Vincent “Vinnie” Colaiuta (born February 5, 1956) is an American drummer based in Los Angeles. Originally from Republic, Pennsylvania, he began playing drums as a child and received his first full drum kit from his parents at the age of fourteen.
After attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston for a year, Colaiuta had his first big break as a member of the Christopher Morris Band in 1976–1977. Playing and recording with the Christopher Morris Band (MCA 2282) in 1977, Colaiuta relocated with the band to Los Angeles. After leaving the Christopher Morris Band, he made a mediocre living playing with lounge bands.
His next break came in April 1978 at age 22, after auditioning for Frank Zappa. The audition entailed performing “The Black Page”. Colaiuta went on to work with Zappa as his principal drummer for studio and live performances. He played on the successful Zappa albums Tinsel Town Rebellion, Joe’s Garage, and Shut Up ‘n Play Yer Guitar.
In 1990, Colaiuta successfully auditioned as drummer in Sting’s touring band in support of his album The Soul Cages. Colaiuta remained as a member of Sting’s band for the next seven years. He declined the offer to go out on the road for the Brand New Day tour in 1999 due to the considerable length of a typical Sting world tour. His studio work with Sting can be heard on Ten Summoner’s Tales (1993), Mercury Falling (1996), three songs on Brand New Day (1999) and two songs on Sacred Love (2003). On October 21, 2011, Colaiuta rejoined Sting’s tour band for performing on the Back to Bass Tour.
Colaiuta released a self-titled solo recording in 1994, and still remains one of the most in demand studio musicians playing on countless albums, film soundtracks, TV and radio jingles. He has won a total of 18 Drummer of the Year awards from Modern Drummer magazine’s annual reader polls. These include 10 awards in the “Best Overall” category
In 2004, Colaiuta played drums on the film score of Elektra as director Rob Bowman is a great fan of his. In 2006-07, Colaiuta toured with Jeff Beck and Tal Wilkenfeld on bass, with Jason Rebello playing keyboards, in Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival. He recorded and toured with Faith Hill, recorded with the thrash metal outfit Megadeth on their album The System Has Failed, and toured with Jeff Beck and Herbie Hancock.