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Top 5 Rock Drummers

June 16, 2014 by

drum-kitI’ve always said that rock and roll is about kick drum and bass. Rhythm, after all, is the key definer of style. So it’s fitting that the first list I post is comprised of my favorite drummers from my world of rock.

1. Ringo Starr
My first obsession was with the Beatles. I started out a Paul fan, then switched to John and finally decided George is the guy. But I appreciate that Ringo was laying the groundwork for a generation of drummers to follow. His trademark end-of-phrase crash is a comfort and an inspiration to air drummers everywhere.

2. Stewart Copeland
In February of 1979, when Sky Daniels on Detroit’s W4 played “Roxanne” for the first time I dug it the most. What still strikes me about The Police is the prevalent hi-hat in their mixes. Stewart’s innovative use of the hi-hat defines this great band for me.

3. Bruce Gary
That’s right… from The Knack. I loved this band from the says go and I still do. Bruce’s tom-tom sound is unmistakable to me. I heard a “lost track” the other day and in the intro I knew it was The Knack from the first signature tom run.

4. Terry Chambers
Straying further onto the punk and New Wave paths, a friend turned me on to XTC. Terry’s eccentric takes on established power-pop rhythms, with extensive use of off-beat hits, still gets me counting and thigh-slapping. He is also amazingly flexible, effortlessly navigating the band’s many stylistic moods.

5. George Hurley
Bands like Minutemen defined what became known in the early 90s as “alternative.” George was a pioneer in the angular rhythm style that is a hallmark of 90s rock. Minutemen didn’t use a lot of odd time signatures, but George expertly makes it sound like they did.

So, there you go. To offer some perspective, I grew up in Detroit and was raised on AM pop music. As a tween in the early 70s, I gravitated to the album-oriented rock stations in our market. At 10-years old I received my first record as a gift – Donovan’s Greatest Hits. On my first trip to the record store on my bike at age 12, I picked up copies of Bob Seger’s Live Bullet and Steve Miller Band’s Fly Like an Eagle. I’ve gone on to trod a fairly diverse musical path, but rock is still my touchstone. That’s where I’m coming from.

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