When the music is great, and the artists at play are the tops in their field, Denny Seiwell is there! In a career that has traveled from the intimacy of New York’s most respected Jazz Clubs, to Rock’s biggest stadiums, to countless sessions in the studio, Denny has proven himself one of the most respected musicians at work today.

Denny is better known for his work with Paul McCartney and many of the classic Rock tracks of the time such as denny_paul_400“My Love” and “Live and Let Die”, but his first days in the studio were Jazz recordings with  artists like JJ Johnson & Kai Winding, Astrud Gilberto, Gary Mac Farland, Eumir Deodato. Paul McCartney came to New York looking for session players to record his RAM album. Denny was his choice as drummer for the project,  and Denny’s Jazz career was put on hold. “Recording with  a Beatle will damage your Jazz Career” Denny says with a hint of laughter in the delivery.

Denny’s signature drumming can be heard on records with artists such as John Denver, James Brown,  Billy Joel’s “Cold Spring Harbor,”  Janis Joplin’s posthumus “Farewell Song” album, Art Garfunkel, Joe Cocker, and Donovan. Denny also performed in the Who’s “Tommy” opera – live in London with the London Symphony featuring Roger Daltry, Keith Moon and Peter Sellers.  A consummate musician, Denny also studied the craft of production, having worked  alongside master producers such as Paul McCartney, George Martin, Phil Ramone,  Andrew Oldham, Richard Perry and Leon Russell.

Denny’s drumming can also be heard on over 100 CDs, countless TV & Radio commercials,  Film scores and TV shows.  Denny’s passion for music, his human spirit, his training and abilities have earned him the reputation as one of the industries’ most respected drummers.

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  1. santts

    Hello Denny,

    Did you ever come to Brazil?! Do you have Plans to mayeb come here anytime soon! It’d so cool to see ya around, we’re very musical and you guys are part of our influences!
    And thank you for repling to my music, great to hear from you!
    All the best…
    Santts,

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  2. 60sguru

    Hi Denny
    I hear you are going to beatles week liverpool August 28 it would be an absolute thrill to see you there
    And maybye talk to you about old wings times. But mainly to ask your advise on how do I get my lyrics to the people artists who I think would be ideal for I am now 63 years old – and been writing lyrics. Since 1968
    And have as you can imagine quite a few. I have entered music completions but as I don’t write or read music it’s very hard
    Sorry to waffle on
    Regards and keep rocking
    John sancaster

    N

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      Denny Seiwell

      John,My best advice is for you to hook up with someone who writes music but not lyrics….sometimes music schools are a good place to look. Publishers are best way to get songs to artists, but they are not interested in lyrics only. I’d still contact all publishers you can find. You never know if they have an artist who needs lyrics……best of luck….im off to liverpool ans hope to have a great time.all my best , denny

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        Denny Seiwell

        Back Seat of my Car…. because of its complexity and it draws on so many styles of music…it was done during the Ram sessions, and when I first heard the tune, knew it would be very special to record and make parts for.

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        Denny Seiwell

        as far as wings…it has to be live and let die….it was done on a three hour period at george martin’s studio in london with a live orchestra.
        I am best known for this track, and was a big feather in my cap to have played on this track

  3. sunnie

    Hi Denny, I was wondering how you came to be discovered by the “bigs” such as Paul McCartney,… And also wondered if you are formally trained to learn to play drums? P.s I’m a drummer too, and often people don’t have a lot of faith in “female drummers! Thanx. Sunnie

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      Denny Seiwell

      thanks for your question .. I had become one of the top 10 drummers in the NY session scene and when Paul came to town to find a drummer for the Ram album, he held auditions to see who he liked best….. it was a pretty weird audition… I got the gig and the rest was history….i did have formal training that went to classical, jazz big band reading etc…..the whole gamut.. I recommend it for todays drummers…. Ii think female drummers can do the same job as anyone can…..go of it…

  4. msuts

    Hey Denny,

    I love your work with Paul McCartney and Wings, but I have a question about your work on a Billy Joel album. I read that you laid down some drum tracks for the remix of Cold Spring Harbor in ’83. How did that come to be? That album is often referred to as Joel’s ode to early McCartney (especially stuff like PM’s Maybe I’m Amazed compared to BJ’s You Can Make Me Free). Did Joel have any say in it?

    Thanks!

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      Denny Seiwell

      Yes Billy was amazing as a new artist….One day my friend Michael Lang from the Woodstock festival sent me a demo from a new artist. He wanted me to produce this guy if i liked him. I heard the demo and was blown away. we started recording at Ultrasound in Long Island, but only did about half of the record as drummer/producer. At that point McCartney requested that I return to england to start Wings…..I was sad to leave this project, but very happy to finally start Wings. About the 1983 question…..that is wrong info…i did this record in the late 1970s i think…maybe 71 but it was before i left permanently for the UK for Wings.Billy was a McCartney fan and it showed in his writing and singing…i was thrilled to be a part, and wished I could have finished the project. I have not spoken to Billy since that time, but am proud I was a part of his coming out….my best denny

  5. AdamHalloran

    Hi Denny, will you be going out on tour anytime soon or playing any fests? Would you ever consider forming a group with Denny Laine or Laurence Juber (I’m sure that has been mentioned before in the past.)

