Vincent Colaiuta (born February 5, 1956) is a highly regarded drummer based in Los Angeles. Originally from Brownsville, Pennsylvania, he began playing drums as a child and received his first full drum kit from his parents at the age of 14.
After attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston for a year, Colaiuta relocated to Los Angeles and made a mediocre living playing with lounge bands. His break came in April 1978 at the age of 22, when he auditioned for Frank Zappa, an audition that involved performing the notoriously difficult piece entitled "The Black Page". The audition was successful and Colaiuta went on to work with Zappa as his principal drummer for studio and live performances. Colaiuta's performances on Zappa's albums Tinsel Town Rebellion, Joe's Garage and Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar are considered by many drummers to be among the most astounding ever recorded. Joe's Garage was named one of the top-25 drumming performances of all time in a 1993 Modern Drummer article.
After leaving Zappa, Colaiuta went on to work with a long list of notable rock and pop artists, including Gino Vannelli, Joni Mitchell, Barbra Streisand, Sandy & Junior, Clannad, Wang Chung, and Chaka Khan. He has also appeared with many notable jazz musicians, including Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Jimmy Haslip, Quincy Jones, the Buddy Rich Big Band and Buell Neidlinger.
In 1990, Colaiuta successfully auditioned for the drum spot in Sting's touring band in support of his album The Soul Cages. Colaiuta remained as a member of Sting's band for the next seven years. He declined the offer to go out on the road for the Brand New Day tour in 1999 due to the usually grueling amount of time that Sting prefers to cover the globe. Colaiuta's studio work with Sting can be heard on Ten Summoner's Tales (1993), Mercury Falling (1996), three songs on Brand New Day (1999) and two songs on Sacred Love (2003). In September of 2003, Vinnie returned to Sting's touring lineup in a brief promotional tour of Sacred Love, but once again declined the offer to participate in the world tour.
Colaiuta released a self-titled solo recording in 1994, and still remains one of the most in demand studio musicians playing on countless albums, film soundtracks, TV and radio jingles. His dedication to self-improvement is legendary: Dom Famularo, a famous drum educator and Colaiuta's friend, once told a story about Colaiuta opening his door while practising on a drum pad; after a few minutes of a chat on the door step, Colaiuta said: "I'm such a bad host, I haven't offered you anything! Do you want a pad?"
Colaiuta has won a total of 18 'Drummer of the Year' awards from Modern Drummer magazine's annual reader polls. These include 10 awards in the 'Best Overall' category. Colaiuta was inducted into the Modern Drummer "Hall of Fame" in 1996. The publication also cited Colaiuta as being the most important drummer of our time.
More recently, Colaiuta recorded and toured with Faith Hill, recorded with the thrash metal outfit Megadeth on their album The System Has Failed, and has most recently toured with Jeff Beck and Herbie Hancock.