Danny Carey

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Danny Carey
Drummer - Progressive metal

Bands: Tool, Pigmy Love Circus, Volto!, Zaum, Green Jellÿ

Drumsticks: Vic Firth

Daniel Edwin "Danny" Carey (born (1961-05-10) May 10, 1961 (age 61) ) is an American drummer best known for his work in American Grammy Award-winning progressive metal band Tool. He has also contributed to albums by artists such as Zaum, Green Jellÿ, Pigface, Skinny Puppy, Adrian Belew of King Crimson, Carole King, Collide, The Wild Blue Yonder, Lusk, and the Melvins.


Born in Lawrence, Kansas, Carey's first encounter with the drums began at the age of ten by joining the school band and taking private lessons on the snare drum. Two years later, Carey began to practice on a drum set. In his senior year of high school in Paola, Kansas, Carey joined the high school jazz band and began to study under drumming great Ben Kelso specifically for jazz drumming training. Jazz would later play a huge role in his signature approach to the drum set in a rock setting. As Carey progressed through high school and later college at the University of Missouri–Kansas City, he began expanding his studies in percussion with theory into the principles of geometry, science, and metaphysics as well as delving into Sacred Geometry and certain hidden aspects of life and the occult. Carey also played jazz while attending college and got to experience the jazz scene in Kansas City.

After college, a friend and bandmate convinced Carey to leave Kansas for Portland, Oregon, where he played briefly in various bands before moving to Los Angeles, California, where he was able to perform as a studio drummer with Carole King and perform live sets with Pigmy Love Circus. He also played in Green Jellÿ as Danny Longlegs and recorded the album Cereal Killer. He would later find his way to Tool after coming to know singer Maynard James Keenan and guitarist Adam Jones and practicing with them in place of drummers the two had requested but had never shown up. Besides Tool, Carey also finds time for other projects new and old such as Pigmy Love Circus, Volto!, and Zaum.

Religion and the occult

Although Carey has not officially aligned himself with any particular school of philosophy or religion, he has projected a deep interest in and understanding for the magical arts - among them various occult teachings. Enochian symbols, geometric designs, and special symbolic percussive devices are featured on and in his drum kit. He is also a collector of First Edition Aleister Crowley books as well as books by one of Crowley's more innovative students, Kenneth Grant.

Geometric designs

Carey has laid claim to various drumming techniques that use sacred geometric figures such as the unicursal hexagram. The final product is very recognizable, fluent drumming, although to him it is much more: the official Tool website claims that Danny uses drumming as a ritual similar to occult rituals, with purposes varying from spiritual exploration to "a gateway [which] summoned a daemon he has contained...that has been delivering short parables similar to passages within The Book of Lies". Another geometric reference from the website was the inclusion of Nothing in This Book Is True... by Bob Frissell on the band's recommended reading list, a book that deals with sacred geometry and the evolution of human consciousness.

Side projects and other musical endeavours

In his time away from Tool, Carey has contributed (and still regularly does) to a vast number of projects:

  • Fusion band Volto!, which regularly plays shows in the Los Angeles area, consisting of both covers and original material.[citation needed]
  • Pigmy Love Circus, which has recorded several albums
  • Electronica-oriented project Zaum
  • Green Jellÿ
  • Pigface
  • Drums on the track "Use Less" from the album The Greater Wrong of the Right by Skinny Puppy
  • Contributed to Adrian Belew's Side One and Side Three projects with bassist Les Claypool
  • Drums on certain tracks of the Carole King album Colour of Your Dreams (as a session drummer) with Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash playing on select tracks
  • Drums on the track "Somewhere" from the Collide album Some Kind of Strange and several tracks from Two Headed Monster
  • Made an appearance on the 1997 album Free Mars by former Tool bassist Paul D'Amour's band Lusk
  • Drums on the track "The Fourth" on the selftitled album from Feersum Ennjin, the band of former Tool Bassist Paul D'Amour


Carey plays a Designer kit from SONOR (birch shells with inner and outer makassar ebony veneers - 1" thick on 8" tom and progressively thinner as the drums get larger), which he designed himself and used on Tool's recent 10,000 Days album and tours. Carey also uses a kit composed of custom cast bronze shells (3/16" thick and same dimensions as the SONOR) made from recycled Paiste cymbals, manufactured by master drum tech and drum maker Jeff Ocheltree (mostly on US tours as it is too heavy to readily transport elsewhere; The bass drums alone are 93 pounds each and special front-loading cases had to be made for them and the floor toms). He has also used it on "Jambi" from 10,000 Days. The set-up for both kits is nearly identical, with the Sonor kits having 14x16" and 16x18" "tunnel floors." Carey also uses Vic Firth signature model drumsticks.


Vic Firth Signature Series - Danny Carey
The truly unique Vic Firth Danny Carey Signature drumstick is crafted with a cut-in design at the gripping area for improved comfort. The butt end is tapered for improved balance. 16-1/2" long, .695" diameter at the butt, .630" at the shaft.

Vic Firth Danny Carey Signature Drumsticks.jpg

Buy Vic Firth Danny Carey Signature Drumsticks

Danny Carey Drumstick Collection

Current Drumstick Count in Collection: 8.

(0860) Danny Carey - signature model Trueline drumstick.
0396 Danny Carey - used, autographed (on reverse) signature model Trueline drumstick.
0094-0095 Danny Carey - new, autographed Vic Firth signature model drumsticks.