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Thursday, December 6, 2012

My Favorite Drummers

I had to, especially after I did the guitarist one. This immediately popped into my head. The drums are one of the most meticulous instruments in the world. To me personally, the smallest details define a drummer and his personality. From how loud they play, to what cymbals they use, to how they swing their playing styles, each of they traits are important and help make someone a better drummer. Over the the course of my life, the following 10 drummers have greatly influenced me and my approach to music in general. I am obviously so thankful for these guys and without them, I probably wouldn't be as appreciative of music as I am now.

10. Dominic Howard - Muse


Dom Howard, along with his bandmates in Muse, is a showman at heart. First of all, he is a lefty and maybe one of the coolest lefty drummers to have ever played. Second of all, he has without a doubt one of the most gorgeous custom drum kits ever. He plays a DW kit with awesome Zildjian Cymbals all around. The main thing that defines Dom Howard's drumming style is his ability to turn a simple rock beat into one that will make people dance. He does this usually by maintaining steady eighth notes on his hi hats foot or opening up the hi hat on un-even beats. This powerful yet accented style makes Muse a combination of rock music and electronic music all because of the style of the drummer. Besides this, Dom is an awesome guy and he obviously loves what he does.

9. Travis Barker - blink-182


Easily the most influential drummer in modern drumming today. Travis Barker's unique tattooed look, dynamically energetic playing style, and pounding work ethic have all made him one of the most successful drummers to date. A LOT of hardcore drummers hate this man because they don't think he possesses the talent and technical skills of people like John Bonham or Neil Peart, but to me that it is both a showing of jealousy and ignorance. You can't compare Barker to guys like Bonham or Peart because Barker simply has a different style of drumming. And plus, even if he isn't as good, the fact that he is so successful and down to earth should be enough. Barker's playing style is just like his look. Different. Travis Barker will throw the most creative little quirks into beats and fills just because he can. Even if these grooves come off as overplaying or unnecessary, they are just a part of Travis Barker's style. Which is why he is so perfect for blink-182 and why he is one of my favorite drummers no matter what anyone says.

8. Darren King - Mutemath


Probably the least recognized drummer on this list, Darren King is a definite favorite of mine because he is so high-energy and so unique. First of all, the band Mutemath is incredible and everyone should check them out whenever they can. The band is a breath of fresh air with their slightly electronic, synth based songs. Darren King is no exception to this. He comes up with great drum parts to the songs of Mutemath, but the real magic is live. In the videos I have seen of Mutemath live, Darren King looks like an absolute savage with his incredibly basic drum kit (which often breaks every show) and his headphones taped completely around his head. When he plays live, he moves around so often and feels the beat. The most incredible thing is that even around this chaos, he is perfectly under control rhythm-wise. Check out the live videos for the song "Blood Pressure" and you will be exactly aware of what I mean.

7.  Tony Royster Jr. - Jay-Z


A true child prodigy of percussion, Tony Royster Jr. is blessed with some of the most extraordinary talents a drummer could possibly possess. His style is so unique and his repertoire is valuable that there is no way any drummer could not like his playing. Royster Jr. wears his gospel drumming influences on his sleeve when tearing it up for rapper Jay-Z live in concert. I discovered him by watching videos on youtube. Some of his breakbeats are so natural, effortless, and well-timed that I know I can never be as good as him. However, this only encourages me to keep playing that I might try. In my mind, Tony Royster Jr. is the most talented drummer alive today. He is so young and so energetic that I can't help but be inspired by him.

6. Keith Moon - The Who


One of the most iconic faces in rock and roll. Keith Moon's various facial expressions are only rivaled by those of Taylor Hawkins as the strangest ever for a drummer. Moon's enthusiasm behind the kit was his signature, and it was what made Keith Moon one of the greatest rock drummers of all time. The drumming style of Keith Moon was CHAOTIC. Live, Keith Moon constantly smashed his gear after shows, but he also smashed crazy fills with heavy rock beats. Under all of this, he was a very tight drummer and took pride in that among all else. It's safe to say that Keith Moon is one of the most influential drummers as he did set an image as one of the first hard-hitting drummers. This led the way for guys like Tre Cool, Taylor Hawkins and many other gifted drummers today.

