September 9, 2007

JBB EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Jersey Boys’ Drummer Kevin Dow!

September 9th, 2007

Kevin Dow

It goes without saying that the on-stage Jersey Boys band ROCKS! From the first time we saw Jersey Boys back at La Jolla Playhouse in 2004, Kevin Dow’s drumming talents brought the music and the story of The Four Seasons to life on the La Jolla stage! During our New York trip last month, we had the good fortune of meeting Kevin at the stage door after his Saturday evening performance and he said “Yes” to a JBB Exclusive Interview! Kevin talks about how it all began for him; what it’s been like being the drummer of Jersey Boys since its inception back in La Jolla; his incredible experience in the studio during the cast recording; his projects away from the JB band; and many other details!

JBB: How did you become interested in being a drummer and how long have you been playing? Who were your early influences and inspirations?

KD: I started playing drums in the fifth grade so I guess that would be around 25 years. I went to SCPA, a performing arts school in San Diego, the same one that Christian Hoff went to. I wanted to play guitar but they didn’t offer that class until the seventh grade, so I figured how hard could drums be? You just bang on stuff. So I joined Beginning Band and almost failed the class. It just didn’t seem to come natural to me. One day it just started to click, and I’ve been playing drums ever since.

Back when I first started playing, I couldn’t stop listening to the Synchronicity record by The Police. I think I wore out two copies of that album. So, Stuart Copeland was an early influence. I was also a pretty big Rush geek.

JBB: Who are some of your favorite drummers?

KD: Steve Gadd has to be one of my favorites. It’s hard to pick guys now. There are so many wonderful drummers out there it would take forever to name them all.

JBB: Did you come from a musical family?

KD: Yes. It sort of skipped a generation. My maternal grandparents were jazz musicians back in the day. My mother Kay definitely instilled music in my brother and me from a very young age and supported us when we decided to pursue it.

JBB: Do you play other instruments besides drums?

KD: I only play drums. I can sing, but I wouldn’t say I was ready to be a front man or anything.

JBB: Over the last several years, have you played in bands before heading to Broadway as the drummer in Jersey Boys? Tell us about your band experiences.

KD: I’ve played in hundreds of bands from Reggae to funk, Motown, disco, jazz, blues, and music that really has no classification. Lots of clubs, studio, and private instruction work on all fronts. Cover bands and originals, bar/bat mitzvahs and weddings, and touring across the country. From small clubs to huge rock shows. This Theatre thing is kind of a new venue for me. This is the longest run I’ve ever been a part of.

JBB: What are the differences between being the drummer for a rock or jazz band versus being the drummer for a hit Broadway show? What are the similarities?

KD: Well, it’s nice to be able to leave the drums at the theatre and not have to load and unload all the time like in club situations. I would say the major difference is the dynamic range a drummer, especially an on-stage drummer, in a theatre setting must have. Also a major difference is that in a club setting, you play different stuff all the time. In theatre, you play the same show every time, eight times a week. That can test one’s resolve.

JBB: Prior to Jersey Boys, had you been the drummer for other theatre productions? Which productions?

KD: Yes, I’ve had theatre experience before Jersey Boys. I played Jerry Alison in the SD Rep’s production of Buddy…the Buddy Holly Story where I was the drummer and a principle role. I also was in the orchestra for Celebration of the Lizard, a play based on the music of The Doors and Jim Morrison’s poetry. I also played the soundtrack for La Jolla Playhouse’s Private Fittings and incidental music for Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays. (I actually made my Broadway debut with that show and I hadn’t even stepped foot in New York as of then.)

JBB: You have been the drummer for Jersey Boys since its inception at La Jolla Playhouse. How did you become involved with the production? Tell us about the audition process.

KD: We were Des McAnuff’s go to band. We not only played with Des at Playhouse functions, but he also had us record his music from Billy the Kid. We always had a lot of fun playing together, so when this show started up, he told us we really needed to be involved. So, we played some prepared material and ran down a chart for music director Ron Melrose and they said we had the job. Never a simpler situation will you hear of.

JBB: As a drummer, describe the transition from Jersey Boys at La Jolla Playhouse to the Broadway production.

KD: Fairly simple. It’s pretty much the same show with some minor changes. La Jolla’s production had the same great audiences. Nothing really to throw us off.

JBB: Compared to the other productions you have been associated with, what makes Jersey Boys unique to you as the drummer?

KD: Usually musicians are in the pit, unseen by the audience. In this show, it’s nice to be a part of the on-stage business. It’s good to be seen.

JBB: In Jersey Boys, is the drummer the leader of the band?

KD: The conductor is always the leader of the band. We may help each other at times, but it’s not a democracy. The conductor wins every time.

