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Drummer Database

Josh Freese

Name - Josh | Born - 12/1972 | Nationality - American | Genre - Various

Josh Freese is one of the most in-demand session drummers around having worked with some top groups including Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle, QOTSA, and Sting.

Josh's great speed, adaptability, and accuracy have earned him the nickname "The Bruce Lee Of Drums"...pretty cool. That's not all there is to Josh though, he's got super technique, feel, and can play a huge range of styles.

Apart from his session work, Josh has also released his own albums and has written songs with artists including Axel Rose, QOTSA, The Vandals, A Perfect Circle, and more.


Josh playing with Nine Inch Nails, and The Vandals


Josh was born on December 25, 1972 in Orlando, Florida, but moved to Southern California when he was 6 months old. Both of Josh's parents were from a musical background and Josh followed suit and started playing drums at age 8.

By the time he was 12, Josh's drumming had come along way and he started to play professionally in a Top 40 band at Disneyland where his father was a band conductor. A few years later when he was 15, Josh left high school to begin recording and touring as a professional session drummer.

The first artists Freese worked with were Dweezil Zappa and The Vandals who Josh has been a permanent member of since 1989. From here Josh carved out his position as one of the first call session drummers in the US.

The range of bands and artists that Josh has gone on to play with is huge and he has appeared on more than 300 recordings. Some of the highlights of Josh's recording career include playing with DEVO in 1995, A Perfect Circle in 1999 (and onwards), Guns N' Roses in 1999, Nine Inch Nails in 2008 and many more.

Josh has also played live with many bands and was a member of Guns N' Roses from 1997 to 2000, played with Sting in 2005, and was a member of Nine Inch Nails from 2005 to 2008 among many others (see the 'Played With' section for more).

Aside from the session work, Josh's own creative projects include being a permanent member of A Perfect Circle (joining the group in 1999) and releasing a few successful albums with them. He's a songwriter too and has worked on songs with Axl Rose, QOTSA, The Vandals, A Perfect Circle, The Dwarves, and Goon Moon.

In 1998, Josh released his own solo album Destroy The Earth As Soon As possible, playing bass, keyboard, drums, and singing on all the tracks. He followed this in 2009 with Since 1972, again with Josh writing and playing on the album.

Today, Josh continues to tour and record as a session drumer with various artists as well as working on his own projects.


Drums - DW | Cymbals - Paiste | Sticks - Vater

Josh's set up

Freese plays DW Collectors Series maple drums and uses DW hardware. The tom shell sizes are 10"x8", 12"x9", 14"x11", 16"x14", and 18"x16". The bass drum is 24"x18", and the snare drum is a 14"x6" vintage brass.

As for cymbals, Josh plays his own signature series by Paiste including 14" signature reflector heavy full hi-hats, 19" signature reflector heavy full crash, 21" signature dark energy ride mark II, and a 20" signature reflector heavy full crash.

Josh also uses his own signature Josh Freese H-220 drum sticks by Vater and uses Remo drum heads. Usually the tom heads are Clear Emperors on the batter side with Clear Ambassadors on bottom, the bass drum has a Clear Powerstroke 3 on the batter side with a standard DW resonant head, and the snare has a Coated CS Black Dot head on the batter side with a Clear Ambassador resonant.


Click to enlarge (opens in new window)

Selected Discography

* Mer De Noms (A Perfect Circle)

* Thirteenth (A Perfect Circle)

* eMOTIVe (A Perfect Circle)

* Beside You In Time (Nine Inch Nails)

* Year Zero (Nine Inch Nails)

* Destroy The Earth As Soon As Possible (Josh Freese)

* Fallen (Evanescence)

* The Young & The Hopeless (Good Charlotte)

* Breakaway (Kelly Clarkson)

* Chinese Democracy (Guns N' Roses)

* Since 1972 (Freese)

Books and Dvd's

* NIN Live: Beside You In Time (DVD)

* A Perfect Circle: aMOTION (DVD)

Josh Has Played With...

* Sting

* Nine Inch Nails

* The Replacements

* Frank Black

* Josh Homme

* The Offspring

* Tommy Stinson

* Motley Crue

* Michael Landau

* Jubilee

* Black Light Burns

* Matt Wallace

* Gavin Rossdale

* 311

* Rickie Lee Jones

* No Doubt

* Mark Mothersbaugh

* Afi

* Himoro

* The Dwarves

* Ween

* Rick Rubin

* Dominic Miller

* Trent Reznor

* The Suicide Machines

* Jack Joseph Puig

* Ashes Divide

* Chriss Goss

* Jihad Jerry

* Michelle Branch

* Goon Moon

* Desert Sessions

* Brendan O'Brien

* Courtney Love


* Avril Lavigne

* School Of Fish

* Billy Howerdel

* Phantom Planet

* Goldfinger

* Michael Buble

* Nina Gordon

* Kazuya Yoshii

* South Park

* Stacey Q

* Thermadore

* The Wailing Souls

* Xtra Large

* Rob Zombie

* Bic Runga

* Slider

* Kelly Clarkson

* Civet

* The Lost Prophets

* The B'Z

* The Vandals

* Dweezil Zappa

* Abandonded Pools

* Viva Death

* Strip Search

* Tracy Bonham

* Puddle Of Mud

* Suicidal Tendencies

* Guns N' Roses

* Paul Westerberg

* A Perfect Circle

* Devo

* Perry Farell

* Juliana Hatfield

* Warren Fitzgerald

* Mary Lou Lord

* David Schiffman

* Chris Cornell

* Jason Freese

* Brooks Wackerman

* Robert Trujillo

* Lyle Workman

* Tom Weir

* Matt Wallace

* Sean Slade

* Paul Q. Kolderie

* Rusty Anderson

* Boxing Gandhis

* Meredith Brooks

* Crumb

* The John Doe Thing

* F.Y.P.

* Hayden

* Hoku

* Indigo Girls

* Infectious Grooves

* Wayne Kramer

* Lazlo Bane

* Mary Lou Lord

* Magnapop

* Shawn Mullins

* Leona Naess

* Mike Ness

* New Radicals

* Palo Alto

* Poe

* And More...



"I'm scared that nobody will buy my album...My girlfriend is scared that it will sell and I'll be stuck having to do a bunch of ridiculous stuff. But I'm excited. I really hope after that day at Disneyland somebody drives away in my Volvo."

"Music was always a big part of my household, but they [parents] didn't steer me in any one direction or they didn't push me toward the drums at all. If anything, most parents kinda like get a horrified look on their face when their kid says they want to play drums! Like, oh, god, no! That was totally mine, I pushed them, but they were supportive and cool. I started around age eight."

"If I was a member of more bands and having to tour more, then I wouldn't be able to stay at home and do so much work and be able to sleep around with as many different artists, so to speak."

"I do kind of get off on doing all these records and being able to work a lot of situations. It is always fresh and fun and new. Maybe god, if I was only in a band and didn't do studio work maybe I would go crazy after a few years."

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