Pintech Artist: Terry Bozzio

Terry John Bozzio (December 27, 1950) is an American drummer best known for his work with Missing Persons and Frank Zappa.

Terry Bozzio was born December 27, 1950 in San Francisco, California. He started at age 6 playing makeshift drum sets. At the age of 13 he saw The Beatles premier performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, and begged his father for drum lessons. During the 1960s, he played in the garage bands Blue Grass Radio, The Yarde, and Tamalpais Jungle Mountain Boys.

In 1968 Bozzio attended Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo, California, where he received a music scholarship award, and later went on to the College of Marin. During this time he studied concurrently with Chuck Brown on the drum set and Lloyd Davis and Roland Kohloff on a percussion and timpani scholarship. He also played Bartok-Dahl-Cowell & Baroque chamber ensembles with the Marin and Napa County Symphonies.


Ask just about anyone who has the most OUTRAGEOUS and AWESOME drum kit, and Terry Bozzio’s name is sure to come up. But we wanted to know more about the man who sits behind that drum kit. What made him choose Pintech triggers over all of the other options? What decisions did he make when choosing all of the different options for his kit? And what is it like to tour the world?

Terry Bozzio has been using Pintech gear since 2007, and we finally caught up with him to ask a few questions:

Why did you choose the Pintech external triggers over all of the other brands?

Because they are small and flexible. My drum kit is dense and I can’t have big cumbersome triggers in the way of my sticks. Pintech has the essential piezo protected in a small sturdy cover and nothing else to get in the way, so I can mount them inside or outside the shell or on the head of a bass drum and they do the job with out interfering my playing. They stick on easily & conveniently anywhere you want them to.
You are known to have some of the most beautiful drum kits.

Can you tell us what you are looking for when putting one together?

Well, dw drums have so much to offer with their hardware details, rack & pedal possibilities so I started to create drum sets that had a sculptural aspect to them while following the functional form of how it holds things where I need them to be held. Then the new X shell construction has made it possible for me to use smaller drums that can tune lower than older bigger sizes. So that makes it possible to reach all the many drums in my set. Finally the beautiful exotic wood finishes they keep coming up with make it so hard to choose!

I read that at the age of 13, you saw the Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan show and you begged your father for drum lessons. Would you say that is when you knew you wanted to be a drummer?

Yes I had played along to surf drum music w broken arrows from my archery set on a set of bongos taken apart and the small one covered in paper to sound like a snare! I’d sit in front of the hifi for hours on my make shift drum kit! But when the Beatles came on I knew I had to play the drums.

What is something you can share with us that not very many people know? Any cool stories you can share with us?

Well maybe people don’t remember I built my own electronic drum kit way back in the 80′s and was awarded 3 patents for it! This was way before midi! I got burnt out on the primitive electronics and have not used them since! But now with my pintech triggers I can get the great acoustic sound & feel I want, but also trigger the pitches of the notes I tune to to enhance the melodies I play! It’s the best of both worlds!

Tell us what you are doing now. Are you on tour?

I’m just finishing up a month long European solo drum tour. This is the first time I have been able to play the midi system for people here. It really helps to convey the melodies I play and people really seem to get it and like it! I’ll go to japan in dec & jan and premier it there.

Anything that you would like to add before we go?

Just a thank you for your product! I couldn’t do what I do with out it!