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listomatic: little drummer boy

Happy birthday to Alex Van Halen.

In his honor, great rock drummers, in no particular order:

  • Keith Moon
  • Dave Grohl
  • Neil Peart
  • John Bonham
  • Bill Bruford
  • Mike Portnoy
  • Bill Ward
  • Ginger Baker
  • Dave Lombardo
  • And duh, yea. Mike Bordin

Add on, per usual.

Also, I'm not a big fan of drum solos (whenever I think drum solo, I think "Moby Dick....dick...dick..." and I promptly fall asleep) but I wouldn't be opposed to you listing your favorite solos in the comments.


Dan Dinsmore from the Clay People, Dude sounds like a figgin drum machine when he plays... You have to see him live to really appreciate it.

I always thought he kind of looked like an accountant, really out of place in a metal band.

Trym from Emperor was a monster on the skins. I hear from metal-loving colleagues that Virgil Donati is pretty darn good as well.

Can't leave out Danny Carey, Sean Reinart, and Richard Christy.

Favorite drum solo: any live Neil Peart solo.

I usually get bored by the solos too, so thinking of great drummers in terms of their contribution to overall sound:

Elvin Jones (backing up Coltrane)
Mike Bordin (from a little band called Faith No More)

Bill Bruford, Chester Thompson and yes, Phil Collins pre-1978, when he kept his mouth shut and drummed like a hellish goblin behind Peter Gabriel and co.

OMG, Bun E.Carlos RULES!!!.my personal fave hands down

Abe Cunningham from the deftones has always been a favorite of mine...

The intro to Around the Fur sticks out in my mind, nothing too terribly comlplicated, but I like it.

Joe Piscopo....

And I still love the drum solo in "Soul Sacrifice" ,short,sweet and to the point

and an honorable mention goes to Prairie Prince,

Remember the drummer in Santana when they performed at Woodstock? (Not that I was there....I bought the album and saw the movie - in the theater, no less).

That kid was 15 at the time, from what I've heard - and he was awesome.

Rick Allen with both arms

When I used to go see Rush at the Garden, Neils drum solo was my signal for a pee break. Not that he wasn't fantastic, its just once you heard it...you don't need to hear it again.

Hitting both sides of the rock spectrum, I'd go with Levon Helm from The Band and Chad Sexton from 311. Having seen them both live multiple times, they are tighter than the proverbial gnat's ass.

Honorable mentions go to Tony Thompson, Carter Beauford (DMB), Stewart Copeland (The Police) and Alan Wren (Stone Roses).

Matt Cameron and Herb Alexander. Some would say Brain over Herb but not me.

Steve Perkins, Jane's Addiction.

Terry Bozzio...more fluid than Jeff Beck....oops!

Aynsley Dunbar? Zappa thought so.

Jamie Muir? Bruford thought so. Said he learned more about drumming from that guy with a saw blade than many jazzers could teach.

Best solo? Mastellato and Bruford, B'boom, Buenos Aires, 1994. But maybe it's not a solo if there are two drummers...

forgot Billy Cobham. monstrous.

well, i'm partial to Torry Castellano (the drummer for The Donnas), but then again, i'm shallow, and i'm only picking her based on looks.

Steve Gadd (Steely Dan) and John Hartman (Doobie Brothers).

I used to drum, and Mike Bordin was the best, Jerry, the best. Danny Carey is amazing as well. Herb from Primus has 4 arms I think.


Rick Allen, Chester Thompson.

Stewart Copeland from The Police.

Forget Don Henley.

Scott Rockenfield (Queensryche)
Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater)
Danny Carey (Tool)

Despite his personality and it being fashionable to loathe Metallica, I think Lars Ulrich is a fine drummer.

Trish,that was Michael Shrieve,he's the guy I was talking about doing "Soul Sacrifice" and yeah,he was just a kid and he smoked!

Ian Paice from Deep Purple.

Carl Palmer - ELP (Best)
Michael Giles - King Crimson (Good)
Bill Buford - King Crimson (Better)
Honorable Mentions:
Bill Ward - Sabbath
Mickey Hart - Greatful Dead
Tre Cool - Green Day
Larry Mullen Jr. - U2
Neil Pert - Rush

All-time faves...

Mighty Max Weinberg
Charlie Watts
Mauro Magellan (Georgia Satellites)
Sally Disaster (Fabulous Disaster)

And my #1 all-time favorite drummer, Gina Schock of the Go-Go's. This girl kicks ass and takes names on a nightly basis. ;-)

In terms of my favorite drummer who simultaneously sings (how the heck do they do that, anyway?) - my favorite is Laura Eyeliner, the lead singer/drummer of my favorite band, The Eyeliners.

Oh man, how could I forget my current two favorites?

Insert Sheepish Grin: Finally listened to something besides Epic and find that Mike Bordin has been a favorite of mine, I just didn't know what album it was we were listening to in the late 90s in Germany.

Clive Deamer from Robert Plant and The Strange Sensation makes me tingly in my happy place. Which is why I'd guess they call themselves that.

