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I feel it’s my job to make each style of music groove and live from the drumming perspective. My goal is to listen, react and interpret, while still expressing myself.


Performance of Sunshine Lady, CDK Trio at MdlC Point aux Trembles, QC.

Performing and Session Musican History

I have been playing drums professionally since 1980. During this time I have had the opportunity to play in many different musical styles.

In 1980 I joined a local blues band, The Stephen Barry Band, with whom I had the honor of backing up blues legends Big Mama Thornton and Buddy Guy. Through this band I also began a musical relationship, which carries to this day, with Michael Jerome Browne, considered now to be Canada’s premier roots and blues music artist.

I began playing with Kate and Anna McGarrigle in the early 80’s, which also gave me the opportunity to work with incredible roots music artists such as Emmylou Harris, Loudon Wainwright, Richard Thompson and others. I’ve worked for many years on and off with a local guitar legend, Jimmy James, and in 1987 the two of us worked with Michel Pagliaro for two years of touring and recording. In the early 2000’s I worked with another Quebec icon, Jean-Pierre Ferland, with whom I made two CD’s and toured around the province.

In 2005 I reunited with the McGarrigle sisters again for more touring and recordings, including a concert at New York’s legendary Carnegie Hall.

I have played and/or recorded with: Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Richard Thompson, Teddy Thompson, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Buddy Guy, Big Mama Thornton, Pine Top Perkins, Kenny Pearson, Loudon Wainwright, Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Danny Thompson, Norma Waterson, Michel Pagliaro, Jean Pierre Ferland, Michel Rivard, Jimmy James, Brian Greenway, Bobby Cohen, Susie Arioli, Sue Foley and many many others.

See selected tour credits and discography below.

McGarrigle Christmas Hour performance with Kate and Anna, Loudan, Sloan, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Emmylou Harris, Teddy Thompson, Michael Jerome Browne, myself and many others. Carnegie Hall, New York, 2005

McGarrigle Christmas Hour performance with Kate and Anna, Loudan, Sloan, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Emmylou Harris, Teddy Thompson, Michael Jerome Browne, myself and many others. Carnegie Hall, New York, 2005

Musical Philosophy & Styles

Blues & Rock

Starting out with the “power trio” style, it has remained for me one of the strongest musical places for me to express myself. From there, it is blues music that I have spent the most years consistently performing, and I have had excellent teachers in this style; specifically, many of the musicians I have played and recorded with over the years. I feel now that I can really express myself and stay true to the musical form in blues to a very high level.

I am here with Jimmy James playing All Along the Watchtower at the Montreal Jazz festival June 30 2011

Folk, Roots and R&B

I have also gotten into the folk/roots music scene, which has lent itself very well toward blues playing as well as other traditional roots/American music. R&B, soul and funk music have also played huge part in my musical education, and are still some of my favorite styles to play.

Playing the Al Green classic at the CD launch of "This Beautiful Mess" available on the Borealis label. Joining Michael are: Rachel Melas, bass; Burke Carroll, pedal steel/lap steel; Don Cummings, Hammond B3 organ & Wurlitzer electric piano, and myself.

Jazz Fusion

Finally, as a branch off of the power trio style: fusion, or electric jazz if you prefer, is an approach that I really love listening to and playing. I have had a lack of actual band experience in this style, compared to other music, but it has none-the-less captured my imagination, and led me on the path of extreme technical drumming goals. The music of Frank Zappa particularly, has always been some of my favorite; and in fact one of my earliest dreams was to perform in his band. This has led me to actually learning his music as a drummer, getting down to all the rhythmic intricacies that are involved in playing his music.

This is a performance of the Black page drum solo, followed by play-alongs to the original tracks of The Black Page parts 1 and 2, by Frank Zappa. A labor of love in the learning process and a joy to perform, this music has meant a lot to me for going on 4 decades.


I also spent two years informally studying jazz music, and this experience opened many doors to musical enlightenment, as well as the ability to improvise within a form. Though I don’t consider myself a jazz musician, I enjoy it immensely and am comfortable playing in this style. Knowledge of musical history, as well, I have learned, is crucial to interpretation of musical forms, and I have also done a lot of listening to the origins of specific styles to attempt to understand them better.

Recording session with Lawrence Hodge on keyboards and and Marc Andre Drouin on bass.

So, as I slowly put all of this together, I learned how to make each style of music live and groove from the drumming perspective; how to listen, react and interpret, while still expressing myself. This has become the single most important element of performing for me and as an obvious extension, my teaching philosophy.

Know and understand the style, play for the music, play for the song and be yourself.”


My drumming influences are as varied as the styles I love to play. They include Ringo Starr, Jim Keltner, John Bonham, and Steve Gadd, as well as Mitch Mitchell, Billy Cobham, Terry Bozzio, Vinnie Colaiuta, Dennis Chambers and Steve Smith.

If you think I might work with any of your musical projects, don’t hesitate to get in touch to chat.

