Professional drummer and percussionist, Demian Arriaga, has played in front of full stadiums—shaking tambourines and slapping congas. Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, he graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2004. And, ever since, he’s worked with some of the biggest names in the industry, including the Jonas Brothers, Iggy Azalea, and many others.
Arriaga has also performed at The Grammys, on Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show, Ellen, at the iHeart Radio Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, American Music Awards, and probably every other major show on earth. He’s truly an accomplished artist and performer. He also has a great smile.
We caught up with Arriaga to ask him specifically about his role with the Jonas Brothers. More specifically, which are his Top 10 favorite songs to play with the fellas. So without further ado, we give you Arriaga’s Top 10 favorite Jonas Brothers songs to play live.
10. “Much Better”
“This song is special to me because right after I took the gig, it’s one of the songs I loved the most. Little did I know that we would only play it once or twice. Definitely a fan favorite.”
9. “Feelin’ Alive”
“The very first song I ever rehearsed with the band and the epic show opener for the Camp Rock 2 Tour. What a great song to start a show with!”
“Also another song that means so much to so many people that we rarely play. I ‘only’ play tambourine and what I mean is that it’s not as involved as other songs but I love that because it allows me to just look at the crowd and enjoy the moment more than if I had a super complex part.”
7. “Burnin’ Up”
“By far the most involved song percussion wise of the entire discography. Love playing straight-up Afro-Cuban patterns over this rock song. Congas, timbales, bongos—it has it all! Moreover, there’s always pyro on this song so I always feel like Lars Ulrich or Tommy Lee.”
“This is actually the toughest song for me to play. Aside from the song being incredible and a fan favorite, but there are a couple of spots where percussion is very present and it has a swing feel. I love being exposed so to speak, and having that rhythmic responsibility.”
“What can I say about this song? It’s a hit and a once is an artist’s lifetime type of song. Been lucky enough to perform it at SNL which was a life goal for me. Also, it’s always the show closer so it allows me to enjoy what just happened, look at the crowd and see the brothers embrace the love they’re given.”
4. “Just Friends”
“Another one of those tunes that we rarely play and one in which my performance is in the subdued side of things but fans love it so, so, so much that it’s impossible not to add it this high up on the list.”
3. “Gotta Find You”
“Ironically most of the time we play this song I don’t play a thing, and it’s just the brothers singing and playing guitar. The reason why I love it so much is that it’s the song that most people sing the loudest during the whole set. It’s insane how loud people get.”
2. “Fly With Me”
“This is such a fun song to play. Lots of cymbal swells, floor toms, shakers, and tambourines. Less of an Afro-Cuban performance and much more of a sprinkle-on-top type of situation. Furthermore, this was the first music video I watched before I agreed to take the gig and said video convinced me that I had to say yes.”
1. “Hold On”
“In my humble opinion, this is the song that epitomizes what Jonas fans are all about. I always say that it’s a privilege to be a tiny part of something that means so much to so many people and whenever we play this song it’s for me the song that connects the most. People cry they jump, they hold their hearts—it’s a unique experience to witness all that from the stage. Also, I would be good money that lyrically it’s the song that means the most to most fans AND the one that has inspired the most tattoos.”