He majored in jazz studies at the University of Bridgeport. Starting out on the New York fusion scene in the early 1980s, Weckl soon found himself working with artists such as Paul Simon, Madonna, George Benson, Michel Camilo and Anthony Jackson. His most famous early work though, where his popularity blossomed, was with the Chick Corea Elektric Band from 1985 to 1991.
While playing the club scene in New York City with a band called Nite Sprite, Dave started to receive accolades from established studio musicians such as Steve Kahn, Michael Brecker, and especially drumming great Peter Erskine. It was Peter who recommended Dave for his first 'big gig' in town with a group called French Toast, forerunner to the Michel Camilo band, which has been recorded quite extensively over the years.
From this group, legendary bassist Anthony Jackson recommended Dave for the prestigious Simon and Garfunkel reunion tour in 1983. After this tour, it was not long before Dave was regularly being called for radio and TV jingles, sound track sessions, and top recording dates with such artists as George Benson, Peabo Bryson, Diana Ross, and Robert Plant, to name a few.
In 1985, Michael Brecker suggested to Chick Corea that he look into Dave's services for his new Elektric Band. That was the beginning of a seven year relationship with both the Elektric and Akoustic Bands, where nine recordings and three videos were produced, including a Grammy for the first Akoustic Band release.
The Elektric Band showcased Dave's cutting-edge drumming and innovative use of electronic and acoustic drums, bringing him world-wide recognition. Though the Elektric Band went on a 10-year hiatus in the early '90s, the band is once again touring from time to time. It also released a 17-part conceptual album entitled "To The Stars" in mid-2004.
Weckl spent a total of seven years with Corea, during which he performed on numerous albums and also appeared with Corea's Akoustic Band. He augmented his work with Corea by continuing his session work and appearing often with the GRP All-Star Big Band. In addition, he recorded four albums in 1988 and 1989 with the Manhattan Jazz Quintet. Weckl has also released a series of instructional videotapes, and in 1990, he led his first solo date, Master Plan, for GRP. Heads Up followed in 1992, as well as Hard-Wired in 1994.
Around 1996, Dave's style and setup radically changed, in large part because of his studies with Freddie Gruber.
As a solo artist, Dave has recorded and produced ten recordings to date, including GRP/MCA solo releases Masterplan, Heads Up, and Hardwired. In 1998, Dave realized his long-time goal of forming a world-touring band. The Dave Weckl Band released five studio records, including: Rhythm Of The Soul, Synergy, Transition, Perpetual Motion, and Multiplicity. The band also released a hot live album, LIVE (and very plugged in) and a compilation of DWB and instructional videos entitled The Zone.
The original DWB lineup included two musicians Dave had known, respected, and played with for years; Jay Oliver (keyboards), who had been Dave's good friend since high school, and Tom Kennedy (bass), who had jammed with Dave since the age of 15. Jay had been very involved in writing and production of Dave's original three solo records, while Tom also appeared on many of the songs. Rounding out the lineup were two highly-respected world-class musicians in Brandon Fields (saxophones) and Buzz Feiten (guitars).
The band's first release, Rhythm of the Soul, was truly a band effort. While the solo records had featured many different artists "sitting in," ROS was about collaboration and chemistry that started in the studio and grew stronger as live performances.
Synergy (1999) was named for the spontaneous manner in which much of the record was written. In the album's liner notes, Dave says "I decided to have a band writing day, rehearsal kind of jam session, which ended up yielding the foundation for almost half of the material for the CD."
Prior to the band's next record, in 2000, both Jay and Buzz left to pursue the many other projects on their respective plates. This is when Steve Weingart joined. Appropriately, the new lineup produced the band's next record, entitled "Transition."
"Perpetual Motion" found the new lineup maturing and producing many interesting and angular grooves, such as on "Double Up" and "Child's Play." "Mesmer-Eyes" became a live favorite with its keyboard and sax duel, as did "Tiempo de Festival."
In 2002, the band produced its first-ever and long awaited live album. A two-disc package, Live...and Very Plugged In captured the band at its peak of energy and playfulness.
In 2005, the band released Multiplicity. The record featured a diverse lineup of nine songs highlighting the writing talents of Steve, Gary and Dave, who spent many hours together in Dave's studio composing most of the material. But the performance talents of all the band members shined through on this album.
2006 saw another transition for the band when Steve Weingart left to pursue other projects. Jay Oliver returned for some exciting North American tour dates that included old DWB favorites and some standards
More recently, Dave has enjoyed taking on more sideman work. He regularly joins guitarist Mike Stern, Chuck Loeb, and Oz Noy, among others. When off the road, Dave keeps busy with session and production work at his home studio in Los Angeles. He also teaches at the annual Drum Fantasy Camp. Additionally, Dave has many instructional video/DVDs and play-along packages on the market.
A constant student of the art of drumming and music, Dave gives back every chance he gets through clinics and classes all over the world. Of teaching, Dave says:
"It is my goal to inspire as many young (and not-so-young) people as possible to want to play music, whether it be on drums or another instrument. With all the negatives in the world today, I feel this is my way of contributing a positive action toward spiritual happiness, which music can be a big part of, if you let it. So parents, if your child has a talent for music, please allow them the opportunity to develop that talent!"
Of course, a guy this busy does need to get around town efficiently. A fan of automobiles, Dave stays on schedule by driving a 335 horsepower Audi S4. And, he's always on the lookout for something faster!
But beyond all the recording, producing, touring, teaching, working with companies he endorses to build better products, and tearing up the highway every now and then, Dave's passion is spending quality time with his daughter, Claire, Sophia (his Golden Retriever), and friends.
This is what all the hard work is for - the inspiration to keep doing it - and that perspective is probably Dave's biggest asset.
Dave endorses Yamaha Drums, Sabian Cymbals and Vic Firth Drumsticks, all of whom he has assisted with the design of new products, such as Sabian's HHX Evolution and HHX Legacy cymbal lines.
Dave's choice of drumheads and head accessories; Remo Coated Ambassadors (toms), Coated Ambassadors (snare), Coated Ambassador (bass), Weckl Bass Drum Muffle and Weckl Active Snare Dampening System.