Born into a musical family in Schenectady, New York, Gregg August was drawn to the drums at an early age, but was persuaded by his father to first learn the piano. His aunt, noted jazz pianist, Peg Delaney was his first teacher. Her husband Bill played upright bass and Gregg's father, Ed, also played the piano professionally. The very first jam sessions August ever experienced were at family functions. When he was ten, Gregg was finally allowed to study drums. He then picked up the electric bass in high school because the school band was lacking a bass player.
At SUNY Albany, August studied percussion with Richard Albagli, while also beginning the double bass