Drums and Drummers


Introduction: Though it is thought by many that the drums are an uncommon instrument, all evidence shows the opposite. The drum is the oldest man-made instrument. The instrument available to all is the vox humana or, ‘the human voice’.



Drum carried by John Unger, Company B, 40th Regiment New York Veteran Volunteer Infantry Mozart Regiment, December 20, 1863t
Drum carried by John Unger, Company B, 40th Regiment New York Veteran Volunteer Infantry Mozart Regiment, December 20, 1863.

The first recognizable ancestors of the modern drum kit were born in the Vaudeville era (shows during the 1880s’ and after), monetary and theater space considerations demanded that fewer percussionists covered more percussion parts. In military and orchestral music settings, drums and cymbals were traditionally played separately by one or many percussion instruments played by percussionists. The bass drum, snare drum, cymbals, and other were all played using hand-held drum sticks. Circa 1890, experimentation with foot pedals began. Many patented their systems such as Dee Dee Chandler of New Orleans 1904-05. Liberating the hands for the first time, this evolution saw the bass drum played with the foot of a standing percussionist (thus the term “kick drum”) and became the central piece around which every other percussion instruments would later revolve. Ludwig Mussier, William F. Ludwig, Sr., and his brother, Theodor Ludwig, founded the Ludwig & Ludwig Co. in 1909 and patented the first workable bass drum pedal system, paving the way for what was to become the modern drum kit.


The arrival of the modern drum kit and its repercussions:


While they were in peace
While they were in peace


Mark Parisi cartoons from http://www.offthemark.com

Clement Adler demonstrated the first two-channel audio system in Paris in 1881. In the 1930s, Alan Blumlein at EMI patented stereo records, stereo films, and also surround sound. BUT THIS INVENTION SAW THAT  MUSIC AND DRUMS GAINED A MORE WIDESPREAD AUDIENCE…..


Drummer in a Memphis "juke joint" orchestra playing a kit with four non-tunable toms. Marion Post Wolcott, October 1939
Drummer in a Memphis “juke joint” orchestra playing a kit with four non-tunable toms. Marion Post Wolcott, October 1939

Now, I would love to get into the legendary classic rock drummers from rock and roll history, and our favourite drum kit manufacturers, but for now………..Let’s move on to the JAZZ HALL OF FAME DRUMMERS……with names such as: Max Roach, Steve Smith, Tony Williams, Steve Smith, Elvin James, Joe Morello, Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich…..and famous female jazz drummers Cindy Blackman, Teri Lyne Carrington. Copyright © 2013 https://drumstutor.wordpress.com

Max Roach
Max Roach
We Insist! (subtitled Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite) is a jazz album released on Candid Records in 1960. It contains a suite which composer and drummer Max Roach and lyricist Oscar Brown had begun to develop in 1959, with a view to its performance in 1963 on the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation.
We Insist! (subtitled Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite) is a jazz album released on Candid Records in 1960. It contains a suite which composer and drummer Max Roach and lyricist Oscar Brown had begun to develop in 1959, with a view to its performance in 1963 on the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Tony Williams
Tony Williams

Drumset history


Downbeat Magazine a guide to jazz
Downbeat Magazine a guide to jazz
Elvin Jones worked with John Coltrane, Charlie Mingus and Miles Davis, and became one of the most significant drummers of the post-bop era. It's a funny old game. In this tough group and against some true giants of the drumset, even playing on John Coltrane's A Love Supreme isn't enough to get you the votes.
Elvin Jones worked with John Coltrane, Charlie Mingus and Miles Davis, and became one of the most significant drummers of the post-bop era.
It’s a funny old game. In this tough group and against some true giants of the drumset, even playing on John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme isn’t enough to get you the votes.
From massive stadium beats with Journey to his renaissance as one of the most exciting and brilliant jazz drummers playing today, Steve Smith continues to evolve as a player.
From massive stadium beats with Journey to his renaissance as one of the most exciting and brilliant jazz drummers playing today, Steve Smith continues to evolve as a player.


The man behind the solo in classic odd-time jazz hit 'Take Five' has influenced generations of drummers from jazz to rock both as a musician and a gifted drum educator. With the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Joe wasn't going to settle for being the guy at the back without even a spotlight, and his insistence on being a true part of the quartet via his brilliant solos paved the way for the drummer as an equal participant in musical combos since.
The man behind the solo in classic odd-time jazz hit ‘Take Five’ has influenced generations of drummers from jazz to rock both as a musician and a gifted drum educator.
With the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Joe wasn’t going to settle for being the guy at the back without even a spotlight, and his insistence on being a true part of the quartet via his brilliant solos paved the way for the drummer as an equal participant in musical combos since.
Joe Morello
Joe Morello
The legendary Big Band drummer was one of the first high-profile drummers, with his movie-star looks, incredible stage presence and time spent in chokey. Krupa's tribal style playing with the Benny Goodman band set the template for showman drummers ever since.
The legendary Big Band drummer was one of the first high-profile drummers, with his movie-star looks, incredible stage presence and time spent in chokey.
Krupa’s tribal style playing with the Benny Goodman band set the template for showman drummers ever since.
1909-1973With a two floor-toms setupWith a two floor-toms setup
In the end, there was only going to be one winner here. The mighty Buddy Rich proves once again that he's the most enduringly popular jazz and big band drummer of all time, even a quarter-century since his passing. He's no stranger to topping polls of course, but the man who made jazz and big band appealing to generations of rock fans in the '60s and '70s – and has remained massively influential since.
In the end, there was only going to be one winner here. The mighty Buddy Rich proves once again that he’s the most enduringly popular jazz and big band drummer of all time, even a quarter-century since his passing.
He’s no stranger to topping polls of course, but the man who made jazz and big band appealing to generations of rock fans in the ’60s and ’70s – and has remained massively influential since.
Buddy Rich 60s-70s
Buddy Rich 1960s
Buddy Rich 1960s
Jazz/rock fusion drummer who's worked with Miles Davis and the Mahavishnu Orchestra and on his own Spectrum album.
Jazz/rock fusion drummer who’s worked with Miles Davis and the Mahavishnu Orchestra and on his own Spectrum album.
Billy Cobham 1980s
Billy Cobham 1980s
Birth nameCindy Blackman Also known asCindy Blackman-Santana Born November 18, 1959 (age 53) Yellow Springs, Ohio United States GenresJazz fusion, Rock 'n' roll OccupationsMusician InstrumentsDrums, percussion LabelsMuse, Sacred Sounds Associated actsSantana, Lenny Kravitz
Cindy Blackman
Also known as Cindy Blackman-Santana
Born November 18, 1959 (age 53)
Yellow Springs, Ohio
United States
Genres Jazz fusion, Rock ‘n’ roll
Occupations Musician
Instruments Drums, percussion
Labels Muse, Sacred Sounds
Associated acts Santana, Lenny Kravits


HAL BLAINE            

image Hal Blaine record Drums! Drums! a go go 1966. Hal Blaine, born Harold Simon Belsky, 5 February 1929, from Holyoke, Massachusetts is an American drummer and session musician. He is most known for his work with the Wrecking Crew in California. Blaine played on numerous hits by popular groups, including Nancy Sinatra, Elvis Presley, John Denver, the Ronettes, Simon & Garfunkel, the Carpenters, the Beach Boys, and the 5th Dimension. He has played on 50 number one hits, over 150 top ten hits and has recorded, by his own admission, on over 35,000 pieces of music over four decades of work. Blaine is a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum and the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame. He is widely regarded as one of the most prolific drummers in recording music history.                 

