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Jeff ocheltree snare paiste drum cymbals

Mark Everton Gray & Jeff Ocheltree

Jeff Ocheltree

Jeff Ocheltree snare

Jeff Ocheltree drums

Jeff Ocheltree drum tech

paiste drums

Hey Hey!!!!! Mark Everton Gray here,


I just wanted to introduce you to my dear friend, colleague, and mentor, Jeff Ocheltree. Our working together in the studio has spanned three decades so far, and on countless recording sessions. Jeff’s impressive body of work cover’s 50 years plus working with some of the greatest drummers and bands ever. His knowledge, passion, and commitment to drums, drumming, drummers, and music is on a level of excellence that not many people in the music business have. Jeff is constantly teaching me new things about the drums: how they are constructed, wood types, hardware for the shells, head types and applications, tuning, etc. I can’t stress the value of knowing how something is made and how it works, it only makes you more professional and successful. Jeff has helped make me into the professional and competent engineer that I am today, especially when it comes to recording drums. I hope you take the time to read his bio below, and we hope to be working with you on your next project. Thank you for your time.

Best Regards,


Jeff Ocheltree snare

Jeff Ocheltree drums

Jeff Ocheltree drum tech

paiste drums

Jeff Ocheltree snare

Jeff Ocheltree drums

Jeff Ocheltree drum tech

paiste drums

Jeff Ocheltree snare

Jeff Ocheltree drums

Jeff Ocheltree drum tech

paiste drums

Jeff Ocheltree's Story

Jeff Ocheltree snare
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jeff ocheltree snare danny carey paiste drum set
jeff ocheltree drums

Jeff Ocheltree is the godfather of drum techs. He has worked with some of the greatest drummers and most successful bands in the world from John Bonham of Led Zeppelin and Billy Cobham of the Mahavishnu Orchestra to Steve Smith of Journey and Vital Information, John Molo of Bruce Hornsby , and Cindy Blackman Santana of Lenny Kravitz, and Santana. Jeff is known for his meticulous attention to detail and his ability to tune and restore drums to perfection.


Jeff was born in Davenport, Iowa, and grew up in Pasadena, California, where at seven years old, his father brought him to see trumpeter Harry James and drummer Gene Krupa— which profoundly affected Jeff.  Soon after graduating high school in 1965, Jeff moved to Santa Cruz, CA and formed a band. As drummer, Jeff driven.  He purchased a new Rogers Black Oyster Pearl 24" bass drum, 12" and 13" rack toms, 16" floor tom, a Dynasonic 5x14 snare drum, with a 24" Zildjian ride cymbal and Zildjian hi-hats and crashes. A few years after the purchase, he lost the drums in a fire, and was devastated.

After losing everything, Jeff transitioned passion for drums as a drummer to creating an occupation supporting drummers on every aspect of the instrument. Jeff began to form this new career working with and learning from drummer Ron Fillmore of Snail— until the Mahavishnu Orchestra came to Santa Cruz in 1973. Arthur Rosato from Bill Graham’s office was aware of Jeff’s knowledge and skills, and arranged an introduction to the drummer of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Billy Cobham. Jeff promptly moved to New York City where he sharpened his skills working for Billy Cobham as the first drum tech in the music industry, tuning, restoring, and customizing drums.


It was in New York where Jeff began to expand his network, working with legends like Al Duffy— the inventor of the chain peddle— and Fred Hinger, where they developed the gong drum first embraced by Billy Cobham. As a drum tech for Cobham, the world began to open up to Jeff. While on tour with The Billy Cobham Band in 1974, Jeff met two Berklee students in Boston at the jazz club Paul's Mall, Steve Smith and Vinnie Colaiuta, who became Jeff's lifelong friends and project collaborators. Word spread among the music world about Jeff’s knowledge of drums, and he began to work with some of the most accomplished drummers in the business— in the studio and on tour:

•John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)

•Steve Ferrone (Average White Band’s ‘Cut The Cake’ album)

•John Hartman (Doobie Brothers’ ‘Taking It To The Streets’ album and tour)

•George Harrison’s Splinter (tour & studio)

•Bill Stewart (Gregg Allman Band ‘Allman and Women ’album and tour)

•Lenny White (‘Big City’ album)

•Bob C Benberg (Supertramp tour)

•Mark Craney (Tommy Bolin tour, Gino Vannelli ‘Brother to Brother’ album & tour Jethro Tull ‘A ’             album & tour)

•Vinnie Colaiuta (Allan Holdsworth album ‘Secrets’)

•Gary Husband (Allan Holdsworth tour)

•John Ferraro (Larry Carlton tour)

•Denny Fongheiser (Tracy Chapman’s ‘Crossroads’ album, and Belinda Carlisle’s ‘Heaven On                  Earth’ tour)

•Edwin Bonilla and Olbin Burgos (Gloria Estefan Evolution World Tour)

•Moyes Lucas (Diana Ross tour)

