John JR Robinson

Wednesday / April 15, 2009 / 1:00 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center
136 Massachusetts Avenue
United States

John "JR" Robinson was born in Creston, Iowa on December 29, 1954. Both parents, through music, had a strong effect on him. He started on piano at the age of 5 and on drums at the age of 8. John turned pro when he started his first band at the young age of 10. After attending many music camps throughout his teens, Robinson chose to attend Berklee.

While touring with his own band in early 1978, Robinson got his break: Rufus and Chaka Khan came into the club where he was playing. By the third set, Rufus was sitting in! Within a few weeks, Robinson moved to Los Angeles to finish the 1978 Rufus world tour.

Later that year, Robinson was introduced to fellow alumnus Quincy Jones. Soon afterwards, he was in the studio recording Off the Wall for Michael Jackson. Ever since that record, his phone has been ringing "off the wall"!

Robinson has become the most recorded drummer in history. His hits include "We Are the World," "All Night Long," "I'm So Excited," "California Girls" by David Lee Roth, "Higher Love" by Steve Winwood, "Express Yourself" by Madonna, and "Change the World" by Eric Clapton, to name a few. In 1993 he won a Grammy with Rufus and Chaka Khan for Ain't Nobody.

He has been the drummer for Quincy Jones since 1979 and the drummer for Barbra Streisand since 1993, and played on many motion picture soundtracks including My Cousin Vinny, Free Willy, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Independence Day, Jerry Maguire, South Park, and Dodgeball. He has two signature series snare drums out with Yamaha.

Robinson just released his solo CD Funkshui, and is producing several projects. He maintains a recording studio in Thousand Oaks, California.