James Varnado

Band: Dickey Betts

"I like to play with sensitivity and skill so I like the one ply heads. The Jack DeJohnette’s’ have been my favorites but God has recently turned me on to the Modern Vintage Heads. These Aquarian Heads are the ones I lean towards now!"


I was born in New Orleans, La. and my family moved to Houma, La. when I was very young. It was there I began playing drums in the Baptist Church. I have played with some of the finest names in Louisiana and the music industry including: Dixie Cups (Chapel Of Love) George Porter of the Meters (Sissy Strut) Charmaine Neville of the Neville Brothers Family Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen Wild Magnolia’s and the Mardi Gras Indians Tad Benoit – Swamp Blues Band Mem Shannon and the Membership Blues Band Dickey Betts (Allman Bros.) I have shared bookings with such music greats as Ted Nugent, Thin Lizzy (Tommy Aldrich), Santana, Peter Frampton, ZZ Topp, and BB King. With 19 tours out of the United States to South America and Europe, including Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Poland, Brazil, Spain and France as well as Germany and Italy, I have been blessed to be on stage playing and living a life doing what I love to do. When I am not on the road I enjoy teaching others about my love of God and drums. I also spend my time pursing my love of jazz and funk with my own band The James Varnado Jazz Funk Band and also several local bands. Being blessed with this drive is something I am very thankful for.

Drumheads Preferences

Snare Batter:

Modern Vintage

Snare Resonant:

Classic Clear Snare Bottom

Tom Batter

Modern Vintage

Tom Resonant

Classic Clear

Kick Drum Batter

Modern Vintage

Kick Drum Resonant



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