Jon Dette’s drumming career has spanned over twenty years, playing for some of the largest, iconic metal bands on the planet, SLAYER, ANTHRAX and TESTAMENT.
Dette’s “Old school” style of heavy metal drumming is simple. “Hit hard, go faster and play loud!” While most metal drummers today rely on triggers for explosive sound, Jon relies on muscle and physical endurance. “I’ve always approached my drumming just as an extreme athlete would approach their sport.”
Jon grew up in the coastal town of Encinitas in San Diego, CA. His passion for heavy metal drumming began on his fourteenth birthday, when he received TWO drum sets. “I’ve been playing a double bass kit since day one. My parents were divorced and they each got me a kit for my birthday. A red 5 piece CB700 and a blue 3 piece Ruther by Pearl. I got some white shelving paper and after wrapping all the shells, I had a cool 7 piece kit.”
On that same birthday, Jon also received the ANTHRAX album, “Fistful of Metal.” That album would shape his drumming style forever. “The first time I heard that album, my jaw dropped. I had never heard fast double bass drumming like that before ever. It was so fast, and heavy sounding. I just immediately felt a connection to that style of music and drumming.”
From 1984 to 1991, Jon developed a unique practice method that would lay the foundation for his fast and aggressive drumming style. It also prepared him for his professional career more than he ever imagined. Although he received some formal lessons, he predominately learned to play drums on his own by listening to and learning albums from METALLICA, SLAYER, ANTHRAX and MEGADETH. “Drumming was just one of those complex puzzle type things that when I listened to it, made sense to me. I could listen to a song and understand almost everything that was going on with the drums. I couldn’t PLAY 90% of it, but I understood it. And from that, Albums became my study books. I would practice and learn every song on “BIG 4″ albums until I could play the entire album by myself.”
As the next several years progressed, so did the albums from the BIG 4. Jon states, “That period was an incredible time in Metal music history. As an aspiring metal drummer, I couldn’t have asked for a better time to start playing drums.”
After graduating high school in 1988, Jon was eager to start a career in music. He moved to Hollywood, CA to attend Musicians Institute. Although MI was a great learning experience, Hollywood was not. “I was not a fan of Hollywood. The Glam scene was popular then and I just didn’t fit into that in any way.” Upon graduating MI, Jon moved back to San Diego and eventually started his own band, APOCALYPSE where they played local clubs in the San Diego area.
During the mid 1990’s, Jon’s career exploded. He had a small run with SPV artist, EVIL DEAD between 1993-1994. From there he went on to play for heavy metal icons TESTAMENT, where he toured with the band, appeared in their music video, “Low” and performed on their live record, “Live at the Fillmore.” He also appeared with the group in the major motion picture, “Strange Days.” At the end of 1995, Jon’s was asked to join heavy metal legends, SLAYER, where he again toured with the band supporting the album, “Undisputed Attitude.” Jon appeared in the music video, “I Hate You.” Jon then began working with the band on what is now “Diabolus en Musica” but was replaced by Paul Bostaph just prior to recording in 1997. Jon soon went back to TESTAMENT to begin their world tour supporting the album, “Demonic” until early 1998.
During the 2000’s, Jon was relatively quiet in the industry. He starting the band, PUSHED with former TESTAMENT bassist Greg Christian. Pushed recorded two demos and played the club scene in San Diego and Los Angeles. Jon also collaborated with drumming icon STEWART COPELAND for a movie music trailer library entitled, “Stewart Copeland’s Ear Drum.”
From 2011 to current, Jon has been busier than ever, recording three full length albums and working with several bands that have included: SLAYER, ANTHRAX, ICED EARTH, ANIMETAL USA and IMPELLITTERI. In 2013 at Australia’s SoundWave festival, Jon made heavy metal history by touring and performing with SLAYER and ANTHRAX together, making him the only drummer in history to tour with TWO of the BIG FOUR.