Brian Viglione was introduced to the drums by his father on Christmas Day at age five with his interest quickly deepening at age nine when rock music became a primary focus and passion. A pivotal moment occurred in 1990 when Viglione's father brought him to see The Elvin Jones Jazz Machine and Viglione witnessed his first up-close exposure to the drummer who would become his principal inspiration on the instrument. "I spent every possible hour jamming with my friends up in our attic from the time I was in the fourth grade through when I graduated high school. You could hardly tear us all away from playing!" At sixteen years old, Viglione began playing gigs in clubs with bands around New England before moving from New Hampshire to Boston in 1999. There, he played with several Boston punk bands on both drums and bass guitar. "I knew it was 'now or never' when I moved from my small town to pursue my dream. Both of my parents understood how dedicated I was to making it come true and I was very lucky to have their encouragement through all of the craziness and uncertainty of those times." Viglione played bass for a year in a and was exposed to music that played a large and influential role in his playing. "I was listening to a lot of Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Black Flag, Swans, Miles Davis, Diamanda Galas, The Gun Club, Einstürzende Neubauten, Charles Mingus, and John Coltrane records. Very cathartic music that taught me a lot about the beauty of how to balance using space and aggression in music."
The Dresden Dolls
At a Halloween party in October 2000, Viglione first met Amanda Palmer, and together they formed The Dresden Dolls after their first time playing together. They are a Boston-based keyboard/drum duo.
In addition to playing drums, Viglione also plays guitar and bass on several Dresden Dolls songs including the first single, "Sing", from their 2006 album Yes, Virginia... and sings back-up vocals, most notably on their version of "Pierre" from The Dresden Dolls: Live in Paradise DVD.
After signing with Roadrunner Records in early 2004, the duo re-released their self-titled debut The Dresden Dolls to worldwide acclaim and made their Billboard chart debut with the equally applauded follow-up Yes, Virginia.... In addition, the duo's live audiences continued to grow around the planet as The Dresden Dolls completed sold-out tours on four continents, supported Nine Inch Nails, and performed at prestigious world festivals including Reading, Bonnaroo, Leeds, Coachella, Fuji Rock, Roskilde, Glastonbury, and Download. Locally, they won numerous awards ranging from multiple The Roundhouse in London. The concert DVD captures the band with their fan base, many of whom traveled from all over the US, Australia, and Europe to attend in concert at the peak of the band's most active period.
In January 2007, Viglione co-starred in the American Repertory Theater's production of The Onion Cellar, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The show was co-written by The Dresden Dolls, cast, and director, Marcus Stern, loosely based on a chapter from Günter Grass's book, The Tin Drum. The band's music was often used in unconventional ways to depict the drama and humor in a "call and response" method with the actors on stage, and Viglione was given a featured drum solo following one actor's moving scene recalling childhood abuse. The entire 40-show run sold out and the production garnered rave reviews.
In June 2007, as part of the Dresden Dolls, he toured with the True Colors Tour 2007, including his debut at Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall, and his first review in The New York Times.
In 2010, a brief reunion tour of The Dresden Dolls occurred. It started on Halloween in New York City and ended in San Francisco on New Year's Eve. The Dresden Dolls also toured Australia and New Zealand in January 2012, before going their separate ways again.
For years, Viglione has given drum lessons and collaborated with many other Boston musicians including the Gill Aharon Trio, Neovoxer Ensemble, and
Reverend Glasseye. He's also given a series of drum workshops at schools around New England.
Viglione played drums on Fighting Naked, the debut album from his childhood friend Holly Brewer's band, HUMANWINE released through Warner Music Group's Cordless Recordings. Through March and April 2007, he went on a US national tour to support this release. Shortly thereafter, he performed drums for the Nine Inch Nails album, Ghosts I-IV. "Collaborating with Trent on 'Ghosts' was a great experience and he really allowed it to be a truly creative atmosphere, in having me build a drum kit and allowing me to improvise my drum parts." Around that time, he also wrote, toured, and recorded with various artists including the likes of Jules Shear, Jesse Malin, Martin Bisi, as well as Franz Nicolay/Major General.
From May 2008 – October 2009, Viglione was the drummer for Brooklyn's punk-orchestra, The WORLD/INFERNO Friendship Society, touring 16 countries and recording a new studio album with The Dresden Dolls' production team of Sean Slade, Paul Q. Kolderie, Adam Taylor, and Benny Grotto at Mad Oak Studios in Allston, Massachusetts. He also performed in the band's theatrical production,
Addicted To Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre's 20th Century, in the US, Canada, Netherlands, and Finland. Viglione's final performance with the group was a sold-out performance at The Grand Ball Room, NYC, for the annual HALLOWMAS 2009 gala, where amidst a sea of balloons and video projections, hundreds of fans rushed the stage during the encore.
During this period, Viglione also was heavily involved with various side-projects and albums; First with New York singer, Emilyn Brodsky. Of playing with Emilyn, Viglione has been quoted as saying "Emilyn and I have been friends for a long time and when she asked me to produce and play on her album of ukulele songs I was thrilled and, surprisingly, wound up playing marimba on it as well." After that, he worked on Black Tape for a Blue Girl's album 10 Neurotics. Viglione recorded his parts for 12 of the 14 tracks (drums, bass & guitar) in December 2008 and January 2009, at B.C. Studio, owned by Martin Bisi, where the first Dresden Dolls album was recorded. He also co-produced the album. In both cases, Viglione performed multiple instruments and helped shape the arrangements and sonic direction of the albums.
On November 8, 2009 an official press release was issued, announcing that Viglione would be joining up with Toronto-based rock outfit, The Cliks for a small handful of shows around New England in the fall and winter of 2009. These shows consisted of Viglione on drums, founder Lucas Silveira on guitar and vocals, and bassist
In February and March 2010, Viglione toured throughout Europe with NYC based punk-cabaret band Botanica. He also played shows with Martin Bisi,
The Land of Dreams, and Black Tape for a Blue Girl.
Currently, Brian is working on two albums, both of which will presumably be released sometime in 2010; The first is with Franz Nicolay, and the other is with 18-year-old NYC folk singer, Anthony da Costa.
Since January 2009, when not on the road, Viglione has performed with a number of artists and musicians at Dances Of Vice,
a monthly Victorian and Jazz Age-themed cabaret in New York City. Past collaborators at
Dances of Vice have included
Nicki Jaine, Fern Knight, and
The Ragwater Review.
On January 29, 2011 he collaborated with pianist Viktoriya Yermolyeva on a live concert (VIGGIE & VIKA: Live in Iceland), where they performed heavy metal covers.
On July 15, 2013, it was announced that Brian joined Violent Femmes as their new drummer. Viglione later went on to record 2016’s “We Can Do Anything” with Violent Femmes. He left the band shortly after.
In 2014, 2015 and 2016 Brian Viglione collaborated with the German Wave Cabaret act Feline&Strange (female vocals, piano, cello, synths) on 3 records, LIES, TRUTHS, and OUT (motor entertainment).
In March 2015, Brian Viglione and his wife, Olya Viglione, formed Scarlet Sails - a band fronted by Olya (vocals, piano) with Brian (drums), Nick Emde (guitar) and Jesse Krakow (bass). Scarlet Sails released their self-titled debut EP on January 19, 2016.