Once upon a time, I worked in a theater with a guy that had a band. I asked him if they played any Rush.


"How come?"

"Our drummer doesn't have six arms."

Don't forget Meg White.

I know you said Rock drummers but I have always liked Buddy Rich

I was going to steal your thunder, MikeR, and say Laura Baca, when she isn't up front singing.

It's difficult as hell to sing and play drums at the same time, but she can do both.

and Mikey: I don't think you're shallow for nominating Torry; I've ever seen anyone ATTACK a drumkit like she does and still be proficient.

Both ladies are damn good drummers. And attractive.

They aren't mutually exclusive.

But, being a guitar player, I'm partial to Gel & Allison.


I've Never seen...

Most of my favorites have already been covered, but I wanted to mention B.J. Wilson from Procol Harum. The guy is amazing. Learning a Peart riff just requires time and practise (lots and lots of practise)...learning some of B.J.'s work requires direct spiritual contact with the drumming gods.
The smoothest, most effortless drummer I've ever seen is Dave Weckl.
Technically, Terry Bozzio is hard to beat.
And finally, Matt Sorum is a helluva lot better than his work with GnR would indicate. Check out his work on the Buddy Rich tribute album "Burning for Buddy."

Wow. I can't believe Jimmy Chamberlin was not mentioned here...

You forgot Tommy Lee! :)

tommy lee doesn't count... dude has 3 arms, it's an unfair advantage

Hellloooo? Chad Smith...chili peppers.

Also...not well known names to general public but great drummers:
Abe Laboriel, Jr.-played with everyone (most recently Paul McCartney)
Dane Clark (Mellencamp and lots of records)
Scott Craigo (Eagles percussionist and drummer)
Curt Bisqura (again, you name it...Elton John, etc.)

oh, waitaminit. we can't forget the "drummer" for Hurra Torpedo now, can we?

mruce, I did a look-up on Michael Shrieve to see whatever happened to him and found this site, which has a link to his Woodstock solo.

This site says he was 19 when he joined Santana, but I'd always heard he was younger than that....one of those urban myths, I guess - or given the times we lived in then, a communal myth, maybe.

She asked for solos, too, not just everyone's favorite drummers.

I'd put forward Carl Palmer's solo in "Toccata" on the "Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends..." live album. Good mix of drum kit, tympani, tubular bells, and synthesizer percussion. Great dynamic and tempo control.

I concur with the already-mentioned YYZ solo (Neil Peart on "Exit Stage Left").

You can't talk about rock drumming with bowing in the direction of L.A. to Hal Blaine. Played on more hit records and with more artists than Gene Hackman's been in movies.

Does anyone else think the drum solo in Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is one of the stupidest extended moments in recorded history?

Rob@ L&R - I like the way you think. ;-)

Laura is amazing.
Torry is a fine drummer as well, looks aside. And she definitely does put on a helluva show back there, which is not an insignificant thing where R&R is concerned.

GeL and Allison have very different styles, but they are both incredible musicians. There's nobody this side of Chuck Berry who cuts more delicious licks than geL, in my book.

And don't forget that Lisa is a spectacularly inventive bass player. Basically she's a second kick-ass guitar player, just with bigger strings.

The Donnas paid their dues - they richly deserve the success they've enjoyed since moving to Atlantic. Those of us who love The Eyeliners are hopeful that their recent move to Blackheart Records will lead to similar recognition for all their hard work and their incredible talent...

"well, i'm partial to Torry Castellano (the drummer for The Donnas), but then again, i'm shallow, and i'm only picking her based on looks."

She's not as attractive in person, I actually went to HS (class of '97)& ran into them at a practice studio a couple of months ago.

Also,my roomate freshman year taught her how to play drums in eighth grade, she's come a LONG way, they all have, let me tell you, her style was so distracting when they first started out.

As for my personal favorites, I'm a bass player so I like "tight" drummers.

- John Stanier (Helmet) - To be able to play perfectly in all those off rhythms in 7 & 9 is amazing

- Brad Wilk (RATM) - Just simple (4 piece set) & on the rhythm hard

- Brian "Brain" Mantia (Primus) - Dope "on-the-point" stuff

- Tim "Herb" Alexander (Primus) - Dope
"off-the-point" stuff

& not necessarily one of my favs, but surprised I didn't see him mentioned:
Steve Smith, mostly known for his work with Journey.

Carl Palmer
Lenny White
Billy Cobham
Jon Wilcox (Utopia; his drumming on Singring & the Glass Guitar is tremendous).

Another obscure but great one, Sue Hadjopoulas who played for Joe Jackson, Simple Minds, Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, They Might Be Giants. She's just a lil thing and she surrounds herself with her drumkits and congas and dancers her way through the shows. She's an absolute pleasure just to watch and you'd never imagine she can hit so damn HARD.

"She's not as attractive in person"

Ummm... we're talking about the same girl, right? Plays drums for The Donnas?