Copyright © 2013 https://drumstutor.wordpress.com                                       

Michael Miller is a best-selling and prolific writer, with more than 100 non-fiction books published over the past two decades. He’s known for his casual, easy-to-read writing style and ability to explain a wide variety of complex topics to an everyday audience. Collectively, his books have sold more than a million copies worldwide — not a bad accomplishment. He’s also an accomplished drummer, composer, and arranger. He’s written about all manner of music-related topics, including music theory, composition, arranging, drums and percussion, and the music business in general.
Michael Miller
Michael Miller
Drums as mentioned at the beginning, are old instruments, and so the history surrounding drums is vast and lengthy and would date back to prehistoric times. That makes writing the history of drums a long process. But that is not impossible. What is important is the role of drums in music history within modern civilization. An interview with Hal Blaine could provide just that insight that readers like to pick up on. Here is an Interview by Michael Miller of Hal Blaine from The Idiot’s Guide to Playing Drums, chapter 26 (edited to fit into this website, no changes made).
What Makes a Drummer Great…..
I have to admit, I’m an unabashed fan of Hal Blaine. To my regret, I was too young (and too self-involved) to be aware of Hal during his heyday, but I have come to appreciate him greatly in the years since. (Wisdom and maturity come with age, apparently–something else I’ve only recently learned!)
What is so great about Hal Blaine? First, you have sheer quantity. Name any 10 hit singles from the early 1960s through the mid-1970s, and chances are that Blaine played on three or four of them. When Dick Clark featured Hal on his Rock, Roll, and Remember radio program, he essentially played his normal song list–because when you play a list of Hal’s records, you’re playing the top hits of the era.
The second great thing about Hal Blaine is the variety of styles he had to play–and master. How many drummers do you know who could play for both Frank Sinatra and the Mamas and the Papas–and play the right kind of drums for each? When you read the list of artists Hal played for, and then consider how different these artists sounded, you really appreciate his versatility.
Beyond this versatility is Hal’s creativity, his ability to play just the right part for whatever song he was playing on. Sometimes that meant playing full-out, as on the Fifth Dimension’s “Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine.” Sometimes that meant playing a Buddy Holly-like tom-tom riff, as on Tommy Roe’s “Dizzy.” Sometimes that meant playing nothing but bass drum and snare drum, as on the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby.” Sometimes it meant playing something other than drums, as on the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows.”
As I was writing this book, I had the good fortune to talk to Hal Blaine about his career, his opinions on today’s music industry, and his advice for beginning drummers. I found him charming and extremely entertaining, full of great stories and great advice; any drummer can learn something from this master.
Mike Miller (MM): I want to start out by congratulating you on your induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Hal Blaine (HB): That was fun.
MM: It’s good to see you and Earl Palmer and the studio guys finally
getting some recognition.
HB: I know, I know, and they cut it all out of the TV thing, which is really a pity. Earl was just livid. Personally, I couldn’t care less. It was 20 years ago, great. Seriously, who in the hell cares? The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you know, it’s nice, and that’s fine, and goodbye.
The one that I was very interested in was Bill Gates’ former partner, Paul Allen. He put this museum together in Seattle, called the Experience Music Project. They came down here with a film crew and filmed me. They’re going to have film running for as long as the museum is open each day–people like myself, different artists, different musicians, talking about music. The crew that came in here blew me away! They were the guys that just got the Oscar for Titanic!
MM: Well, Paul Allen can afford to hire the best. (laughs)
HB: Evidently! I didn’t realize that he’s a guitar player. Plain and simple. A very wealthy guitar player. (laughs)
MM: A big Jimi Hendrix fan, I hear.
HB: Yeah, well it was originally going to be called the Jimi Hendrix Experience, but then it became the Experience Music Project. They’re supposedly doing a magnificent job.
MM: Hal, one thing that every beginning drummer is fascinated by is how other guys got started. How did you get started playing the drums?
HB: Well, I had a couple of relatives who were drummers: a female, who was with an all-female orchestra, and a cousin, Bill, who was a drummer in some little band, and a brother-in-law who was a great trumpet player. So I was kind of around music growing up.
When I was a kid, my dad used to take me to work every Saturday at the State Theater in Hartford, Connecticut, and I would watch absolutely every band, every singer, every dance act–absolutely everything. And I got hooked on drums, being a showoff. You know, drummers are showoffs, and they get all the toys to play and hit. A guitar player has one guitar and a piano player has one piano, but a drummer has all this stuff to play. We’re built-in showoffs, and I guess we need attention. That’s how it works. My sister bought me my first little set of drums, and you start bangin’ on ’em.
MM: How old were you when you got your first set?
HB: Oh, I was about 11 or 12. I used to set them up on the front porch; we lived on the second floor. After school, with the kids coming home from school, I’d be up there banging my drums, getting the attention.
MM: When you were first starting off, were you taking lessons?
HB: No, I was the only Jewish kid in an all-Catholic drum and bugle corps, which was kind of a funny thing. The priest used to see me peeking through the bars, watching the guys play and march and everything. Finally, he came over to talk to me one time, and I told him I was a drummer. I wasn’t a real drummer, but I was a drummer. So he invited me in, and I got to play march music with the guys and march with the guys. It was really a lot of fun.
You know, one thing leads to another that way. Eventually we moved to California, and I was in high school, and I got in some little bands. I had my own little band and played around San Bernadino and up in the mountains of Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake. You know, we used to play a job for $5 and a free chicken dinner. For real.
That’s kind of the way it starts. I went through the service, played USO shows, played Army bands, got out of the service, came home from Korea. I met some nice people in San Bernadino who wanted my band in this new nightclub that was opening up.
One of the top disc jockeys, Bill Bellman (he was known as Bill the Bellman), asked me if I could come into the radio station sometime. They had a studio, and he was a songwriter. He wanted to do demos, and he just happened to be a friend of mine. I’d go into the studio with him and several other San Bernadino musicians, great musicians. All black, by the way–most of my early days were playing with black musicians, it was just one of those things that happened. Anyway, we got to do all these demos with Bill the Bellman, which led to eventually being in Hollywood and doing demos for all the big songwriters, which led to, “These guys that did the demos, we better get them for the record.” So I’d had a certain amount of studio time behind me and studio experience when I really got my first big break and started working with Tommy Sands, who was a teenage idol in those days, and Sam Cooke. Sam Cooke was a major, major artist, and of course that led to Phil Spector, and the rest is history.
MM: If somebody were aiming for studio playing today, how would they go about it?
HB: First of all, studios are not like they used to be. Every kid has a garage studio today. They make their own demos. They have their own computer that plays their own drums and their own horns and their own violins and everything. The synthesizers that do all of that, the sampling that has been done through the years–there used to be companies advertising that they had me sampled, and Shelly Manne sampled, and various drummers, various other artists. You could buy those samples, and you could have me playing an entire track to no music–you write your own music to it, that type of thing.
So today it’s a different thing. Today, if you go in live–well, there’s not a lot of live recording going on anymore, like we used to do with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and those kind of people that sang live. With the Beach Boys, we did live instrumental tracks, but they would go in and do their voices later. The same with Jan and Dean, and the Monkees, and the Partridge Family, and all those groups. I mean, I can’t tell you how many television pilots I did, from The Brady Bunch and on and on and on. We did everybody, because we were the new kids in town that knew what the words “rock and roll” meant.
And it was just crude, it was just a backbeat. There was nothing to rock and roll; it was nothing–but to the old established guys it was a dirty word. Rock and roll was just “dirty black music, and we’re not gonna play that.” So when rock and roll started to infiltrate the television shows, the movies, the commercials, and records, of course, whenever they were gonna do something, they said, “Call those rock and roll guys.” Well, that was us. That was the Wrecking Crew. The reason they called us the Wrecking Crew–that was a phrase really that I kind of coined. Because we were working with a lot of these old established musicians who’d been in the studios for 30 years, and they used to look at us; here we were in Levis and T-shirts, and smoking cigarettes–no drugs–and these guys would look at us, in their three- piece suits, and they’d say, “These kids are gonna wreck the business.” So we became the Wrecking Crew, and it got so that producers would call my secretary, and say, “We need that Wrecking Crew for so and so,” and she’d just book the dates. I mean, we were booked three months, four months in advance, sometimes.
MM: And you’d be playing, what, three dates a day?
HB: Probably a minimum of three dates a day, sometimes four, up to seven.
MM: Pretty much the same cats playing?
HB: It was me and a nucleus of rhythm players, you know, bass players and guitar players. Later they would bring in their own strings, their own horns, that kind of stuff–if they were gonna do that.
I’d do rock and roll records in the beginning. You can listen to Sam Cooke, “Another Saturday Night”–I think it was H.P. Barnum who was the arranger. Those were the kind of records that we were doing that the old established guys were saying, “That music is terrible, it’s filthy, it’s awful, it’s not music.” They had no idea–and within a year they were begging us to work with them. After all, I became the big contractor, and a lot of us became leaders, and these guys had their noses up our asses. At the beginning they hated us and then all of a sudden they loved us because we had work.
MM: When I was a kid, I remember reading an article in Life or Look or one of those magazines about a drummer–later on I realized it was you–that everybody wanted the Hal Blaine sound to make a hit record, and if they couldn’t book you, they’d book your drums.
HB: It wasn’t that they couldn’t get me, but if somebody was doing a date with their own group and they wanted my sound, they would ask if they could rent one of my sets for their drummer. I had about a dozen sets of drums then. I had a guy that took care of my drums exclusively, and he still is–this is his 36th or 37th year with me, taking care of my drums. And he would, you know, deliver the drums and set them up for whoever and then pick them up after the session.
Drum Note
Hal’s long-time drum tech is Rick Faucher, a legend in his own right. Over the years, Rick has worked with Hal, Jim Keltner, and many other L.A. studio drummers.
The rental was putting me on the contract, which today, of course, has managed to give me my pension from the union. Because every job that we did, it was an employer’s pension, and I did so much work, obviously, in those days, and built up that pension.
MM: What kind of set were you playing back then?
HB: I had a little four-piece set. I started out with Ludwig, then I had some Rogers, then I went with Pearl.
In the early 1960s, I designed a set that completely changed the drum world. We went from a little three-, four-piece set of drums; I built a set of drums with an octave of tom-toms so that I could make those long filling rolls rather than just one or two or three tom-toms.
Drum Note
Hal’s groundbreaking set of eight tunable concert toms were eventually popularized as Octaplus toms from Ludwig.
MM: Who made that set for you–was that Ludwig?
HB: No, no, no. I stupidly gave it to them. I was a Ludwig drummer, and they were thrilled. I introduced that set–my set of drums–on an Ed Sullivan special, and every drum company in the world within three months was putting out that set of drums. Like a fool, I never patented anything; I didn’t get a design patent or an actual patent. When I do clinics today, one of the first things I do is talk about that if you come up with any design or anything, you get yourself a design patent, which is the easiest thing in the world–costs you nothing.
There’s a little item out there called the ching-a-ring. Well, I made a ching-a-ring out of a tambourine, probably 1959. I was using that on my hi-hat–I still have the original tambourines here that I was using. I should have put a design patent out on ’em, and before you know it, companies are making ching-a-rings.
MM: I’m amazed, listening to the old recordings, how many of the songs really didn’t have traditional drums or traditional drum beats on them. I think back to a lot of the stuff with the Beach Boys, the song that you played the orange drink bottles on.
HB: That was just a matter of percussion sounds, coming up with different sounds. I remember playing my snow tire chains on “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
MM: Great sound.
HB: You know, I just used to–I don’t know, perhaps it was my creativity. I wanted to know what the song was about, and wherever it led me, that’s where I would come up with a certain sound that they wanted, certain sounds.
MM: One thing I find is that a lot of drummers just play too much. When do you know when not to play?
HB: Well, you know, that comes with experience, learning that less is more. That one good knock in the right place is worth a million sixteenth notes.
Kids today don’t listen. I’m amazed–when I go into a studio today, if I go into a studio that I haven’t been playing in for some time, where the guys don’t know me, everybody has headsets, and the engineer says to me, “Hal, what do you want in your headsets?” And I say, I just want a little bit of everybody and just a touch of the singer, and no drums. They say, “No drums?” That’s right. I don’t want any drums in my headset. “Why is that?” Well, I don’t have to play with me, I have to play with six or seven or eight guys out there. If everybody listens a little bit to everybody, you’ll play together. But these guitar players get in, and they say, “I wanna hear my guitar, turn me up, turn me up”–it’s crazy. All of a sudden they’re playing with themselves. They’re not listening to anybody else.
They just don’t make music today the way we used to make music. Now maybe each generation has said that, but it’s the truth. There’ll never be another golden era like the Sixties and Seventies, part of the Eighties. It has all changed. I mean, you can’t understand the lyrics today, these kids screaming. These drummers who are using baseball bats for drumsticks. I mean, it’s hysterical.
When guys look at me, when they see the Hal Blaine signature stick, they say, “My goodness, how can you play with that little light stick?” I say, first of all, I got microphones on me. I don’t have to play loud. I play what I feel. I play dynamics. Now if they want me playing really heavy, I’ll just turn the sticks over and use the butt ends, it really doesn’t matter. I don’t need the sticks that these guys are using– they’re building muscles and they’re getting cramps and they’re hurting their fingers and they’re getting deaf.
MM: I’m still amazed by the versatility you guys had back then.
HB: Yeah. In the morning I’d play on some rock and roll record, then I’d be doing Barbra Streisand records, some of the most beautiful music in the world, and then three hours later I’d be in playing a Latin session. I mean, it just went on and on and on. It’s amazing to me, and I guess amazing to a lot of people, that we could do that. It was wild, but we were guys who, at that time, had that experience, and we could do it.
MM: It was an amazing era, and great stuff came out of it. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.
HB: I know. They really don’t. It’s really a shame, but, you know, it’ll come around again. I remember the big bands, and I was a big-band drummer, that was my meat. I was with Count Basie, I was working with lots of big bands. It was wonderful, and I loved it. But the big bands were getting crazier and crazier, the arrangements were getting wilder, the chords were more dissonant, where it really wasn’t pleasant to the ear–even to the ears of the musicians! It finally wound up with Stan Kenton playing all this wild music, I mean, it was wild! Then all of a sudden this guy came along with a quiet little trio, Capitol Records, and turned the whole recording business upside down. His name was Nat King Cole. Quiet, little wonderful music.
So people who were really getting enough of the Stan Kentons and these wild bands who were just blowing their brains out, all of a sudden Nat King Cole came along, and you could hear every word. It was impeccable, and his music was beautiful.
One of the saddest parts of my career was, after he died, going in and putting drums on all his stuff. He had a fine drummer, Lee Young, but Lee played quiet little brushes; you never knew he was there. Dave Cavanaugh, who was one of the big producers of the time, a great arranger at Capitol, decided, let’s update, put some real drums on Nat’s stuff. So I spent, I don’t know, a week or so, everybody crying in the studio listening to Nat on tape, talking in between takes, and so forth. Really very, very sad. Very sad.
All this music that we’re listening to today that’s so crazy–people are coming along, like this chick Diana Krall, she’s playing very quiet. I think she’s eventually going to turn the tables around where everybody starts coming out with kind of a quiet version of songs.
MM: I’ve always seen a trend more toward simplicity, over time.
HB: Oh, absolutely! Less is more. It’s one of the things you learn.
MM: When MTV had all those “unplugged” concerts, that was kind of that trend. Take the electronics away, strip down the instrumentation, and see what it sounds like.
HB: Right. That’s one of the wild things about David Grisman. He has this wonderful company, and he’s made over 30, 35 albums. We’ve done records with Jerry Garcia, various people, but acoustically. He will not have anything electric on his records. You listen to these albums, they’re magnificent. And he sells a lot of albums, a lot of albums.
MM: You worked with John Denver for a long time, right?
HB: Working with John Denver is the perfect example of how we used to build a song. John would sing the song; we would all produce our own parts. When we were ready to make it, we would yell into the booth to wake up the producer, who was sleeping there or doing a crossword puzzle, and we would make a record. I had 10 major hits with him, 10 major albums through those years.
MM: You’ve done studio drumming, you’ve done live drumming, you were on the road with John Denver. For a beginning drummer, what’s the difference between doing studio and being on the road?
HB: The difference is, when you’re working a live performance, you’re getting immediate response to what you’re doing. People are screaming, and they love what you’re doing. People are listening with their eyes. You become more of a showman when you’re on stage.
People listening to records–when you’re in the studio, you’re playing music. You don’t have to show off, so to speak. You don’t have to raise your arms a little higher than normal. Things like that, the little tricks you learn–you know, how to jump up out of your seat on the very end of the song–those kind of things that you do onstage.
Another difference is that you can have an awful lot of fun on the road because when the show is over at night, you know that you’re going to get a good night’s sleep and have a nice breakfast in the morning. Especially the John Denver show. We never carried a bag; our bags where all numbered, they were always in your hotel room whenever you arrived. I mean, it was just the most incredible job, probably ever, in show biz. And everybody made money.
Nowadays, as you know, all you have to do is look at VH1 to see where are they now. You know, these guys are homeless and living in the streets, and they made millions and they put it up their nose or in their arms. Of course, now that they realize how foolish they were, they want to start the band over again. It doesn’t work. Today, the demographics of record buyers are from 11 years old to about 24. They don’t want old people anymore. They want young kids; they want little gorgeous chicks. You see this on MTV and VH1 when they’re doing videos. It’s just the way it is. It’s hard to understand the songs because everybody’s playing as loud as they can, and the singers are not really trained singers–they’re people just out of high school or whatever, and they’re screaming. They’re just hollering, and you don’t know what the heck they’re saying.
But, I’m not a young kid anymore. You know, if I was a young kid in high school, and that was the trend, and we were all 15-year-olds, maybe I’d be going along with that.
I know that there are an awful lot of fine musicians out there, and they’re all trying hard; they’re studying hard. I try to tell drummers, you’ve got to know how to read music. How do you expect to walk in and sit down with maybe a 60-piece orchestra when they put a part in front of you? You know, it’s the old joke, how do you get a drummer to quiet down? Put music in front of him. (laughs)
MM: When you do your clinics and you talk to the drummers, what mistakes do you see a beginning drummer making?
HB: The first thing is, they don’t want to study. They just want to get in and play music. They want to play their favorite rock and roll song that they’ve heard 2,000 times on the radio or on their CD player at home, and now they’re a drummer because they’re playing exactly what the drummer played on the record. They think that’s all they have to do, and they start these garage bands and they play cover songs. But how in the hell can they possibly be creative and play their own songs?
You know, it’s easier to hit the lotto than hit the jackpot with a group. There are 10 million groups out there, and record companies don’t sign groups anymore today. I shouldn’t say that–sometimes they do. But if you have a band today, and you write songs–let’s say 12 or 14 songs- -and you record them–they’re not bad, you know, halfway-decent commercial–you can get them burned on CDs for next to nothing. You can have them packaged for next to nothing. And every time you go out and play somewhere, you sell your own CDs.
Now, I know, from heads of record companies, that they watch some of these sales. I know there was one big group, Smashing Pumpkins or Hootie and the Blowfish, all of a sudden there was some group that was selling something like 30,000 records almost every two months. Well, that’s when a record company takes notice. They’ll go in and offer them a lot of money, to put the record on their label.
It’s not like the old days. It’s not like you went in, you worked on a record in the studios, and so forth. It just doesn’t work that way today. That’s why it’s such a long shot for a drummer to really make it.
I think the last guy to really start to happen, along with me and after me, was Jim Keltner. Fine drummer. Fine, fine drummer. You know, he’ll even tell you, I was the guy that started recommending him for work. Even Jim, now he’s out on the road today with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, he’s out there because he’s making more money on the road than he’s ever known in the studio. Studios are just not happening anymore. If you’re going to be a sideman, so to speak, you have to be with a group that’s out there making it, and making money.
It’s such a long shot today, it’s a shame.
Aside from popular music, there are a lot of musicians, who are fine, fine musicians; they study classical music all their lives, and they go into a symphony orchestra. Well, a violinist can always find work because they use 20, 30, 40 violins in a symphony orchestra. And if it’s not this town, it’s the next town or the next town.
But a drummer, there’s only one drummer in a band. If you’re lucky enough to get into that band, whatever it is, whether it be pop or classical, you’re very fortunate to have a job.
I hate to discourage guys, but damn it, it’s a fact of life!
MM: It’s a tough industry–like you said, there’s only one drummer in a band. But I’ve been surprised at how noncompetitive–how friendly and cooperative–most of the people in the drumming community are.
HB: That’s true. Drummers are all friends. I mean, when we, the so- called rock and roll Wrecking Crew came along, we were all guys working in nightclubs, making a hundred bucks a week. All of a sudden we’re making a thousand dollars a day. Now, that’s one hell of a leap! Like falling into a vat of chocolate. And you gotta be friends.
One of the things I used to tell the guys when I was contracting was, “If you smile, you stay around a while. If you pout, you’re out!” Because a lot of guys would walk in, look at their music, and say “Eh, the same s**t today,” or “What kind of s**t are we playing today?” Well, the microphones are on and producers hear that, then they’ll come to me and say, “I don’t want that guy around here! I want guys who want to play on my records.”
So that’s one of the things I used to tell the guys. So everybody was friendly. Everybody loved one another. There were no arguments, there were no fights. Fortunately, during our era, there were no drugs. Rarely were there drugs.
The Mamas and Papas was a different story. They had lots of drugs. Coming out of the Mamas and the Papas, Michelle Phillips, who became quite a great actress–she does a lot of movies, she recently married an old buddy of mine who’s a plastic surgeon–she’s the only one, really, who didn’t do drugs. The rest of them, you know, Denny was always drunk, jumping out of windows and breaking his legs. John Phillips had a liver transplant, and now he’s drinking again. Cass, of course, unfortunately passed away.
I look at all these groups, there’s something like 175 groups that I worked with, did their records, and there may only be a couple of guys still out there. Freddy Cannon goes out once in a while to do something. Gary Lewis still goes out to do something once in a while. He’s one of the few guys that won’t admit that I played drums on his records. I played on his records, I played on his father’s records, I was doing movies with his father. I mean, it’s ridiculous, I’ve got pictures in the studio, of him sitting, you know, fooling around with my drums! He’s the only guy who said, oh no, he played his own drums on his own records. Total BS.
I do need to say, when it came to the Monkees, for an example, they really did play music, but they didn’t make their own records. Now I remember one night, there was this big, big thing that hit Hollywood: The Monkees do not make their own records. I mean, it was the scandal of scandals.
MM: But nobody made their own records back then…
HB: That was common knowledge, but not necessarily to the general public. To the kids, all of a sudden this thing came up, the Monkees do not make their own records. So, in order to straighten that out, they took the Monkees, and they had them in the little Studio C at RCA one night. Coincidentally, we were in Studio A making Monkees records. Closed session, nobody could get in there. In Studio C, all the press, all the media was there, all the TV guys with their cameras, taking pictures of the Monkees playing music, and singing. (laughs) So, that kind of took care of that.
A lot of guys are constantly asking me, still, didn’t it bother Dennis Wilson that you made the records with the Beach Boys? Well, Dennis loved that I made the records because he could be out surfing and motorcycling and boating and you know, nothing but chicks and boozing and getting in car crashes. (laughs) That was Dennis. The proof of the pudding is when he made his own album, he hired me. (laughs) He really didn’t mind.
There was only one drummer that did. When I did the Byrds, that was the only drummer that pissed and bitched and moaned, and Terry Melcher, the producer, had to tell him to shut up and sit the f**k down! (laughs) Anyway, they were thrilled at the end, because right out of the box came “Mr. Tambourine Man.”
MM: Of all the people you played with, is there anybody you wanted to play with that you didn’t get to?
HB: There are many people, obviously; there were lots of people in those days that I did not get to work with. But they were mostly people who did have their own group and had good musicians, and went in and made their own records.
MM: It seems that the ones you weren’t playing on, Earl Palmer was.
HB: Right! Exactly, I was just gonna say, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”–I was in England. I was always Phil Spector’s drummer, so Earl got to do that, and it was a big hit. I mean, it was Phil Spector producing. Everything he did was a big hit.
MM: What drummers do you listen to today–who do you like?
HB: There are some fine drummers out there. I have friends like Gregg Bissonette–very, very fine drummer. Kenny Aronoff, that I see with so many groups, knows just how to play–like I said, less is more. Of course, Nashville discovered drums about 15 years ago, so Paul Leim and those guys are down there, and country music has become rock and roll, and they’re just playing rock and roll what we were all playing in Hollywood, and they’re doing a great job.
MM: What advice would you give to a new drummer, just starting out?
HB: Study. You know like they say, location, location, location? Study, study, study. Practice, practice, practice. Because practice makes perfect. You’re not gonna get anywhere if you haven’t studied because you walk into a band and they throw that music in front of you–how in the hell are you going to play a song? Unless you happen to know it backward. Now what if it’s a brand-new song?
What is music? Music is only a roadmap. You start here and you end here, but in between there may be some stops and starts and left turns and right turns, and so forth. That’s all music is. Everyone is reading the same part, that’s so that everyone–whether it’s a five-piece band or a thousand-piece band–everybody starts at the same downbeat and ends at the same place.
It’s only a roadmap, and if you can read English, you can read music. I’ve heard guys say, “I don’t want to have to read notes because it’ll hurt my soul.” Well, that’s such BS, absolute BS. If you can read the newspaper or a comic book, you can read music. It’s no different. You learn to read in groups.
When you first started to learn to read English, you were reading, “the,” “man,” “dog,” “cat,” “c-a-t.” Music is no different. When you first learn it, you’re learning your one-e-and-ahs and two-e-and-ahs and so forth, but before you know it, you’re reading in groups. Now when you read a newspaper, you don’t think about the word “the,” “can,” “run,” “cat,” “go,” “stop.” You don’t think about those things. You’re automatically reading them. Once you start reading music you learn to read in groups. Bop bop, bop bop, dadadadadot, dadadadadot. Once you’ve practiced it and studied it, you don’t think, “one-e-and-ah two, one and two and”–you don’t think that way; you think in groups. So you automatically do it without thinking about it.
Once in a while you run into a figure that an arranger has written that’s really difficult, and you go back to the old, “Let’s see now, this is one- and two-and-ah three-and four-and one-and.” You spell it out and then you’ve got it. But if you don’t know those basics, you can’t do that.
The hardest thing I ever did was a movie called The Carpetbaggers, with an incredible arranger who writes some of the most difficult music in movies. He writes a lot of stuff in six. I walked into this session–why I even got hired, I don’t know. But I walked in and the percussionist saw me, and I didn’t know this percussionist. He was an older guy, and he was one of those guys that read fly specks. I mean, he played all these marimba and xylophone parts on all the cartoons, for years. One of the great, great guys, terrific guy. He saw me looking through the music and sweating. He came over and put his arm around me, and said, “Look, there’s no problem, we run into something here, we just talk it out. Nobody has to know.” And it was beautiful, and it came out great! It would go from six to three to four to two to one, unbelievable stuff. And it worked out fine.
Drum Note
The score to The Carpetbaggers was written and arranged by award- winning composer Elmer Bernstein, who has created the soundtracks for hundreds of Hollywood films from 1951 to today.
So, if I hadn’t had some kind of basic training, I could have never done that in a million years. That’s all it is.
The advice that I give kids is that you must learn how to read music. Because then you become a part of the joke, you know. What did the drummer say on his very first professional job? “Would you like fries with that order?” (laughs) What does a drummer say when he knocks on your door at night? “Dominos!” You know, you’re either gonna be a drummer or you’re gonna work in a fast food joint, and that’s all there is to it.
There are so many things that I try to explain to kids when I do clinics. When you drive a car, if you remember when you first started driving, maybe you were 12 or 13, and you were learning; you couldn’t wait till you were 16. Finally you’re driving, and now you’re scared to death; you’re shaking all over, you’re looking ahead, you’re trying to see a light, remember to step on the brake, step on the gas, turn on your signals… Well, within three months or four months, you’re now looking at people, you’re waving to people, you’re listening to the radio, you’re not thinking because you’re automatically seeing that light coming up that’s green or red; you’re automatically stepping on the brake or the gas or turning on the street you’re supposed to turn on. You don’t think about it. You’re not saying to yourself, “I’m going to turn here and then I’ll step on the brake and then I’ll turn…” You don’t think that way. Reading music is the same way. You don’t think about it; you’re just doing it. You’re playing those licks–they’re just in groups. Every time you see those triplets, dadada dadada dadada, you know what they are. Not the first time, but by the fifteenth or twentieth time.
So, I guess that’s my advice.
MM: That’s great advice, Hal. Thanks for spending the time talking. HB: My pleasure.
Drum Note
For more information about Hal Blaine–past, present, and future– check out his Web site at www.halblaine.com.
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Last modified: February 03, 2007
Artists with whom Blaine has recorded:
 Some of the famous musicians with whom Blaine has worked include: Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, The Ronettes, Jan and Dean, The Mamas & the Papas, The Byrds, Johnny Rivers, Elkie Brooks, The Association, Sonny & Cher, The Grass Roots, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Frank Sinatra, John Lennon, Neil Diamond, Simon & Garfunkel, John Denver, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Captain & Tennille, The Carpenters, Henry Mancini, The 5th Dimension, The Supremes, Barbra Streisand, Nancy Sinatra, Diana Ross, Dean Martin, Jon Mark, Sam Cooke and The Partridge Family.
Neil Peart
Neil Peart
Ian Paiceimage
Ginger Baker(Cream)
Ginger Baker (Cream)


