Since releasing his first recording El Gran Orgoo with the El Paso, Texas band At the Drive-In, Tony Hajjar has established himself as one of the most exciting and influential drummers of the new decade. With his aggressive drumming and spectacular spasmodic display of skill Tony quickly became a force to be reckoned with, going head-to-head with At the Drive-In's front-man for top showmanship during their legendary live shows. With Tony, what you see and what you hear, is what you get-uninhibited ambition.
Born Antoine Marcel Hajjar on August 17, 1974 in Beirut, Lebanon. Tony migrated with his family to El Paso, Texas in 1979 during the Lebanese Civil War. The progressive exposure to American pop-culture in subsequent years inevitably lead to music and the flame was sparked after his cousin introduced him to Ozzy Osbourne's Blizzard of Ozz album. Yet, it wasn't until he heard Tommy Lee's drumming in Motley Crue's Shout at the Devil album where his destiny in music was sealed and playing drums would become Tony's primary medium of artistic expression, recording and touring all over the world.
In 1996, after graduating college with a degree in Chemistry/Mathamatics, Tony joined local El Paso band At the Drive-In and thus he began his music career in quintessential DIY fashion - recording EPs and a relentless and stubborn touring schedule in the US to mostly empty bars and clubs that inevitably lead to word-of-mouth hype. A small gig in Los Angeles, earned them their first recording contract, with indie label Fearless Records. The next six years were spent touring, recording and releasing EPs and full-length albums with the band's most successful album Relationship of Command released in 2000 on Grand Royal Records. But by the beginning of the following year with both internal and external pressure the band disbanded, separating the members into two different camps.
Immediately after the break-up Tony along with ATDI guitarist Jim Ward formed Sparta and released the EP Austere and within the year they inked a deal with DreamWorks and released their full-length debut Wiretap Scars, which featured the fan-favorite and signature encore song "Air." Two years later the band released the ambitious Porcelain, which found the band experimenting with orchestral strings working along side industry legend Suzie Katayama (who's worked with the likes of Neil Young, Leonard Cohen and Prince & the Revolution). After the release of Porcelain, Sparta toured as the opening act for Incubus followed by their own headlining tour with a stop at the Coachella Music Festival where the band performed in front of a crowd of 50,000 as the third headlining act before the much anticipated Pixies reunion and headliner Radiohead. In 2006 the band released their third album, Threes which featured the hit "Taking Back Control" and the epic "Translations" which featured Merry Clayton (famous for her duet on the Rolling Stone's "Give Me Shelter") on backing vocals. Threes kept the band on the road for over a year.
Not to be pigeonholed with just once craft. Tony has been instrumental in the co-writing of songs with both and ATDI and Sparta. As well as being dedicated to his Los Angeles community, with the same enthusiasm as his own music, by producing other Los Angeles area artists.
After being involved in post-production and directing the ATDI video for the track "Invalid Litter Department", Tony upped the ante by producing the autobiographical short film Eme Nakia which told of his family's remarkable experience fleeing their home in Lebanon during the country's civil war of 1975-1990. The independent film received good reviews and was featured in the 2006 Los Angeles Short-Film Festival and ran at a Laemmle theater before being released as a bonus disc on Sparta's third album, Threes.
In recent months, while taking some time off from the road, Tony has been focusing on the pre-production of both music and movie projects from his home studio as well as spending some well deserved rest.