New Jersey Native Rich Scanella Talks Cruising with Tonic, Jon Bon Jovi, Jamming with Bruce Springsteen and Forthcoming tour opening for Creed

Ewing, New Jersey native Rich Scanella is living the rock and roll dream, having sat behind the drum kit for Jersey legends Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt.

Scanella is now the drummer for Tonic with founder and front man Emerson Hart, Atlantic Highlands, and is set to sail for two weeks starting April 18 on Creed’s “Summer of ’99” cruise with 3 Doors Down, Daughtry, Vertical Horizon, Dishwalla, Louise Post of Veruca Salt, The Verve Pipe, Nine Days, BuckCherry, Tantric, and the hosts of AXS TV’s “Power Hour” (with New Jersey native, former MTV VJ and FM 1063 alum Matt Pinfield). Tonic will open for Creed this summer, with the closest dates for New Jersey in Hershey Park, New Hampshire and Connecticut.

Scanella isn’t new to performing on cruise ships, as he backed Jon Bon Jovi on a “Runaway to Paradise” cruise that departed from Barcelona in 2019.

“As long as the weather is good it’s great,” Scanella told 1071 The Boss midday jock Michele Amabile about performing on cruise ships. “If you get some rough seas, the drum set starts moving a little bit. But it’s a fun time. You get to chill out. You don’t have to get yourself anywhere..the comaraderie is great. You’re hanging with other bands.”

Music cruises, he said, “checks a lot of boxes” for fans.

His resume as a touring and session drummer has seen Scanella has worked with Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga, Jon Bon Jovi & The Kings of Suburbia, Tonic, Brian Fallon (Gaslight Anthem), Adam Duritz (Counting Crows), Joe Elliot (Def Leopard), Neal Schon (Journey), Michael Anthony (Van Halen), Gene Cornish (The Rascals), Dean Ween, and Hubert Sumlin (Howlin’ Wolf), to name a few. In 2013, when Tico Torres wasn’t able to perform for the Bon Jovi South American dates, Scanella got the call to fill in. His book, “Ghost Notes,” is now in its second pressing and is available HERE.

Scanella began drumming at age 9 under the direction of his father, Joe, a band leader and Juilliard graduate. It was in his father’s jazz band that Rich first gained invaluable experience, and he turned pro at age 16 by joining the Trenton Musicians Union Local #62. 

Fans may have seen Scanella as a drummer for Strange As Angels and Jersey Shore favorites Mr. GreenGenes, or on television shows and movie soundtracks including Dog The Bounty Hunter and One Tree Hill, in addition to the Jennifer Hudson and Amy Adams movie Lullaby. Since 2011 Rich has been the drummer for Jon Bon Jovi & The Kings of Suburbia, and an instructor at Rider University in Lawrenceville.

Check out Michele’s interview with Rich below, which delves into his career, his book, what it’s like to work with Jon Bon Jovi and what exactly Bruce Springsteen does to get bands ready for his appearances:

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