Craig Krampf is Nashville session drummer and songwriter. Since the 1970s, Craig Krampf has played on albums by artists ranging from Steve Perry to Alabama to Kim Carnes to Flo and Eddie to Alice Cooper to Melissa Etheridge.
Craig Krampf along with Steve Perry were founding members of the short-lived rock group Alien Project.
There seems to be a descriptive theme that arises whenever you talk to people who have worked with Craig, have had the opportunity to watch him perform or have heard his work on records---passion. Robyn Flans, in her cover story on Craig for Modern Drummer magazine, described it this way: " Craig is known for playing with abandon. He is the perfect combination of raw and polished: perfect in his time and all the necessary recording techniques, but with the heart, guts and soul of an 18-year-old rock'n'roller." This desire for making music that is full of passion and heart can be evidenced in all three areas of the music industry that Craig has established himself in---as a musician, a songwriter and as a producer.
You have most likely heard Krampf's work on record, since he has played on over 200 albums, including 60 "Top 40" hits, plus many movie and TV soundtracks. These efforts have garnered over 60 Gold & Platinum awards. He has drummed and played percussion on several Grammy winning and nominated songs and albums. The feeling and goove that Craig has brought to records, from "Bette Davis Eyes" (Kim Carnes), The Motel's "Only the Lonely", The Church's "Under the Milky Way", "Bring Me Some Water" (Melissa Etheridge), all the way to his most recent work with Patty Loveless ("You Can Feel Bad"), Tanya Tucker's "Can't Run from Yourself", the more than 20 "Top 3" hits by Alabama, and the critically acclaimed albums "Trace" from Son Volt and debut from Garrison Starr.
Craig co-wrote 'Oh Sherrie" which went to #3 on the charts for Steve Perry. The song has won BMI awards, including the prestigious "Million Broadcast Performances" award. Recently, the song has gone over two million airplays and has garnered another BMI award. Craig also co-wrote three other songs on Steve's album "Street Talk", including "Strung Out" which reached the "Top 40". "An unbelievable surprise and honor," as Craig puts it, was winning a Grammy Award for a song co-wrote for the movie "Flashdance"----"I'll Be Here Where the Heart Is", sung by Kim Carnes.
Craig is establishing himself as a producer, and although the list of credits is just beginning, the passion and critical acclaim of his work is evident. The debut album of Melissa Etheridge is reportedly over three million in worldwide sales and was hailed as a "fresh musical and sonic departure". The Toronto Now magazine stated that, "There's a grass roots feel to much of the music; it's simply produced but rich in emotion and texture." "The honest, heartfelt passion of Melissa's music was captured on record," states Craig, "that was our mission." Ashley Cleveland's "Big Town" (Atlantic Records), did not attain the same degree of commercial success, but did very well and once again, was hailed by critics. Billboard magazine's January 11, 1992 issue called it "the #1 best undiscovered record of the year". Disappear fear's debut was named one of Mix magazine's "Top 20 Albums of 1994". Recent releases that Craig produced include Angela Kaset, The Dee Archer Band, Gretle, The Features, Laws Rushing, Greg and Rebecca Sparks, and Janis Ian
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Craig says he remembers music constantly being played at home. "The radio was always on and my dad brought home records every payday." Literally playing on mom's pots and pans and two old wooden chairs, while older brother Carl played accordion, was Craig's introduction to "drums". He played his first gig at the age of nine at a communion party. After performing throughout high school and college with various bands that Carl and Craig had together, Carl decided to go onto to graduate school----this was the "breakup" of the family band. Craig then received a call from Dee Robb and The Robbins. . During a summer tour for RCA Records and Dupont Fashions, their guitar player was drafted. Krampf and the three brothers changed the name of the band to The Robbs and continued on. That band went on to open many shows in the Midwest for such acts as The Dave Clark Five, Herman's Hermits, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, The Young Rascals and The Lovin' Spoonful. A big break came when Dick Clark discovered The Robbs at The Teen World's Fair in Chicago. They were signed by Mercury Records, recorded their first record and appeared on "Where The Action Is" during and shortly after, the fair. Dick Clark invited them to be regulars on the show and the band moved to California.
Even though Krampf had some early recording experience, done on two and three track recorders, it was with the recording contract and television show that new opportunities arose. Recording with such legendary producers as Lou Reizner, Leon Russell, Snuff Garrett, P.F. Sloan, Steve Barri, Steve Douglas and Del Shannon, Craig's recording education was soon being shaped by some of the best of their day. Krampf remarked, "I have been fortunate over the years, either as a band member or studio musician, to work with a lot of the greats. It's an education that I consider to be invaluable." That education has continued...working with producers as Roy Thomas Baker, Val Garay, Mike Chapman, Jimmy Bowen, Keith Olson, Emory Gordy Jr., Bill Conti and many others.
After many performing stints with bands and artists such as Little Richard, Flo & Eddie and The Turtles, Steve Perry and Nick Gilder, Craig's career as a session musician began to take off. He soon became one of the most sought after session drummers in Los Angeles. "The thrill hasn't worn off at all," Krampf stated. "It's still an unbelievable feeling to hear something that I've done on the radio. I love being a part of making records."
Over the years, Craig has appeared in various music magazines. He has done ads for the products he endorses and was honored when he was chosen for the catalog cover for Rogers Drums. "I used to see Krupa on the covers of those old Slingerland catalogs and dream---and now, here I was on the cover of the Rogers catalog. Dreams really can come true."
At the height of his very successful career in Los Angeles, Craig, his wife, Susie, and their three daughters, Carrie, Katie and Courtney, decided to relocate to Nashville, TN. "People thought we were crazy to move when things were going so well, but there is a lot more to life and we just wanted to try and give our family a better environment and quality of life," says Craig. After a short time of getting re-established, Craig's career was back on track and is still flourishing in his new "home".
Craig enjoys writing and his 15 part series, "In the Studio", appeared in Modern Drummer magazine and was a helpful guide for hopeful session musicians. He has also been published in Model Railroader magazine and The Brentwood Journal. He was named "Poet of the Year" two years in a row at Marquette University and his poetry has appeared in various college publications. Craig is also an award winning model railroader and jokes this should be no surprise, since his dad was a locomotive engineer. "Along with a lot of things, my dad passed down to us the love of music and trains."