When you think of Bon Jovi, blazing guitar solos and powerful vocals might come to mind.
But behind every great rock anthem is a rhythm that keeps the heart of the song alive. Enter Tico Torres, the Bon Jovi drummer who’s been laying down those beats since the band’s inception.
Hector Juan Samuel “Tico” Torres is a musical powerhouse. With his Puerto Rican roots and a passion for art that extends beyond the drum kit, Tico has been an integral part of Bon Jovi’s journey.
He provided the rhythmic backbone to some of the most iconic rock songs of our time. Let’s rock on and discover more about Tico Torres and his indelible mark on the world of rock ‘n’ roll.
Tico Torres: Bon Jovi Drummer
Hector Juan Samuel “Tico” Torres was born on October 7, 1953, in New York City. Growing up in a vibrant environment, his childhood was filled with the sounds of the city and the rhythms of his Puerto Rican heritage.
By the age of 5, Tico had already shown a keen interest in drumming. It wasn’t long before he got his hands on his first drum kit, a gift that would set the course for his future. With every beat, he honed his skills, and by the age of 10, he was playing in front of small crowds at local events.
His education, while not entirely focused on music, played a role in shaping his discipline and dedication. But it was clear that the drumming world was where Tico belonged. His first significant gig came when he was just 14, performing at a local club and making his mark in the drumming world.
Tico’s journey from local gigs to the world stage wasn’t an overnight success. He played for several bands, refining his skills and understanding the nuances of different music genres. However, it was his dedication and unique drumming style that caught the attention of many in the industry.
In the late 1970s, Tico played for bands like Franke and the Knockouts. His talent was undeniable, and his reputation as a reliable and skilled drummer grew. It was during this time that he crossed paths with a young musician named Jon Bon Jovi.
Their chemistry was instant. In 1983, when Jon was forming his band, he knew he needed a drummer who could match his energy and passion. Tico Torres was the obvious choice. Joining Bon Jovi, Tico became an integral part of the band’s sound, providing the rhythmic foundation for hits like “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “You Give Love a Bad Name.”
With Bon Jovi, Tico’s career skyrocketed. From sold-out tours to platinum albums, he was living the rockstar dream. Through it all, his drumming remained the consistent heartbeat of the band, driving their sound and ensuring their place in rock ‘n’ roll history.
“Livin’ on a Prayer” at Wembley Stadium, 1995
One of Bon Jovi’s most iconic songs, Tico’s drumming was front and center. Performed in front of a packed Wembley Stadium, the energy was palpable, and Tico’s beats resonated with every fan present.
“Wanted Dead or Alive” at MTV Video Music Awards, 1989
This acoustic rendition of the song showcased a different side of the band. Tico’s drumming, though subtle, added depth to the performance, making it one of the most memorable moments in VMA history.
Solo Performance at “Modern Drummer Festival,” 1998
Tico took the stage, showcasing his prowess and versatility as a drummer. Held in New Jersey, this performance was a testament to his skills outside the realm of Bon Jovi.
Franke and the Knockouts
Before joining Bon Jovi, Tico was the drummer for this band. Their hit “Sweetheart” in the early ’80s showcased Tico’s impeccable timing and rhythm.
Tico and Richie, Bon Jovi’s lead guitarist, have shared a deep musical connection. Outside of the band, they’ve jammed together, creating some memorable tracks. Their synergy is evident in songs like “Stranger in This Town.”
Hector “El Father”
Tico’s Puerto Rican roots led him to collaborate with reggaeton artist Hector “El Father.” Their fusion of rock and reggaeton rhythms was a testament to Tico’s versatility as a drummer.
Awards & Accolades
- 2007: Bon Jovi was nominated for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for the song “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.”
- 2001: Nominated for Best Rock Album for “Crush.”
- 1991: Nominated for Best Music Video, Long Form for “New Jersey: The Videos.”
MTV Video Music Awards
- 1989: Bon Jovi won the Best Stage Performance Video for “Livin’ on a Prayer.”
- 1987: Nominated for Best Group Video for “Wanted Dead Or Alive.”
- 1987: Nominated for Best Stage Performance Video for “You Give Love A Bad Name.”