•John Molo (Bruce Hornsby Harbor Lights Tour, Elton John Tribute album ‘Two Rooms“ ’Madmen        Across The Water” track)

•Bruce Carter (Kenny G tour)

Doane Perry with Maxus (tour & studio)

•Jim Preston (The Sons of Champlin ‘Hip Lil Dreams’ and ‘Secret’ albums and tours)

•Carter Beauford (Dave Matthews Band Grammy Awards performance)

•Steve Smith (‘Buddy’s Buddies’ album & ‘Cause and Effect’ album with Larry Coryell & Tom Coster)

Jeff took his passion for drums to another dimension by designing drums out of carbon steel known as the Dangerous Ocheltree snare drum, followed by the Ocheltree Phantom Steel snare drums. Steve Smith, who modeled his Steve Smith Sonor Signature snare after Jeff’s Phantom Steel snare, says in the Modern Drummer Legends book, “Jeff Ocheltree made me some very heavy steel shelled snares that really knocked me out […] they have both highs and lows, which for me, makes the ideal snare drum.”


In 1998, Jeff approached Erik Paiste, President of Paiste Cymbals, with a drum design concept using properties of Paiste cymbal alloys. The result was the Paiste/Ocheltree drum series: seamless bronze shells, individually sandcast from melted-down recycled Paiste cymbals, handcrafted and assembled for the utmost detail and perfection in sound made for Carl Palmer and Danny Carey.


In 2004, Jeff was approached by Rittor Music to narrate a DVD explaining the technique and philosophies he uses as a drum tech. The DVD was produced at Track Record Studios in Los Angeles, with drummers Steve Smith, Danny Carey, Lenny White, John Molo, and John Ferraro. Later that year, the Jeff Ocheltree DVD ‘Trust Your Ears’ was released, which has sold over 60,000 copies to date.


Following the DVD, Jeff worked with Danny Carey on the Adrian Belew ‘Side One’ album, recorded at Les Claypool’s house, and later with Roy Mayorga on Stone Sour’s second album ‘Come What (ever) May’ in 2006.


Jeff continued to record and tour as a drum tech with Steve Smith & Vital Information, and Boz Scaggs until he was approached by The Blue Man Group in 2009 to join their Las Vegas production. Jeff moved to Las Vegas to become The Blue Man Group’s head drum tech. John Wackerman, a long-time friend of Jeff’s, was living in Las Vegas at the time, and generously set up a meeting to introduce Jeff to chief engineer of Studio at The Palms, Mark Everton Gray— knowing firsthand the set of talents should work together. John Wackerman, who always brings pure unadulterated creativity to a session, booked the studio with Jeff as drum tech and Mark as the audio engineer. This became the first of many sessions together for the two, as Mark would have Jeff working countless recording sessions consisting of an ongoing number of local bands and artists coming through Las Vegas.


When Jeff finished his stint with The Blue Man Group in 2011, he went on the road with Steve Smith & Vital Information. Jeff was then called on by Mark Everton Gray to drum tech for a local band newly signed by Interscope, Imagine Dragons, for their debut album ‘NightVisions.’


Jeff resumed expanding his network in recent years with Michael Shrieve (Santana ‘IV’ album and tour with the original Santana band), and Cindy Blackman Santana  with Lenny Kravitz touring, The Isley Brothers and Carlos Santana ‘Power of Peace’ album, Santana’s ‘Africa Speaks,’ produced by Rick Rubin.


Jeff has always taken pride in his work, and it reflects in the quality of the artists he has worked with and the volume of work he has done for each of them. The relationships Jeff has developed in the drum community is second to none and it speaks volumes about Jeff’s skills and character, as noted by the bond he has with Steve Smith going back to when they first met in Boston when Steve was a Berklee student.  


Throughout the years, Jeff and Mark have continued to work together.  “I have worked with some pretty well-known Engineers” explains Jeff, “but Mark's skills, sensibilities and creativity are at the top!!!”  The two continue to work on recording sessions together. Recently they worked with Matt Starr, who was featured on the Drum Channel Podcast in early 2023.  “When it comes to Jeff’s skills” Mark says, “Whenever Jeff is my drum tech, there is no need for corrective EQ on the drums.” This year, Mark and Jeff officially formed a working alliance and, as a result, booked some major sessions scheduled through 2024.  

Jeff Ocheltree & Danny Carey

Jeff Ocheltree & Cindy Blackman Santana

Jeff Ocheltree at Santana Residency,

 House of Blues, Las Vegas, NV

Jeff Ocheltree snare

Jeff Ocheltree drums

Jeff Ocheltree drum tech

paiste drums

mark gray music jeff ocheltree snare

Mark Everton Gray Dave "The Welder" Koch & Jeff Ocheltree

matt star jeff ocheltree drum tech

Matt Star & Jeff Ocheltree


For more information, reach out to Mark Everton Gray via email or submit a message.

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