Dawayne Gaspard was born January 20, 1979 in Abbeville, Louisiana. By the age of five, he began following the band Atchafalaya, fronted by his second cousin Chris Foremen, where he first learned of his deep passion for music, particularly the drums.
It would be another five years until Gaspard could officially begin his own personal musical endeavors by joining the school band in 5th grade. The young percussionist quickly made an impression on his parents who purchased his first drum kit. Years of afternoon practices at home alongside his record player equipped with the sounds of groups such as The Beatles and The Eagles led to his intense involvement in high school band as a percussionist in the marching band. It was those four, formidable years that presented Gaspard with his greatest musical teacher and mentor, Hawley Joe Gary, III, Director of Percussion at Abbeville High. In high school, long marching-drill and percussion practices occupied most of Gaspard’s time, but the drum set his parents purchased years before never missied their fair share of beating, especially following the formation of his first band Punch Eye Q.
Post graduation, music-hungry Gaspard decided to attend the University of Louisiana at Lafayette as a percussion major. In the two years that followed, he marched in the marching band, performed in the percussion ensemble, competed in the P.A.S.I.C. Indoor Marching Percussion Ensemble Competetion and competed in the University of Louisiana Annual Percussion Concert, "The Big Bang."
As musically fulfilled as he may have been from these scholastic endeavors, that old drum set was still calling Gaspard’s name. He left school in 1999 to embark on his professional music career. Since then, he has toured with many working bands in the southeastern United States. He started this journey as a drum tech for his mentor Joe Gary who was, and still is, the drummer for the popular Louisiana band Spank the Monkey.
After a few years, Gaspard moved to Destin, Florida to take his first official drumming job with the band MissDemeanor. A year-and-a-half later he took the job touring with the band Deep Shag from Memphis, Tennessee, in support their first CD, Rug Burn, on which he also provided drum tracks.
In 2003, following his involvement with many other groups, Gaspard made his final move to the musical melting pot that is Houston, Texas, where he currently resides as of 2010. His main job in town was with the widely-successful-and-popular rock/party band Strippers Lie. The itch to again record original music and tour in support of original albums led the drummer to leave the Strippers Lie in 2009 for his current musical project 80 Proof (www.80proofband.com), a regionally-successful Americana/Texas Country band, seven-years-in-the-making.
The Stephenville, Texas-based quartet is currently in the process of releasing their long-awaited, highly-anticipated sophomore album (first with Gaspard handling the backbeat and co-producing) titled Shadows, a project that critics and fans suspect will propel 80 Proof to the fore-front of the American scene. It is with this album that Gaspard receives his first full-album-recording accreditation on both the drum set and all miscellaneous percussion, an accomplishment partly made possible by his teaming-up-with Soultone Cymbals (www.soultonecymbals.com).
In the coming months he will be touring with 80 Proof across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana, and beyond. Gaspard is also working with multiple other artists and performing shows in Houston, where he still resides. He is known mostly for his solid grooves, fun and demanding stage presence, and ubiquitously-positive attitude.
You can keep up with Dawayne Gaspard’s current projects and live shows at DawayneGaspard.com and 80proofband.com.