Stephen Ferrone (born 25 April 1950) is an English drummer known as a member of the rock band Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers from 1994–2017, replacing original drummer Stan Lynch, and as part of the “classic lineup” of the Average White Band in the 1970s. Ferrone has recorded and performed with George Harrison, Duran Duran, Stevie Nicks, Laura Pausini, Christine McVie, Slash, Chaka Khan, Eric Clapton, Bee Gees, Scritti Politti, Aerosmith, Al Jarreau and Johnny Cash.
Ferrone played with the band Bloodstone, appearing on their 1975 album Riddle of the Sphinx. He then began playing with Brian Auger’s band Oblivion Express, which had previously featured drummer Robbie McIntosh.
McIntosh later joined the Average White Band, and had just released their first number one album when McIntosh died of a heroin overdose. Ferrone was asked to join AWB in his place, and stayed with them for the next eight years, recording and playing concert tours to support several hit albums, until AWB broke up in 1982.
Since appearing on Chaka Khan’s 1978 debut album, he went on to play on most of her following albums of the 80s, including “Naughty” with former AWB band member Hamish Stuart. In 1985, Ferrone joined the Saturday Night Live house band. He contributed as session drummer for Duran Duran on the Notorious, Duran Duran, and Thank You albums. He also toured with Duran Duran on the Strange Behaviour tour in support of the Notorious album . He also toured and recorded with Eric Clapton from 1986 to 1992. He played drums for Duran Duran at Abbey Road Studios.
He has also appeared on recordings by the Bee Gees, Scritti Politti, Brian May, Anita Baker, George Benson, Jonathan Butler, Bryan Ferry, Climie Fisher, Eric Clapton, Christine McVie, Peter Frampton, Jeff Golub, Rick James, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Freddie King, Tracy Chapman, Pat Metheny, Marcus Miller, Steve Winwood, Michael W. Smith, Morrissey–Mullen, Dick Morrissey, Jeffrey Osborne, Paul Simon, Alan Frew, Laura Pausini, Bernie Worrell, Al Jarreau and Jaco Pastorius.
Ferrone substituted for Joey Kramer of Aerosmith during pre-production of the band’s album Nine Lives while Kramer was grieving the loss of his father.
Ferrone met guitarist Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers when the two played a show with George Harrison as part of his Hara and the Hijack band at Royal Albert Hall. He became the band’s full-time drummer after the departure of original drummer Stan Lynch in 1994. Ferrone’s first album with the band was Tom Petty’s second solo outing Wildflowers, released that same year. His first live appearance as a member of the Heartbreakers in Louisville, Kentucky, on 28 February 1995.
Ferrone thoroughly enjoyed his time with the Heartbreakers: “Everyone should have an experience like ‘The Heartbreakers’ in their musical life; creativity, passion, honesty, integrity, and a lot of fun.”
In November 2002, Ferrone founded Drumroll Studios in Burbank, California, with producer John Jones, who he had worked with since Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World” in 1992. Later, they were joined by guitarist and producer Steve Postell, and they recorded and produced albums and tracks for a wide variety of musical acts, as well as film and TV scores.
Ferrone released a live solo album entitled It Up: Steve Ferrone and Friends Live at La Ve Lee in 2003.
In 2007, he played drums on the self-titled debut album from the band The Black and White Years, produced by Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads.
In 2010, Ferrone played on Slash’s first solo album, Slash and joined the Italian band Pooh. He also joined a collaborative project with composer and musician Eric Alexandrakis, guitarist and composer Warren Cuccurullo, and producer and songwriter Anthony J. Resta. Explaining the purpose of that project in a Modern Drummer news release Alexandrakis said, “The four of us decided to create a scoring collective to pursue scoring projects in TV themes, film, and advertising…” In August 2018 announced as drummer for Dire Straits Legacy prior to their first US tour, consisting of 10 dates. He is a fan of English football club Brighton and Hove Albion (known as “The Seagulls”) and can be seen sporting a hat with their badge on it on the video of him drumming with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performing at the Super Bowl 42 half time show.
In 2011 Ferrone started playing with old friends Alan Clarke and Phil Palmer in a band made up of Dire Straits alumni called The Straits. The band also consisted of Mickey Feat on bass, Chris White on saxophones, Jaimie Squire on keyboards and vocals, and Terrence Reiss on vocals and guitar.
In July 2015, Ferrone reunited with his AWB bandmates Malcolm ‘Molly’ Duncan and Hamish Stuart to form The 360 Band. This is in essence one half of the original Average White Band. They released an album titled Three Sixty in 2017 and have been performing live together along with supporting musicians.
In 2019, Ferrone recorded session drums for Stroke 9’s studio album Calafrio.