With Bon Jovi
- Bon Jovi (1984)
- 7800° Fahrenheit (1985)
- Slippery When Wet (1986)
- New Jersey (1988)
- Keep the Faith (1992)
- These Days (1995)
- Crush (2000)
- Bounce (2002)
- Have a Nice Day (2005)
- Lost Highway (2007)
- The Circle (2009)
- What About Now (2013)
- Burning Bridges (2015)
- This House Is Not for Sale (2016)
- 2020 (2020)
- Hard & Hot (1991)
- Cross Road (1994)
- Tokyo Road: Best of Bon Jovi (2001)
- This Left Feels Right (2003)
- Greatest Hits (2010)
- One Wild Night Live 1985-2001 (2001)
- Inside Out (2012)
- This House Is Not for Sale – Live from the London Palladium (2016)
- 100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong (2004)
- Notable track: “Only in My Dreams” (featuring Tico Torres on vocals; Unreleased demo, 1994)
With Richie Sambora
- Stranger in This Town (1991)
With T. Roth and Another Pretty Face
- Face Facts (1980)
Bon Jovi Drummer – Tico Torres Drum Kit
DW Collector Series: All Cherry Shells with Dark Chrome Hardware
- Bass: 22×18 (2x) with Powerstroke 3 CTD
- Snare: 5.5×14 with Emperor X
- Toms: 12×9 with Emperor CTD & 13×10 with Emperor CTD
- Floor Toms: 16×16 with Emperor CTD & 18×16 with Emperor CTD
- Chrome Starfires
Hardware and Pedals:
- DW 9000
Growing up, Tico Torres was deeply influenced by the rhythms of Latin music, a nod to his Puerto Rican heritage. Jazz legends like Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa played a significant role in shaping his early drumming aspirations.
Rock ‘n’ roll greats such as John Bonham of Led Zeppelin and Keith Moon of The Who also left an indelible mark on his musical psyche. These icons not only inspired Tico’s drumming techniques but also instilled in him a passion for performance and stage presence.
Tico’s drumming style is a fusion of raw rock energy and intricate Latin rhythms. His ability to seamlessly blend these two worlds sets him apart from many of his contemporaries.
While many rock drummers focus on power and volume, Tico adds a layer of finesse and subtlety to his beats. His fills are not just about showcasing technical prowess; they serve the song, enhancing its emotional resonance.
What truly differentiates Tico from other drummers is his impeccable timing. In tracks like “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “You Give Love A Bad Name,” his drumming provides a solid foundation, allowing other instruments to shine while driving the song’s momentum.
His versatility, from ballads to rock anthems, showcases a drummer who understands the essence of each track and tailors his beats to elevate the overall musical experience.
Tico Torres experienced significant personal and health events throughout his life. After the inception of Bon Jovi in 1983, his first marriage came to an end. In 1996, he tied the knot with Czech model Eva Herzigová in Sea Bright, New Jersey.
This intimate ceremony saw Bon Jovi members in attendance, who performed their hit “Always” for the couple’s dance.
However, by 1998, Torres and Herzigová had parted ways. In 2001, Torres married Maria Alejandra, marking his third marital journey. This union, which ended in 2008, blessed them with a son, Hector Alexander, born in 2004.
On the health front, during Bon Jovi’s “What About Now” tour in Mexico, in 2013, Torres faced a medical emergency. On September 10, he was hospitalized due to acute abdominal pain from appendicitis.
A mere twelve days later, he underwent emergency gallbladder surgery. Rich Scanella stepped in for Torres until he made his comeback on October 8, 2013, in Fresno, CA.
Outside of music, Torres is passionate about golf. He’s a regular at the Alfred Dunhill Links Pro-Am in St. Andrews, UK. Often, he’s seen sharing the green with his close friend and fellow musician, Huey Lewis.
How long has Tico Torres been the drummer for Bon Jovi?
Tico Torres has been the drummer for Bon Jovi since the band’s inception in 1983. He’s been a consistent member, providing the rhythmic foundation for the band’s iconic songs for over three decades.
What health issues did Tico Torres face during the “What About Now” tour?
During the “What About Now” tour in 2013, Tico Torres experienced severe abdominal pain and was diagnosed with appendicitis. He was hospitalized in Mexico on September 10. Later, on September 22, he underwent emergency gallbladder surgery. He returned to the tour on October 8, 2013.
Has Tico Torres released any solo music or participated in other musical projects outside of Bon Jovi?
While Tico Torres is best known for his work with Bon Jovi, he has collaborated with other artists and bands over the years. Before Bon Jovi, he played for bands like Franke and the Knockouts. Additionally, he has showcased his vocal talents, notably in the track “Only in My Dreams” featured in the Bon Jovi box set “100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can’t Be Wrong.”