Megan Martha White Drummer
Megan Martha White
Megan Martha "Meg" White is an American drummer from Detroit best known for her work in the Detroit rock duo The White Stripes with her former husband Jack White with whom she was married from 1996 to 2000. After releasing several singles and three albums within the Detroit music scene, the White Stripes rose to prominence in 2002, as part of the garage rock revival scene. Their successful and critically acclaimed albums White Blood Cells and Elephant drew them attention from a large variety of media outlets in the United States and the United Kingdom, with the single "Seven Nation Army" and its now-iconic guitar riff becoming a huge hit. The band recorded a further two albums, Get Behind Me Satan in 2005 and Icky Thump in 2007. The group was dissolved in 2011 after a lengthy hiatus from performing and recording.
Megan Martha “Meg” White is an American drummer from Detroit best known for her work in the Detroit rock duo The White Stripes with her former husband Jack White with whom she was married from 1996 to 2000. After releasing several singles and three albums within the Detroit music scene, the White Stripes rose to prominence in 2002, as part of the garage rock revival scene. Their successful and critically acclaimed albums White Blood Cells and Elephant drew them attention from a large variety of media outlets in the United States and the United Kingdom, with the single “Seven Nation Army” and its now-iconic guitar riff becoming a huge hit. The band recorded a further two albums, Get Behind Me Satan in 2005 and Icky Thump in 2007. The group was dissolved in 2011 after a lengthy hiatus from performing and recording.



