So who are the greatest drummers of all time? John Bonham and Keith Moon immediately come to mind, but I never saw either of them live. In fact, I pay very little attention to drums in general, so hopefully I will learn a lot in this thread.
I have to mention Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Dr. Garbanzohters, because he literally blew my mind. Wow. The two drummers I've felt the most sorry for are the dude from STS9, and the dude from Helmet/Battles. They look like they are laboring through their sets, while Taylor Hawkins looks like he is floating on air. I still think the Battles and STS9 dudes belong in this discussion.
The others that stand out immediately, the Phish drummer has more bangers to hit than I have ever seen. The double bass metal drummers always impress me, and Slipknot's drummer was really the only entertaining part of their show. I also heard Lumpy is a pretty decent drummer.
Danny Carey of Tool is my favorite drummer of all time. His drumkit is one of the largest I've ever seen and he takes the drums extremely seriously. Actually his drum set-up is one of the most interesting to look at as well.
He designed it himself and had the core drum kit made from recycled cymbals.
He's studied Tabla Drumming with Aloke Dutta, who is arguably the best Tabla drummer alive.
Knowing Maynard typically surrounds himself with the best musicians, like the greats do (Zappa, Les), I was expecting a lot from the A Perfect Circle show last week. He had the old Primus drummer (who is awesome) playing with him during his recent Puscifer tour, yet on this night, he had the dude from Devo drumming. Apparently, it was the Devo dude's first night performing with APC. No wonder I left disappointed. It was a neat show, but boring overall.
I don't follow APC or Devo closely, but as far as I know, it was Josh Freese. Maynard said it was the drummers first APC show, so who knows if he was full of shit. All I know is the drummer was less than inspiring, and looked just like the sleeveless dude from the Flash Mob commercial.
If it was josh freese you must have caught him on an off night cause he's usually quite impressive. I doubt it was him though cause I thought he said he was sitting out this APC tour to tour with weezer (weird choice...). Besides being the permanent APC and Devo drummer, Josh used to tour with Guns and Roses and Nine Inch Nails
Post by Friendly Destroyer on Jul 7, 2011 10:17:22 GMT -5
I love drums and percussion! I think it is the most creative and inspirational instrument/aspect of many albums. The 3-D soundscape the right type of drum production can do is unparalleled by any other instrument to me. Songwriting is obviously first and foremost, but the right drum sound or drummer makes all the difference in how the songs are brought to life.
Why I say inspirational is because often some of the best songwriters are not always the most proficient musical players. Having a drummer who understands the songwriting allows the artist (or band) to go where ever they want. Chris Frantz (Talking Heads) would probably be a good starting point to illustrate what I'm fumbling with here. To me a better example would be Michael Blair. He is a long time drummer of Tom Waits, who did the majority of the percussion on all of his 80's and beyond abums
In Waits' songwriting he is looking to bring to life something more than just a song. There is a definite feeling only akin to his music (especially his 80’s output) that transcends through each song. He is also borrowing from many traditional styles of music (mainly from the 30’s and 40’s), yet obviously has no intention of trying to get some kind of “Revival” sound. It’s all very creative, singular and subtle stuff. When you think about albums like Swordfish, Rain Dogs and Frank’s Wild Years it’s pretty incredible that they sound so creative and unique, when really they are only hair away from sounding like someone pilfering all the “cool” aspects of the 30’s and 40’s and calling it their own. Michael Blair’s intuition of the sound Waits is going for really brings his songwriting across that pilfering line and into some kind of bizzaro alien world of songwriting that is totally his own. Having someone as solid as Blair to keep the beat (Blair is also responsible for most of the percussion as well) allows Waits and the rest of the band to venture off into whatever direction they feel like going (all while still delivering a concise song) .
I also love drummers who have a very distinct and creative voice (drum voice, not vocal voice). Guys like Levon Helm (the Band) and Joe “Zigaboo” Medeliste (The Meters) excel at this. They both play very traditional groove music, but elevate the songs entirely as a result of their interpretations of standard groove and rhythm. This is cool to me because it is brilliant drumming at its simplest. In the case of Helm, songs like “The Weight” or Neil Young’s “See the Sky About to Rain” are so completely unsoulful in their writing, but are dripping with soul on the recordings as a result of him adding his inflections on some very standard songwriting.
Although drummers like Neil Pert and Dany Carey are beyond impressive in a technical sense, I love guys like Harvey Mason (Herbie Hancock, Headhunters. He’s also worked with Beck) and Elvin Jones (Coltrane, Love Supreme) when it comes to virtuosity and technical playing. Again, for me it all goes back to how they allow the musicians around them to perform at their best and most creative. The clear distinction for their role, opposed to Blair’s and Frantz’s, is they are simultaneously establishing a backbone for wild improvisation and initiating the improvisation themselves. Wicked fucking talent that can melt your mind (PS – sorry for bringing Jazz into this, but you know…)
Amazing modern drummers for me are Glenn Kotch (Wilco) and Thorvaldur Thór Thorvaldsson (Jonsi).
Post by Friendly Destroyer on Jul 7, 2011 10:28:26 GMT -5
I was very disappointed to only find a 16sec clip.
Man, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. I'm more familiar with drumming in somewhat of a tradional context. When I first heard "Optiganally Yours" I was blown away by his use of percussion and the recording of it. That is the type of shit that takes you inside your headphones.