Jason Bittner started taking formal drum lessons at the age of ten years old, however he had been banging on pots, pans, and garbage cans since he was about five. A native of Albany, NY, he continued to take lessons and perform in his middle school and high school jazz and orchestra ensembles before heading off to Berklee College of Music in 1988.
After studying theory, arranging, and Latin and jazz drumming styles, he left Berklee to pursue his musical career outside the educational environment. This led to playing in various metal and hard rock bands throughout the late eighties and early nineties. During this period he was also attending a local community college (for an unrelated degree) and performing with their jazz and percussion ensembles.
In 1994 he joined Stigmata, who was, at the time, one of the biggest hardcore bands on the New York scene. Over the course of the next 7 years, he recorded 3 albums, released a home video, and toured the U.S. and Europe with this outfit. After being together for over a decade, the band decided to call it a day in 2001. However, over time the band would do several reunions, and release another CD.
As luck would have it, it would be the fall of 2001 when Bittner joined Century Media recording artists Shadows Fall. Initially he signed on just to do one tour of Europe with the band, but considering that fact that the band had so much going for them, and the chemistry between the 5 members was so great, he decided to quit his job and stay a permanent member.
In September of 2002 the band released “The Art of Balance” and went on to tour relentlessly all over the US, Japan and Europe from venues ranging from small clubs to the stage of OZZFEST 2003. It was also during this time period when Bittner won his first Modern Drummer Reader’s poll for #1 Up and Coming Drummer of 2004.
September of 2004 brought the release of the album “The War Within”, which debuted at #38 on the Billboard charts. Over the next year, the band once again toured all over the world, including arena tours with Slipknot, and a main stage spot on OZZFEST 2005. At this time, TWW has scanned over a 400,000 copies, and received a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance in 2006. This record was also powerful enough to help Bittner win again in the 2005 Modern Drummer Reader’s poll, this time for #1 Best Recorded Performance, and #1 Metal drummer.
Over the course of 2005, Bittner started establishing himself as a clinician as well. He performed at the Modern Drummer Festival in May of 2005 to a standing ovation. In September, he performed at the DRUMMER live festival in the UK, followed by a clinic tour of Germany, and he also performed at PASIC in November of 2005. November of 2005 also brought the release of Shadows Fall’s first ever DVD, “The Art of Touring” which Bittner helped film and produce.
In 2006 Bittner was a very busy man. In the first three months he played fill in gigs for ANTHRAX (the first of three times he would be called to this gig over the next 6 years), Hudson Music released a his (along with Chris Adler’s ) 2005 MD Festival Performance DVD, Pro-Mark introduced the Jason Bittner Signature model 5BX drumstick, and Meinl introduced the Bell Blast ride, designed in conjunction with Jason. He was the cover feature of the UK drum publications, DRUMMER and Rhythm, and the cover feature of DRUM! in July. He was also one of the handful of lucky drummers who got to participate on Magna Carta’s Drum Nation 3 record. Jason also won the Modern Drummer Reader’s poll for the second year in a row for 2006 #1 Metal drummer.
As for Shadows Fall, 2006 was also very productive year. The band released “Fallout From the War” on Century Media Records. Signed a Major Label Deal with Atlantic. Records. Toured throughout July and August in support of “Fallout”, and spent the remainder of the year writing and recording “Threads of Life” at Studio 606 in L.A. with Producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, RUSH)
2007 proved to be another busy year for Bittner and Shadows Fall. In the early winter months, Jason spent much of his time writing and recording new material for his side project, BURNING HUMAN. He also released a new book called “Drumming Out of The Shadows”, co-authored by Joe Bergamini, available through Carl Fischer Publications. Late March brought the beginning of the Shadows Fall tour cycle supporting “Threads of Life”, which was released in April 2007, and received another Grammy nomination once again for Best Metal Performance in 2008. Also during this time period, Bittner started writing a monthly drum column for RYTHYM magazine in the UK, was a faculty member (along with Steve Smith, Dave Weckl, and Horacio Hernandez) at the 2007 Drum Fantasy Camp held at Seton Hall University, and won #1 Metal drummer and #1 Rising Drumming Star awards in the 2007 DRUM! Reader’s poll.
