told him that there was no question I’d go, especially after they were responsible for giving me my first break and drum endorsement. A few months later I went to Rockfest at the St. Pete Times Forum to see Morgan and Sevendust along with Hellyeah, Limp Bizkit and Alice in Chains. During the day Morgan and I visited booths from various companies and that’s where I met Jason Krywo and the guys from Sleek Audio, an ear monitor company. I told them that I played for Crossbreed and that I was interested in an endorsement. Jason extended an invitation to their place in Palmetto and offered to custom fit me for my in-ear monitors and endorse me. It’s unbelievable how in such a short time my life has been blessed by so many people who believed in me and took a chance on my talents and gifts. I’d like to thank Paiste Cymbals, Crush Drums and Percussion, Evans Drumheads, Sleek Audio and X-CEL Drumsticks for their support.
During a few months of downtime I decided to join a cover band to stay busy, stay sharp and keep my endorsement companies happy. This is where I got connected with Tim from the band Wikkid. They were holding auditions for a new drummer and when they found out who I was and who I played for they said (jokingly), "Well…why do you want to play for a cover band?” I filled them in on why I wanted to do it and what began as a one-hour audition wound up being a three-hour jam session. They were blown away and said "you’re the guy"…I was now the new drummer for Wikkid. We took the cover band thing to a whole new level and instantly became the talk of the local scene. Local venues noticed us and our growing fan base. Victor Lima, one of the local promoters who knew me from Crossbreed, caught wind of me joining Wikkid and began booking us for more gigs through which we gained exposure. I then got nominated by my girlfriend Aileen Collins for the “Sexiest Drummer and Musician in Tampa Bay” competition Vic was running (which I won). Then Vic held his annual TBMN Music Award show this past January (2012) and voted Wikkid “Best Rock n’ Roll Band of 2011.” As I was packing my gear up after our set I could hear Vic introducing Anthony Arnold of Mayhem Magazine who was one of the major sponsors of the award show. Anthony asked me to come up front from behind the drum kit. I had no idea what was going on and just figured he wanted to ask me a few questions. He wound up awarding me the Best/Favorite Drummer Award of 2011! I then met with my friend Matthew Coombs to record the following video for all the companies I endorse: http://youtu.be/jrc0TpPUNoM.
It has been an incredible year for me and for Wikkid! We’ve accomplished so much…I have to thank all the current and past members of the band for the accomplishments. I also want to thank Keith Wilkins who supports the local music scene and writes his articles in the Examiner. He gave me one of the greatest compliments in an interview with Wikkid when he said that there weren’t many bands or drummers he’d pay money to see and that I was one of them. He also compared me to John Bonham…what a compliment! Wikkid is still playing and smashing doors down. We're writing our own original music and hope to be in the studio by the end of the year to record our album and start to open for national acts across the state and soon, across the country.
This is the path my life has taken so far and it has been an unbelievable and incredible ride. I am truly blessed and thankful to everybody with whom I have come into contact, the friendships I've made and all the love and support that has been given to me throughout my career. If there is one piece of advice I can give other musicians it’s this: don’t ever give up on your dreams because you never know when it’s going to happen – just look at me!