Growing up in Oakland County, Michigan, Doug Austin has been playing the drums nearly his entire life. He received his first “kit” as a christmas gift at one years old, and has never looked back. In addition to that and other toy drum sets, there was little that was off limits: pots and pans, bowls with wooden spoons, and anything else within arms reach of the budding musician. Doug, along with his sister, was encouraged to explore his love and fascination with music. Though there was some brief experimentation with the violin and guitar, strings wouldn’t have as much influence as percussion until much later down the road.
Starting a long academic career with various styles of school bands began in the fifth grade with Elementary School beginners band and the snare drum. Upon moving up to Royal Oak Middle School, Doug began playing his first full drum set in the school Jazz Band. That next year when he was 13, his parents bought him his first full kit of his own. By the time he got to Kimball High School (now Royal Oak High School), Doug was not just a member of the Jazz Band, Symphony, Orchestra, and Marching Band, but due to private after school lessons, a lot of practice and dedication, he became the go-to drummer for school functions; anything from school concerts to musical theater performances as drummer for the pit. Having left such an impression upon graduation in 2002, former directors would call Doug from time to time when they needed someone to fill in.
Around the same time, Doug had begun to perform outside of school. First as drummer for his family’s church band, then by branching out to play at other, more musically focused churches through out Detroit as he got older, both as a regular player and a fill-in. Then in 2005, Doug joined his first band when he began working with bassist/singer Randy Martin on a project called Via Regia. The R&B/Rock band, which featured music written during Martin’s previous projects, before they went on indefinite hiatus in 2008, they released an EP titled Pandemonalism Part 1, on which Doug played.
It was then, between the occasional church gig or fill-in, that he took time to explore the local music scene. First, by attending open mic nights and open jam sessions in his immediate area, then all of Detroit and its Metro-area: observing, learning, and soaking up the atmosphere. Doug also started to expand his knowledge and love for all things percussion, adding the bongos, congas, and cajon to his growing collection, in addition to non-percussion instruments he added and learned along the way.
Then he started playing. Doug expanded his sights by immersing himself fully into the Detroit music scene by befriending some of the Motor City’s finest musicians. He found mentors, gained knowledge and experience, but most of all, was becoming the type of musician he always wanted to be; one who never stops learning, always takes advice and feedback, and has an unwavering love for where he came from and where he was going to. With success on the horizon, Doug was starting to get compared to some of his cohorts that he admired in Detroit music. With the rich, decades long history of Detroit music that defies time, genre, age, and culture, he could not have been more humbled. And humble would definitely be the way to describe this drummer with an insatiable passion for making, playing, and most recently, producing music.
2009 started the beginning of the next chapter in Doug’s career. With good friend and saxophonist Timothy Gay, the Jazz-Fusion group Rare Standard was born. True Jazz lovers, the band (who hires out rotating piano and bass players) plays their take on standards by greats Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea and new Jazz stars like Robert Glasper, as well as playing original compositions written/co-written by the co-founders themselves.
2010 is when the music took control. One of the Open-Mic nights Doug had made himself a regular at is held at the Black Lotus Brewing Company in Clawson, Michigan. He was asked to become the house drummer and gladly accepted. Within a few years, he was asked to be a co-host, when another local musician who held the spot needed to relieve his post. Doug is still a co-host every Monday night, joining long-time host and close friend, Steve Szajna. The next three projects (all of which are still active) had similar and seemingly temporary beginning. Through connections he had made, Doug was regularly asked to fill-in with other bands, be it live shows or in the studio.
Upon filling-in several times with Detroit based Funk/Rock band Blackmail, and becoming good friends with the members (Mike Brooks, Akmed El’Shabazz, and Mayaasa) Doug became the full-time drummer in 2010. The band plays several times a month, sometimes several times a week, in and around Detroit at iconic local bars, clubs, and festivals including: The I-Rock, The Blind Pig, The Majestic, Old Miami, and The Detroit Music Hall, and the Cosmic Slop Festival, Stars & Stripes Freedom Festival. In addition to numerous positive reviews in local press, the band released their debut album The Hard Groove, produced by Kevin Sharpe of [Metro] 37 Studios in 2011. The guys are currently wrapping up production on their sophomore follow up.
Another band that Doug got involved in by helping out some friends is local band Buzz Bang Pow. They are an energetic, lively Top-40’s style cover band that plays mostly in Oakland County, Michigan, but is definitely not limited to that area. Founding members Brian James and Doug Brooks invited Doug to be a full-time member in ’10, and with newest addition to the group, Eric Van Buren, they will have you dancing to Pop-Rock hits from the 80’s, 90’s, 00’, and today, in addition to original music that is in the works.
Last, but certainly not least, of three band Doug joined in 2010 is Broken Day Machine (BDM). Like the previous two, Doug was helping out and filling-in during some studio work for the band’s third album Morning of Surrender. Upon the albums completion, the band found themselves in need of a permanent drummer. Enter Doug Austin. From then on BDM, who’s member include Scott Longton, William May, Steve Nelson, Becca Peters (and formerly Sam Coleman), became more than just another band, they too, became great friends. Friends with quite a list of accomplishments. Three more albums followed: Crossroads, produced by Kevin Sharpe of [Metro] 37 Studios in 2012, Unbroken in 2013, and Behind the Masquerade produced by Chuck Alkazian of Pearl Studios in 2014. Like Blackmail, BDM has had several positive reviews in local press and played local iconic clubs and festivals. They have also had their singles played on 89X, Detroit’s premier Alternative Rock station, and live at Detroit Red Wings game and on Red Wings TV spots.
Those are just the bands that Doug is a permanent member of. With a resume like that, and the friends and connections he’s made through out the area, he’s become the go-to guy when local bands/artists are in need of a drummer, for live performances or studio sessions. Some of the artist he's played with/ sat-in with are Amy Saari, Groove Kitchen, Matt Kysia, Reggie and the After Party, Rio and the Rock-a-Billy Revival, and Sweet Baby Ray and the Satellites.
In 2012, Doug took his passion for music behind the scenes. Always having been tech savvy and the type who wants to know the method to the madness, he decided it was time to come full circle and start producing and engineering the music as well. After testing it out on music of his own, and demo songs of his bands, Doug was approached by local Folk/Country artist Patrick O’Leary to record some tracks. O’Leary was so impressed with Doug’s work that he hired him to do an 11 track debut album titled Every Waking Hour, on which Doug not only produced/engineered, but also played drums, bass, and keys. So pleased was O’Leary, that employed Doug to do the same on his follow up ten track album Ridiculous Man, where again,
Doug also produced/engineered, played drums, bass, and keys. This had led to a lot of buzz among local up and coming artist. Doug currently has several production projects in the works.
Doug Austin is currently playing Soultone Cymbals and has been proudly endorsing them since December 2014. With the multiple styles of music Doug plays, Soultone is his brand of choice because they can keep up with whatever he throws their way. The warm, rich tones are adaptable to any situation for Doug, be it playing live or recording.
13” Vintage Hi Hats
16” Custom Brilliant RA crash
18” Custom Brilliant RA crash
20” Vintage Ride
10” Custom Brilliant Splash