In the fourth or fifth grade I took up the drums as my first instrument. I wanted to be like Peter Criss. That dream died after one lesson. I didn’t know I had to learn notes and hold the sticks a certain way. I hated it and took up guitar a year later. To this day I think the drums are the hardest instrument to play because you are moving both arms and both legs, sometimes in for different ways. I don’t have that coordination, thankfully I learned that early on. Needless to say, I have a high respect for drummers.
Rick Allen (Def Leppard)
How can you not love this guy? He was just a TEEN WHEN HE JOINED Def Leppard and was soon a big star after their third album exploded. Then the car accident and he lost his arm. That story alone is amazing, but he came back and reinvented his style and drumming all together as a one armed drummer. For the lack of a better term Rick didn’t miss a beat and in ways is a better drummer with one arm than he was with two.
John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)
When describing a beast behind the drum kit I think the term fits no one better than John Bonham. The guys been dead for nearly 30 years and people still marvel at his greatness behind the kit. He was fast and powerful with not onlyhis hands but his feet as well. John was the first drummer I’d ever seen with one of those clear acrylic drum sets and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world.
Matt Cameron (Skin Yard, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam)
Matt Cameron is another one of those drummers who you mainly think of as the drummer for Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. But he has done so much more. He’s also played drums in Skin Yard, Temple of the Dog, Hater, Wellwater Conspiracy just to name a few. Matt is a “go to guy” if you need a drummer because he can play just about any style. Another great thing about Matt is he seems so quiet and humble.
Eric Carr (Kiss)
Eric Carr was the first person to replace an original member of KISS when he took over the drumming duties after Peter Criss quit in 1980. Not that Peter was a bad drummer, it was that Eric had more of a rock style adding thunderous drum beats. Just listen to Creatures of the Night or Lick it Up and hear the difference of the Kiss sound thanks to Eri’cs drumming. Sadly Eric died in November of 1991 of cancer and was replaced by Eric Singer.
Jack Irons (Red Hot Chili Peppers, ElevenPearl Jam)
Jack was the funk behind the early Red Hot Chili Peppers records. He is also responsible for getting everyone in Pearl Jam together in a certain degree, a band he would later drum in and add a new dimension for their sound. Jack also does session work and his solo stuff which feels like it comes from the bottom of the ocean and builds to become a tsunami of drum beats. Jack has a distinct talent of mixing his music with the ocean.
Tommy Lee (Motley Crue)
It’s too bad Tommy Lee had to play up the rock star status and become a media whore for awhile because this guy can drum his skinny ass off. He is known more for his personal life than his drumming, but damn can he bring the big beats. There aren’t too many drummers out there who attack the drums like Tommy.
Barrett Martin (Skin Yard, Screaming Trees, Tuatara)
Barratt Martin has and interesting story. Primarally known as a rock or drummer in a “grunge,” Barrett has studied drummer throughout the world. He is one guy who can give you heavy beats for a rock record, add world beat signatures, jazz style or blues and sound flawless in the process. I love his passion for his craft, he is a true artists when it comes to the drums.
Neil Peart (Rush)
I feel guilty about anything to do with Rush now that I am older. For a very long time I hated the band, I mean really hated them. I knew individually they were great musicians, but I just didn’t get it. Recently as two years ago I started to like them a little, then a little more and when their movie “Beyond the Lighted Stage” came out I feel in love with these guys. I learned Neal is a poet, a shy, humble guy who plays the drums like no one else and on top of that he reinvented his style because he didn’t want to be complacent. He also went through a really hard time in his life losing his wife to cancer and his daughter to a car accident within something like six months. He literally drove his motorcycle from Canada to South America by himself because that’s what he needed to do. I really admire this guy.
Bill Ward (Black Sabbath)
At 63 years of age, Bill Ward has been drumming for six decades and he is just as good today as he was at the height of his career in Black Sabbath. The first heavy metal drummer, Bill set the standard for big crashing drums to back rock songs. Like Neal Peart, Bill is well read and very intelligent.
Charlie Watts (Rolling Stones)
Charlie Watts is known as the time keeper in the Rolling Stones. He looks more like a funeral home director more than a rock drummer, but man is he good. Of everyone in the Stones Charlie is the least recognizable and he seems to like it that way. I love his style of bridging rock and jazz, he is a class act.