    Adam

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  6. AdamHalloran

    Denny, I first want to say thank you for your great work which will last for all time on some of the most classic rock albums . It must be a great feeling to know how you can affect the human emotions with music. I’m envious and in awe.

    My question has two parts to it. John Lennon once famously quipped that Ringo Starr wasn’t even the best drummer in The Beatles (a joke that some have taken seriously) in reference to Paul McCartney’s drumming abilities, how do you personally feel Paul is/was as a drummer?

    The second part, you Denny basically being the second full time drummer that worked with Paul (after Ringo) how do you feel about Ringo’s drumming and do you feel he has been unfairly abashed for his style of drumming? Thank you very much Denny!

    Adam Halloran

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      Denny Seiwell

      Hey Adam,
      To me, Ringo was and is an incredible drummer who changed drumming as much as anybody could. He played the SONG not a bunch of beats, and will always be one of my favorites…I was with him last nite. The critics who slagged Ringo’s drumming simply know nothing about drumming…this was very unfair…..Most of the drummers I know admire Ringo’s drumming. Paul was also a great novice drummer who had his own thing. After hearing the McCartney album that Paul played drums on, I fashioned my audition after what I thought Ringo and paul liked in a drummer and won the audition to record the Ram album with Paul, and the rest was history.
      thanks for the question

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  7. violethyde

    Denny,

    I have been practicing your brilliant 1—>5—>1 rudiment technique for the past few years and am feeling like my hands are so much stronger, but i am wondering if you had any specific tips about getting my right hand faster on the high hat?? I tend to get really tired and I cramp up after a very short while.

    I’m not sure if I am holding the stick incorrectly (not utilizing my fingers, wrist, or elbow properly). Perhaps my high hat is a bit too high… no pun intended… I’m pretty short so I might be reaching too far. Or my body is positioned wrong. I seem to face the high hat by turning my body towards it at the waist. It is my arm (not hand or wrist) that gets really tight and overstressed and burns me out.

    Thanks for offering such good support for musicians on here! You are amazing.

    Best,

    J-Bean

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  8. santts

    Hello Denny sir,
    How are ya? I must say how happy I am with musinq, it is such a nice way of being close to you guys! I managed to get in touch with Dave Johnstone, who’s the guiarrits of the artist that was the first musical influence in my Elton John, my life changed so much cause of his music, also Lenny Castro who’s seen some of my video and gave some great advice!
    Well Im 27 years old, from the northeast of Brazil… and I have released my first album ever, ive no record label, nothing, me myself, and some great people who’s helped me producing the album! As a young artist I was wondering if I could leave a link to one of my videos here so if you get a chance to look at it… Id be very happy to know what you think, this is a cool, lounge version of song, me and my holmies are playing, hoping you will get to see it sir…
    All the best,

    Santts,

    Video > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2DuF3XfaKw

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      Denny Seiwell

      great stuff Santts…I loved the original tune in Portuguese the best….we really dont have time to review videos or tracks, but in your case I did….our purpose is to answer questions f rom musicians trying to make it in this business, not review performances…thanks for stopping by and dont give up , you have a beautiful energy
      my best , denny

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  10. Joseph Cocucci

    Hey Denny! just saw the ad for the contest on Gigg — fantastic idea! Any chance you’ll do something to find a lyricist and a melody man to come up with a song for the winning ensemble to record?

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      Denny

      the best way for me was to use them musically in my playing rather than practicing to play 2 against 3 or play difficult independance patterns as some drummers learn to understand polyrhythms…I am old school and everything I play has to have a musical purpose, so If I am playing in 3/4 and I hear and 8th note thing in 4 in my head that fits the musical genre, I play it as long as it doesn’t distract form the groove….which is all important. most situations allow for some of this, but if you forget what the drummers’ job is and it becomes about what you can sdo with polyrhytms or any elaborate drumming stuff….you miuht be asked to play with that band again when they need someone. Jazz is the perfect genre to experiment with polyrhuthms, so every chance you get to play with a jazz group or even jam….go for it….It truly is the route to more understanding of all forms of music

  11. Rhinosaurus_Rex

    Thanks for the heads up with Youtube Denny! Really helpful.
    Also, do you have a vinyl collection and how big is it? How do you approach playing live vs recording and is there a big disparity?

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      Denny

      yes I have a vinyl collection that I cherish…maybe 3 or 400 records…I always try to get a copy of everything I played on that came out on vinyl plus my jazzz favs and favorite records from rock, brazilian, and pop…
      In the studio , I play more for the song so as not to get in the way of any lyrics, solos or vocals, and bascically that is my thought process when playing live as well… there are opportunities in certain genres to experiment a little more playing live, but always remembering the drummers job is a support role not a soloist

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