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Tris Imboden

Tris Imboden
Tris Imboden in 2013
Background information
Birth name Gregory Tristan Imboden
Born (1951-07-27) July 27, 1951
Genres Rock, adult contemporary, jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Drums, percussion, harmonica
Years active 1970 (1970)–present
Associated acts Chicago
Website Official Chicago website
Notable instruments
Drum set

Tris Imboden (born Gregory Tristan Imboden on July 27, 1951) is a [v 1] As a performer, he has been in studio sessions and on tour with some of the most notable and highest-selling musicians of all time.[2] As of 1990, he has been best known as the lead drummer with the multi-platinum band, Chicago.[3]

Imboden's most notable studio session work has included Neil Diamond, Kenny Loggins, Firefall, Richard Marx, Steve Vai, Roger Daltrey, and Crosby, Stills & Nash. As a touring drummer, he has been with Kenny Loggins, Al Jarreau, Chaka Khan, Firefall, Cock Robin, Michael McDonald, Los Lobotomys, and other notable groups.

As a full-time band member, Imboden's career has included Honk, the Kenny Loggins Band (including "Who's Right, Who's Wrong" featuring Michael Jackson,[d 1] the six-time platinum[d 2] Number One hit "Footloose", and "I'm Alright" from Caddyshack), and Chicago. His career with Chicago has seen the release of thirteen albums, several of them certified as platinum.[2]


  • Biography 1
  • Career 2
  • Discography 3
  • Videography 4
  • Equipment 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Aside from a brief, early, move to Germany, Tris Imboden was born and raised in various beachside communities of Orange County in Southern California.[4]

As a primarily self-taught, lifetime career musician, his musical interests were stirred by seeing a parade when he was three to five years old.

His formal training began from grade school; and until there was an available position in the percussion section of the school band, he drummed at home on a practice pad and studied basic music theory on the trumpet at school. He ultimately reached the position of second chair trumpeter before switching to the then-available percussion section in junior high school.[7][8]

He currently resides in Malibu, California and on the island of Kauai, Hawai'i, where he is an avid surfer.[7]


Tris Imboden began his adolescent career in various surf bands, and then achieved professional status in a high school band called The Other Half. The band performed at venues ranging from sock hops to Hollywood's venerable Teenage Fair, where Imboden said their popularity "clogged the whole entrance".[5]:21

Out of high school, Imboden cofounded Honk in 1970.[d 3] After recording some demo songs, the band's first album was the soundtrack for the surf movie Five Summer Stories,[v 2] crediting Imboden as composer, producer, drummer, harmonica player, and vocalist. Imboden established a career trend, ultimately lasting through to Chicago, of occasionally being featured on harmonica. The song "Pipeline Sequence" reached No. 1 on Hawai'i radio.[4][d 4] Being a member of Honk provided Imboden with formative future career experience as the band built their studio recording skills, their touring skills, and innumerable industry contacts. They worked with bands which would eventually serve as Imboden's future professional base, by touring with Loggins and Messina, Jackson Browne, and The Beach Boys—and by opening Chicago's concerts.[7] Honk went on hiatus from 1976 to 1986, when they established a tradition of periodic reunion concerts in their original home area of Southern California, as band members' schedules permit.

From 1977 to 1986, Imboden became a full-time recording and touring member of the Kenny Loggins Band, and then would do part-time work with them until 1989, for a total of 12 years of collaboration. During his full-time tenure there, he composed and performed the drum set arrangements for popular 1980s motion picture soundtracks: Caddyshack and Footloose.[7]

From the end of his full-time duration with Kenny Loggins in 1986, until 1989, Imboden's career became a full-time composite of various part-time session recordings and live performances with various groups. His consistent work throughout that entire duration included the following: part-time work with Kenny Loggins; stage support for Grammy Award winning jazz singer, Al Jarreau; and "Queen of Funk-Soul", Chaka Khan.[4][7] In 1986, he performed drum set overdub sessions for Neil Diamond's Headed for the Future album. This album provided a venue for Imboden's studio session collaboration with a then-member of Chicago, Bill Champlin.[d 5] In 1988, he was a studio session player with cofounder and former member of Chicago, Peter Cetera, on Cetera's solo album titled One More Story.[d 6]

