Chad Wackerman (born March 25, 1960 in Long Beach, California) is a jazz, jazz fusion and rock drummer, arguably best known as a drummer and percussionist in Frank Zappa's band, but also known for his work with Allan Holdsworth and others. In addition, he has worked with others as a band member, session musician, sideman, and bandleader of his own jazz trio, as well as his solo career. He is the older brother of Brooks Wackerman, the current drummer of Bad Religion.
Chad Wackerman was raised in Seal Beach, California, in a family immersed in music. His father, a drummer, is an award-winning music teacher who has taught at both high school and middle school levels with a specialization in jazz. Chad and his brothers, John Wackerman, and Brooks Wackerman are all proficient drummers and multi-instrumentalists. John recorded an album titled Drum Duets Vol.1.
Wackerman joined the Bill Watrous band in 1978 and later went on to work with Frank Zappa for seven years, from 1981 to 1988. Gaining and keeping a place in Zappa's band was not easy; Zappa demanded high musical standards and imposed exacting discipline in rehearsal and on tour. The auditions for his band were grueling, according to Steve Vai and Wackerman himself. Two pieces of music, "Mo and Herb's vacation", and "The Black Page" were considered exceptionally difficult. Only three drummers throughout Zappa's career were able to play them successfully: Wackerman, Terry Bozzio, and Vinnie Colaiuta.
Sideman and session musician
In 1985, he toured, but did not record, with Australian rock act Men at Work. Wackerman played on the album and supporting video One Voice with Barbra Streisand. He has also recorded albums and toured with diverse artists such as Allan Holdsworth, Steve Vai, Andy Summers, Ed Mann, Albert Lee, Colin Hay, Dweezil Zappa and Tom Grant. Chad was also the drummer for the house band on the first Dennis Miller late night talk show.
Chad has also toured with James Taylor, best friends Mark Linn-Baker and Larry Sweeney, John Patitucci, Jeff Lorber, and Joe Sample, as well as fellow Zappa drummer Terry Bozzio in a series of all-percussion concerts. Chad lived in Australia for ten years between 1995 and 2005. Due to changes in the music scene in Australia and an increase in gigs in the United States, Chad decided to move back to California in July, 2005.
In replacement of drummer Marco Minnemann, Wackerman toured with Steven Wilson's band through 2013 in support of Wilson's album The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories).
Chad Wackerman Trio
The current Chad Wackerman Trio consists of Chad Wackerman (drums), Doug Lunn (bass), and Mike Miller (guitar). Wackerman's solo albums include guitar contributions from Allan Holdsworth.
Chad Wackerman Drumstick Collection
Current Drumstick Count in Collection: 2.