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Thomas Pridgen

Thomas Pridgen in 2008
Background information
Birth name Thomas Armon Pridgen
Also known as "Tha Predator"[1]
Born November 23, 1983 (1983-11-23) (age 26)
Origin El Cerrito, California, U.S.
Genres Jazz, gospel, experimental, Fusion
Occupations Drummer
Instruments Drums
Years active 1999-present
Associated acts The Mars Volta
Christian Scott
Wicked Wisdom
Keyshia Cole
Website The Mars Volta official website

Thomas Armon Pridgen (born November 23, 1983 in Alameda County, California) is an American drummer, best known for his role as the drummer of The Mars Volta from October 31, 2006 until October 23, 2009.



Pridgen won the Guitar Center Drum-Off at age 9 and at age 10 was the youngest recipient for a Zildjian endorsement in the nearly 400 year history of the company. Pridgen is also naturally left handed, but plays the drum kit as if he is a right hander with his kit set-up right handed. Thomas has studied with David Garibaldi, Walfredo Reyes Jr, Troy Luketta, and Curtis Nutall. He endorses DW Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Evans Drumheads, and ProMark Drumsticks. Thomas was also the recipient of a 4 year scholarship to Berklee College of Music in 1999 at the age of 15; he was the youngest musician to ever receive this scholarship.[2] He has played in clinics with Walfredo Reyes, Jr. and Dennis Chambers. By his teenage years he had already done studio sessions with many Bay Area Gospel artists.

In 2007, Pridgen received a call from Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of The Mars Volta:

“Omar asked if I wanted to come check out the band,” Pridgen recalls from his home in El Cerrito, California. “We talked on the phone for a couple of hours, and then I went to Ohio to meet them. Omar invited me to a back room, where the whole band was set up. We jammed for a good thirty minutes. He then said, ‘We’re going to play that groove tonight in front of everybody.’ This was for a huge show in Cleveland, when the band was touring with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.[3]

In 2007, Pridgen became the new permanent drummer for The Mars Volta. Pridgen's first appearance was at the March 12th show in New Zealand, where the band debuted the song "Idle Tooth" which was later renamed "Wax Simulacra" for the forthcoming album. After shows in New Zealand and Australia, The Mars Volta toured a few West Coast venues as the headliner, then entered the studio to record their fourth LP, The Bedlam in Goliath.[4] Pridgen's style on Bedlam in Goliath used "blistering 32nd-note full-set combinations, stunning single-stroke rolls, and blazing single bass drum patterns"[3] along with creative and precise paradiddle technique.

Thomas Pridgen has been voted as Best Up and Coming Drummer by Modern Drummer magazine.

Besides his work with The Mars Volta, he has also been involved with Christian Scott and Wicked Wisdom. Thomas for some time, was working with singer Keyshia Cole as her live and session drummer and being her music director. He also was featured alongside with Tony Royster Jr., Eric Moore and others in drumming DVD entitled "Shed Sessions", a Gospel Chops DVD.

Thomas was also featured on the Modern Drummer 2008 DVD with footage from his performance at the festival.

On one of the last dates of the Bedlam Tour in Mexico, Thomas and the band 'wrecked' the kit and cracked the 20"x24" acrylic bass drum, the kit has never been used or seen since, Thomas has not replaced it as he now uses DW Maple drums live.

Thomas used a four piece Tama Starclassic Bubinga kit during the recording of the 'acoustic' album Octahedron, but is still endorsed by DW drums.

Exit from The Mars Volta (2009)

In October 2009, Pridgen left the Mars Volta. As of December 2009 the band has still made no official statement, however, in their most recent shows they have been performing with drummer Dave Elitch. Regarding his exit from the band, Pridgen states:[5]

I just wanted to have a family vibe around me, and everyone in the Volta is still family to me. For me, it's just like, I'm 25, I won a Grammy, fuckin' shit is weird. I wanna do multiple things, and I don't wanna get burned out on one thing, plus, I'm younger than everybody, so I take a different approach to life than them. I love everybody in the band, and it's just like, everybody has growing pains and shit. [...] I'm like their little brother! I'm like their little fucked-up crazy brother who smokes weed and does whatever the fuck he wants. Sometimes it's hard for them to watch me be crazy. For me, I go out, and I fuckin' go as hard as possible, because it's the shit that I have to do. And everybody's not always ready for it, and everybody's not always down to have their little brother around fuckin' with shit and being crazy. And I ask 'em, "What were you doin' when you were 25?" And they're like, "Oh alright." They remember, ya' know; you have growing pains dude, and me and Omar [Rodriguez-Lopez] talked not even two hours ago, and it's always family between me and him, and everybody in the band. It's just weird times.


With The Mars Volta

Bedlam Tour Kit (2007 - 2008)

  • DW Collector's Series & Zildjian Cymbals:
  • Drums - Clear Acrylic
    • 12x8" Tom
    • 13x9" Tom
    • 15x13" Floor Tom
    • 16x14" Floor Tom
    • 18x16" Floor Tom
    • 24x20" Bass Drum
    • 14x6.5" DW Copper Snare
  • Cymbals - Zildjian
    • 18" [x2] A Custom Crashes used as Hi-Hats
    • 24" A Medium Ride
    • 20" An Armand Ride
    • 20" A Custom Crash
    • 20" Oriental Crash Of Doom
    • 18" A Custom EFX Crash, 9" Oriental Splash, 16" Oriental China (x2) (cymbals stacked)
    • 19" K Custom Hybrid China

Octahedron Tour Kit (2009)

  • DW Jazz Series & Zildjian Cymbals:
  • Drums - Maple & Gum
    • 12x12" Tom
    • 13x13" Tom
    • 15x13" Floor Tom
    • 16x14" Floor Tom
    • 18x16" Floor Tom
    • 24x20" Bass Drum
    • 14x7 Red Maple Snare
  • Cymbals - Zildjian
    • 18" A Custom Crashes [x2] used as Hi-Hats
    • 24" A Medium Ride
    • 20" A Custom Crash
    • 18" A Custom EFX Crash, 9" Oriental Splash, 16" Oriental China (x2) (cymbals stacked)
    • 20" A Custom China
    • 20" Crash of Doom
  • Drum Heads - Evans
    • Toms: (12", 13", 15", 16", 18") Clear G2s (top), Clear Resonants (bottom)
    • Bass Drum: (24") Clear EQ3 (batter), Clear EQ3 (with small hole) (resonant)
    • Snares : (14") Clear G2 (top), 300 Hazy (bottom)
  • Thomas also used DW 9000 Series Hardware and Pedals, Pro-Mark TX510 Thomas Pridgen Autograph drumsticks, & Shure Microphones.


For a more complete discography, see Thomas Pridgen's entry on Album Credits.

With Christian Scott

  • Rewind That (2006)

With Eric Gales

With Juliette Lewis

  • Terra Incognita (2009)

With The Mars Volta

With Omar Rodriguez-Lopez

With Victor Little

  • Inner Portrait (2009)

With Zenith Patrol

  • VU (2005)


Drum Channel: Thomas Pridgen Artist Bio [1]

External links


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