As of 1990, his career reshaped by joining the multi-platinum Chicago. With the departure of founding drummer Danny Seraphine, Imboden joined the band as the full-time drummer[7] in time for the band's 1991 release titled Twenty 1.[d 7] As an integral part of Chicago for the latter half of the band's 49-year total career, Imboden would contribute to twelve Chicago records, and to tours alongside The Beach Boys, Earth, Wind, & Fire, and The Doobie Brothers. As of 2012, his drum set is accompanied by Chicago's newest full-time member, veteran auxiliary percussionist Walfredo Reyes, Jr.[9]


Select discography
Year Artist Album Credit Achievement
1972 Honk The Original Sound Track
from Five Summer Stories
Composer, producer,
Harmonica, Percussion,
Drums, Vocals[d 8][d 9][d 4]
1979 Kenny Loggins Keep the Fire Harmonica, Drums[d 1][10]
1984 [Original Soundtrack] Footloose [Original Soundtrack] Drums Billboard #1
6x platinum[d 2]
1986 Neil Diamond Headed for the Future Drums, Background Vocals[d 5] Billboard 200 #20
1987 Richard Marx Richard Marx Drums Billboard #1 single[d 10][d 11]
Billboard 200 #8 album
3x platinum[d 12]
1987 [Original Soundtrack] St. Elmo's Fire Drums[d 13] Billboard Hot 100 #1
Grammy nomination
1990 Steve Vai Passion and Warfare Drums (Tracks 7, 9)
1991 Chicago Twenty 1 Drums[d 7]
1994 Crosby, Stills & Nash After the Storm Drums
1995 Chicago Night & Day: Big Band Harmonica, Drums
1997 Chicago The Heart of Chicago 1967–1997 Drums[d 14] (Tracks 7, 10) "Here in My Heart": AC #1
"The Only One": AC Top 20
Billboard 200 #55[d 15]
1998 Chicago The Heart of Chicago 1967–1998 Volume II [d 16]
1998 Chicago Chicago's First Christmas Drums
1998 Chicago Chicago 25: The Christmas Album Drums
1999 Chicago Chicago XXVI – The Live Album
2000 Steve Vai 7th Song:
Enchanting Guitar Melodies – Archive
2002 Chicago Very Best of Chicago:
Only the Beginning
Harmonica, Drums
2003 Chicago Chicago Story:
The Complete Greatest Hits
Harmonica, Drums
2003 Chicago Chicago: The Box [Bonus DVD] Harmonica, Drums
2003 Chicago Christmas: What's It Gonna Be Santa Arranger, Drums
2008 Chicago Chicago XXXII: Stone of Sisyphus Harmonica, Drums
2011 Chicago O Christmas Three Arranger, Drums
2013 Chicago The Nashville Sessions Drums
2014 Chicago Chicago XXXVI: Now Drums


Year Artist Title Credit Achievement
1972 Honk Five Summer Stories
(film soundtrack)
Composer, producer,
Harmonica, Percussion,
Drums, Vocals[d 8][d 9][d 4]
1980 Kenny Loggins Kenny Loggins Alive Drums[v 3]
1989 Tris Imboden Latin Rock for Gringos Drums, instruction[v 1]
2012 Kenny Loggins Keep the Fire
(film soundtrack)
Drums[v 4]
2002 Chicago A&E Live by Request: Chicago Drums[v 5]
2004 Chicago Soundstage Presents Chicago Live Drums[v 6]
2005 Chicago Chicago & Earth, Wind & Fire –
Live at the Greek Theatre
Drums[v 7]


Tris Imboden currently endorses and uses the following products:

  • Groove Juice Cymbal Cleaner[11]
  • DW drums, hardware and pedals[12]
  • Gibraltar drum racks[13][14]
  • Remo drum heads
  • Paiste cymbals[15]
  • Vic Firth drumsticks[1]
  • Beato Bags
  • Toca Percussion


