Thomas Pridgen

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Like his dynamic drumming style, Thomas Pridgen started off strong from a very young age. At 5, he was drumming in church, encouraged by his grandmother. At 9, he won a Guitar Center Drum-Off, besting contestants decades older. At 15, he won a four-year scholarship to Berklee, the youngest recipient in its history. He graduated in 2003.

Born in 1983 in Alameda County, California, Pridgen has a blistering style and solid technique that have led to performances in gospel music, a three-year stint with rock band the Mars Volta, and work with such artists as Christian Scott, Wicked Wisdom, and as the live and sessions drummer for singer Keyshia Cole. In recent years, he has worked on his own projects, touring and recording with the Memorials and with Giraffe Tongue Orchestra with Brent Hinds and William DuVall. He recorded an album with the band Pinnick Gales Pridgen in 2013, featuring Eric Gales on guitar and vocals, dUg Pinnick on bass and vocals, and Pridgen on drums. The album features a cover of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love,” an instrumental based on Beethoven’s “Fur Elise,” and 11 songs written by a combination of the band members and producer Mike Varney.

Pridgen's eclectic mix of styles and his extensive touring in the United States, Europe, and Australia have led to a Best Up and Coming Drummer award by Modern Drummer magazine, among other accolades. But as he says on a recent video, his mission is always to follow where the music leads him: “I just want to have fun. When I played drums for money, I never made money. When I played for no money, I won a Grammy.”