Basic Background Info

Birth: May 10, 1961
Location: Lawrence, Kansas
Band: Tool, Pigmy Love Circus, VOLTO!, Zaum, Green Jellÿ, The Wild Blue Yonder
Genres: Heavy Metal, Jazz Fusion, Experimental Rock, Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal
Instruments: Drums, Percussion
Occupation: Musician, Songwriter


Danny Carey, best known as the illustrious drummer for art-metal band Tool, started taking private snare drum lessons from Keith Murray when he was just ten years old. At the same age, he also joined the school band. Two years later, he was being taught the drum kit in its entirety by Bryan Ayers. Danny Carey counts himself fortunate to have learned drumming from his two teachers, as they both had the “reputations of being the best drummers in Paola, Kansas.”

Throughout junior high and high school, Danny Carey continued his drumming education (now with John Whitney and Ben Kelso) to better prepare himself for a college music education. Additionally, Danny Carey studied jazz during his senior year with Allen Carter, who in turn was one of Joe Morello’s students. Danny Carey began college in Emporia, Kansas, studying under Rex Stone, but he decided to move to University of Missouri, Kansas City. At UMKC, he learned from Charmaine Asher-Wiley and Michael Udow for four years. Danny Carey also expanded his percussive studies to include geometrical principals, metaphysics, science, and the occult. Kansas City’s fantastic jazz scene had a profound effect on Danny Carey’s drumming, and offered him a chance to play jazz while attending college.

Following graduation, Danny Carey dedicated himself completely to his musical career and moved out to Los Angeles. He was able to find work as a studio drummer. Danny Carey performed with Carole King, Wild Blue Yonder, and Pygmy Love Circus. Under the moniker Danny Longlegs, he also played in the band Green Jellÿ and recorded Cereal Killer with the band.

Through complete coincidence, Danny Carey happened to live directly above Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan at a time when the band was struggling to find a drummer. Mutual friend Tom Morello introduced Danny to guitarist Adam Jones, and Adam Jones introduced Danny to Maynard. As Tool was holding drummer tryouts, Danny Carey found himself increasingly sitting in for absent musicians who just would not show up. In the end, Danny Carey “felt kind of sorry for them” and agreed to drum for Tool full time. The band officially formed in 1990.

Tool has won three Grammy Awards, toured the globe, and sold over 13,000,000 records worldwide. Known for lengthy and complex releases as well as a heavy incorporation of visual elements in stage shows, Tool is largely considered to defy genre classification beyond that of merely “metal.”

Danny Carey’s unique drumming employs strange time signatures, diverse sounds and dynamics, precise technical ability, the use of polyrhythms and polymeters, and the almost imperceptible undercurrent of jazz sensibilities. These attributes, coupled with an obsessive attention to independence, has made Danny Carey one of the most distinctive drummers in the world today. Danny Carey has also pushed himself to study a variety of other percussion instruments to incorporate into Tool’s lush sound. For instance, he has studied tabla with Aloke Dutta since 1998.

For drumming inspiration, Danny Carey cites influences such as Bill Bruford, Carl Palmer, Billy Cobham, Alan White, Tony Williams, John Bonham, Ringo Starr, Clive Bunker, Lenny White, Barrymore Barlow, Vinnie Colaiuta, Steve Jansen, Pat Mastelotto, Terry Bozzio, Louis Bellson, Omar Hakim, Alex Acuña, Zakir Hussain, Buddy Rich, Chad Wackerman, Aloke Dutta, Paco Sery, Peter Erskin, Elvin Jones, F.M. Einheit, Steve Gadd, Martin Atkins, Yukihiro Takahashi, Tommy Aldridge, Stewart Copeland, Dennis Chambers, and Evin Key.


Album Year Album Name Album Band
1980 No Heros Jamie Sheriff
1992 Opiate [EP] Tool
1993 Colour of Your Dreams Carole King
1993 Undertow [Clean] Tool
1993 Undertow Tool
1996 ∆nima Tool
2000 Salival [CD/DVD] Tool
2000 Salival [CD/VHS] Tool
2003 Some Kind of Strange Collide
2004 Greater Wrong of the Right Skinny Puppy
2005 Side One Adrian Belew
2006 10,000 Days Tool
2006 Side Three Adrian Belew


  • Danny Carey has his own line of drumsticks through Vic Firth.
  • Danny is 6'5" tall.
  • He often wears Jeff Carey's (Kansas Jayhawks) jersey on stage.
  • "I seem to get the best results on double-bass by treating my feet the same as my hands. I do dexterity exercises, like playing the twenty-six rudiments, working on simple snare-drum solos and breaking up sticking patterns (like single and double paradiddles) between my feet and my hands." -Danny Carey
  • Danny has been known to set up his drums in a special symbolic configuration (the circle and square of the New Jerusalem), utter a short prayer relating to the ace of swords from the book of Thoth, and perform a drumming ritual involving the unicursal hexagram to generate a movement pattern that matched Fuller's vector equilibrium model. Eseentially, Danny believes that the resulting rhythm summons a demon, which imparts parables to Danny while it is safely contained within "the Lodge."
  • Danny Carey thanked his parents and Satan in his 2002 Grammy acceptance speech for Best Metal Performance for the song "Schism."
  • In 2007, Danny Carey tore his bicep muscle while he was rough-housing with his girlfriend's dog. He underwent surgery that February.

Instruments of Choice



Drums: Sonor, Paiste
Cymbals: Paiste
Hardware: Pearl Stands and Pedals, Sonor Stands
Heads: Evans
Electronics: Korg, Roland, Synthesia
Sticks: Vic Firth

Pics & Clips