"my roomate freshman year taught her how to play drums"

Yeah, and I taught EVH how to tune his guitar.

And that "finger-tap" thing?

Showed him that, too.

Cozy Powell -- saw him with ELP, and on the way out, a buddy of mine said, "Who would have thought that you'd go to a show w/ Keith Emerson and everyone would walk out talking about the drummer?"

Best Drum Solo -- Ginger Baker w/Masters of Reality, 1990, @ Bogart's in Cincinnati. I'm a drummer and I get bored with solos, but Ginger played for about 8 minutes, hit a cymbal maybe three times over that span, and was absolutely riveting. In a nifty bit of showmanship, he actually removed a cymbal from its stand and replaced it with another without losing the beat or the audience's interest.

Ringo Starr -- Although the Beatles are band non grata around here, I have to give Ritchie his props. Yeah, it all sounds moron simple -- until YOU have to come up with the signature licks for "Ticket to Ride", "Tomorrow Never Knows", or "Come Together", and his performances on "Dear Prudence", "Rain" and "She Said She Said" are all astonishingly musical as well.

Albert Bouchard. Make all the cowbell jokes you want, but then go back and listen to all that early Blue Oyster Cult -- he knows when to plod and he knows when to swing. Besides, as a Lawn Guy Land homie of Michele's, I figure he deserves a mention.

Clem Burke and Rat Scabies -- finishers 1 and 1A in the Keith Moon soundalike contest, punk/wave division.

Huge props to Hal Blaine -- along w/ Keith and Ringo, one of my biggest influences.

And Michele -- did you ever get that mp3 I sent you?

Alex Van Halen is worth a mention

The post is dedicated to him, David.

Michele, I'm way too lazy to Google half those names. What bands?

Uh.... My bad.....

Todd Trainer (Shellac - He looks like a resurrected corpse, but his drumming, ableit not-too-tricky, is a vision to behold!)
Martin Atkins (PIL, Killing Joke & others, The Hal Blaine of Industrial Music)
Animal (The Electric Mayhem, Muppet Show band)

Different drummers have different talents, but if you put a gun to my head.....Richie Hayward of Little Feat. The most amazing ability to divorce his extremities from each other ever. And, this is a litttle bit inside baseball, but so far back in the pocket that he might not even be there.

Mitch Mitchell of Jimi Hendrix Experience had such a loose, almost random falling style that accentuated Jimi's alien sounds.

Well done on the Mitch Mitchell mention.

Has any one mentioned two greats: Chris Franz and Mo Tucker ? Not huge exponents of the solo, but absolute genius metronomes at maintaining the drive of any song.

For tight, precise drumming, Graeme Edge of the Moody Blues. Even keeps time. :)

Hellloooo? Jack Irons...chili peppers.


Steve Morris---New Order...plain looking guy who is a cross between the Energizer Bunny and a human drum machine.

He and his wife Gilliam like to collect Sherman tanks, too... :-))

Glad to see people add Carl Palmer. One ought to pick up his solo compilation "So you wanna play Carl." On it you'll find a piece with the Buddy Rich Orchestra, great jazz.

Compositionally I prefer Bill Bruford. His solo albums particularly the Bruford Tapes come dangerously close to the album I'd like to be stranded on a desert island with.

Additional mention: Tony Williams of Tony Williams Lifetime.

Saw Phil Collins in the Meadowlands (NJ) a number of years ago get behind a set and do a "deuling drummers" thingy with the band's drummer. I thought it was great. Surprised no one else has mentioned either of them.

  • YYZ
  • Bonzo's Montreaux
  • Didacts & Narpets
  • Moby Dick
  • The Drum Also Waltzes (Neil's & Steve's)
  • Love For Sale
  • (insert other awesome percussive works here)

Buddy Rich,Steve Gadd,Keith Moon,John Bonham,
Neil Peart,Mike Portnoy,Terry Bozzio,Bruce Gust,
Emmett Hart,Mike Bordin,Sheila E.,Hillary Jones,
Stewart Copeland,Shannon Larkin & Sully Erna,
John Otto,Animal,& so on & so forth...
P-sout Ya'll

Rod Morgenstein for his stuff with the Dregs, NOT Winger.

Have to also mention Gil Moore of Triumph; another drummer who sings.

Okay, at least the name Artimus Pyle is worth mentioning

I was never a huge fan when he was alive, but I was ripping a song off of Kiss Revenge when I ran across "Carr Jam 1981" - that is one hell of a smoking drum solo...

yup, it went on the iPod.

i love john bonham but yesterday i found out who one of the drummers for king crimson is and his name Michael Giles and he played on 21st Century Schizoid Man

I'd go along with Steve Gadd in Aja. As far as drummers who can carry a band, I'm surprised Art Blakey isn't mentioned somewhere above. And like Blakey, Stewart Copeland literally transforms the Police. Think about it - he made Walking on the Moon and Doo Doo Doo Daa Daa Daa listenable. That deserves some sort of alchemy achievement award.