Private party DJ Ravi Drums was playing his usual lit-up electronic drum show for a corporate outing in Las Vegas – the Hewlett Packard people – when his chance at prime-time stardom came knocking.
“I thought I was opening for some CEO dude or something,” says Drums, 30, who is from Tustin. “Turns out I was opening for Howie Mandel. Later, he stops by and says I’d be perfect for a new show he’s putting together.”
That was five months ago. The one-hour show – “Howie Do It” – is set to air on NBC-TV every Friday at 8 p.m., starting Jan. 9. Drums says they’ve done six shows, and the network has already signed them for six more.
“I’m the Paul Shaffer,” he says, referring to David Letterman’s musical sidekick.
Drums, born Ravi Jakhotia, has been a percussionist since he was a youngster in New York. He incorporates his Indian heritage into much of his music. After playing in numerous bands, he finally struck out on his own as a live DJ, and his career took off.
He’s made a name working with major stars – Ricky Martin, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul (for the Super Bowl), and the Black Eyed Peas, among others. He met his wife, Jerusha, while playing a gig at the Playboy Mansion. But he says the prime-time gig with Mandel is the best career break he’s had.
“I’ve learned a lot from Howie,” Drums says. “He has an amazing work ethic. He really works hard at what he does. He’s inspiring.”
After taking his wife and their 3-year-old son, Soren, to New York City for the holidays, Drums will be back to Windsor, Canada (Mandel is Canadian), where “Howie Do It” is taped live before a studio audience at Caesar’s Windsor.
Says Drums: “I am over-the-moon excited.”
Who: Ravi Drums, 30
Occupation: Live DJ/music host
Biggest moment prior to “Howie Do It”: “The Super Bowl. Just being there was amazing.”
About Howie Mandel’s show: “Howie’s crowd interaction is legendary. This show goes the whole distance; it’s hilarious.”
Why Drums and his wife moved to Tustin from Beverly Hills: “We wanted a place with a family atmosphere for our son.”