Verdugo Hills High School

Hall of Fame » Jonathan Valen (music)

Jonathan Valen (music)

BIO Jonathan Valen    Class of 1977

I started playing drums at the age of 5, taking drum lessons from Hack O'Brian music studios in Sun Valley. It was my Jr. High School choir teacher Mr. Reg Fitch who gave me the tools that I would need to make a career in the music industry. At Verdugo Hills High I participated in the marching bands, combo bands and my favorite the music theory classes. After High School I was to playing the blues for Papa John Creach. We toured in three cars all the way to New York and back twice. We played in Central Park N.Y. and the El National Auditorium in Mexico City in front of sixty thousand people, at the time they were the biggest shows I had ever played. That tour helped set the stage for what was to follow and helped me appreciate the luxury of the tour bus. When the tour ended I decided that to stand out amongst the competition in the music business I would need to learn a lot more about playing drums. I chose to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA where for 2 years I spent most of my time in progressive drum study workshops.  I went back to Southern California to become one of the first 16 students chosen out of thousands of applicants to study under gifted drummers Ralph Humphrey (Mothers of Invention – Frank Zappa ) and Joe Pocarro at the Percussion Institute of Technology. 

Once the academics were out of the way it was time to get real about work. Landing a gig with the famed heavy metal band Judas Priest we toured around the world with support bands like Krokus, Dokken, and believe it or not Bon Jovi. Shortly after I played in the Andy Taylor band, where we toured with Van Halen, Heart, Night Ranger and the Psychedelic Furs. Rod Stewart would show up and perform with us. One of the coolest shows I played was at the Forum in Inglewood Ca.   The Andy Taylor Band it was two days after our ten-year reunion and many of my friends from Verdugo Hills High School attended.

It was through Andy Taylor that I met Patrick O’Hearn. Playing with The Patrick O’Hearn Band was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career  …  that band tested everyone’s abilities and allowed me to go back to using my progressive drum skills. It was an honor joining music greats Terry Bozzio , Peter Manu and Warren Cucarello when invited to play on Patrick O’Hearn’s Grammy Nominated “ The River’s Gonna Rise “ Album.

In an effort to give back I have instructed UCLA Extension Classes for Pro-Tools Editing and Mixing. I also stay involved raising money and support for kids with cancer through the Sunshine Kids Foundation.
I am currently a partner in a production company where we digitally record video  mix audio   for TV shows and documentaries. We also compose and play on many of our productions, i.e. Murrad infomercial Discovery channel Journey to Hollywood and Club House Golf also record musical acts including bands like Ritchie Blackmore (deep purple), Jethro Tull, Elton John, and Foreigner, to name a few.  I am currently I am a partner in a Multi-media production company where we mix, edit, record video and audio, compose and play on projects for Discovery Channel, Murrad, Club House Golf (James Brown Production).