Nelson Bragg

Nelson Bragg
Nelson Bragg
Birth name Nelson Bragg
Born August 14, 1961
Origin Dover, New Hampshire,
United States
Genres Drumming
Occupations Musician, drummer, songwriter
Instruments drums
Years active present
Website [1]

Nelson Bragg (born in Dover, New Hampshire, August 14, 1961) is a drummer-percussionist-vocalist from Rockport, Massachusetts.


Early years

Nelson Bragg played in several bands from 1979 to 1999 including positions as a pit drummer for over 20 stage musicals. (Emerson College theater in Boston, New London Barn Playhouse, New London, NH among others) His bands include the horn-driven/post-punk dance band Big Noise (1981–1987, Woodstock, New York) and Farmhouse (1989–1992), a harmony-based folk-rock group based in Northampton, Mass. Bragg moved to Los Angeles in 1999.


In 2000, Bragg finally found a successful path joining several L.A. pop bands that include The Now People, The Quarter After, Twenty Cent Crush and Cloud Eleven. In 2001, he joined Stew for his Naked Dutch Painter CD and played subsequent shows and residencies promoting it. That CD was Entertainment Weekly's "Album of the Year" for 2002. He also played with The Negro Problem, Stew's former band and alter ego. In 2003, Nelson got the call to join Brian Wilson's band as percussionist-vocalist to perform Wilson's unreleased album Smile. That February 2004 premiere in London and tour was followed by a formal recording of Smile, released in September 2004, winning a Grammy award, in the "Best instrumental" category ("Mrs. O'Leary's Cow" featuring Bragg on virtually all of the whistles and sound effects at the top of the piece.) In 2005, the Smile two-DVD set was released featuring a full-length documentary of Brian Wilson's Smile story and the making of it both in 1966-67 and newly in 2004. That documentary aired on Showtime in October 2004 and was directed by Beach Boys and pop authority David Leaf. A live concert performance of Smile is featured on the second disc.


Nelson Bragg has continued on for many tours worldwide including Smile performances (12 nights at London's Royal Festival Hall) and two nights at Carnegie Hall (broadcast on NPR radio, nationally on Thanksgiving Day 2004), two nights at The Sydney Opera House, The Hollywood Bowl 3 nights w/The L.A. Phil - 2008, Royal Albert Hall, The Montreaux Jazz Festival, The New Orleans Jazz Festival, The Newport Folk Fest, Brandenburgh Gate - Berlin for the worldwide Live 8 benefit and at The 2005 Glastonbury Festival in the UK, setting attendance records. Bragg has also performed with the band on several television appearances including Late Night With Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien. Recordings include Brian Wilson's Christmas album All I really Want For Christmas released in 2005 and "That Lucky Old Sun" released in 2008. In 2006-2007, the band performed the Pet Sounds album in the U.S. and Europe, celebrating its 40th anniversary. Beach Boy Al Jardine joined the band for the U.S. leg of those concerts. That Lucky Old Sun garnered many exhilarating concert reviews in 2008[citation needed] and will continue to be performed in 2009.[dated info]


In 2003, prior to his position with The Brian Wilson Band, Bragg started recording a solo album which was completed and released on Side B Music in 2007. Day Into Night was reviewed very favorably[citation needed] and continues to garner college and Internet airplay worldwide. It has Nick Walusko, fellow Brian Wilson band-mate and Wondermint, Mike Randle, guitarist with Baby Lemonade and longtime member of Arthur Lee and Love, Morley Bartnoff, keyboardist with Burning Sensations and currently with Dramarama, Rob Campanella, organist-guitarist with The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Quarter After, Probyn Gregory, fellow Brian Wilson band-mate and Wondermint, Severo Jornacion, bassist with The Smithereens and Debbie Shair, keyboardist with Heart. It also features The Stockholm String Ensemble on seven of its twelve tracks. Bragg performed all acoustic guitars, vocals, drums and percussion among other instruments on the record. The record is influenced by CSNY, George Harrison, The Byrds, The dB's, and Canada's The Grapes Of Wrath, and was produced by L.A. pop-garage producer Steve Refling.

Other projects

Nelson has been involved with many bands including drumming live and recording CDs with the aforementioned Now People, the Quarter After, Cloud Eleven and with The Mello Cads, Keven Kane (The Grapes Of Wrath), Andrew Sandoval and most notably The Mockers. Bragg has garnered three tours of Spain with The Mockers in 2002, 2005 and 2007. A documentary about The Mockers and the American dream is in the works[when?] with a 2008 release in mind. 2008 brought Nelson back to Carnegie Hall as the house percussionist for Sting and Trudy's annual rain forest benefit. Performers included Sting, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Brian Wilson and John Sebastian. The house band included Narada Michael Walden, Larry Carlton, Will Lee, and Hiram Bullock.


Bragg is the drummer-percussionist and harmony vocalist on several dozen records, but his most well known recording other than Smile came in 2006 on the In My Room CD tribute to Brian Wilson included with Mojo magazine's January 2007 issue. Nelson sang lead and drummed on The Mockers Beatlesque version of "God Only Knows". That recording was the largest exposure of Bragg's lead vocal to date with a pressing of over 200,000 copies worldwide. At this writing, (Spring 2007) Nelson Bragg will embark on a 30-date tour of Europe and the U.S. with Brian Wilson and Al Jardine from The Beach Boys. The tour includes a premiere in London of Wilson's new work "That Lucky Old Sun". That Lucky Old Sun the CD and DVD will be released on Capital Records September 1, 2008 in the UK and September 2, 2008 in the US. "That Lucky Old Sun" Tour starts September 4. A follow-up to "Day Into Night" is planned to start 2008 as well.[dated info]


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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