Whether it is backing up some of the most recognizable names in hard rock, exploring the harder edge of fusion, pounding out some of the fiercest metal known to man, bringing down the house, read: football stadiums, in Japan, or taking a stroll down solitary lane as the multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter/producer of his own solo venture - Shane Gaalaas has done it all and keeps adding to his remarkable resume all the time.
Shane grew up in the small town of Innisfail, Alberta - not exactly Rock Central but not something that stopped this third generation Canadian of Norwegian decent from being consumed by music early on. "I remember being crazed and running around the basement, singing along with Elvis and whatever else came blasting out of my Mom and Dad's jukebox", says Shane. After hearing KISS 'Alive I', he begged his parents to take him to see the band on their 'Love Gun' Tour - a life changing event. "It had so much impact on me, from that point on I knew what I was going to do in life."
With the blessing and wholehearted support of his parents, Shane began playing guitar at age nine and picked up the drums a year later spending countless hours practicing along to records by AC/DC, Zeppelin, Sabbath and Van Halen. "I would be in the basement cranking my Peavey Decade and pounding my drums as hard as I could, and they would just put up with it. My friend Dan would come over and we would jam through a PA, open up all the windows, so the 3500 residents of Innisfail could all hear us."
Needless to say, Shane was hellbent on giving this musician's thing a try and, upon graduating high school, began touring professionally with a Top 40 group. In 1987, he enrolled at Grant MacEwan Music College in Edmonton, Alberta to study jazz, percussion, and piano, and for the next three years toured extensively with Canadian circuit bands. Throughout 1991 Shane recorded and toured with guitarist/producer Paul Dean.
Ever ambitious and always striving for something more, Shane moved to Los Angeles in 1993 to study at the Musician's Institute. (P.I.T.), from which he graduated with Vocational Honors and the 'Rock Drummer of The Year' award a year later. It did not take long for Shane to make an impression South of the border and his first big break came when, upon being recommended by none other than Deen Castronovo (Journey, Ozzy Osbourne), he landed the drum gig with Swedish guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen in time for the recording of the 'Magnum Opus' album. Extensive touring followed throughout the US, Japan, and Europe, and when Malmsteen went on hiatus in 1995, Shane, along with bassist Barry Sparks, moved on to the Michael Schenker Group, Vinnie Moore, and eventually legendary German guitar master, Uli Jon Roth (ex-Scorpions).
It was during his MSG stint when Shane first crossed paths with guitarist/producer Jeff Kollman at a Phoenix rehearsal studio for what would prove to be a most fateful meeting. The duo connected instantly and have been in each other's musical lives ever since via a number of projects and albums, such as highly acclaimed prog fusion act Cosmosquad, $ign of 4, featuring UFO vocalist Phil Mogg, the 'Voice of Rock', Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Trapeze), and eclectic rockers Crumb Bros.. On the other end of the spectrum.
Shane became one of the driving forces behind L.A. extreme metal foursome Diesel Machine, led by Patrick Lachman (Halford, Damageplan) on guitar, whose 2000 debut album 'Torture Test' broke into the Top 20 on metal radio and saw the band tour as special guests to Static-X and Soulfly.
Shane's musical life took yet another unexpected turn when he was approached to audition for Japanese megastars B'z and eventually brought in alongside legendary bassist Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth, Mr.Big) to provide the bottom end on the band's 2002 tour. Shane has since become a much valued addition to the B'z camp, appearing on 5 studio albums since 2003's 'Big Machine', 14 consecutive #1 hit singles, and a half dozen of the group's stunning DVDs, including 'LIVE - GYM Pleasure 2008 - Glory Days' documenting B'z's mammoth 20-year anniversary tour which added up to 70 shows all over Japan.
It was in Japan during his time off between gigs when Shane began to lay the foundation to what is still one of his proudest achievements yet - his first solo album 'Primer', written, recorded, and performed by Shane himself who handled drums, bass, lead and rhythm guitars, keyboards as well as lead vocals (B'z vocalist Koshi Inaba contributed harmonica on the song 'Time to Feed') and released in early 2004 on own his Junkman label (Big M.F./Zain in Japan). "Doing a solo album is something I'd been itching to do for a long time. It always seemed as though I had too many things on my plate to attempt such an endeavor or maybe I just didn't have the courage. I never realized what a powerful experience it would be." reflects Shane.
2005 saw the release of Shane's sophomore solo effort, 'Hinge', and when the opportunity presented itself to take what had strictly been a studio project to the stage, Shane jumped at the chance. Stepping out from behind the drumkit, Shane took on the role of frontman as vocalist/guitarist of his own band and proceeded to kick out the jams on a short tour of Japan in the fall of 2005. The result was the Japan-only release of the live DVD, entitled 'Live and Video Clips', and the companion live album, 'Live In Osaka', issued in the summer of 2006.
More recently, Shane has kept busy freelancing for artists in various genres working out of his own Los Angeles area recording studio as well as making forays into producing outside projects. He has also become a high profile clinician in Japan where he had the honor of being featured as part of the 'Rhythm & Drums Magazine Festival' 2009, the first ever international drum summit on Japanese soil, sharing the bill with such luminaries as Terry Bozzio, Johnny Rabb, and Stanton Moore.
In April 2009, Shane released his first Drum Instructional DVD, entitled 'Perfect Rock Drumming', through Rittor Music in Japan: "I think it is a great learning tool for drummers out there looking to improve their sound, groove and style. What a great opportunity for me to give back a little something I've learned along the way!"
Heading into this third decade as a professional musician, Shane continues his commitment with B'z, embarking on yet another extensive tour with Japan's favorite sons, in addition to stoking his many fires at home with several Gaalaas powered projects scheduled to see the light of days during the course of 2010.