For more videos go see my Youtube channel

Get in Touch

I am always looking for new musical projects. If you think I might be a good fit, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Upcoming Gigs


John McColgan Selected Discography

Artist Album Label Year Notes
Kate and Anna McGarrigle The McGarrigle Christmas Hour Nonesuch 2005 With Emmylou Harris, Rufus and Martha Wainwright
Kate and Anna McGarrigle La Vache Qui Pleure les Disques de la Tribu 2003
Kate and Anna McGarrigle The McGarrigle Hour Rykodisk 1998 (Juno award winner) With Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Loudon, Rufus and Martha Wainwright
Jean-Pierre Ferland Live GSI Musique 2001
Jean-Pierre Ferland L’amour C’est De L’Ouvrage GSI Musique 1999
Michael Jerome Browne That’s Where it’s At Borealis 2019
Michael Jerome Browne The Road is Dark Borealis 2011
Michael Jerome Browne This Beautiful Mess Borealis 2008
Michael Jerome Browne Double Borealis 2007
Michael Jerome Browne Drive On Borealis 2001
Michael Jerome Browne Self titled Les Disques Bros 1998
Emmylou Harris Tammy Wynette Remembered Asylum records 1998 (various artists tribute album)
Michel Pagliaro Sous Peine D’ Amour Audiogram Records 1998
Michel Pagliaro Dangereaux/Les bombes Alert records 1987
Gogh Van Go Bliss Station Audiogram Records 1996
Gogh Van Go Gogh Van Go Audiogram Records 1993 (Juno award winner)
Norma Waterson The Very Thought Of You Rykodisk 1999 With Richard Thompson, Martin Carthy and Danny Thompson
The Stephen Barry Band The Gold Record Les Disques Bros 1998
The Stephen Barry Band Happy Man Les Disques Bros 1995
The Stephen Barry Band Here on the Highway Les Disques Bros 1994
The Stephen Barry Band Blues Under A Full Moon Les Disques Bros 1990
Susie Arioli Learn To Smile Again Justin Time 2005
Nancy Dumais Le Nombril Universal 2001
Vann 'Piano Man' Walls In the Evening Disques Bros 1997
Rene Simard E=MC2 Guy Cloutier Productions 1993
Eddie C. Campbell Mind Trouble Stichting pop Nederlands 1986

Selected Tour Credits

Group/Project Venue Date Notes
Bonham Drum Show Plaza Theatre, Montreal Nov. 8th 2016
McColgan Plays Zappa Solo Drum Studio May 17th 2015
Biggy's Resto, St. Jerome, QC May 22nd 2016
From the Blues to the Black Page Sala Rossa, Montreal 2008
Labelle Musique, Valleyfield, QC 2006
Archambault Musique, Trois Rivieres, Quebec 2005
Le Musicien D"Oz Music store, Quebec city 2005
Solo Drum Studio, Montreal 2004
Jimmy James Band Montreal Jazz Fest, Montreal 2011
Mont Tremblant Blues Fest, Quebec 2010-2018
Festival de Blues de Beauport 2010
Michael Jerome Browne L'Astral, Montreal 2010
Harrison Hotsprings folk fest, BC 2009
Ottawa folk fest, Ottawa Ontario 2009
Western Canada tour 2009
Eden Brent Montreal International Jazz Fest 2009
Ottawa Blues Fest 2009
Sue Foley Concerts in Ontario, Quebec and U.S. 2008
Kate and Anna McGarrigle Carnegie Hall NYC 2005
Theatre Outremont, Montreal 2005 (with Emmylou Harris, Rufus and Martha Wainwright and others...)
The Bottom Line club, NYC 2001 (with Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt)
The Bottom Line club, NYC 1999
East coast U.S. tour 1988
Quebec tour fall 1982
Cross Canada tour 1982
Michel Pagliaro Quebec tour 1987-1988
Olympic Stadium concert August 1st 1987 (Support act-David Bowie/Duran Duran)
The Stephen Barry Band Montreal International Jazz Fest. 1988-1999
with Vann ‘Piano man’ Walls- Quebec tour 1996-1998
Londrina music festival-Londrina, Brazil 1997
European tour 1996
w/ Johnny Johnson, Montreal 1995
w/ Buddy Guy-Montreal 1982
w/ Big Mama Thornton-Montreal 1981
Gogh Van Go Quebec/ Ontario tour 1993-1995
Berlin music festival, Germany 1994
Jean-Pierre Ferland Quebec tour 1999-2003
Cap-de-la-Madelaine 2001 (with Laurence Jalbert and the Trois Rivieres Symphony Orchestra)
Francofolies Festival; Salle Wilfrid Pelletier Place des Arts 2000 (with Michel Rivard and Daniel Belanger)
Music for film L’homme Ideal 1997 George Mihalka, director
Myth of the Male Orgasm 1995 John Hamilton, director
La Florida 1993 George Mihalka, director
Music for Television My Home Town 1996-1997 Jean Mercier, director

Recent Performance Photos

Click on an image to view slideshow.