Robert Rondinelli is a rock drummer best known for his work with the hard rock/heavy metal bands like Blue Öyster Cult, Rainbow, Quiet Riot, Black Sabbath, The Lizards, and Rondinelli. In July 2013, Rondinelli was announced as the new drummer for the Axel Rudi Pell band.
How long have you been drumming and how did you get started?
I always wanted drums as a kid, but we lived in Brooklyn and my parents thought guitar would be quieter. So I’m playing guitar and taking lessons and the teacher says we’re gonna do a recital, I say ok, he’s s says and you have to sing. I tell this guy I really don’t want to play guitar, and I’m really not gonna sing. He says you have to sing.
So around this time, I started to have hair problems, whenever I combed or ran my fingers thru my hair, lots of it was coming out. I’m 10 and I’m losing my hair. So my parents brought me to a few doctors to see what the problem was. We went to this one lady doctor and she ask my parents to leave the room, she ask me if anything was happening that I wasn’t happy with ? I said yea, they have me playing guitar and singing and I don’t wanna sing or play guitar, she starts laughing calls my parents back in the room. Three weeks later I got my first drum set, and still have my hair, you can’t make this stuff up.
Who were your Influences on drums?
You’ve played with some amazing bands, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Quiet Riot to name a few. Which was your favorite gig and why?
Probably Black Sabbath, it’s the ultimate heavy band, I was a great live band. The Sabbath album I did Cross Purposes shows some of my best recorded work.
Here’s a tough one…Ozzy or Dio?
I love them both.
How long have you been using in ear monitors?
I’ve been using in ears for about 15 years I think. I started when I met Mike Dias at a NAMM show.
How does it compare to play using Ultimate Ears to say just earplugs or nothing at all?
I never play with nothing at all, snare drum and cymbals can ruin your hearing. Friends used to tell me, Bobby your cell phone is ringing, not good, so I always use in ears when playing. Even if nothing is coming thru the in ears they are great protection.
What do you like in your mix?
I like different mixes depending on the gig if I’m doing a drum clinic, I have whatever track I’m playing to and a click.
If I’m doing a gig with our own monitor man, I have a little of everything in my ears, plus a click.
If it’s a one off gig without our own monitor guy, I’ll just use my ears for a click and backing tracks.