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Drummer Database

Danny Carey

Name - Danny | Born - 05/1961 | Nationality - American | Genre - Metal


As drummer for Tool, Danny Carey has gained a reputation as one of rock's most creative and powerful drummers. His style is solid, often intricate, and he has a beautiful wide open drum sound that lets his playing shine.

Danny isn't just the drummer with Tool though, he has also played with bands in his various side projects including ZAUM, Green Jelly, Pigface, Pigmy Loves Circus and has played with artists like Adrian Belew and Carole King.

Aside from Danny's drumming, he's got a very creative and spiritual outlook on life, and studies the occult, sacred geometry, and related topics. He has even used this knowledge to develop new drumming techniques and arrange his drum set utilizing the circle and square of the New Jerusalem.


Danny playing Lateralus and being interviewed


Danny was born on May 10, 1961 in Paola, Kansas, USA. His interest in music and drums began at age 10 when he joined his school's band and started snare drum lessons. A couple of years later, Danny progressed to playing a full drum set and took lessons from Ben Kelso - a great drummer in his own right.

Danny continued his lessons with Ben until in his senior year at high school when he joined the school's jazz band. He now started taking more of an interest in jazz and began lessons with a new teacher.

Once high school was finished, Danny went on to study at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. Here he further developed his drumming skills and supplemented his studies by learning about, and applying the principles of science, geometry, metaphysics and sacred geometry.

He also became increasingly interested in hidden aspects of life and the occult, partly because of an experience in his youth when he spied on his father conducting a Masonic ritual with a sword. But, Danny also found time to play in different jazz groups and was into the Kansas City jazz scene.

However, persueded by a friend, Danny's next step was to move to Portland, Oregon. Here he played in different clubs for a while before moving on again, this time to Los Angeles. Danny had now graduated and decided to pursue life as a musician. He got his start as a professional drummer doing some studio work with Carole King as well as performing live with rock band Pigmy Love Circus.

Danny also joined comedy rock band Green Jelly and appeared on their third album Cereal Killer. During this time, he met and became friends with Maynard James Keenan and Adam Jones, playing drums for their jam sessions when they needed him to fill-in. This led to the formation of Tool, with Paul D'Amour joining them as bassist. After only 3 months and a few shows, they were signed to Zoo Entertainment and in March 1992, their first recording Opiate was released.

This signalled the start of a very successful career for Danny Carey with the band. They released their first full album Undertow in 1993 and began touring. Their second album AEnima came out in 1996, increasing the band's popularity and was followed up by Lateralus in 2001 and 10,000 Days in 2006.

Aside from playing and recording with Tool, Danny is also involved in various side projects including ZAUM, VOLTO!, and he still occasionally plays with Pigmy Loves Circus. Danny continues to create music in his various projects as well as playing live.


Drums - Sonor, Paiste | Cymbals - Paiste | Sticks - Vic Firth | Heads - Evans


Danny plays Sonor Designer Series drums and a one off Paiste custom drum set. The set usually contains a 14"x8" bronze snare drum, 8"x8" and 10"x10" rack toms, 14"x14" and 16"x16" floor toms, a 22"x18" bass drum, and a 24"x18" bass drum.

As for cymbals, Danny uses a selection by Paiste including 13" Signature Sound Edge Hi-Hats, 22" Signature Dry Heavy Ride, 18" Signature Full Crash, 19" Signature Power Crash, 20" Signature Thin China, 22" Signature Power Crash, 22" 2002 Novo China, 11/18" Noise Works Dark Buzz China, 8" New Signature Dark Energy Splash Mark I, 10" New Signature Dark Energy Splash Mark I, 7.5" 2002 Cup Chime, 8" 2002 Cup Chime, 6" 2002 Accent Cymbal, 8" Signature Bell, 5" 2002 Cup Chime, and a 40" Symphonic Gong.

There are some electronics in Danny's set-up too. He uses 7 electronic drum pads called Synesthesia Mandala Drums. The sounds for these pads are controlled using a computer program called Battery that runs on an Apple Mac computer. Plus, he uses a Korg Wave drum, a Roland Handsonic HPD-15, and some electronic pedals.

The sticks Danny plays with are his own Signature Vic Firth drum sticks, and the drum heads he uses are by Evans. The heads are usually an EQ3 clear batter and Retro Screen resonant on the bass drums, a Power Center batter and Hazy 300 resonant on the snare drum, with G2 clear batter and G1 Clear resonant heads on the toms.

Danny's set up

The view behind Danny's set...

Danny's set up

Danny's custom made Paiste drum set, made from recycled Paiste cymbals...

Danny's set up


Click to enlarge (opens in new window)

Selected Discography

* Undertow (Tool, 1993)

* AEnima (Tool, 1996)

* Lateralus (Tool, 2001)

* 10,000 Days (Tool, 2006)

Books and Dvd's

* Tool: Vicarious (DVD)

* Tool: Parabola (DVD)

* Tool: Schism (DVD)

Danny Has Played With...

* Tool

* Paul D'Amour

* Justin Chancellor

* Sylvia Massy

* Adrian Belew

* Les Claypool

* Carole King

* Kirk Covington

* Jamie Sheriff

* Adam Jones

* Airiq Anest

* Henry Rollins

* Pigmy Love Circus

* And More...



"We're here to share our art with people, not share ourselves with people."

"[Lenny White] made some mind-blowing records, his first 3 or 4 solo records are what I grew up partially on, ya' know, along with other fusion guys of that era...Bonham, Billy Cobham..."

"...we're [Tool] definitely our own worst critics, we just try to go into our rehersal space and be true to the chemistry that happens between us when the four of us when get in a room together with noise making instruments."

"The sound that Lenny [White] got out of a kit I was especially influenced by because it was so wide open and resonant, when most of the other people at the time were muffling everything down and stuff, and I loved the way the drums sounded when he hit 'em..."

"We take our music seriously but we don't take ourselves seriously."

"We see diversity in the crowds that's for sure...we don't wanna end up with any crazy incidents, ya' know, that have happend at these big festivals were people are getting crushed or something."

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Watching Danny Carey Rip A 3 Piece Kit Live! 
Hello all! I was in Winnipeg Manitoba about 5 or 6 years ago to see A Perfect Circle play. Opening for APC was Pigmy love circus. Before the show, myself …

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Well... As many of you might have noticed from the title, Danny Carey is one of my drumming idols/influences. So I'm a really big fan of Tool. In my …

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