Grammy awarded drummer, music educator, recording engineer and producer. Hailing from Cincinnati Ohio, his first teacher was Jack Volk (a stickler for details) who remained Billy’s only teacher from 9 yrs old to 15. Ward states, “The biggest thing Cincinnati did for me, outside of studying with Mr. Volk, was James Brown. Everybody played that stuff there and I played with some of the funkiest, best musicians anyone could want, let alone a teenager!” Billy additionally had a five hour lesson with Elvin Jones when he was 17. Billy: “Elvin’s generosity to me is paid back in part every time I perform a teaching event or share my concepts with students. Elvin was a kind soul that has influenced me tremendously.” After attending two different music schools in Cincinnati and North Texas, Billy moved to New York City to pursue his career in music.
Recorded and / or toured with; B. B. King (Grammy award winner!) / Robbie Robertson / Bill Champlin / Carly Simon / Richard Marx/ The Knack / Yoko Ono / Joan Osborne / Bill Evans Supergroup / Jim Beard / Hubert Laws / Joe Sample / Leni Stern / Teri Nunn (Berlin) / Rick Springfield / The Time Jumpers / Chris Whitley / George Russell / Cy Curnin (The Fixx) / Amy Sky / Marc Jordan / King Of Hearts /Ace Frehley (Comet) / Glen Cambell / Art Garfunkel / David Crosby / Jimmy Webb / The Sons of Champlin
Billy: “My first recording was for The Blackwood Brothers, a gospel group. We recorded it at Rite Recording in Cincinnati when I was 16.”
Feature Film soundtracks that Billy played drums on and still enjoys hearing (out of more than 50 films) are That Thing You Do!, where Billy taught actor Tom Everett Scott to play the drums and was on the set consultant, Under Siege and Sister Act.
Two records have been released under Billy’s name. Two Hands Clapping, a duets record with guest artists John Patitucci, Bill Champlin, Chris Whitley and more was recorded live with no overdubs or repairs to demonstrate the harmonic possibilities of drums in supporting a song, as well as the “degree of difficulty” displayed by each guest artist as they stepped a bit outside of their known style. The second record, titled Billy Ward Trio – Out The Door is included free with the purchase of the DVD, Voices In My Head but also available separately. Also live, with only three songs overdubbed shows a jazzier side of Billy playing with George Russell bandmate, Bill Urmson and beautiful songs by guitarist Barry Coates.
ENGINEER – PRODUCER
Billy has been engineering in his private studio, DrumPike, since 1990, where he began with one DA88 digital recorder and four channels of Geoffrey Daking mic pres and limiters with Shure and AKG mics. Click <here> to see his current list ofstudio gear. Billy has produced numerous drum tracks for famous and not famous yet artists out of DrumPike.
His two instructional DVDs, Big Time (Modern Drummers Readers Poll Award winner) and Voices In My Head have won raves from critics while drummers are grateful for his offering of real world skills, that being a professional drummer requires, as well as an exciting new approach to practicing and remaining creative. An enthusiastic, high-energy clinician, Ward has taught drums and music concepts at Universities, Drum Festivals and Camps in USA, Canada, Australia, Nova Scotia, Japan, Holland, Germany and England. Additionally, thanks to Modern Drummer Magazine, Billy contributed articles almost monthly for several years that revived the still current Concepts format in the magazine originated by Roy Burns.
“Inside Out – The Mental Aspects of Drumming“, Billy Ward’s book, has further demonstrated his ability to clearly explain the difficult challenges that working musicians face. An enthusiastic, high-energy clinician, Ward has performed Clinics and Master Classes literally all over the world in Universities, Drum Festivals and Camps.
Billy occasionally travels all over the world to play an interesting gig but he LOVES the close contact with students when performing Drum Clinics and Master Classes.