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Jason Bittner
Zildjian Artist Jason Bittner Profile Photo
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Artist Biography

Everything you need to know in one spot.

  • Band/Affiliation: Flotsam and Jetsam/Shadows Fall
  • Country: United States

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Jason Bittner, started taking formal drum lessons at the age of ten years old, however he had been banging on pots, pans, and garbage cans since he was about five. A native of Albany, NY, he continued to take lessons and perform in his middle school and high school jazz and orchestra ensembles before heading off to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in 1988.

After studying theory, arranging, and Latin and jazz drumming styles, he left Berklee to pursue his musical career outside the educational environment. This led to playing in various metal and hard rock bands throughout the late eighties and early nineties. During this period he was also attending a local community college (for an unrelated degree) and performing with their jazz and percussion ensembles.

In 1994 he joined Stigmata, who was, at the time, one of the biggest hardcore bands on the New York scene. Over the course of the next 7 years, he recorded 3 albums, released a home video, and toured the U.S. and Europe with this outfit. After being together for over a decade, the band decided to call it a day in 2001. However, over time the band would do several reunions.

As luck would have it, it would be the fall of 2001 when Bittner joined Century Media recording artists, Shadows Fall. Initially he signed on just to do one tour of Europe with the band, but considering that fact that the band had so much going for them, and the chemistry between the 5 members was so great, he decided to quit his job and stay a permanent member.

In September of 2002, the band released The Art of Balance and went on to tour relentlessly all over the US, Japan, and Europe from venues ranging from small clubs to the stage of OZZFEST 2003. It was also during this time period when Bittner won his first Modern Drummer Reader's Poll for #1 Up and Coming Drummer of 2004.

September of 2004 brought the release of the album The War Within, which debuted at #38 on the Billboard charts. Over the next year, the band once again toured all over the world, including arena tours with Slipknot, and a main stage spot on OZZFEST 2005. At this time, TWW has scanned over 400,000 copies, and received a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance in 2006. This record was also powerful enough to help Bittner win again in the 2005 MD Reader's Poll, this time for #1 Best Recorded Performance, and #1 Metal drummer.

Over the course of 2005, Bittner started establishing himself as a clinician as well. He performed at the Modern Drummer Festival in May of 2005 to a standing ovation. In September, he performed at the DRUMMER live festival in the UK, followed by a clinic tour of Germany, and he also performed at PASIC in November of 2005. November of 2005 also brought the release of Shadows Fall's first ever DVD, The Art of Touring which Bittner helped film and produce.

In 2006, Bittner was a very busy man. In the first three months he played fill-in gigs for Anthrax and Hudson Music released a joint DVD with him and Chris Adler. He was the cover feature of the UK drum publications, DRUMMER and Rhythm, and the cover feature of DRUM! In July. He was also one of the handful of lucky drummers who got to participate on Magna Carta's Drum Nation 3 record. Jason also won the Modern Drummer Reader's Poll for the second year in a row for 2006 #1 Metal Drummer.

As for Shadows Fall, 2006 was also very productive year. The band released Fallout From the War on Century Media Records, signed a Major Label Deal with Atlantic Records, toured throughout July and August in support of Fallout, and spent the remainder of the year writing and recording Threads of Life at Studio 606 in L.A. with Producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, RUSH).

2007 proved to be another busy year for Bittner and Shadows Fall. In the early winter months, Jason spent much of his time writing and recording new material for his side project, Burning Human. He also released a new book called Drumming Out of The Shadows, co-authored by Joe Bergamini, available through Carl Fischer Publications. Late March brought the beginning of the Shadows Fall tour cycle supporting Threads of Life, which was released in April 2007, and received another Grammy nomination once again for Best Metal Performance in 2008. Also during this time period, Bittner started writing a monthly drum column for RYTHYM magazine in the UK, was a faculty member (along with Steve Smith, Dave Weckl, and Horacio Hernandez) at the 2007 Drum Fantasy Camp held at Seton Hall University, and won #1 Metal drummer and #1 Rising Drumming Star awards in the 2007 DRUM! Reader’s Poll.

The Threads of Life tour cycle ended in May of 2008, with the band this time reaching fans as far away as Mexico and the Philippines, and pushing the CD’s sales over the 150,000 mark. His book “Drumming Out of The Shadows” received the #2 award in the DRUM! Reader’s Poll for Best Educational Book, and he was also one of the featured artists in the book On the Beaten Path by Rich Lackowski. This book was the #1 Educational Book of 2008 in the Modern Drummer and DRUM! Magazine Reader’s Polls. At the tail end of 2008, Bittner finally released his own What Drives the Beat instructional DVD. A clinic tour with Stu Hamm followed shortly after, and the DVD received a #3 award for “Best Insructional DVD” in the 2009 MD Reader’s Poll

2009 brought the release of BURNING HUMAN'S Resurrection Through Fire on E1 records followed by a small tour, and video that was quickly banned from MTV due to it's "upsetting content." Shortly after the Burning Human tour, SHADOWS FALL released Retribution, which is arguably their latest and most powerful album to date. Once again, the band debuted in the Billboard Top 40 with Retribution’s first week release. The band also appeared as musical guests on the Jimmy Fallon Show. Fall of 2009 brought the beginning of a year-long world touring cycle that has just recently finished when the band returned from their first full Asian headlining tour.

2009 brought the release of not only the BURNING HUMAN CD Resurrection Through Fire,, but also more importantly, Shadows Fall’s album Retribution. Once again, the band debuted in the Billboard Top 40 with Retribution's first week release. The band appeared as musical guests on the “Jimmy Fallon Show,” and toured non-stop all over the world until the fall of 2010.

In October of 2010, Shadows Fall released a live concert DVD/CD package Madness in Manila which was recorded in front of 15,000 screaming fans in the Philippines in early 2009. Bittner is also featured in one of the latest Hudson Music DVD’s Double Bass Drumming - Ultimate Lessons.

2011 Brought a move to ZILDJIAN Cymbals and LP percussion followed by 3 subsequent clinic tours (voted #2 clinician in the 2011 DRUM! reader’s poll) that spanned the globe ranging from the US to Europe to Australia. In addition, he recorded a record with ex-Megadeth guitarist, Marty Friedman, an EP with his new project HellSpeak, and various other studio sessions ranging from speed metal, to fusion/instrumental rock to a Christmas musical. In the fall of 2011, SHADOWS FALL entered Zing Studios in MA to record their 8th album due out in early 2012, followed by extensive world touring which will start in early 2012. Also in the works is another educational book and instructional DVD which will be released sometime in 2012.


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