JBB: You were also the drummer on the Grammy Award-winning Jersey Boys Original Cast Recording. As drummer, what is most memorable to you about the experience in the recording studio?

KD: I would have to say working with such a seasoned (excuse the pun) producer as Bob Gaudio. His unique perspective on these tunes, his lifetime of experience, and his almost effortless way he communicates with the band made this one of the highlights of my studio career.

JBB: A lot of The Four Seasons’ big hits begin with prominent drum beats. What is it about The Four Seasons’ music that is appealing to a drummer?

KD: A less is more attitude made these songs really groove from the drum chair. What was played was what was best for the song.

JBB: From a drummer’s standpoint, do you have a musical number that stands out as one of the most powerful in Jersey Boys?

KD: I think it’s “Can’t Take my Eyes off You/Working my Way Back to You.” It’s just a great part of the show, and “Working My Way” is one of my favorite Four Seasons’ songs.

JBB: Do you have a favorite scene in Jersey Boys? What about a favorite line?

KD: I don’t really have a favorite scene but a favorite line, yes. It’s Donnie saying to Stach, “…Why not, it’s what you are. A piece of f*ckin’ shit asshole f*ckin’ moron…”

JBB: Besides Jersey Boys, are you currently working on other projects?

KD: Yes. I play for a band called The Cat Mary that has charted well on the AAA charts. Ken Dow and Steve Hoops Snyder, also of Jersey Boys, play in this band. Check us out at

I try to play with as many things as my time permits to stay creative and well-versed on my instrument.

JBB: You’ve been having an amazing ride with Jersey Boys! What would you like to do in the future?

KD: It would be nice to make hundreds of millions of dollars and retire early, but I’ll take being able to make a living in music that’s enough to support my family. Maybe something I play could give someone as much joy and drive as others have given me over the years. That wouldn’t be half bad.

Thank you again SO MUCH to the extraordinarily talented Kevin Dow for taking the time for this in-depth interview! Continued success to Kevin as he continues to ROCK the crowd eight times per week on stage at the August Wilson Theatre and in his other musical endeavors as well!


  1. I’m a drummer as well, so I can appreciate (and understand) what Kevin brings to the show on a nightly basis a little more than others.

    Great interview!

    Comment by Logan Roberts — September 9, 2007 @ 10:39 pm

  2. Thank you for the interview about Kevin. He is fantastic! The first notes from his drums made us sit up and listen. He really sets the mood for all the songs. It’s great to learn about his previous experiences.

    Comment by Lish Garnett — September 9, 2007 @ 11:16 pm

  3. I especially liked Kevin’s work on “Beggin’” from the
    soundtrack. Really made a dated song explode in your

    Comment by Ray Ricci — September 10, 2007 @ 3:01 pm

  4. We are very proud of Kevin and they were students..where I was Principal at Curie Elementary School..they are a tribute to the value of part of the K-12 levels..and they both are an inspiration–to all those young people..who see the JERSEY BOYS..knowing they are both living a dream..thanks to talent. hard work..and supportive parents..Anne& Mike Bolton..San Diego..Cal.

    Comment by Anne & Mike Bolton — September 10, 2007 @ 5:00 pm

  5. What a wonderful interview. I didn’t know how exceptionally talented Kevin Dow was until I saw Jersey Boys in San Diego. When I heard that the production was going to be on Broadway, it didn’t surprise me. The music is unforgettable – I didn’t want the show to end! Now we need to go to New York to see it again! Alyce Howard, Huron, South Dakota.
    P.S. Kevin is married to my granddaughter, Maria.

    Comment by alyce howard — September 11, 2007 @ 1:57 pm

  6. [...] all the details here [...]

    Pingback by clip60 » JBB EXCLUSIVE: Interview With Jersey Boys’ Drummer Kevin Dow! — November 9, 2007 @ 5:38 pm

  7. About 30 minutes into Jersey Boys, I suddenly realized that I was listening primarily to the drummer. What I noticed was an amazing respect paid to those timeless songs and the original recordings, but with a fresh and exciting personal signature. It took my breath. (It is a phenomenal show packed with first class talent!)
    I saw the drummer walking out the side door after the matinee last Saturday and called to him to tell him how much I loved his work. His self-effacing kindness matches his talent.
    I couldn’t wish anyone a happier life or a more successful career – I think he has the chops to achieve both. Good Luck, Kevin!

    Comment by Kathleen Reed, Northumberland, PA — August 18, 2008 @ 11:19 am

  8. Bought the Jersey Boys soundtrack. During the second playing, noticed the dynamic drums which started several songs. Also, it’s amazing to remember the lyrics almost 50 years ago. Loved this CD

    Comment by Rosemary Riley — June 26, 2014 @ 8:51 am

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