Pardon the shirtlessness
Pardon their shirtlessness
From page 41 of Classic Rock Magazine June 2005

Guest Editor Matt Sorum wanted a feature on the best 50 drummers in rock, so that’s exactly what we’ve done.

To get our definitive rundown, we went to the experts: Classic Rock polled the staff and students of the UK’s leading drum schools: the Academy Of Contemporary Music in Guildford, the Brighton Institute Of Modern Music, and London’s Drumtech. On top of that, we consulted our sister magazines Metal Hammer, Total Guitar and Rhythm (Britain’s top drumming mag, so they should know what they’re talking about), as well as picking the brains of our own writers, some top-notch drum technicians and a whole host of professional drummers (including Chili Pepper Chad Smith).

The rules were simple: they had to nominate their Top 10 rock drummers – so please remember that before complaining about why some of those shit-hot jazz cats aren’t in our list. The results were compiled from those votes.

Oh, and if you’re wondering why Mr Matt Sorum didn’t make our Top 50 – well, seeing as he instigated it, he was automatically disqualified. He does, however, dish the dirt on his Magnificent Seven…

50 TOPPER HEADON Band: The Clash Defining moment: The powerhouse of drumming that backs I Fought The Law Jazz-trained, Nicky ‘Topper’ Headon was the one proper musician in The Clash: a skinny ball of energy that transformed the band’s sound.

49 DANIEL ERLANDSON Band: Arch Enemy Defining moment: The Burning Bridges album This Swedish monster has helped to take European metal into the 21st century. Arch Enemy are a significant force on the current scene, propelled in no small part by the concussive and creative rhythms of this man.

48 DENNY CARMASSI Band: Montrose, Heart, Coverdale/Page Defining moment: Montrose’s Rock Candy Carmassi made his name on the celebrated, self-titled Montrose debut in 1973. This not only was a pioneering release for hard rock, but Carmassi shines in his ability to combine power and precision, while never losing a grip on the groove.

47 VINNIE PAUL Band: Pantera, Damageplan Defining moment: Pantera’s Cowboys From Hell The godfather of modern metal drummers, Vinnie Paul’s ferocity helped fuel a unique metal sound. He’s also shown himself to be adept as a producer as well, but the tragic shooting of his brother, guitarist Dimebag Darrell, has left a question mark over future plans.

46 TOMMY ALDRIDGE Band: Black Oak Arkansas, Whitesnake, Ozzy Defining moment: His live solo, playing with his bare hands

A veteran on the US hard rock scene, Aldridge’s name was always on shortlists when top names were looking for a drummer. Despite his reputation as a journeyman, he is a passionate performer and also has the technique to adapt to any demands.

45 TICO TORRES Band: Bon Jovi Defining moment: King Of The Mountain When Bon Jovi broke big in the 80s Tico Torres had played on no less than 26 albums. A jazz fan, who also loves Zeppelin, Torres sublimates his performance to the song and never overplays.


Band: Lenny Kravitz Defining moment: On stage with Kravitz Female drummers are rarely regarded as anything other than a novelty. Not so Cindy Blackman. Her jazz background gave her a solid grounding, and she’s used this to major effect with Lenny Kravitz, proving that she can get with the funk-rock groove.


“Cindy Blackman used to drum for Lenny Kravitz. I went out with her for a while. It was great – we’d make out, then talk about paradiddles! She’s a beautiful girl, and a great jazz drummer. We drifted apart unfortunately. I love jazz. I love John Coltrane, Mahavishnu Orchestra. I never understood punk rock. I always thought it was a load of crap. I’m a muso, I believe in studying my craft. When I joined Guns people said my style was more muso – less punk rock than Steven Adler. I liked that.”

43 BILLY COBHAM Band: Mahavishnu Orchestra, Miles Davis Defining moment: His Spectrum solo album In the 70s, the term ‘fusion’ became trendy, but nobody embodied this better than Billy Cobham.

With jazz great Miles Davies, then as part of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, he fluidly consummated the union of jazz and rock. Cobham always embraced modern technology, adapting his own remarkable skills, for instance, to include electronic drum kits.



Defining moment: Summer Of ’68 Often disregarded when Pink Floyd’s influence and importance is analysed, Mason’s rather understated and unfussy approach perfectly suited all incarnations of the band. He adapted easily to the demands of Syd Barrett, Roger Waters and David Gilmour.

41 BRAD WILK Band: Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave Defining moment: RATM’s Killing In The Name Being part of Rage Against The Machine in their early days was a real challenge. The band weren’t afraid to confront authority to get their political points across, and musically their hybrid of metal, punk, rap and funk could easily have degenerated into a confused mess. A constantly restless musician, he took strange risks, such as replacing his tom toms with cowbells, “just for the challenge”.

40 CARMINE APPICE Band: Beck, Bogert & Appice, Vanilla Fudge, Cactus Defining moment: Fudge’s You Keep Me Hanging On One of those names you’ve seen on countless albums, Appice has worked with Rod Stewart, Ted Nugent, Ozzy and Jeff Beck. Never fazed by the situation, some regard him as being one of the players who helped invent the whole heavy drumming style with Vanilla Fudge in 1967. A shameless self-publicist, he has always demanded to be involved intimately with every project he’s worked on; Appice is far more than a sticksman for hire.

39 IGOR CAVALERA Band: Sepultura Defining moment: Mass Hypnosis from the Beneath The Remains album The man who started the Brazilian foursome with his brother, guitarist/vocalist Max, Igor has become the heart, soul and conscience of a truly innovative band. Over the years, he’s played on record and live with percussions from all over the world, and has never been caught short in meeting these challenges.

38 BRIAN DOWNEY Band: Thin Lizzy Defining moment: The Live Fr Dangerous album Brian Downey co-founded a band called Orphanage in 1969 with his mate Phil Lynott. We know them better as Thin Lizzy, a name they adopted a year later.

And it’s with Lizzy that Downey will always be associated. Apart from a brief period in 1978, when he left to be replaced by Mark Nauseef for an American tour, the drummer’s been ever-present, his quietly efficient style marking out the landscape for the skills of others.


ROGER TAYLOR Band: Queen Defining moment: Radio Ga-Ga There was a wealth of talent in Queen: Freddie’s awesome voice and songwriting, May’s unique phrasing and songwriting, Deacon’s playful bass- playing and songwriting. And then there’s Roger Taylor. Not only a great drummer – he’s a man who manages to combine a pop and even funk approach with moments of ferocity (Seven Seas Of Rye and Hammer To Fall) – he’s a songwriter and singer too: the man who wrote Radio Ga-Ga, and supplied Queen with many of those fantastic vocal harmonies. And he has his celebrity fans…



“Roger Taylor inspired me in so many ways. He was actually the first rock star I ever saw in real life. I was 15. It was at the Bar & Grill in Hollywood and

he pulled up in a Rolls-Royce, wearing this great suit, with a girl on each arm. He had such a sense of style, and I’ve always tried to emulate that. I played with him once at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert at Wembley and he was dressed totally in white denim. I told him, ‘You can sing like a motherfucker!’ He encouraged me to sing too. I have stood up front in covers bands and stuff, but it’s a very different animal. I can understand why singers get so crazy: they have nothing to shield them.”

36 THUNDERSTICK Band: Samson, Thunderstick Defining moment: His cage. No, really.

He was so dangerous, he had to play drums locked inside a cage! That’s all you need to know about Thunderstick. (The fact that the cage was of wobbly Meccano and couldn’t have contained a septuagenarian Bassett hound was neither here nor there.) Thunderstick started in a very early Iron Maiden line-up but came to prominence in NWOBHM’ers Samson. His real name was Barry Graham and he wore a sadomasochistic mask to hide his bright ginger hair. Good drummer, too.

35 RAT SCABIES Band: The Damned Defining moment: Machine Gun Etiquette – the album and especially the title track The first UK punk single, New Rose, opens with Rat’s pounding beats. An unstoppable and anarchic force, he never let up – even by the time of their goth-pop crossover Phantasmagoria in ’85 he was adding epic

beats to tracks like Street Of Dreams.35

34 MATT CAMERON Band: Soundgarden, Pearl Jam Defining moment: Soundgarden’s Spoonman Not content with being in one of Seattle’s biggest exports as the sticksman for Soundgarden, upon their implosion he took up the drumstool for fellow Seattlites Pearl Jam. Equally adept at bludgeoning rock or subtle, brush-led laid-back grooves.

33 TERRY BOZZIO Band: Frank Zappa, Missing Persons, The Knack Defining moment: Black Page, written for him by Zappa as a challenge

One of the elite who are constantly being harassed by the biggest names in music to record with them, Bozzio is unique. His work with so many artists – from Zappa to UK, Missing Persons to Jeff Beck – is recognisable for its occasional contempt for convention.

