Chad Cromwell was born in Paducah, Kentucky, on June 14th, 1957. When he was three years old his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he grew up. He started playing drums at the age of eight, wearing headphones as he played along to records in an upstairs room of his parents’ home. By the age of twelve he was playing in garage bands in the local neighbourhood.
Among Chad’s early influences were drummer Al Jackson and the artists of Stax Records, and artists such as Al Green on Willie Mitchell’s Memphis based label, Hi Records. Jim Stewart, founder of Stax Records, along with Bobby Manuel, started a production company called The Daily Planet after the sale of Stax. Chad “hung out” and subsequently worked for The Daily Planet and learned more about rythmn and recording than anywhere else thus far. In fact, Jim and Bobby were key influences on Chad’s style of drumming. In 1975, upon graduating high school, Chad flew to London to join two Memphians who already had gigs. Dave Cochran was playing bass for Chris Spedding, and Robert Johnson (not the legendary) was playing with Jon Entwhistle in Ox. Robert had been offered a record deal with Elton John’s label, Rocket Records, and called fellow Memphian, Chad, along with David Cochran to record as Lash LaRue. Chad also got an “education” with Larry Raspberry & The Highsteppers, a very high powered rythmn and blues band. This was his first extensive touring band (piled into the back of a van, pulling a trailer).
Through associations with a recording studio in Memphis, Chad caught an ear on the West Coast. He started playing with legendary guitarist Joe Walsh in 1986, a collaboration which produced two albums, Got Any Gum? and Ordinary Average Guy, and resulted in multiple US and worldwide tours. The following year, 1987, Chad got the call to record with one of the world’s most prolific songwriters, Neil Young. These sessions became Neil Young & The Bluenotes. After touring to promote this record, and producing MTV’s ‘Video of the Year’, This Note’s For You, Neil’s interest circled back to 3-piece Rock & Roll which led to the New York and San Francisco recording sessions that ultimately became the album Freedom.
In 1990, Chad moved to Nashville, got married and started a family. Richard Bennett and Tony Brown were among the first producers to call in Chad for sessions in Nashville. Richard and Tony have been extemely helpful in helping Chad to create a very successful recording career. Formal recognition from his peers came in 1996 when Chad was nominated for the Nashville Music Awards as ‘Drummer/Percussionist of the Year’. In addition to having been chosen to demonstrate products at international expos by such companies as Yamaha, Chad’s career has seen him in the studio and on stage/TV/touring with an impressive list of major recording artists. In addition to those already mentioned, Chad has worked with Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, Boz Scaggs, Wynonna, Bonnie Raitt and Peter Frampton.