Gotta say it was a pleasure asking Jonathan Valen these ’10 Questions With…’ In the past Jonathan has worked with artists such as Andy Taylor/Judas Priest amongst others. I contacted Jonathan and he was totally up for it and responded with his answers in the matter of hours after I had sent them! Jonathan gives a lot of great insight in regards to Andy Taylor and especially Priest! Check out Mr Valen’s stuff here..http://jonathanvalen.com
Enjoy this one Folk’s!
|I always like to hear about how one decides to make a career out of being a full-time musician. For those who don’t know and I’m one of them. When did you decide to make a go of it as a Drummer
My mother recognized my potential at an early age and started me off with lessons, little did I know that I could read music well and In junior high school I was teaching in summer school classes. I knew I would become a professional drummer after High school when I was in Papa John Creach’s band, we were on the road with Marshall Tucker, from there I kept getting session work.
Andy Taylor(ex-Duran Duran) released a real good rock record in ‘Thunder’ and as well as a tour that you drummed on. Since you were part of the band why did that record really not take off as it should have?
Not sure what happened with the Thunder record, when it comes to writing songs Andy has a gift he wrote most of the Duran songs as well, we are not sure who played on the record because we were rehearsing at the Record Plant in Hollywood with Rod Stewart and most of the time they would be recording the songs.
As well you opened for some big names in rock at the time with Andy like Heart and David Lee Roth! Which tours were the best?
I liked the guys from Night Ranger they were a class act on tours you rarely mix it up with the other bands and Andy always had something going on with Management.
Rewinding a bit. Your story with Judas Priest is fascinating as the period from 1979 to 1986 is my favourite period of the band.You drummed on Judas Priests 1986’s ‘Fuel For Life Tour” along with Priests current drummer at the time Dave Holland. How did that all come about?
I was playing with a band called Leggs Diamond and a band that had David Sikes (Boston bass player) when I got a call from a David that the band Priest was at SIR rehearsing and they wanted to talk with me, I was really in to electric drums and had made an investment in the equipment there were very few manufactures at that time so I made my own pads with triggers in them for sensitivity and used practice pad rubber in my quest I met a guy who was making pedals for Terry Bozzio who had a spare set.
I have listened to the reissue of Turbo from 2017 and the live show included from Kansas City is a great show.It’s amazing how in synch the drums are between you and Dave. How many rehearsals did it take to get you two guys playing a whole 90 minute set down?
David Holland and I got along well and we worked out our parts prior to the tour. He had his drum sounds going through my Emulater SP 12 so no one would hear the difference, and like many bands with two drummers we both knew our strength’s and weaknesses. there is a show on that tour where they let me cut loose, Irvine meadows. but when this reporter Derick Oliver from Kerrang magazine got back stage and reported the news about my participation the band GT got spooked and thought that I had purposely put out an article about myself, It was not true. We rehearsed for a week in New Mexico before the tour started to work out the kinks.
I think it’s sad that Priest has buried your story and have no given credit where credit is due. Your website has letters from actual musicians who support you which is awesome. After Priest and Andy Taylor what did you decide to do?
After Priest and Andy Taylor tours I went on tour with Patrick O’Hearn and played on his Grammy nominated record Rivers Gonna Rise record. I’m one of very few drummers that have played on a record with Terry Bozzio. It was a different style of music than I was a custom to but I was more of a jazz progressive drummer anyway and Peter Manu was playing guitar on the live shows and I loved his playing. I was also getting a lot of session work from the late Paul Rothchild’s (Doors and Janis Joplin).
Who would be on your bucket list to drum with?
Ann Wilson I love her voice and she always surround’s herself with great musicians.
First ever album purchased?
First album was Led Zeppelin One.
If you had to go with 5 all time favourite albums(as a listener) what would they be?
Chick Coria Romantic Warrors, UK with Bill Bruford and Allen Holdsworth 801 live, any Zeppelin record, Missing Persons Rhyme and Reason.
Arena/Stadium show. What was the best show you have seen as a member in the audience.
Styx I have worked with most of the guys in that band and they are such pros about the way they present themselves and their musicianship.
Feel Free to Plug wherever it is that you are up to! Thanks so much again Jonathan for answering my ’10 Questions With…’
I hope this helps you in your quest and thank you for your interest in my career, God Bless my brother.