Gary Mallaber – On Working with the Boss and Proving He Is More Than Just A Joker

“Music teaches you a flow and a rhythm to life,…but, you must be receiving of that lesson.”

Born today looking back at the heart beat of many of music’s top songs.  Gary’s body of  work is true testament to the fine drummer he truly is.

Drummer Gary Mallaber was born October 11, 1946 in Buffalo, New York.

His studies in music began at the age of 6 and his post secondary studies included art and attaining a music diploma at The University of Buffalo.
His first major success came in the late ‘60’s when his Buffalo based rock-and-blues band ‘Raven’ made the move from up state down to New York City.


They caught the attention of Jimi Hendrix and while on tour in England had an offer from George Harrison to sign with Apple Records. Instead they chose a deal with Columbia and recorded the album Feelin’ Good.
They were opening for bands like Led Zeppelin, The Young Rascals, Procol Harem, The Byrds, Grand Funk Railroad, and others. During this time, Gary became enamored with the Van Morrison album Astral Weeks and sought him out in an East Village nightclub. The musical chemistry clicked and soon they began preparing for a body of work which became Moondance. Followed with Morrison efforts Tupelo Honey and St. Dominics Preview – working with Jesse Ed Davis of the Taj Mahal Quartet – and moving to LA where he met the greatest southern California writing circle consisting of Paul Williams, Ned Doheny, Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon and Bonnie Raitt to name just a few.

Gary then found himself at the Capitol Tower recording his first album with the Steve Miller Band. From there, he went on to be the back beat of classic Steve Miller albums Fly Like An Eagle and Book of Dreams. Artists like Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Money, Bob Seger, The Beach Boys, Cher and other Rock giants have called on Gary for his always inventive musical approach to give their music something special.

I think Bruce listened when I played with Van in songs like ‘Into the Mystic’ and ‘Crazy Love’ – that these songs that moved were my kind of feel – that I wasn’t a rock it out kind of drummer but instead was able to play that soft sound underneath them.

Today Gary remains a very sought after musician and producer working primarily out of the Los Angeles area with acts like – Bass Reeves, The Chicago Blues Reunion (Harvey Mandel, Barry Goldberg, Corky Siegel, Nick Gravenites), Matty Jardin & the band Gold Spot; songs for Showtime’s “Californication,” the latest Ned Doheny CD and hometown band Jettason.


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