|Jimmy "Vegas" Tanner is the drummer for ApologetiX.
Jimmy "Vegas" Tanner, is the drummer for ApologetiX. We first met him
through our keyboardist, Bill Hubauer, who played with Jimmy in the
progressive Christian rock band Ten point Ten. The members of his fan
club refer to themselves as "Tanner Nation."
Jimmy played his first concert with ApologetiX on October 28, 2005 in
Noblesville IN, and will have played almost 600 concerts by the end of
2011. He has already played the fourth most concerts by any band
member past or present.
He also leads all ApologetiX members in celebrity endorsements. In
addition to being sponsored by Truth Drums and Alchemy Cymbals, Jimmy
was recently asked by Trick Percussion Products to be part of their
Pro-Player Artist Roster, after they found out he uses Trick pedals on
Jimmy has a personality perfectly suited to his prodigious abilities.
Not only can he play any song, style, or band we throw his way, but he
does so with great enthusiasm. He learns his parts willingly and
diligently, even if it's a song by an artist he doesn't care for ...
and there aren't too many of those, anyway.
Jimmy is always learning more about his craft -- watching concert
videos and instructional videos, reading books and magazines by and
about other drummers, and playing his drums every chance he gets.
And he's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, even though he hits
things for a living. With apologies to Raymond, everybody loves Jimmy!
It didn't take long for Jimmy, his lovely wife, Eve, and his kids,
Julie and little Jimmy (not so little anymore) to become part of the
ApologetiX family. We enjoy getting together with them for dinner and
other activities outside ApologetiX, too.
Where were you born and raised?
New Brighton, PA
How and when did you first get started playing drums?
I started to play drums at age 8. I originally was going to take guitar lessons first, but the instructor at the music store said that I was a bit too small and that reading drum music would be easier for me to understand. My first drum lesson was to see if I could keep time. I was to play single strokes with my instructor, Jim Pasquale, at the same time, starting slowly then building up to a fast tempo. He was surprised that I was able to play with him at the same time perfectly. I studied snare drum, rock and jazz. I took lessons from Jim for 8 years when he finally told me "I taught you everything I know."
How has your experience been playing with ApologetiX?
Playing with ApologetiX has enabled me to do what I love best - playing drums while serving the Lord. I have met so many great people and made so many friends while on the road with the band. I have really enjoyed the experience.
You first met ApologetiX through their keyboardist, Bill Hubauer. How did you first meet Bill Hubauer?
In 1995, I joined a church and was introduced to Bill Hubauer, who at that time was forming a new contemporary worship band at different church, Christ United Methodist. Bill was looking for a drummer for the band and asked me to audition. I passed on it, not ready to commit. That band was Ten point Ten (TpT). It so happened that things didn't work out at the church, and spiritually speaking, I set out on my own once again for the next five years or so.
During one of my darkest times, I found myself once more seeking out the Lord. A friend had recommended that I try a Sunday-night service at Christ United Methodist Church, and I went. When I arrived at the service, I noticed that Bill Hubauer was playing with the band. That very night it was announced that the drummer was leaving TpT, and I knew that this was a sign from God. The same band that I was invited to join five years earlier, that I walked away from, now seemed to be "calling" me. Other drummers auditioned but I answered the call and have since recorded several CD's with them.
Tell us more about how long and where you were in the Sunday-night worship team?
I had been playing steady for six years as the drummer for the Sunday-night service (contemporary Christian worship service) at Christ United Methodist Church.
How and when did you first become a Christian?
I was raised in a Christian home. My family is Methodist and provided me with a good start. There had been some times when I felt like I wasn't on the right path, times when I felt really low and lost. I "got saved" when I realized I wanted to commit to Christ with my time and talents, when God showed me over and over again that that was what He wanted me to do.
Can you tell us about your early influences (artists/groups) in music?
When I was eight, my older sister, Jodi, received a stereo for Christmas from my parents. It consisted of a record player, tuner, and an eight-track player (Wow!) My parents were not sure what type of music she would like so they bought a variety of albums for her. (Kids, do you know what albums are? No wait a minute ... better yet ... What about 8 tracks?) Jodi would look at the album, then put it down, and then I would check it out. One of the albums was KISS's "Rock and Roll Over" I had never heard of them before and when I looked at that album cover I instantly went nuts. It was like this beam of light shining down from the sky onto the album with a choir of angels singing in the background.
Who are some of your favorite influences as a drummer?
Jimmy Pasquale - my drum instructor, Peter Criss, Virgil Donati, Neil Peart, and John Blackwell.
Can you give us a list of the names of the bands you've been in before?
Cryer (1985-1988), Shocklin (1988-1991), Fair Warning (1993-2000). Between 1993 and 2000 - I also played with bands such as Emanon, Apple Schneider, Teaser, Wild Child, Stonehenge, Ipso Facto, Ten point Ten, Jam Nation
What do you think is distinct about your style?
I think that playing professionally for the past 25 years has really helped me learn many styles of music - everything from country to heavy metal.
As you know ApologetiX plays many styles of music. I truly believe that this has been God's plan for me from the beginning.
Is it true that you actually threw your hat into the ring the last time ApologetiX was looking for a drummer, way back in early 2001?
I remember ApologetiX was looking for a new drummer and that Bill Hubauer had recommended me for the gig. I had been with TpT for only a year at the time and was not ready to commit to any other projects. Plus the job that I had at the time would not let me go out on the road, which is what ApologetiX was doing a lot more of.
What have been your favorite things about playing with ApologetiX?
The music is great, but the really cool part is the lyrics. I have really enjoyed listening to the lyrics and learning more about the Bible and what's inside it. The lyrics really inspire me to read more. Traveling with ApologetiX has also been really fun. I really like going to new places and meeting the fans.
What do you think about ApologetiX fans?
They are phenomenal. After my first week drumming for the band I started to get emails from fans I met on the road. It's great to have a fellowship with people from all over the world. Since then, I have built treasured friendships with fans.
Tell us a little more about how you first met your wife, Eve.
In January 1988 I went with some friends to see KISS perform at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh. Eve and her friend stood in front of us. When I saw her I instantly fell in love - for real. I wound up standing next to her and tried to talk to her. I wanted her phone number, but she said she wasn't "that kind of girl" - so she took mine and wrote it on a $20 bill. At that point I was afraid she'd spend the money and never call me.
After a couple weeks went by, I thought I was right about that. It was Super Bowl Sunday and the Steelers were not playing and my phone rang. It was her! That was how we got together. We've been married for 18 years now.
Tell us about your kids.
We have two children. Our daughter, Julie, is 18 and is an aspiring film director/writer. Our son, Jimmy, is 14 and is an inventor. He wants to be a pyrotechnician and a skateboarder. I really enjoy being their dad.
What other hobbies and outside interests do you have?
Drumming is my favorite, but I like building things. I custom built all my drum cases. I like to do the landscaping around the house. I also like bike riding and fishing.
What's it been like playing drums full-time in a nationally touring band?
Are you kidding? This is the realization of my lifelong dream. This is even better than I dreamed because I am serving God in this ministry. It doesn't get any better than that.
What's up with the endorsements?
In addition to being sponsored by Truth Custom Drums and Alchemy Cymbals, I was recently asked by Trick Percussion Products to be part of their Pro-Player Artist Roster. I use Trick bass drum pedals on my drums.
You can find out more information about my endorsements and drum gear here: www.myspace.com/jimmyvegasrocks