32 TRAVIS BARKER Band: Blink 182/Transplants/Box Car Racer Defining moment: The Box Car Racer album Pop-punk drummers rarely attract attention, but then Blink 182 have become more than just another big- selling band. One reason is Barker, a man with a sense of the dramatic, as well as influences that take in electronica, dance, punk, rap and jazz.

31 JIMMY CHAMBERLIN Band: Smashing Pumpkins/Zwan Defining moment: Pumpkins’ Siamese Dream album It says much about Jimmy Chamberlin’s reputation that, having fired him from the Smashing Pumpkins in 1996 because of his drug problems, Billy Corgan decided to take him back three years later. An intelligent percussionist with a wide-ranging talent.

30 SIMON KIRKE Band: Free, Bad Company Defining moment: The song Bad Company Few people ever get the chance to play with one seminal band. Simon Kirke has done it twice. He found his niche before he was 20 with Free, and in 1973 he helped put together Bad Company. He’s an accomplished songwriter, too.


Band: Aerosmith Defining moment: Sweet Emotion Steven Tyler and Joe Perry get all the accolades, but where would Aerosmith be without Joey Kramer? He’s been a constant from the start with a band who’ve had their trials and tribulations. While he’s more than able to deliver blistering solos, Kramer’s philosophy has always been: “Less is more. I play hard, but I like to play with feeling. I am more interested in the groove”.

28 SCOTT ASHETON Band: The Stooges Defining moment: I Wanna Be Your Dog Before switching to a regular kit and pioneering a hard-hitting, simplistic style that’s since been adopted by virtually every drummer in punk, the man that Iggy Pop likes to call Rock Action used hammers on empty oil barrels at early Stooges shows.


Defining moment: Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap As important to AC/DC as Charlie Watts is to the Rolling Stones, Phil Rudd has (like Watts) suffered from being massively underrated, because what he does seems so simple. Don’t believe a word. If that was the case, then his absence from the band between 1983 and 1994 wouldn’t have been as keenly felt as it was. Rudd is vital to the sound of one of the great bands.


“I love records with a sense of space, and Phil Rudd was a big part of that spacious sound you hear on Back In Black. An amazing drummer. I want to fight for that on the next Velvet Revolver album actually. Everyone always wants to fill every space with guitars. I just want to let things breathe.”


LARS ULRICH Band: Metallica Defining moment: Being the man who pushed Metallica into the major league Ulrich, the Danish-born tennis prodigy who loved NWOBHM, is now a co-founder and leader of one of the most important bands in metal history. Not renowned as a virtuoso drummer, his true worth has proven to be not just musical, but in his sense of vision, focus and grim determination to make his band into the biggest in the world.

25 VINNIE COLAIUTA Band: Frank Zappa Defining moment: His self-titled solo album in ’94 Although not a household name, Colaiuta is the sort of drummer who attracts attention from his peers whenever he plays. He started off hitting his parents’ pots and pans, but has long since left that activity behind, going on to work with Frank Zappa, Joni Mitchell, Air Supply…and even Christina Aguilera!


Band: Toto

Defining moment: Unfortunately, his unusual garden-related death Jeff will always be known for the announcement that he died in 1992, after a ‘bizarre gardening accident’, but Porcaro was among the most in-demand session drummers of his generation. While he made his name with Toto, he worked with everyone from Steely Dan to Manhattan Transfer, The Bee Gees to Pink Floyd.

Why? Because he could adapt to any situation.

23 TAYLOR HAWKINS Band: Foo Fighters Defining moment: All My Life Try being in a band led by one of the all-time great drummers – that’s the challenge Taylor Hawkins faces. It’s the sort of situation that might have buried lesser mortals but Hawkins has always been his own man, doing the job as he sees fit, not as Foo frontman and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl might do it. The results have been a pleasant balance between light and shade, with little hint of pretentious posturing. In other words, perfect for the Foos.


RINGO STARR Band: The Beatles Defining moment: Come Together Despite being the butt of many a joke – even John Lennon joked that not only wasn’t Ringo the best drummer in the world, he wasn’t even the best drummer in The Beatles – there can be no denying Ringo’s influence. No-one had played rock drums like him before.


“Ringo’s an underrated player. I met him while I was recording Guns N’ Roses’ Use Your Illusion albums and he gave me some great advice. I was having problems coming up with new fills and he said, ‘If you can’t think of one, don’t do one!’”


21 PHIL ‘PHILTHY ANIMAL’ TAYLOR Band: Motörhead Defining moment: Overkill – the long version He didn’t do much prior to Motörhead, and has done virtually nothing since, but Phil ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor is the definitive ’Head drummer. He joined the band in 1975, left nine years later, and was part of albums that have become cornerstones of classic rock. Overkill, Bomber, No Sleep ’Til Hammersmith, Ace Of Spades – without Taylor’s instantly acknowledged kick, they wouldn’t sound the same.

20 BILL WARD Band: Black Sabbath Defining moment: War Pigs The behemoth who has driven the Sabbath beast for so long, Ward has often seemed like a man going out of control behind the kit. Yet, despite the presence of others over the years, there’s little doubt that he remains the ultimate Sabbath drummer. He provides brute force, while reacting perfectly to his bandmates.

19 TOMMY LEE Band: Mötley Crüe, Methods Of Mayhem Defining moment: His (literally) high flying solo His outrageous offstage persona. His ex-wives. His constant controversies. Those are the ways most people know Tommy Lee. But the man is the best musician in Mötley Crüe, and a drummer who always performs right on the edge. Crüe’s Dr Feelgood tour even saw him playing a solo upside down.

18 STEWART COPELAND Band: The Police Defining moment: Don’t Stand So Close To Me Growing up the son of a CIA agent in Beirut, Copeland started playing on his brother’s kit. Steeped in jazz, his virtuoso playing (along with that of bandmates Sting and Andy Summers) ensured The Police stood out among punk bands of the early 80s.

17 MIKE PORTNOY Band: Dream Theater Defining moment: When Dream And Day Unite The most acclaimed prog rock drummer of the past 15 years, Mike Portnoy has proven to be the natural successor to the likes of Alan White, Carl Palmer and Phil Collins. A self-confessed sufferer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Portnoy has driven Dream Theater, against the odds, to achieve international stature. What sets him apart is that he combines a thrash metal heart with a prog rocker’s soul.

16 BILL BRUFORD Band: King Crimson, Yes Defining moment: King Crimson – all 25 years The thinking man’s drummer, Bill Bruford has always seemed slightly disdainful of his art, yet his crisp, complex style has enhanced King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, Gong and UK. Bruford is forever looking for ways to stretch musical boundaries. From orchestras to jazz workshops, nothing is outside the remit of this restless musician.

15 CARL PALMER Band: Emerson Lake & Palmer, Asia Defining moment: Fanfare For The Common Man A child prodigy with Atomic Rooster in the late 1960s, Carl Palmer came into his own with ELP. Able to match the brilliance of Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, Palmer likes nothing more than to stretch out and show off his colourful abilities. His quickfire excursions around the kit have become part of ELP’s legend, as indeed has his gong. With Asia he showed an awareness and respect for song structure, proving that he was more than an egomaniac.


PHIL COLLINS Band: Genesis Defining moment: The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway album Forget about his MOR meanderings in front of the microphone. Phil Collins is one of the greats.

A child actor turned drummer, he joined Genesis in 1970, and his work for the next several years was so impressive that it put him ahead of almost everyone in the prog rock movement. He even found time to play with jazz rockers Brand X. If only he’d stayed behind the kit…


Band: Slipknot Defining moment: His performance with Metallica at the Download Festival in 2004 Joey Jordison came into his own last year when Metallica asked him to be one of a number of drummers to cover the loss of Lars Ulrich at Download.

He might wear a silly mask and boiler suit with Slipknot, but his astonishing clarity and skill behind the kit have certainly not gone unnoticed. Not bad for someone who’s barely taller than a garden gnome.

12 GINGER BAKER Band: Cream, Blind Faith, Masters Of Reality Defining moment: 16-minute live version of Toad Peter ‘Ginger’ Baker had already made quite a name for himself on the British jazz and blues scenes of the late 60s (for being a fearsomely cantankerous bugger, as much as for his prowess as a drummer). But it was with Cream that Baker’s unique, thunderous, tumbling polyrhythmic playing caused jaws to drop. He was responsible for transforming the drums from a rhythm component to a lead instrument.

11 NICKO McBRAIN Band: Iron Maiden Defining moment: The B-side, Mission From ’Arry A larger-than-life character, Nicko McBrain enjoyed stints with Pat Travers, Trust and comedian Jimmy Jones before joining Iron Maiden in 1983. Maiden bassist Steve Harris once said of him: “Nicko plays the drums the way most guitarists play their guitars – he’s riffing right along with you, note for note.” 10 CHARLIE WATTS Band: Rolling Stones Defining moment: Sympathy For The Devil A man who, for years, was ignored by the critics because he seemed to do so little, Charlie Watts is now acclaimed for his minimalist approach with the Stones. A jazz lover, Watts has become the soul of the ‘greatest rock’n’roll band in the world’. While he makes the job appear easy, he is irreplaceable in the Stones. His taciturn performances belie a cunning player, who actually delivers the sort of rhythmic reliability so important to Jagger and Richards. And he can also display an extraordinary range of percussive gifts when the need arises.

9 COZY POWELL Band: Rainbow, Black Sabbath, MSG Defining moment: His 1812 Overture live solo Often decried for being the ultimate ‘drums for hire’ man, the late Cozy Powell was so much in demand because of his remarkable ability to adapt his style to the demands of the job – yet always managing to retain his solid individuality. From Rainbow to Whitesnake, Michael Schenker Group to Peter Green, via Gary Moore and Emerson, Lake & Powell, the man brought a real sense of drive, pride and purpose to everything he did. Powell was killed in a car crash in 1998, and it’s only in his absence that the drummer has started to get the recognition he always deserved.

IAN PAICE Band: Deep Purple Defining moment: Listen to his performance on Child In Time – a real tour de force Unfussy and unhurried, Ian Paice is the only band member to have been ever-present with Deep Purple. He’s also served time with Whitesnake, Paul McCartney, Gary Moore and the underrated Paice Ashton Lord. Often overlooked when discussions turn to the all-time great drummers, what sets Paice apart from so many is that he never over-emphasises – he does just enough to enhance a song, without exaggerating his influence. But there’s little doubt that he’s been a crucial part of Purple’s legend.


“Ian Paice? I stole a lot of fills from that guy! He’s an incredible drummer. I remember sitting in my room, listening to Burn over and over again, trying to work out how he did it. I was lucky enough to meet him recently and I told him how much of an influence he’s had on my playing.”

7 MITCH MITCHELL Band: Jimi Hendrix Experience Defining moment: Fire, on which he burns out of the track like a distress flare After working in future guitar amplifier supremo Jim Marshall’s shop and a stint with Georgie Fame & The Blue Fames, in 1966 John ‘Mitch’ Mitchell passed the audition and found himself sitting in the eye of the storm with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, at the age of just 19, and one of rock music’s great synergies was born.

mitch mitchell

With his jazz influences, fluidity, superb technique and vivid imagination, Mitchell’s highly explosive style was full of crackling machine-gun snare rolls, and quite unlike the drumming in any other rock band.

Jimmy Hendrix

One of the truly great British rock drummers of the 60s, Mitch Mitchell is an indispensable part of the legacy of Jimi Hendrix.

6 DAVE LOMBARDO Band: Slayer Defining moment: Angel Of Death When Dave Lombardo stepped in at the last minute to help out Metallica at the Download Festival, for many it was a dream come true – at last, the greatest metal band of the past two decades were working with the finest drummer of that era. Lombardo combines brute force and subtlety at high pace, leaving him unsurpassed. Slayer suffered significantly when he left the band in 1992 (he returned 11 years later). Lombardo has also put his talents to work successfully with oddball band Fantomas.

