Brian Viglione (born May 16, 1979 in Greenville, New Hampshire) is the drummer for The Dresden Dolls and New York City's swing-punk orchestra, The World/Inferno Friendship Society. Known for his energetic and expressive drumming style, Viglione has often aligned himself with groups who incorporate eclectic musical styles and theatrical elements. A multi-instrumentalist, Brian also plays guitar, bass, percussion, and sings in several of his collaborations, as well as having done producing work. He starred in the American Repertory Theater's 2007 production of "The Onion Cellar" and in 2008 performing in "Addicted To Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre's 20th Century" with The WORLD/INFERNO Friendship Society. Brian also played drums on the Nine Inch Nails album "Ghosts I-IV" in 2008 on a drum kit he built on site out of scrap metal and found objects. In addition to his various recording and touring work, he also gives drumming workshops based around developing personal creativity on the instrument and has lectured at Harvard University, The Boston Day and Evening Academy, as well as many other schools around the northeastern US.
Brian Viglione was introduced to the drums by his father on Christmas Day at age five with his interest quickly deepening at age nine when rock music became a primary focus and passion. A pivotal moment occurred in 1990 when Brian’s father brought him to see The Elvin Jones Jazz Machine and Brian witnessed his first up-close exposure to the drummer who would become his principal inspiration on the instrument. "I spent every possible hour jamming with my friends up in our attic from the time I was in the fourth grade through when I graduated high school. You could hardly tear us all away from playing!" At sixteen years old, Brian began playing gigs in clubs with bands around New England before moving from New Hampshire to Boston in 1999. There, he played with several Boston punk bands on both drums and bass guitar. "I knew it was 'now or never' when I moved from my small town to pursue my dream. Both of my parents understood how dedicated I was to making it come true and I was very lucky to have their encouragement through all of the craziness and uncertainty of those times." Viglione played bass for a year in a and was exposed to music that played a large and influential role in his playing. "I was listening to a lot of Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Black Flag, Swans, Miles Davis, Diamanda Galas, The Gun Club, Einstürzende Neubauten, Charles Mingus, and John Coltrane records. Very cathartic music that taught me a lot about the beauty of how to balance using space and aggression in music."
The Dresden DollsEdit
In addition to playing drums, Viglione also plays guitar and bass on several Dresden Dolls songs including the first single, "Sing", from their 2006 album Yes, Virginia... and sings back-up vocals, most notably on their version of "Pierre" from the The Dresden Dolls' Live: in Paradise DVD. His range allows him to cover backing vocals on stage for songs such as "Delilah".
After signing with Roadrunner Records in early 2004, the duo re-released their self-titled debut The Dresden Dolls to worldwide acclaim and recently made their Billboard chart debut with the equally applauded follow-up Yes, Virginia.... In addition, the duo’s live audiences continue to grow exponentially around the planet as The Dresden Dolls have completed sold-out tours on four continents, supported Nine Inch Nails, and performed at prestigious world festivals including Reading, Bonnaroo, Leeds, Coachella, Fuji Rock, Roskilde, Glastonbury, and Download. Locally, they have won numerous awards ranging from multiple Boston Music Awards to topping the Boston Phoenix/FNX Best Music Poll. In 2006, the band recorded their second live DVD chronicling their two sold out shows at The Roundhouse in London. The concert DVD captures the band with their uniquely creative fan base, many of whom traveled from all over the US, Australia, and Europe to attend in concert at the peak of the band's most active period.
In January 2007, Viglione starred in the American Repertory Theatre’s production of The Onion Cellar, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The show was co-written by The Dresden Dolls, cast, and director, Marcus Stern, loosely based around a chapter from Gunter Grass's book, The Tin Drum. The band's music was often used in unconventional ways to depict the drama and humor in a "call and response" method with the actors on stage, and Viglione was given a featured drum solo following one actor's moving scene recalling childhood abuse. The entire 40-show run sold out and the production has already garnered rave reviews.
In June 2007, as part of the Dresden Dolls, he toured with the True Colors Tour 2007, including his debut at Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall, and his first review in the New York Times.
Brian played drums on Fighting Naked, the debut album from his childhood friend Holly Brewer's band, HUMANWINE released through Warner Music Group's Cordless Recordings. Through March and April 2007 he went on a US national tour to support this release.
More recently, he performed drums for the new Nine Inch Nails album Ghosts I-IV. "Collaborating with Trent on "Ghosts" was a great experience and he really allowed it to be a truly creative atmosphere, in having me build a drum kit and allowing me to improvise my drum parts." Brian gives drum lessons and collaborates with many other Boston musicians including the Gill Aharon Trio, Neovoxer Ensemble, and Reverend Glasseye.
Brian has also given a series of drum workshops at schools around New England with the purpose of "inspiring the player to create, equipping students with the skills and confidence to make music that reflects their own unique voice and experience. I wanted to use this forum to stress the importance of individuality and in drummiing, not just speedy and flashy chops. To show kids the importance cultivating their own style and play from the heart."
He has also worked and toured with Jules Shear, Jesse Malin, Steve Smith, Helicopter Helicopter, The Insect Fable, Star* Matters, the Nanette Perrotte Jazz Combo, Franz Nicolay and Major General, and Emilyn Brodsky. Of playing with Emilyn, Brian said "Emilyn and I have been friends for a long time and when she asked me to produce and play on her album of ukulele songs I was thrilled and, surprisingly, wound up playing marimba on it as well."
Brian recently wrapped up his first tour throughout Europe and the US with Brooklyn, New York's The WORLD/INFERNO Friendship Society. The band is currently writing and recording their new album (due in 2009 with tours to follow).
In his "free time" in 2009, Brian plans to record a single with Martin Bisi and will be a guest musician for all of the tracks on 10 Neurotics, the new record by Black Tape For A Blue Girl.
Brian is an active supporter of the LGBT community and was invited to contribute a story to The Matthew Shepard Foundation's youth outreach website which can be read at Matthew's Place, to urge young people to reach out to each other, maintain their integrity, and speak out against discrimination.
He spent much of his time up until the age of ten at Pony Farm in Temple, New Hampshire, a highly acclaimed riding camp where his mother, Peg Viglione, was one of the founders and camp counselor for many years.
Brian is a Yamaha Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, and Vic Firth Drum Sticks endorsee.