Even though drummers are beat makers of a band, the recognition they often get is nothing compared to that of the lead singer and resident guitarist who both tend to attract the most attention at first. The best thing about drummers is that whatever band that they are in, they are uniquely appropriate for that particular band. For example, Ringo Starr's drumming is perfect for The Beatles, but his style would be considered unimaginable behind any Rolling Stones songs. Here's our thumbs up list to some cool Rock Drummers who we feel are immediately identifiable for their drumming techniques, creativity, and originality. Let us know your own favorite picks and why!
Ringo Starr / The Beatles
Starr is a versatile drummer who was able to adapt creatively with The Beatles' ever changing sound for a decade. His simplistic, flawless perfection in timing, distinctive use of drum fills, and his intuitive sense of drumming in approach well complemented the other musical contributions of each member of the Beatles. The drummer's unique drumming technique, as confirmed to Starr himself below, can be attributed to the fact that he's actually a left-handed drummer playing a right-handed drum kit.
Keith Moon / The Who
Moon possessed a non-disciplined, theatrical approach in drumming technique. He was of unparalleled showmanship in performance and was given to a chaotic theatrical madness that permeated through his drumming. Moon's precise drum rolls, creative speed power, melodic drumming, and loudness in dynamics are what he is most known for.
John Bonham / Led Zeppelin
Bonham is known as a beat heavy, fast, loud, and concise drummer who combined powerful elements from Swing, R&B, and Funk together to develop the originality of his Groove based technique. He defined the sound of modern drumming in rock music and set the precedent, which since has become the standard.
Ginger Baker / Cream
Baker is revered as a motley rock drummer who fuses a variety of African inspired rhythmic textures incorporated within his drumming technique. Baker is also noted for his varied mastery in percussion and various percussive instruments.
Stewart Copeland / The Police
Copeland is known for combining diversity, control of time, and the fusion of world beat influences to his drumming technique. Though he is mostly known for a distinctive sound in using the snare and hi - hat parts of the drum, he is most regarded for combining his influences to develop a brand new sound.
Terry Bozzio / Frank Zappa / Missing Persons
Bozzio is a drummer known for applying music theoretical concepts and rhythmic textures found in Classical and Jazz music for his improvised sound. He also employs an expansively large tuned kit set. Bozzio is a master in working with amplitude, changes in drumming dynamics, and drumming technology. An almost zen-like, and Far Eastern textures can be found in his technique approach.
Charlie Watts / The Rolling Stones
Watts is regarded as employing a very straight forward and influential approach to drumming. A remarkable sense of timing is marked in his drumming technique, which is combined with the calmest demeanor ever seen displayed by any drummer. Watts has been a drummer with the The Rolling Stones for over four decades, and this sexagenarian still makes it look all easy.
Neil Peart / Rush
Peart is considered as an extreme technician in precedent. He is known for his swift speed, accuracy, drumming finesse, odd time signatures, extended drum solos, and for having one of the most massive and elaborately impressive drum kits ever seen.
Mitch Mitchell / Jimi Hendrix Experience
Mitchell fused a heavy Rock sound with Jazz elements in his drumming technique. He incorporated the use of rhythmically complex rudimentary patterns that were militaristic and marching in nature. Mitchell's improvisational and instinctive approach is what best complemented the guitar wizardry of Jimi Hendrix.
Purdie is known for developing the Funk based elements in drumming and for pioneering what is known as the "Purdie Shuffle." He has played with musicians of all genres from jazz to rock, and in approach he is best described as relaxed, confident in method, and at times humorous. Totally in control of the drum kit, this groove meister is one smooth cat!
Chances are you have heard of this Rock N' Roll Hall Of Famer's drumming work. Blaine is revered as one of the most played studio/session drummers in the world. A complete list of his impressive work would be too hard to list here, but he's laid down beats on #1 hits by Elvis Presley
, The Beach Boys
, Frank Sinatra
, Simon and Garfunkel
just to name a few as living proof of his trademark versatility.
Karen Carpenter / The Carpenters
Many may know her as the lead singer of The Carpenters, but Karen Carpenter considered herself first and foremost as a drummer! She even topped a national magazine's survey poll in the mid 70s as the nation's #1 drummer. Her drumming is best described as technically superior, and most confident in approach. She best of all exuded her passion for drumming, which was evident in her playing.
This is our personal favorite drummer; Even Muppets can play solos!
Special thanks to music pals N.R., S.G., P.R., M.Y., and M.L. for sharing faves.
Story by Claudine Paul
Starpulse contributing writer