5 CHAD SMITH Band: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Glenn Hughes Defining moment: The Chili’s Higher Ground A modern drummer with a traditional attitude, Chad Smith is rarely noticed with the Chilis – he just gets on with the job in a quiet, unhurried manner that complements the more flamboyant tendencies of his bandmates. Whether strutting through funk, blazing across a rock groove or hitting the soul train, Smith takes it all in his stride. And his recent work on the Glenn Hughes album Soul Mover really proves the point that he is a world-class performer who deserves much more attention.

4 NEIL PEART Band: Rush Defining moment: His astonishing live solo spot on last year’s tour Known as ‘The Professor’, Peart joined Rush in 1974, establishing himself not only as a spectacularly gifted drummer, but also an erudite lyricist. In his early days, Peart was defined as much by his flamboyant moustache as hi-hat skills, but he quickly transcended such superficial analysis, being hailed as a unique figure, drawing in particular from his own hero, the late jazz drummer Buddy Rich.

The tragic deaths of both his daughter (in 1997) and his wife a year later seem to have enhanced his musical purpose – as anyone who saw him perform last year on Rush’s 30th anniversary tour will attest.

KEITH MOON `J Band: The Who Defining moment: The Kids Are Alright movie As famous for his offstage antics as for his musical prowess, Keith Moon epitomised the caricature of the crazy drummer. Whether driving his car into a swimming pool, strutting down the street in a Nazi uniform or blowing up a toilet, Moon The Loon was never far from the headlines. But he left an indelible mark on the records of The Who.


“The Who without Keith Moon just wouldn’t sound the same. I only ever saw him on TV, but I loved everything about him – the goldfish in the floor toms, the platform heels. I wish I could be as fluid in my playing as he was. He just swept across the drumkit like he was tossing salad.”

2 DAVE GROHL Band: Nirvana/Tenacious D/Queens Of The Stone Age, Nine Inch Nails, Killing Joke Defining moment: The Nevermind album Dave Grohl suffers somewhat from ‘Phil Collins Syndrome’, being more renowned these days as a frontman than a drummer. However, his skills leading the Foo Fighters really pale by comparison to his tremendous gifts when given a pair of sticks. He was, after all, Nirvana’s drummer. Pace, vision, virtuosity and versatility are his hallmarks, which is why he’s been hugely in demand guesting behind the kit for bands like QOTSA and Killing Joke.

Grohl once famously said his ambition was to replace John Bonham if Led Zeppelin were ever to re-form. Don’t bet against it.


Band: Led Zeppelin Defining Moment: Moby Dick


“The weird thing is, I was never into Led Zep at the time. At high school I was more interested in smoking pot and listening to prog rock, Genesis and stuff. Everyone else loved Led Zep, but not me. It was only later that I appreciated them.

“John Bonham took these simple R&B influences and he added all this complexity, odd meters and stuff. I love all that. You know, writing a song in 5/4 or 7/4 time. I’ve always tried to do that in the bands I’ve been in but no-one can ever count past four!

“I actually went on the road with Jason Bonham once and I got to see all the old family videos of John. It was fascinating.

He’s a hero of mine. I wanted to emulate his attitude, his hot- rod cars, his drinking. I wanted to be that person. And I did become a heavy drinker – I managed that part! But I’ll never be as good as him.

BB King 1950s
BB King 1950s
BB King
BB King
Riley B. King (born September 16, 1925), known by the stage name B.B. King, is an American blues musician, singer, songwriter, and guitarist.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at No. 6 on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time (previously ranked No. 3 in the 2003 edition of the same list),[1] and he was ranked No. 17 in Gibson’s “Top 50 Guitarists of All Time”.
Tony Coleman has toured around the planet performing with some of the best R&B and blues musicians ever. Tony can attest to playing drums with B.B. King, Otis Clay, Bobby Blue Bland, Johnnie Taylor, Albert King, Albert Collins, Etta James, James Cotton, Katie Webster, Z.Z. Hill, O.V. Wright, Buddy Guy, and the list goes on and on.
Tony Coleman
Tony Coleman

Tony was born August 12, 1955 in Kissimmee, Florida. He always knew that he wanted to play drums. When he was a baby, his grandmother would put a transistor radio in his crib to calm him and he would tap out the beat of the music. He was playing drums with various local bands in Florida until he graduated from high school. On December 28,1973 he joined the US Army to get away from his hometown and to explore the world. After 3 years of Army life, Tony realized it was time to pursue his dream of becoming a world-class drummer. He moved to Chicago in the spring of ’77 along with a group of ex-Army partners. Tony played mostly in the garage with the group while their dream of becoming the next Earth, Wind & Fire seemed far away.

Tony’s aspirations were much higher, and he began to play drums with several well-known local bands. The word got out about this new drummer in town, and before long he met soul singer Otis Clay. He quickly joined Clay’s band and toured with him for a couple years, recording a live album in Tokyo, Japan. From touring and recording with Otis Clay came opportunities to work with other major R&B and blues artists.
After a jam session in a Chicago club called The High Chaparral, B.B. King jammed with Otis Clay’s rhythm section, including Tony. B.B. liked the rhythm section so much that he asked them to join him as his touring band. So Tony Coleman, Russell Jackson and Leonard Gill became B.B. King’s rhythm section. As fate would have it, Tony was only with B.B. for a few months until B.B.’s ex-drummer returned.
Tony Coleman returned to Chicago and rejoined Otis Clay’s band for another tour in Japan. From Otis Clay, Tony moved to Dallas, Texas in 1980 to play drums for Johnnie Taylor. Tony toured with Johnnie for a couple of years and was then asked to join Bobby Blue Bland, with whom he worked for a few years. In the middle of a joint B.B. King/Bobby Blue Bland tour, B.B. needed a drummer and Tony ended up playing drums for both artists for the remainder of that tour – two shows a night. From that point, Tony rejoined B.B. King and toured with his organization for over 10 years performing blues music around the globe.
In 1999, Tony realized the time was right for him to do his own thing. Tony now tours, records, plays golf and writes songs for various blues artists. In addition, he has written jingles for Northwest Airlines and Calloway Golf Company; he’s also featured in a television commercial for Calloway Golf introducing the Odyssey White Hot Putter. But Tony is most at home when he is behind a drum set playing the blues.
His first CD _Out in the Open_ received great reviews, with guest artists Lucky Peterson, Kenny Neal and Frankie Lee contributing their talents. His second album, _Travelin’ Man_, was released in the U.S. in February 2002 and featured such guests as the Earth, Wind & Fire horn section, Lucky Peterson and other great names of blues.

Louis Armstrong


Sachtmo Pops

A Young Virtuoso:

In his teens, Armstrong proved to be a talented cornet player, and soon he was a featured as a soloist in local bands. In 1922, he was invited by bandleader Joe “King” Oliver to join his group in Chicago, Illinois. Armstrong began to outshine Oliver, and ambitiously decided to try his luck in New York City. He moved there briefly in 1924 to join Fletcher Henderson’s big band. During this time he switched from cornet to trumpet.

He returned to Chicago in 1925 to record some of his most famous music with his Hot Five and Hot Seven bands. His playing on these records earned him acclaim and popularity for solos that were virtuosic and joyfully melodic. The risks and liberties he took on the trumpet were were exciting and unprecedented. He also endeared himself to audiences with his warm and often humorous vocals. He is credited with developing the wordless style of improvised singing known as “scat singing.”


A highly skilled musician, Armstrong succeeded in balancing his artistic integrity with popular appeal. His personality onstage and off was gregarious and lovable, and he was soon performing all over the country, especially in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. Although the 1930s were slow for the music industry, Armstrong toured continually, and even brought his act to Europe.

The 1940s were very fruitful, and aside from making several recordings, he appeared in over 30 films. His career remained steady from then on, and in 1964 the title track from his record “Hello, Dolly!” reached number one on the pop charts, beating even the Beatles. He toured Europe, Africa, and Asia on U.S. State Department-sponsored tours, and continued to thrill audiences until his death in 1971.



To this day, Armstrong is regarded as the father of jazz. His sophistication and inventiveness as a trumpet player changed the course of improvisation, as he inspired musicians to improvise using their own unique styles. His influence was pivotal in the development of jazz in the first half of the century, and guided the creative output of such figures as Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Dizzy Gillespie. The joy he brought to the bandstand as a trumpeter, singer, and bandleader has yet to be matched.

Danny Barcelona

Danny Barcelona

(July 23, 1929 April 1, 2007) was a jazz drummer best known for his years with Louis Armstrong‘s All-Stars. He was a Filipino-American born in Waipahu a community of sugar cane plantation.


At the age of 18 and in his final year in high school, Barcelona was already playing music with trombonist, singer, and bandleader Trummy Young. Barcelona was a self-taught percussionist. Young and Barcelona met in the mid-1940s. Danny Barcelona was later introduced to Louis Armstrong in 1956 by Young. Barcelona became Armstrong’s drummer for 15 years. A native Hawaiian, Barcelona joined Young’s Hawaii All-Stars in the early 1950s, and then later assumed leadership of the said band – a sextet known as the Hawaiian Dixieland All-Stars – when Young himself left to join Louis Armstrong’s combo in 1952. Barcelona toured around the Hawaiian Islands, Japan and the rest of the Far East. In the fall of 1957, Barcelona moved to New York City. Barcelona, again through Trummy Young’s recommendation, formally joined Armstrong’s All-Stars band in February 1958 to replace retiring drummer Barrett Deems and to record jazz music with Armstrong for more than 130 times. Barcelona was only 27 years old when he was introduced by Young to Armstrong. Barcelona’s recording career with Armstrong included the jazz music hits “Hello, Dolly!” (1964) and “What a Wonderful World” (1968). With Armstrong and Young, Barcelona, traveled the world which included trips to Denmark, Germany and Rhodesia, Africa. Barcelona was described by T. Dennis Brown in The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz as a drummer “characterized by extensive use of the ride cymbal, crisp, clean fills and breaks, and solos that exploit asymmetrical phrasing”. After Armstrong’s illness in 1971 and his death on July 6 of the same year, Barcelona returned to Hawaii and became a permanent performer at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel to play with Bernie Halmann and Melveen Leed. He also worked for many years at Harry’s Music Store and the Easy Music Center. In 1979, Barcelona returned to the mainland and settled with his family in Monterey Park, California.



Barcelona died at Monterey Park on Sunday, April 1, 2007, due to complications at the age of 77.