The “Threads of Life” tour cycle ended in May of 2008, with the band this time reaching fans as far away as Mexico and the Philippines, and pushing the CD’s sales over the 150,000 mark. His book “Drumming Out of The Shadows” received the #2 award in the DRUM! Reader’s Poll for Best Educational Book, and he was also one of the featured artists in the book “On the Beaten Path” by Rich Lackowski. This book was the #1 Educational Book of 2008 in the Modern Drummer and DRUM! Reader’s polls. At the tail end of 2008, Bittner finally released his own “What Drives the Beat” instructional DVD which received the #3 award for “Best Instructional DVD” in the 2009 Modern Drummer Reader’s Poll. A clinic tour followed shortly thereafter with Bittner playing along side of fusion bass giant Stu Hamm.
2009 brought the release of BURNING HUMAN’S “Resurrection Through Fire” on E1 records followed by a small tour, and video that was quickly banned from MTV due to it’s “upsetting content.” Shortly after the Burning Human tour, SHADOWS FALL released “Retribution”, which was their most powerful album to date. Once again, the band debuted in the Billboard Top 40 with “Retribution’s” first week release. The band also appeared as musical guests on the “Jimmy Fallon (SNL) Show.” Fall of 2009 brought the beginning of the band’s touring cycle which took them around the world for over a year, ending with their first ever full Asian headlining tour and the release of a live concert DVD/CD package “Madness in Manila” which was recorded in front of 15,000 screaming fans in the Philippines in during their 2010 Asian tour.
2011 Brought a new change in endorsers with Bittner’s transition to the Zildjian Cymbal Company. Shortly after this move, the drummer found himself on a 30-date clinic tour that spanned the globe from the United States to Australia and culminating in Europe and Russia. At this time Bittner won #2 clinician in the 2011 DRUM! Reader’s poll, and was also featured in the Hudson Music “Ultimate Lessons” DVD “Double Bass Drumming.” Also in 2011, Bittner traveled to Los Angeles to take part in recording “Tokyo Jukebox 2”, a new record by guitar virtuoso Marty Friedman (ex-Megadeth).
Shadows Fall spent all of 2011 writing and recording their latest studio album, “Fire From the Sky”, which was produced by Adam Dutkiewicz (Killswitch Engage), and was released on May 15th, 2012. As with the previous two albums this album debuted in the top 40 on the Billboard Top 200. The band released the title track as the first single; it was quickly put into regular rotation on satellite and terrestrial radio stations worldwide. The band chose the opening track, “The Unknown”, as the second single with the official video for it released in May 2012. The beginning of 2012 started off with Shadows Fall touring Australia as part of the SOUNDWAVE FESTIVAL in February, followed by Bittner once again returning to ANTHRAX for a few South American shows. March brought a co-headline Shadows Fall tour with Fear Factory followed by a performance at the 2012 Download Festival. Shortly upon returning from the UK, Bittner would yet again rejoin metal giants and Big 4 band, ANTHRAX for the entire 2012 ROCKSTAR MAYHEM FESTIVAL and subsequent 2012 fall US/Canadian tour. Shortly upon returning from Anthrax, Bittner was once again out with Shadows Fall touring for the remainder of 2012, and he was also featured in a new 2012 Hudson Music “Ultimate Lessons” DVD release – Hand Technique and Rudiments.
As we enter 2013, SHADOWS FALL has just wrapped up a tour with HATEBREED and will expect to be touring for most of the year. During his downtime, what little there has been, Bittner focuses on teaching (live as well as online), performing clinics, writing for various drum publications, and doing sessions.
Jason proudly endorses the following:
Pearl Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Pro-Mark Sticks, Remo Drumheads, DW Pedals, LP Percussion, Roland Electronics, Samson/ZOOM, Groove Juice, Hudson Music, Kickport, Gator Cases, Calzone Cases, and Puresound.
Please call (212) 741-0091 X104 for information on lessons with Jason, or email us at [email protected]