Kelly Ireland is our 2nd in command, the Chief Operations Officer of Drumming up Hope. He hails from Grand Junction, CO but lives in Loveland, CO with his lovely wife and our Chief Financial Officer, Vickie Heaton-Ireland. He has been playing drums professionally for nearly 42 years. He was 4 years old when he pulled his mom's pots and pans out and started beating on them with knives. It was an innate thing for him. Mom bought him a drum kit for his 5th birthday and it was ON! By his 6th birthday a babysitter had given him Sgt. Pepper, so his primary influence was Ringo Starr. Other musical influences have been Buddy Rich, Chick Webb, Vinnie Calaiuta, Neil Peart. He has played in many bands, including the Country Rockers (he was 12), Rein Driver, the Trashhawks, Out-a-lyn, Legacy, the Top Hands, the original bands Yield & Voltage to Violets, Machine Gun Kitty, Snake Alley Driver, Eclectic, and the Santa Fe Band. He is currently playing in 4 bands: the Midnight Growlers Band, the BarHoppers, Buzz Brothers Band, and the Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band, "Street Survyvors."
Kelly is a firm believer in authentic and passionate playing. His band mates can always count on him to play the music as it was written, and with passion... he says that, "everyone makes mistakes but you can't fake passion. Stick twirls and flashy fills serve their purpose, but there is not higher purpose than for the drummer to groove & make the people feel good."
Kelly built a Neil Peart replica kit last year and he currently plays it, and various versions thereof, in the Midnight Growlers Band. Drums consist mainly of 92 Slingerlands and a few others. Hardware and stands are a mish-mosh of Ludwig, Slingerland, and Yamaha. Cymbals are a combination of Sabian and Zildjian. Pedals are DW 5000's. Heads are Evans hydrolic reds, sticks are Vic Firth 7a.
Kelly has a considerable amount of formal education through Jr. High, High School and College. He took lessons extensively from Denver area drummer Gary LaFrancois.