5. Chad Smith - Red Hot Chili Peppers


Easily one of the most underrated drummers of all time, if not the most. As a long time member of one the most iconic groups in music history, Chad Smith has cemented his legacy as the crazy character of the Red Hot Chili Peppers who is rock solid behind the kit, with a VERY funky influence. When I think funky drummer, I think of this man. First of all he is so authoritative and so energetic, and second of all he has such infectious swing in his style. Chad Smith also happens to be one of the nicest men in the industry. His loud personality is combated with his love for music and his passion for jamming live, which is what he excels at the most.

4. Taylor Hawkins - Foo Fighters

What a drummer. Seriously. As the long time drummer for the most successful rock band today, Taylor Hawkins has helped propel Foo Fighters to stardom with his infectious energy on stage, his brilliant use of technique, and also his ability to work in the styles of his idols like Stewart Copeland or Roger Taylor. When I saw Taylor play live, he absolutely killed the fucking drum kit. First of all it looks like he is grinning from ear to ear while he thumps around all of these brilliant rhythmic patterns ON THE SPOT. Second of all, he can sing (and very well also). Taylor sings one song with the Foo Fighters called "Cold Day in the Sun" but he also has his own side project called Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders in which he both sings and drums. Taylor is incredibly talented and as Dave Grohl has often said, he is one of the best rock drummers around today. I agree, good luck finding someone with the same energy that Taylor displays

3. Neil Peart - Rush


This one is almost self-explanatory. Neil Peart is the greatest technical drummer of all time. Plain and simple. Ability wise, endurance wise, and accuracy wise, he cannot be matched by anyone. Aside from having without a doubt the coolest drum-kit of all time, Peart also plays some of the hardest drumming songs of all time like "YYZ", "Tom Sawyer", and "The Spirit of Radio" with the Progressive Rock legends, Rush. The most fascinating quality about Peart is his intelligence. Neil Peart is a lyricist for Rush and he also has published many books as he has taken a fascination in reading and travel. This makes him one of the smartest musicians of all time. Musically, Neil Peart is as intelligent as any guitarist, vocalist, or other musician to have ever lived. It is an absolute insult to write him off as a "drummer" because he knows as much about piecing together songs and writing them as anyone else. The way I view it, Neil Peart is one of the greatest the greatest musicians of all time who also just happens to be one of the greatest drummers of all time.

2. Dave Grohl - Nirvana / Them Crooked Vultures


Apart from being the coolest musician of all time in my mind, Dave Grohl is a very awesome drummer. Everyone knows that he is the frontman of Foo Fighters but hopefully everyone is also aware of his signature thrashing style in Nirvana. Grohl is a drummer at heart. Even when he plays guitar, he has confessed to playing it like a drumset very rhythmically. Based on his actions, it's also clear he loves to play the drums more than anything else. This was proven when he just couldn't stay away after joining Them Crooked Vultures in 2009. Grohl is one of my favorite drummers because even though he has unbelievable chops (believe me, I have seen), he doesn't choose to whip them out whenever he can. He plays the drums perfectly to the song that he is given. This lack of overplaying makes the song better which was definitely the case with Nirvana. Also, anyone who hates this guy needs to get a reality check. Easily one of the nicest guys in rock music history. Dave Grohl will go down as the legendary musician of our generation and all of this started behind the kit with Nirvana.

1. John Bonham - Led Zeppelin


Before I get started about this man, one thing must be said. JOHN BONHAM IS THE GREATEST DRUMMER OF ALL TIME. End of story. Period. There isn't a person in the history of the entire human species that embodied a rock drummer the way this man did. Despite what many would choose to believe, Bonham had a WIDE array of influences that help mold his unique playing style with Zeppelin. Bonham came from a jazz background which gave him the swing that made Led Zeppelin such a bluesy- hard rock band. The most impressive thing this man ever did to me was the bass drum rolls in the song "Good Times Bad Times". That's incredible and if anyone emulates it, they can never make it sound as clean as Bonham did on a SINGLE BASS PEDAL. Obviously the song "Moby Dick" is an obvious display of the typical Bonham style. A swung yet authoritative drum pattern with bombastic fills all throughout like the patented Bonham triplets. This man is a legend and when Robert Plant said that Led Zeppelin died with him in 1980, he was definitely right. No one can replace this man's authenticity, love for music, and hard work.