Nigel Olsson


Nigel Olsson is an English rock drummer, who is best known for his affiliation with Elton John. Olsson helped establish the Elton John sound as the

first member of John’s band, on drums, percussion and backing




Neil Peart

Hard rock, Progressive rock, Heavy metal


John Bonham

Hard rock, Heavy metal, Folk rock


Ginger Baker

Hard rock, Jazz fusion, Blues-rock


Keith Moon

Rock music, Hard rock, Pop rock


Terry Bozzio

Classical music, Alternative rock, Rock music


Bill Bruford

Rock music, Progressive rock, Jazz fusion


Danny Carey

Progressive rock, Jazz fusion, Heavy metal


Mike Portnoy

Hard rock, Progressive rock, Heavy metal


Ian Paice

Hard rock, Progressive rock, Heavy metal


Carl Palmer

Rock music, Hard rock, Progressive rock


Stewart Copeland

Rock music, Jazz, New Wave


Dave Lombardo

Heavy metal, Thrash metal, Death metal


Steve Gadd

Rock music, Jazz fusion, Rhythm and blues


Vinnie Colaiuta

Rock music, Jazz fusion, Heavy metal


Carter Beauford

Alternative rock, Rock music, Rhythm and blues


Tim Alexander

Alternative rock, Rock music, Jazz fusion


Simon Phillips

Rock music, Hard rock, Jazz fusion


Rod Morgenstein

Rock music, Hard rock, Jazz fusion


Matt Cameron

Alternative rock, Hard rock, Heavy metal


Dennis Chambers

Jazz fusion, Jazz, Funk


Chad Wackerman

Rock music, Jazz fusion, Jazz


Phil Collins

Rock music, Progressive rock, Jazz fusion


Mitch Mitchell

Rock music, Hard rock, Jazz fusion


Virgil Donati

Jazz fusion, Jazz, Progressive metal


Max Weinberg

Rock music, Popular music, Jazz


Vinnie Paul

Heavy metal, Thrash metal, Glam metal


Ansley Dunbar


Michael Shrieve


David Garibaldi


Steve Smith

Rock music, Hard rock, Jazz fusion


Josh Freese

Alternative rock, Rock music, Hard rock


Alex Van Halen

Hard rock, Jazz fusion, Heavy metal


Billy Cobham

Rock music, Progressive rock, Jazz fusion


Bill Ward

Hard rock, Heavy metal, Blues-rock


Alan White

Hard rock, Progressive rock, Pop rock


Carmine Appice

Rock music, Hard rock, Heavy metal

Stanton Moore

Alternative rock, Rock music, Heavy metal


Nicko McBrain

Hard rock, Progressive rock, Heavy metal

Scott Rockenfield


Hal Blaine

Pop music, Rock and roll


Joey Jordison

Hard rock, Heavy metal, Punk rock


Marco Minnemann

Rock music, Progressive rock, Heavy metal


Cozy Powell

Rock music, Hard rock, Progressive rock


Tommy Aldridge

Hard rock, Heavy metal, Blues-rock


Chester Thompson

Progressive rock, Jazz fusion, Pop rock


Morgan Agren


Jeff Porcaro

Rock music, Hard rock, Progressive rock


Deen Castronovo

Rock music, Hard rock, Speed metal


Mike Giles


Jeff Campitelli


Nick Mason

Hard rock, Progressive rock, Psychedelic rock


Greg Bissonette

Gregg Bisonette Gregg Bissonette
Gregg Bisonette

Gregg Bissonette, is an American drummer. He has been a touring, session recording, and full-time drum set player in many jazz and rock bands.

Rock, Jazz


Mike Bordin

Alternative rock, Hard rock, Heavy metal


Ringo Starr

Rock music, Pop music, Psychedelic rock


Zak Starkey

Alternative rock, Rock music, Hard rock


Jon Theodore

Progressive rock, Experimental rock


Phil Ehart

Rock music, Progressive rock


Clive Bunker


Jimmy Chamberlin

Alternative rock, Jazz fusion


Charlie Watts

Rock music, Hard rock, Blues-rock


Lars Ulrich

Hard rock, Heavy metal, Thrash metal


Brian Mantia


Mike Sus


Jason Rullo

Progressive metal, Neo-classical metal


Dave Grohl

Alternative rock, Rock music, Hard rock


Pat Mastelotto


Mick Fleetwood

Rock music, Blues-rock, Blues


Raymond Herrera

Rock music, Heavy metal, Thrash metal


Brann Dailor

Progressive rock, Heavy metal, Death metal


Matt McDonough


Scott Travis

Hard rock, Heavy metal, Speed metal


Jack Irons

Alternative rock, Rock music, Hard rock


Roger Taylor

Alternative rock, Pop rock, New Wave


Jose Pasillas


Earl Palmer


B.J. Wilson

Rock music


Joey Kramer

Rock music, Hard rock, Heavy metal


Gene Holgan


Danny Seraphine

Rock music


Igor Graziano Cavalera

Heavy metal, Electronic music, Thrash metal


Brian Downey

Hard rock, Heavy metal, Blues-rock


Travis Barker

Alternative rock, Progressive rock, Drum and bass


Taylor Hawkins

Alternative rock, Rock music, Hard rock


Nicholas Barker

Thrash metal, Black metal, Death metal


Paul Bostaph

Thrash metal, Progressive metal


Chad Smith

Alternative rock, Rock music, Hard rock


Brad Wilk

Alternative rock, Rock music, Hard rock


Alan Gray


Matt Sorum

Alternative rock, Rock music, Hard rock


John Dolmayan

Alternative rock, Rock music, Hard rock


Chad Sexton

Alternative rock, Funk-rock, Reggae


Mark Zonder


Gary Husband

Progressive rock, Jazz fusion, Jazz


John Densmore

Rock music, Hard rock, Jazz fusion


Jon Fishman

Rock music, Jazz fusion, Punk rock


Al Jackson

Rhythm and blues, Soul music, Funk


Jim Gordon

Hard rock, Blues-rock, Pop music


Dave Abbruzzese

Alternative rock, Rock music, Hard rock


Sean Kinney

Alternative rock, Hard rock, Heavy metal

Karen Carpenter


Date of Birth

2 March 1950, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Date of Death

4 February 1983, Downey, California, USA (heart failure caused by chronic anorexia)

Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Karen Carpenter moved with her family to Downey, California, in 1963. Karen’s older brother, Richard Carpenter, decided to put together an instrumental trio with him on the piano, Karen on the drums and their friend Wes Jacobs on the bass and tuba. In a battle of the bands at the Hollywood Bowl in 1966, the group won first place and landed a contract with RCA Records. However, RCA did not see a future in jazz tuba, and the contract was short-lived.

Karen and Richard formed another band, Spectrum, with four other fellow students from California State University at Long Beach that played several gigs before disbanding. In 1969, Karen and Richard made several demo music tapes and shopped them around to different record companies; they were eventually offered a contract with A&M Records. Their first hit was a reworking of The Beatles hit “Ticket to Ride”, followed by a re-recorded version of Burt Bacharach‘s “Close to You”, which sold a million copies.

Soon Richard and Karen became one of the most successful groups of the early 1970s, with Karen on the drums and lead vocals and Richard on the piano with backup vocals. They won three Grammy Awards, embarked on a world tour, and landed their own TV variety series in 1971, titled “Make Your Own Kind of Music!” (1971).


In 1975 the story came out when The Carpenters were forced to cancel a European tour because the gaunt Karen was too weak to perform. Nobody knew that Karen was at the time suffering from anorexia nervosa, a mental illness characterized by obsessive dieting to a point of starvation. In 1976 she moved out of her parents’ house to a condo of her own.

While her brother Richard was recovering from his Quaalude addiction, Karen decided to record a solo album in New York City in 1979 with producer Phil Ramone. Encouraged by the positive reaction to it in New York, Karen was eager to show it to Richard and the record company in California, who were nonplussed. The album was shelved.

In 1980, she married real estate developer Thomas J. Burris. However, the unhappy marriage really only lasted a year before they separated. (Karen was to sign the divorce papers the day she died).


Shortly afterward, she and brother Richard were back in the recording studio, where they recorded their hit single “Touch Me When We’re Dancing”. However, Karen was unable to shake her depression as well as her eating disorder, and after realizing she needed help, she spent most of 1982 in New York City undergoing treatment. By 1983, Karen was starting to take control of her life and planning to return to the recording studio and to make public appearances again. In February of 1983, she went to her parents’ house to sort through some old clothes she kept there when she collapsed in a walk-in closet from cardiac arrest. She was only 32. Doctors revealed that her long battle with anorexia nervosa had stressed her heart to the breaking point.

27th April 1972:  British pop rock group Uriah Heep arrive sitting on the back of a tank at the Benrather Castle in Germany to promote their current tour of the country.  (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
27th April 1972: British pop rock group Uriah Heep arrive sitting on the back of a tank at the Benrather Castle in Germany to promote their current tour of the country. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)


Jim Riley
Jim was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and from an early age, showed real interest in music. He began his formal studies of percussion at age 12, the same year he began singing with the Youth Pro Musica choir. In High school, Jim began his studies with Boston Symphony percussionist, Arthur Press. In addition to Participating in the Natick High band program, Jim was also performing with the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble. He was also elected to ‘All State’ his final three years in school.
Upon graduation, he attended the University of North Texas, where the studied drums with Ed Soph and Timpani with The Dallas Symphony’s Kal Cherry. During his Tenure at NT, Jim was heavily involved with their nationally acclaimed Jazz program, as well as being a member of the top orchestra, wind ensemble, and percussion ensemble at the university. In the area of marching percussion, Jim performed with the NT drumline, where they won 5 national championships. He also played in the Drum Corps International Finals as a member of the Velvet Knights Drum and Bugle Corps.
After receiving his degree in Music Education, Jim accepted a position as the Head of Percussion Studies for the Coppell Independent School District in Coppell, TX. In 1995, Jim moved to Kansas City in pursuit of his dreams to be a professional musician. While recording with local guitarist Jeff Scheetz, he took a job with Kansas City Drumworks building and selling custom drums. It was at this time that Jim began his long relationship with The VPR Creative Group as a writer and performer with the Sticks of Thunder percussion ensemble.
In 1997, Jim made the move to Nashville looking to further his career as a performer. Less than a year later, he was playing with Country artist Mark Chesnutt and outlaw rocker Hank Williams III. The real turning point in Jim’s career came in 2000, when he took the job as drummer and band leader for Rascal Flatts. Jim is currently on Rascal Flatts’ ‘Me and My Gang’ tour, which is expected to play to well over a million people. Rascal Flatts has sold over 10 million records and is the most successful country group of the new millennium. In addition to his work with Rascal Flatts, Jim keeps busy playing sessions in Nashville, where he and his wife, Jaime, reside.
Glen Sobel Portrait Shoot And Interview
Glen Sobel Portrait Shoot And Interview

Danny Seraphine: Update

May 2, 2011 Posted in: Drummers, Feature Stories

(June 2011 Issue)

Danny Seraphine : Modern Drummer
By Bob Girouard

It seems that since Danny Seraphine made a comeback of sorts of the 2006 Modern Drummer Festival, he’s kicked the current phase of his drumming career into high gear, appearing at events like Drummers for Jesus, the 2009 Chicago Drum Show, and a Terry Kath tribute, and making a memorable appearance at Donn Bennett’s Drum Shop in Seattle. Seraphine’s autobiography, Street Player: My Chicago Story, and new DVD, The Art of Jazz Rock Drumming, have also hit the shelves recently. MD sat down with the legendary drummer to find out more about his latest projects.

MD: How do you feel the reception to your recent comeback has been? Danny: The Modern Drummer Festival is something I’ll never forget. It was really gratifying; it’s hard to explain all the emotions. I thank everyone at MD, along with my equipment sponsors, DW, Remo, Zildjian, and Pro-Mark. But most of all I thank the drummers of the world who welcomed me back. When I think about it, it still gives me chills. The reception out there has been incredible.

I used to be nervous doing clinics. I’d rather play in front of 50,000 people than fifty drummers, you know? I do a lot of clinics, and I feel the love. There are some guys who look at you and think, I’m faster than he is. But nearly all the drummers I’ve played to are those who’ve been influenced by my early stuff and are big followers of the jazz-rock genre. It’s an incredible genre for drummers—really liberating.

MD: Since your departure from Chicago, you’ve done some very cool projects, including producing recording artists and Broadway shows. Were those rewarding experiences for you? And what made you want to get back in the game, so to speak? Danny: I always try to do something that moves me artistically and spiritually. At that point in time I was kind of in exile from music. For the Broadway show, I was approached to find investors, which I had never done before. Because of my musical pedigree, I ended up getting involved with cast-soundtrack albums. I was involved with two shows between 2003 and 2005. One was Bombay Dreams, which was written and composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and A.R. Rahman [Slumdog Millionaire]. The second was called Brooklyn. Both were incredible, with great scores, but when you get a lukewarm review on Broadway, it’s the kiss of death.

At the same time, I produced some really great but unknown artists. As far as success, some of it was there but not all the way there, if you know what I mean. The lightbulb finally went off in my head, saying, Get back to playing. Not to mention that many people were asking me why I wasn’t drumming. So I took some private refresher lessons with Joe Porcaro to work on my technique, and here I am.

