The Great Big Short List Of Drummers

I play drums. Sometimes. Not as much as I used to, since I moved “up front” with my current band, where I hit smaller things like bongos and woodblocks and tambourines.

And all that stuff gets regular play. But my kit is down in our basement. It speaks to me when I go down to do laundry. It’s ready to go when I am. And I may just be ready.

I was in NYC this past weekend, visiting my gay boyfriend, John Michael. The centerpiece of the weekend, if you will, was the Adam Ant show at the Best Buy Theater. It was FUCKING AMAZING. The band he’s assembled is phenomenal. He tours with two drummers. Two drummers. TWO. DRUMMERS.

I haven’t found a clip yet that truly captures the THUNDERING MASS OF AWESOME that show was, so here’s something from earlier on in his tour itinerary that comes pretty damn close:

The drummer with the giant blonde bouffant? I LOVE HER. She makes me want to get behind that kit again in the WORST WAY. Inspiring!

I have played the drums, off and on, since I was 18. I found an odd solace back there that I couldn’t get playing guitar, which I’d been doing for longer, and not especially well. In retrospect, if I had to do it all over again, I’d have begged my parents for drum lessons instead, harnessing my natural inclination to bounce around and bang on things. Oh well.

Since I first got behind a kit, there have been a handful of drummers who’ve really stoked the fire under me, the latest of which is the magnificent creature I saw on Saturday: Yola Rodowicz.

The first, though, was Dane Whitaker. I met Dane my freshman year in college. We were in a band together called, er, The Big Fat Creeps. He gave me my first lesson, in a crappy little practice room on campus. I had to do some digging to find out if he was still playing, and he is:

Dane – if you ever happen to stumble upon this while Googling yourself (I mean, I do it): thank you.

Under “Drummer I Love But Will Never Be Anywhere Near As Awesome As” is Budgie:

Malcolm Travis:

Unlike the others on my Great Big Short List, I DID get to tell Malcolm what an inspiration he was, about 6 years after I obsessively practiced along with the first Sugar album. At this point, we’d become pals and he was at my wedding. I had to down a few drinks before I worked up the courage to tell him that. He seemed pleased.

When I first starting listening to Sleater Kinney in the 90s, I grasped the concept of “musical drumming” by paying particularly close attention to Janet Weiss:

Weiss really hears the overall sound of each song and structures her playing around it. I’m not saying other drummers DON’T do this, but I think it’s especially evident with her.

For the curious – I’m posting a sample of MY drumming. I should warn you that the song is fairly NSFW-ish, and not for those who are easily offended (and I certainly hope that’s not the case of any of my readers, because you may be in the wrong little nook of the internet if you ARE easily offended):

Have at it.

I think I need to spend a little QT with my kit in the basement. I smell an Adam Ant tribute band in my future…

One thought on “The Great Big Short List Of Drummers

  1. Embarrassing fact: the first time I heard that particular Adam Ant song was because it was included as a cover on Sugar Ray’s “Floored” album. You know, the one with “Fly,” which I bought on cassette in…6th grade?

    Also also (because I’m a child), my personal favorite dual drummer moment was seeing Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins drum-off together at a Foo Fighters show. Those guys know how to beat those fourskins.

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