Shane Gaalaas (born August 8, 1967) is a Canadian-born drummer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter best known for his long running affiliation with Japanese pop/rock superstars B'z, whom he joined in 2002, and his extensive work with guitar virtuosos Michael Schenker, Yngwie Malmsteen, Uli Jon Roth, Vinnie Moore, and Jeff Kollman.
|Genres||Rock, hard rock, heavy metal, progressive rock, instrumental rock, fusion|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, songwriter, producer|
|Labels||Junk Man Records|
|Associated acts||Toque, B'z, Cosmosquad, Jeff Kollman, Diesel Machine, $ign of 4, MSG, Yngwie Malmsteen, Uli Jon Roth, Vinnie Moore, Artension, John West, Glenn Hughes, Hughes Turner Project, Lao Tizer|
Gaalaas is a founding member of progressive rock trio Cosmosquad and extreme metal band Diesel Machine and currently the drummer for all-Canadian all-star cover band Toque featuring Todd Kerns and Brent Fitz of Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators fame and guitarist Cory Churko. He has released several albums as a solo artist and continues to work as a session musician. Gaalaas is a graduate of Grant MacEwan Music College in Edmonton, Alberta and Percussion Institute of Technology in Hollywood, CA; he currently resides in the Los Angeles area.
Gaalaas was born in small town Innisfail, Alberta and began playing guitar at age nine and picked up the drums a year later. After hearing Kiss – Alive!, he begged his parents to take him to see Kiss on their Love Gun Tour in 1977. "That concert changed my life. It had so much impact on me, from that point on I knew what I was going to do in life."
Upon graduating high school, Gaalaas began touring professionally with a Top 40 group before enrolling to study jazz, percussion and piano at Grant MacEwan Music College in Edmonton, Alberta in 1987. For the next three years, Gaalaas toured with Canadian circuit bands. Throughout 1991, he recorded and toured with guitarist/producer Paul Dean of Loverboy fame in a band called The Heat.
Move to the U.S.
In 1993, Gaalaas moved to Los Angeles, CA to study at Musicians Institute, from which he graduated with Vocational Honors and also won the "Rock Drummer of The Year" award. Entering a Guitar Center drum competition, he caught the attention of one of the judges, Journey drummer Deen Castronovo, who would recommend him to guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen only days later. "I ended up flying out to Miami... and it wasn't really even an audition. I went there and got the gig and next week we were on the road. All because of Deen."
Moving on from Malmsteen after the Magnum Opus album touring cycle, Gaalaas and bassist Barry Sparks joined the Michael Schenker Group and went on to record several other projects together, including albums by vocalist John West and guitarists Miloš Dodo Doležal, Vinnie Moore, and Uli Jon Roth, while continuing to work with Schenker. In addition, Gaalaas and Sparks teamed up with guitarist Jeff Kollman to form the all-instrumental trio Cosmosquad. Gaalaas would also join forces with future Halford guitarist and Damageplan vocalist Patrick Lachman in Diesel Machine. Former Deep Purple bassist and Black Sabbath vocalist, Glenn Hughes, would recruit Gaalaas for the European leg of his 2001 tour which led to Shane working with Hughes and another Purple alumnus, vocalist Joe Lynn Turner, on both HTP studio albums.
Working with Jeff Kollman
Gaalaas has had an ongoing musical relationship with guitarist Jeff Kollman going back to the 1990s. Gaalaas met Kollman in 1997 in Phoenix, AZ while a member of MSG and the two had an instant rapport and musical connection, in addition to being born only days apart. Together with fellow MSG member, bassist Barry Sparks, the duo formed Cosmosquad with whom they have released 5 albums and one DVD to date. Their latest release, The Morbid Tango, was issued in early 2017. Other studio and live collaborations include albums by $ign of 4, feat. Phil Mogg of UFO, Hughes Turner Project, John West, Lao Tizer and Crumb Bros.. Gaalaas also appears on three of Kollman's solo albums, Shedding Skin, Live at the Baked Potato and Empower... Devour!!!.
In 2002, Gaalaas was approached by Japanese music giants B'z to become the band's new touring drummer. His tenure lasted through 2018 during which time he was part of every B'z tour, studio, live and DVD release, starting with the a Beautiful Reel. B'z Live-Gym 2002 live DVD. Gaalaas was instrumental in the creation of the band’s first-ever English language release, the eponymous 2012 EP, for which he wrote all the lyrics and handled all the arrangements, as well as mixing and mastering the record with fellow Canadian Cory Churko. His replacement in B'z was Brian Tichy.
To date, Gaalaas has released 4 studio albums as a solo artist, Primer (2003), Hinge (2006), Ascend (2013), and Bitter Suites From The Red Room (2015), issued by Zain/Big M.F. in Japan and on his own Junk Man label in the rest of the world. Entirely self-produced, Gaalaas handles drums, lead vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards, programming and songwriting duties on all his records. B'z vocalist Koshi Inaba makes a guest appearance on Primer, which includes a cover of the B'z song, "Hadashi no Megami", for which Gaalaas also shot a promotional video. Canadian session musician Cory Churko contributes guitar to the songs "Brotherhood" and "Wish You Well" on Ascend.
