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In Memoriam: Tommy Wells

It is with sincere regret that we announce the passing of Paiste artist Tommy Wells. The popular Nashville session drummer passed away on September 24, 2013.

Tommy Wells was highly-regarded in the Nashville session scene and played on countless recordings during his 30+ year career. He also spent 25 years as a member of the Nashville-based band The Prisoners of Love, which featured many of the area’s top session musicians. Wells joined Paiste in 1987.

Pictured at a recent gathering in Nashville, TN (L – R): Tommy Wells, Dennis Holt, Steve Brewster, J.D. Blair, Aaron Smith, Rich Mangicaro.

More about Tommy Wells from InnovativePercussion.com (courtesy of Innovative Percussion, Inc. and Rich Mangicaro):

Like most young drummers, Tommy started out banging on pots and pans, and later, on a WWII Rolling Bomber drum set. At age 11, the first modern day drum set was a Christmas present.

By high school he was a pro, working with a pianist/arranger Bill Kennaugh, Bill Doggett and saxophonist Candy Johnson.

In 1969, Tommy attended the Berklee College of Music and studied with Fred Buda and Alan Dawson. From then until 1977, he would play and record with Rock group “Dust” and Rock/R&B horn band “First Gear,” which featured Lamelle Harris. During this time, there was studio work in Detroit at GM Recording, Pampa, United, Golden World, The Funk Factory and Motown. Tommy also recorded during this period at studios in Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orlando and Nashville.

In January 1977, Tommy moved to Nashville, TN to tour and record with Gene Cotton and American Ace, followed by rock group RPM. This leads to a full-time recording session career. Tommy has played on recordings by Ricky Van Shelton, Foster and Lloyd, Michael Martin Murphy, Don McLean, Gene Cotton, RPM, Jo-el Sonnier, Holly Dunn, The Statler Brothers, Roy Clark, Jonathon Edwards, Jimmy Hall, Charlie Daniels, Porter Wagoner, Lynn Anderson, Charley Pride, Dan Seals, B.J. Thomas, Riders in the Sky and Kathy Mattea, among many others. Tommy also recorded and performed with award-winning Western Swing artist Carolyn Martin. He also worked with Jimmy Hall and The Prisoners of Love, and appeared/performed on many TV shoes including “Nashville Now,” “Music City Tonight” and “Prime Time Country” on a regular basis. Other TV credits include “Midnight Special” and “Carson and Dinah Shore.”

Tommy also taught the Studio Drummer’s Workshop class with Nashville legend Jerry Kroon (Billy Mason, Rich Redmond and Chris Brown are alumni).