One of Rock and Roll’s all time great drummers, Tommy Aldridge has 68 candles on…

Written by on August 15, 2018

One of Rock and Roll’s all time great drummers, Tommy Aldridge has 68 candles on his birthday cake today. Tommy is noted for his work with numerous bands and artists since the 1970s, such as Black Oak Arkansas, Pat Travers Band, Ozzy Osbourne, Gary Moore, Whitesnake/David Coverdale, Ted Nugent, Thin Lizzy and d’Thumbs.

In the early 1970s, Aldridge began playing original music with Alley Keith in the Florida Panhandle. Inspired by drummers such as Louis Bellson and Sam Woodyard, he started using a double-bass setup and became an early pioneer of the hard rock double-bass style of drumming. He soon gained notability as the drummer of southern rock group Black Oak Arkansas, recording several albums with the band between 1972 and 1976. Not happy with the band’s heavy use of hashish, Aldridge attempted to leave. He was forced to sneak away in the middle of the night and subsequently “hide out in Chicago” upon leaving Black Oak Arkansas, as the band’s management wasn’t keen on giving him his contractual freedom. It was during this time that Tommy joined up with Cliff Johnson and future Cheap Trick bassist Pete Comita to form the band d’Thumbs. d’Thumbs were a wildly popular band in Chicago, but due to pending lawsuits, they couldn’t go anywhere. After one and a half years the lawsuits ended, and he was free to record again. Aldridge then spent 1978 to 1981 with the Pat Travers Band, recording five albums over that time.

Upon parting ways with Travers in 1981, Aldridge moved to the UK where he began working with Gary Moore, recording the Dirty Fingers album in 1981. Through Moore he met guitarist Randy Rhoads and eventually joined him in Ozzy Osbourne’s band. Aldridge has stated that working with Rhoads in Osbourne’s band was one of the “musical highlights” of his life. Rhoads stated of Aldridge in late 1981 that “he was always my favorite drummer”, stating that he was “knocked out” by the drummer after seeing him perform with Black Oak Arkansas on television in the 1970s. Aldridge appeared on Osbourne’s Bark at the Moon album in 1983 as well as a pair of live albums (Speak of the Devil and Tribute) before leaving the band in 1983.

Soon after, Aldridge, along with bassist and former Ozzy Osbourne-bandmate Rudy Sarzo, joined forces with guitar/keyboard virtuoso Tony MacAlpine to form a short-lived project called MARS. Close friends, Aldridge and Sarzo then both joined Whitesnake, a band who were then touring in support of the highly successful Whitesnake album. Aldridge and Sarzo then performed on the band’s follow-up album, Slip of the Tongue, released in 1989. Announcing he was going to take a break from the music industry, Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale put the band on indefinite hiatus after the tour.

Following his stint in Whitesnake, Aldridge played in the band Manic Eden, with his former Whitesnake bandmates Adrian Vandenberg and Sarzo. The line-up also included former Little Caesar vocalist Ron Young.

During the 1990s Aldridge worked with numerous acts ranging from Motörhead to Ted Nugent.

From 2002 Aldridge toured with Whitesnake alongside David Coverdale (vocals), Doug Aldrich (guitar), Reb Beach (guitar), Marco Mendoza/Uriah Duffy (bass) and Timothy Drury (keyboards). Aldridge left Whitesnake in 2007 to pursue alternate musical endeavours.

From 2007 to 2009, Aldridge was touring with Thin Lizzy alongside Scott Gorham, John Sykes and Marco Mendoza. The latter part of his drum solo in this Thin Lizzy tour includes a “hands-only” percussion piece where he plays snare, tomtoms, and cymbals without sticks as he also did while touring with Black Oak Arkansas, Pat Travers, Ozzy Osbourne and Whitesnake.

The guy can play…

Happy Birthday Tommy!!! The picture below is a rare shot of Tommy when he was in d’Thumbs. Ok when he was in hiding.

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