Featuring on lead vocals and guitar, Gaalaas also released the Japan-only Live & Video Clips DVD (2005) and Live in Osaka CD (2006), with members of the Japanese rock band Schon rounding out the line-up. In 2009, Gaalaas released his first ever drum instructional DVD, Perfect Rock Drumming, via Rittor Music in Japan.
In 2012, Gaalaas collaborated with producer/programmer Peter Fernandes, guitarist Greg Howe and sometime Cosmosquad bassist Ric Fierabracci on the song "Dorothy", which was released as a digital single and eventually included on Fernandes' 2014 album, Q.E.D..
Gaalaas released back-to-back digital singles, "Tales From A Fantastic Lumbar", featuring Fernandes and Fierabracci, and "Silverstrand Sedation", in May and October 2014, respectively. Both cuts were included on Gaalaas' fourth studio album, Bitter Suites From The Red Room, his first ever all-instrumental offering, issued internationally in November 2015. Gaalaas also featured on Bob Frye's Uzoma album and has written and recorded the music for a video game titled Yakuza, due out in January 2016.
In late 2016, Gaalaas joined all-Canadian all-star cover band Toque featuring Todd Kerns, Brent Fitz, and Cory Churko whose debut album Give'R was released on December 23, 2016. Gaalaas made his studio debut with Toque on their 2019 sophomore release, Never Enough and appears in the video for the song "Never Enough of You".
On April 1, 2019, Gaalaas' extreme metal band, Diesel Machine, released "Shut It", their first new song in close to 20 years. The group's forthcoming sophomore album, Evolve, was set for a tentative fall release but pushed back to 2020.
Gaalaas filled in on drums for Brent Fitz of Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators on August 6, 2019 at The Ryman Auditorium after Fitz had to have emergency surgery for a detached retina. It was announced that Gaalaas would fill in for Fitz for the remaining four shows of that tour.
Japan's leading drum magazine, Rhythm & Drum, featured Gaalaas on the cover of their October 2013 issue ; he also been covered by the Japanese edition of Billboard, among other publications.
Gaalaas is endorsed by Pearl drums, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, Remo drumheads, and DW drum pedals.
Hughes Turner Project
$ign of 4
Uli Jon Roth
Michael Schenker Group
Compilations, Sessions & Guest Appearances
- "Shane Gaalaas – Drummerszone Artist Profile".
- "Game Changing Moments: Shane Gaalaas – Recommendations From Deen Castronovo!".
- "Cosmosquad Getting Ready To Drop 'Acid Test'".
- "Shane Gaalaas of Cosmosquad – Modern Drummer blog entry, November 2007".
- "Diesel Machine To Support Static X".
- "Cosmosquad To Release 'The Morbid Tango' In January; Band Announce Kevin Chown As New Bassist". BraveWords.com. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
- "10 Questions with Shane Gaalaas of $ign of 4".
- "B'z Live Review – Gibson Amphitheatre, Universal City, CA, October 2012".
- "B'z Drummer Releases Live Drum Cam Footage".
- "Shane Gaalaas To Release Solo Debut".
- "Drummer Shane Gaalaas Releases New Solo CD, Lays Down For Diesel Machine Album".
- "Shane Gaalaas Issues New Solo Album; Makes Cover of Rhythm & Drums Magazine".
- "Shane Gaalaas Announces 'Bitter Suites From The Red Room Release'; 'El Niño Overture' Video Posted". BraveWords.com. October 15, 2015.
- "Shane Gaalaas Goes Solo With 'Live in Osaka'".
- "Shane Gaalaas Issues Live in Osaka CD".
- "Shane Gaalaas – 'Dorothy' Drum-Cam Footage Posted".
- "Shane Gaalaas - 'Tales From A Fantastic Lumbar' Drum-Cam Footage Posted".
- "Shane Gaalaas Releases 'Silverstrand Sedation' Digital Single; Track Stream, Drum Play-Through Video Streaming".
- "On the Beat With Shane Gaalaas: Bitter Suites From the Red Room and More".
- "Toque Featuring Todd Kerns, Brent Fitz - Debut Album Detailed". BraveWords.com. Retrieved December 20, 2016.
- "Toque Featuring Todd Kerns, Brent Fitz - New Album 'Never Enough' Available For Pre-Order". BraveWords.com. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
- "Diesel Machine - "Shut It" Drum Playthrough With Shane Gaalaas". BraveWords.com. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
- "Shane Gaalaas – 'Ascend', Billboard Japan, June 2013".
- "Credits Live!". Allmusic. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
- "Credits The Unforgiven World Tour: Live". Allmusic. Retrieved January 25, 2010.
- "Credits Magnum Opus". Allmusic. Retrieved January 25, 2010.