John JR Robinson, Drummer
One of the most recorded drummers in
history, John JR Robinson got his musical start in Creston,
Iowa, where he was born in 1954. Both of JR’s parents
wanted him to be involved in music, so at the age of 5
came the piano, drums at 8, and JR started his first band
at the ripe old age of 10. JR credits his drumming chops
to having great teachers early on. At 14 he began playing
with the Iowa Big Band, that was located in SW Iowa near
Creston. During his high school years he was both an athlete
and a drummer - fortunately he picked the correct career
choice. After graduation he emigrated to Boston and the
Berklee School of Music, playing in both small groups
and big bands.
In 1978, John was hired for the drum
chair in Rufus and moved to Los Angeles to finish the
Rufus and Chaka Khan tour. In late 1978, JR was asked
by Quincy Jones if he did any sessions outside Rufus.
An immediate ‘yes’ found him in the studio
recording "Off The Wall" for Michael Jackson.
After that session, unlike many, JR created a career path.
"I decided that I wouldn’t turn down any gig
and set out a 15 year studio plan", he recalls. "Now,
I’m in my 23rd year in the studios and still going
strong, although because I’m so busy I do have to
turn down some offers. Over the years I’ve gotten
the big calls and worked with really great artists".
Some of the hits for him are: "We
Are The World", Lionel Richie’s "All Night
Long", The Pointer Sisters’ "I’m
So Excited" and "Slow Hand" and David Lee
Roth’s "I’m Just a Gigolo" and "California
Girls". Other artists that JR backed are Steve Winwood,
Natalie Cole, and in 1983 he won a Grammy with Rufus and
Chaka Khan for "Ain’t Nobody".
JR has been the drummer for Quincy Jones
since 1979 and Barbra Streisand since 1993. He also was
the drummer for Peter Frampton’s live CD "Frampton
Comes alive 2".
Even with his very busy schedule, JR
has found time to teach a course in "Studio Techniques"
at the Los Angeles Music Academy every other semester.
He is currently working on his solo CD and producing several
projects, and will continue to add his magic on many hits
to come with his recognized sound of great time and a
great groove. John JR Robinson, an Iowa, who has made
the big time and been the drummer for most of the top
artists in the very competitive musical world of the Los