  1. ^ a b "Vic Firth Artist: Tris Imboden". Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Tris Imboden: Gigs". Tris Imboden. Archived from the original on December 10, 2013. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Chicago Lineup". Chicago. Retrieved April 25, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Almond, Cliff (January 10, 2013). Interview W/Tris Imboden- (A/V stream). Cliff Almond. Retrieved June 19, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c Imboden, Tris (June 1984). Tris Imboden: Positive Drumming. Modern Drummer. Interview with Robyn Flans (Clifton, New Jersey: Modern Drummer Publications).  
  6. ^ "Chicago official history: Chapter XII". Chicago, Inc. Archived from the original on June 9, 2007. Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Tris Imboden: About". Tris Imboden. Archived from the original on December 10, 2013. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  8. ^ Imboden, Tris (December 1995). Chicago's Tris Imboden. Modern Drummer. Interview with Robyn Flans (Clifton, New Jersey: Modern Drummer Publications).  
  9. ^ "Walfredo Reyes, Jr.". Chicago. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  10. ^ Holden, Stephen (February 7, 1980). "Album reviews: Keep the Fire". Rolling Stone (Rolling Stone). Archived from the original on June 30, 2007. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Groove Juice: Endorsers". Groove Juice. Retrieved April 25, 2013. I am proud to endorse Groove Juice... It is a great product!! 
  12. ^ "Edge Magazine" (PDF) (7.1). Drum Workshop. 2006. Retrieved April 25, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Gibraltar Hardware: Artists: Tris Imboden". Gibraltar Hardware. Retrieved June 22, 2013. 
  14. ^ Barnett, Brent (September 4, 2009). Tris Imboden: New custom drum rack set up (A/V stream). Gibraltar Hardware. Retrieved June 22, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Paiste: Tris Imboden". Paiste. Retrieved June 22, 2013. 
Discography sources
  1. ^ a b c Keep the Fire, credits at Allmusic at AllMusic. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "RIAA Gold & Platinum: Footloose soundtrack".  
  3. ^ Honk, summary at AllMusic at AllMusic. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e Five Summer Stories soundtrack, credits at Allmusic at AllMusic. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c Headed for the Future, credits at Allmusic at AllMusic. Retrieved June 29, 2013.
  6. ^ One More Story, credits at Allmusic at AllMusic. Retrieved June 29, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c Twenty 1 personnel credits at AllMusic. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d  
  9. ^ a b c d  
  10. ^ "Music Albums, Albums & Music Charts:". Retrieved 2009-09-07. 
  11. ^ Warwick, Neil; Jon Kutner; Tony Brown (2004). The Complete Book of the British Charts: Singles and Albums.  
  12. ^ "RIAA Gold & Platinum: Richard Marx".  
  13. ^ a b St. Elmo's Fire soundtrack, credits at Allmusic at AllMusic. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  14. ^ a b The Heart of Chicago 1967–1997, credits at Allmusic at AllMusic. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
  15. ^ Tris Imboden at AllMusic. Retrieved July 4, 2013.
  16. ^ a b The Heart of Chicago Vol 2, credits at Allmusic at AllMusic. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
  17. ^ "You Don't Know What You're in For, credits at Discogs". 1976. Retrieved July 1, 2013. 
  18. ^ Kenny Loggins Alive, audio tracklist at Allmusic at AllMusic. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
  19. ^ credits"The Secret of My Success: Music From The Motion Picture Soundtrack". October 17, 1990 [1987]. Retrieved July 1, 2013. 
  20. ^ Billboard 200The Secret of My Success: Music From The Motion Picture Soundtrack at AllMusic. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
Videography sources
  1. ^ a b Tris Imboden,  
  2. ^ Five Summer Stories (DVD video). Laguna Beach, California: MacGillivray Freeman Films. 1994 [1972].  
  3. ^ Kenny Loggins Alive, audio tracklist at Allmusic at AllMusic. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
  4. ^ Rice, Jake. Keep the Fire (A/V stream). Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  5. ^ Live by Request: Chicago, overview at Allmusic at AllMusic. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  6. ^ Soundstage Presents Chicago Live, overview at Allmusic at AllMusic. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  7. ^ Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire: Live at the Greek Theatre at AllMusic. Retrieved July 3, 2013.

External links

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