MD: Full Circle, by your group California Transit Authority, is a killer calling card. You’ve kept the spirit of the original Chicago sound—especially of the first two albums—with a fresh, adventurous approach. And your guitarist, Marc Bonilla, practically channels Terry Kath. How difficult was it to find players who could give you what you were looking for? Danny: If you talk to most of the younger cats, it all started with jazz-rock being the catalyst to becoming musicians. Marc was a big fan of Terry’s, and he’s the best guitarist I’ve played with since then. Keyboard player Peter Fish is a brilliant arranger. Our other keyboardist, Ed Roth—what a player! Bassist Mick Mahan has a great pocket. And then you’ve got singer Larry Braggs, who brings the R&B thing to the Chicago thing. CTA is a labor of love.

MD: What’s going on with the band at present? Danny: We’re working on a new record called Promises. It’s all originals except for a Blood, Sweat & Tears song and a Chicago song that I cowrote. They’re all in the jazz-rock genre, which nobody’s doing. It’s a dying art, you know?

MD: A very cool thing about your DVD is the way you present your approach to the beats and fills you created, within the framework of your music. You cut in and out of each song with a conversational, easy-to-understand analysis. How did you want to make your video different from the many you’ve come across? Danny: Well, the lion’s share of credit goes to [Drum Workshop and Drum Channel founder] Don Lombardi. Like the guy who cowrote my book, Adam Mitchell, Don really helped me craft the DVD. We discussed the approach, and he stayed on it diligently. We wanted to entertain as well as educate. For twenty-three years with Chicago, I wasn’t allowed to talk, and now you can’t shut me up! [laughs] It’s been fun reaching out to the drummers of the world, and I want them to know that I’m approachable on anything. MD: The disc also highlights four great cuts: “Introduction,” “Antonio’s Love Jungle,” “I’m a Man,” and “25 or 6 to 4.” You stay faithful to the arrangements, but at the same time you aren’t afraid to stretch with solos. It’s almost like a jazz concept in a big band format. Was that your emphasis from the start? Danny: That’s a good analogy. Interestingly, on the new CD we have a full brass section. It kind of happened by accident. In the summer of 2006 I was asked to play at a benefit for the photographer Lissa Wales. At the time I couldn’t pull a horn section together, so Marc Bonilla suggested he play some of the horn parts on guitar. Consequently, it sounded like Chicago on steroids. It was, to say the least, powerful.

MD: Your own playing continues to amaze. Stylistically, you have so much of Buddy Rich in your execution, but you rock like crazy at the same time. Danny: Yeah, there’s Buddy and a lot of Gene Krupa. I think I was only ten or eleven when The Gene Krupa Story soundtrack came out. I really learned how to play by listening to it. Buddy told me personally that Gene influenced him. I’m really blessed, because they were the foundation of my playing—as well as rock guys like Hal Blaine, Mitch Mitchell, Ringo Starr, Dino Danelli…. All these guys had a style. My ambition was always to integrate elements from whoever I learned from.

MD: You have that perfect combination of being self-taught and studying formally. Do you feel that’s a must for today’s young players? Danny: I don’t like to preach, but there’s nothing I can say to these “chops cats.” I appreciate what they’re doing, and they’re giving me all kinds of ideas. But you know what? It’s not just about the drummer world; it’s about the rest of the world. Even with today’s styles, the drummer’s role is to hold it together. I don’t care if it’s country, alt rock, metal, whatever—it’s about the groove. That is absolutely first and foremost, and once you get that in your head, everything else is easy. Furthermore, the other musicians in the band will appreciate you.

MD: Many of us are still puzzled by your dismissal from Chicago in 1990. Danny: The dismissal thing was bullshit. I got caught on the wrong end of a power play. What happened was during the drug-and-alcohol days, I stepped on a lot of people’s toes. Eventually, everybody got straight again—which I was very proud of achieving for myself—and all of a sudden they wanted to put me in the background. In other words, it was like, “Go back on the drums and shut up!” First, it was patronizing. And second, that’s just not my way. The agenda was “disguised” by my playing, and I believed it at first. But I realized that, yes, there might have been some truth [to the accusation] that I was too involved with the business at the time. But these guys were like brothers. Sure, there were typical band dynamics, but that’s the case in every band. All in all, the whole experience made me a better drummer and a better person. I’m not wealthy like I used to be, but I’m rich in other ways, so I’m grateful.

MD: When you first arrived on the scene, it is well known that Buddy Rich mentioned you, along with Bobby Colomby, as among his favorite drummers. He made no secret about his disdain for rock drummers, so this was a real badge of honor. Has it remained something that you consciously or subconsciously uphold to this day? Danny: Without a doubt! It’s like getting an endorsement from God. Buddy was a good friend, and it was such a great honor to be acknowledged by your drum hero, not to mention in front of millions of people who heard him say that on television.

MD: You’re presenting a fresh take on a style that’s been ignored for a while. You have something special with CTA, but given the state of today’s technology and the constant media barrage, it’s hard to get any art form, especially music, to stick. Do you think you can crack the mass market? Danny: I don’t know. It’s so frightening. But I think what we can do is rally the troops, so to speak—people who really miss and want good music. And if they like it, perhaps they’ll buy a CD and tell their friends, who’ll tell their friends. It will be difficult, but I’m up to the task. I have to be pragmatic about my expectations, and my priority is getting the band out there and touring. I love what I do and want to keep doing it. I also want to help others in the process and share whatever I know with other drummers. I’ve had the chance to do things that most people can only dream of.

MD: In looking at the many photos and videos of you over the years, it seems you’re comfortable with any drum configuration—from early five-piece setups with two floor toms to two mounted rack toms to the three-rack, three-floor, two-kick setup you’re currently using. How have you been able to master all of them? Danny: I think that’s kind of the fun of it—adjusting to what you have in front of you and making it work for you. I try to use what I have within the framework of the music—for instance, with Chicago, using a lot of colors and cymbals, and now using different-size drums with CTA. Although I love playing with a small bass drum, I’m now using a 23″ bass drum, and it’s deep.

MD: Did you spend a lot of time mastering the double pedal before integrating it into your kit? Danny: Yes. I worked with Chuck Flores on independence and foot technique, and we worked on developing my left foot. I mean, today guys like Thomas Lang play things with their feet that most drummers can’t do with their hands. I love practicing and using a double pedal. It’s a constant challenge, but I feel I’m doing so much more in the process and integrating it into my style at the same time.

MD: The positioning of your drums and cymbals is set by your arm length and reach—much like Buddy Rich. Do you subscribe to the “no wasted motion” theory? Danny: Oh, yeah. That was the beauty of Buddy. He had hardly any wasted motion, until he went into super-overdrive. His overdrive was, of course, beyond human; he had a gear that no one except maybe Billy Cobham had, where everybody watching would think, How did he do that? But even though you might not be able to duplicate what they’d be doing, you could still get something out of it. My advice: Watch and learn.

MD: It’s obvious that you’ve been well schooled in drum rudiments. But a lot of your style is about feel. Do you think about rudiments or about sound when you apply a sticking pattern to the music? Danny: I don’t think in terms of rudiments. I think only in terms of sound and feel. Even though I’m not thinking in terms of RLRR, LRLL, however, subconsciously I am using rudiments to facilitate what I need to do.

MD: What’s your stand on formal practicing on the drumset? Danny: Practicing, for me, depends a lot on where I am at the moment. I do most of it on pads. There’s a discipline on pads that you don’t have on drums. Then I go over to the drums and experiment. Yes, I believe practice is essential—if you want to keep moving forward and learning, you need to practice and listen.

My Kenny Aronoff Story

Michael Miller

I first heard Kenny Aronoff around 1977 in Bloomington, Indiana. I was attending the Indiana University music school at the time, and Kenny was back in town after graduating a year or so earlier. He was playing with some former bandmates of mine in a jazz fusion group called Streamwinner, and he impressed the heck out of me with his blazing fusion drumming technique. Imagine my surprise a few years later when I heard that Kenny was going to be the new drummer for the artist then known as John Cougar–after all, Cougar was a solid rock gig, and Kenny was a jazz fusion drummer!

Well, Kenny adapted his style to such a degree that I couldn’t tell that it was the same guy. His playing with Cougar/Mellencamp was powerful and deceptively simple, just what the band and the songs needed. Listening to Kenny’s playing over the years reveals a drummer with incredible musical intelligence, great ears, and a total lack of ego–he plays exactly what’s needed, even if he’s using only a fraction of his total technique. It’s no wonder that Kenny Aronoff is so in demand among today’s top artists.

For a sampling of the “best of Aronoff,” you can listen to Jon Bon Jovi’s Destination Anywhere, Garth Brooks’ The Life of Chris Gaines, Belinda Carlisle’s Heaven on Earth, Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Stones in the Road, Shawn Colvin’s Cover Girl, Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love, Melissa Etheridge’s Your Little Secret, John Fogerty’s Premonition, Ricky Martin’s Ricky Martin, Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell 2/Back Into Hell, Michael Penn’s March, Iggy Pop’s Brick by Brick, Bob Seger’s The Fire Inside, Rod Stewart’s A Spanner in the Works, or any of John Mellencamp’s earlier albums, including American Fool, Uh-Huh, and Scarecrow. In addition, Kenny was the uncredited drummer behind “The Wonders” (or was that “The Oneders?”) in the movie That Thing You Do!, and he played on both Burning for Buddy Buddy Rich tribute albums.

From the initial planning of this book, I wanted Kenny to somehow be a part of what I was writing. I liked the idea of including a fellow Hoosier drummer and I.U. grad, and I knew that Kenny would reinforce the main concepts I’d be writing about. (Besides that, all the drummers here in Indiana–including my publisher’s husband!–know Kenny, and not including something from him might get me drummed out of the state!)

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
Carola Grey
Carola Grey
Carola Grey 2
Carola Grey


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Sources: Photo/Image: Drum carried by John Unger, Company B, 40th Regiment New York Veteran Volunteer Infantry Mozart Regiment, December 20, 1863
A photo from the Tom Lennon Photographic Collection from the Powerhouse Museum. Date: October 1935, Source: http://www.flikr.com/photos/powerhouse_museum.

Peckman, Jonathan (2007). Picture Yourself Drumming, p.30. ISBN 1-59863-330-9 http://www.music.vt.edu/musicdictionary/textd/drumkit.html retrieved 29 January 2012 Remnant, M. (1989). Musical instruments. (pp. 159-174). London: B.T. Batsford Ltd. For example Trinity College London http://www.trinitycollege.co.uk/site/?id=1794 retrieved 20 March 2012. Porter/Hullman/Hazel (1993). Jazz – From its Origins to the Present, p.18. ISBN 0-13-512195-7. Porter/Hullman/Hazel (1993). Jazz – From its Origins to the Present, p.44. ISBN 0-13-512195-7, http://meinlpercussion.com/no_cache/percussion/meinl-percussion/timbales/action/show/Product/1323/#item1323 retrieved 28 February 2012: a pair of 8″ diameter timbale shells with a depth of 9″ and 11″ respectively8″ x 9″, 8″ x 11″ Remnant, M. (1989). Musical instruments. (pp. 159-174). London: B.T. Batsford Ltd “Warren ‘Baby’ Dodds”. The Percussive Arts Society. Retrieved 21 November 2011. “Dodds’ way of playing press rolls ultimately evolved into the standard jazz ride-cymbal pattern. Whereas many drummers would play very short press rolls on the backbeats, Dodds would start his rolls on the backbeats but extend each one to the following beat, providing a smoother time flow.” ^ a b Peckman (2007), p.31. ^ Steve Weiss Music http://www.steveweissmusic.com/category/drum-sets – drummufflers.com – Musician’s Friend Tech Tip: Muffling Your Drums



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