Basic Background Info

Birth: March 25, 1960
Location: Long Beach, California
Band: Frank Zappa, Alan Holdsworth, The Chad Wackerman Trio
Genres: Jazz, Fusion, Rock
Instruments: Drums
Occupation: Musician, Composer



Chad Wackerman’s drumming crosses genres with the strong conviction of rock combined with the compassionate finesse of jazz. Chad Wackerman’s playing is pleasantly unpredictable with special attention paid to innovation and collaboration with other musicians.

In his hometown of Long Beach, California, Chad Wackerman studied with many fine drummers, including Chuck Flores and Murray Spivack.

In 1978, Chad Wackerman broke into the music industry when he joined trombonist Bill Waltrous’s band.  Just a couple years later, Chad Wackerman started playing with Frank Zappa. Chad Wackerman recorded more than 25 albums with Zappa, and he toured the U.S. and Europe. Chad Wackerman’s performances with Zappa solidified his status as a modern drumming marvel.

Following his years with Zappa, Chad Wackerman frequently laid down drum tracks for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. Chad Wackerman also recorded with Steve Vai, Andy Summers, Men at Work, Ed Mann, Albert Lee, Colin Hay, Dweezil Zappa, and Tom Grant. Chad Wackerman toured with James Taylor, John Patitucci, Banned from Utopia, and The World Drummers Ensemble. More recently, Chad Wackerman toured with fellow Zappa drum alum Terry Bozzio. 

Chad Wackerman now leads The Chad Wackerman Trio, which features himself on drums, Doug Lunn on bass, and Mike Miller on guitar. He composed music for four critically applauded Chad Wackerman Trio albums.

Chad Wackerman lived in Australia from 1995 to 2005, but he returned to California to support a more frequent performance schedule.



Album Year Album Name Album Band
1979 Sleep Dirt Frank Zappa
1980 Coronary Trombossa Bill Watrous
1980 I'll Play for you Bill Watrous
1981 You Are What You Is Frank Zappa
1982 Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch Frank Zappa
1983 London Symphony Orchestra Frank Zappa
1983 Man from Utopia Frank Zappa
1983 Road Games Allan Holdsworth
1983 Volare Frank Zappa
1983 Zappa '82 Encores Frank Zappa
1984 Flex-Able Steve Vai
1984 Them or Us Frank Zappa
1984 Thing-Fish Frank Zappa
1984 True Glove Frank Zappa
1985 All You Need is Glove Frank Zappa
1985 Fits Your 34B, No Matter Which 43B You Are Frank Zappa
1985 Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention Frank Zappa
1985 Metal Fatigue Allan Holdsworth
1986 Atavachron Allan Holdsworth
1986 Body and Soul Maynard Ferguson
1986 Does Humor Belong in Music? Frank Zappa
1986 Havin' a Bad Day Dweezil Zappa
1986 Jazz From Hell Frank Zappa
1987 Guitar World According To Frank Zappa
1987 London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. 2 Frank Zappa
1987 Looking for Jack Colin James Hay
1987 One Voice Barbra Streisand
1987 Sand Allan Holdsworth
1987 Speechless Albert Lee
1988 Broadway the Hard Way Frank Zappa
1988 By Way of the World Spies
1988 Get Up Ed Mann
1988 Guitar Frank Zappa
1988 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1 Frank Zappa
1989 Mujer Shirley Bassey
1989 Secrets Allan Holdsworth
1989 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 3 Frank Zappa
1990 Charming Snakes Andy Summers
1990 CMPler Various Artists
1990 Perfect World Ed Mann
1990 Supplement Tape Frank Zappa
1991 As an Am Zappa Frank Zappa
1991 Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life Frank Zappa
1991 Forty Reasons Chad Wackerman
1991 Make a Jazz Noise Here Frank Zappa
1991 N Michael Villmow's KBB
1991 World Gone Strange Andy Summers
1991 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 4 Frank Zappa
1992 CMPler 2 Various Artists
1992 Wardenclyffe Tower Allan Holdsworth
1992 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 5 Frank Zappa
1992 You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 6 Frank Zappa
1993 Surf Ninjas Original Soundtrack
1993 View from Here Tom Grant
1993 View Chad Wackerman
1994 D2: The Mighty Ducks Original Soundtrack
1994 Hands: The Tom Grant Collection Tom Grant
1994 Without Words Scott Bradoka
1995 London Symphony Orchestra, Vols. 1 & 2 Frank Zappa
1995 Tribute to the Music of Frank Zappa Band From Utopia
1996 Guitar Louie Shelton
1996 L‰ther Frank Zappa
1996 Mickey Sports Songs Disney
1996 Mickey's Sports Songs Disney
1997 D2: Mighty Ducks/D3: Mighty Ducks Original Soundtrack
1997 From Your Heart and Soul Steve Hunt
1997 Frontierland Ed Kuepper
1997 Hillbilly Heart Red Rivers
1997 Jazz Fusion, Vol. 2 Various Artists
1998 Adam Brand Adam Brand
1998 Cheap Thrills Frank Zappa
1998 Guitar Zone Various Artists
1998 Love Songs Jennifer Love Hewitt
1998 World of Drums & Percussion Various Artists
1999 Sessions, Vol. 2 Kenny Pore
2000 Feelin' Good Noel Elmowy
2000 New Spirit in Jazz, Vol. 4 Various Artists
2000 Scream Chad Wackerman
2000 Sixteen Men of Tain Allan Holdsworth
2000 World of Drums And Percussion, Vol. 2 Various Artists
2001 Big Time Bobby Nesbitt
2001 Leaving Traces Rachel Gaudry
2001 Live at the Baked Potato, Vol.1 Various Artists
2001 Sketch Christian Marsh
2002 All Night Wrong Allan Holdsworth
2002 So Yuh Don't Like Modern Art Banned from Utopia
2002 Zappa Picks Frank Zappa
2004 Curren Tom Curren
2004 Drum Nation, Vol. 1 Various Artists
2004 Futurist Robert Downey Jr.
2005 Against the Clock: The Best of Allan Holdsworth Allan Holdsworth
2006 Coat of Many Colours World Drummers Ensemble
2006 McLeod's Daughters, Vol. 1 Original Soundtrack
2006 Take One Step Carl Verheyen Band
2006 This Is the Magic Mile Ed Kuepper
2007 Bill Watrous Bill Watrous
2007 Drum Duets, Vol. 1 John Wackerman
2007 Dub Room Special Frank Zappa
2008 World Goes Round Mike Miller
2008 The Torture Never Stops Frank Zappa
2008 Speechless/Gagged But Not Bound Albert Lee
2008 Original Album Classics Steve Vai
2008 One Shot Deal Frank Zappa
2008 Live at Yoshi's Allan Holdsworth
2008 40 Reasons/The View Chad Wackerman
2009 Standing On Chairs Allen Savedoff
2010 Blues for Tony Allan Holdsworth
2012 The Fusion Syndicate The Fusion Syndicate
2012 Declassified: Classics Re-Imagined Leon Gaer
2014 Muppets Most Wanted (Movie Soundtrack) The Muppets


  • Chad’s three brothers are also in the music business. Brooks drums for Bad Religion, Bob played bass for Maynard Ferguson, and John drums for an array of musicians. Their father is a music teacher.

Instruments of Choice



Drums: Drum Workshop
Cymbals: Paiste
Heads: Evans
Electronics: AKG
Sticks: Vic Firth

Pics & Clips