Today at Spotify, you'll find a collection of tracks whose drumming/drummers helped shape me into the drummer I am today. This collection is by no means a "BEST EVER MELT YOUR FACE/EXPLODE YOUR FACE/DESTROY YOUR FACE DRUMMING OF ALL TIME" collection. But there's some darn good drumming in every one of these songs, that I still learn something from when I hear them.
Click here to enjoy!
In The Meantime - Helmet
This was the first 'real' song I ever learned. I was twelve years old and wanted to rock out!!! This one fit the bill, and wasn't too intimidating for a rookie like me.
Siva - The Smashing Pumpkins
Jimmy Chamberlin is a force/beast/hurricane in the world of rock drumming. In my constant attempt as a young drummer to learn as many Smashing Pumpkins songs as possible, I found myself coming back to this one the most. For further proof of just how incredible Chamberlin is, click here. Probably in my Top 5 of the best things ever played live.
Battery - Metallica
There was probably a good two- or three-year stretch where I pretty much listened to Metallica exclusively. While Lars Ulrich certainly is not the best heavy metal drummer, he did lay down some pretty significant groundwork. Songs like 'Battery' helped me burn more calories than any amount of running would have ever done (because running gave me side cramps and I was a wuss).
Sweet Willy Rollbar -> Revolve - The Melvins
Technically, these are two tracks…..but really they're kind of one. One of the many things I love about Dale Crover's work is his use of different sounds. Seriously, what is that thing he's hitting in Revolve? It's not a hi-hat….It's not a cymbal…..it just sounds bad-ass. Crover plays hard rock/metal in a pretty unconventional way, and it gets me excited every time.
Where Did You Sleep Last Night (MTV Unplugged) - Nirvana
Can you tell I'm a child of the 80's and 90's yet? Over time, more often than not, I've found that less-is-more when it comes to drumming. In this particular performance, their MTV Unplugged concert, Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl really drives this point home. Laying down a low key, solid beat, never getting in the way of an incredibly emotional performance, is something that every drummer can learn from.
Soul Sacrifice (Woodstock) - Santana
I remember watching the Woodstock concert (on VHS of course) with my dad and brother when I was about 13 years old, and this performance blew me away. The solo is so wild. Michael Shrieve was 20 years old when he played at Woodstock with Santana. I remember thinking "There is no way I will ever able to do that, especially not in 7 years."
Afro Blue (Live at Birdland) - John Coltrane
As far as I'm concerned, this is heavy metal jazz. Elvin Jones just sounds like he's having a blast when he's playing. In a world where jazz is often seen as light/dainty music, this is proof that jazz can get dirty. At the 4:30 mark, it gets serious.
Chameleon - Herbie Hancock
This is an incredibly humbling track. Maybe the smoothest beat of all time. If there's ever a time I feel like I'm playing really well, or come up with something funky, it will never come close to this. Such a simple beat. Played so ridiculously well.
Cissy Strut - The Meters
If Chameleon has the smoothest beat of all time, this one is the funkiest. The drummer's name is Zigaboo for-cryin'-out-loud. Jeepers, listen to that beat!
Habits - FF
This drummer's kind of a hack…
50 Ways to Leave Your Lover - Paul Simon
Steve Gadd. I should just end this description with that. When I first heard Gadd, it was my introduction to what's called 'linear drumming'. Gadd is the master of this. He may have even created it, I don't know. Pretty much everyone has heard this song and it's iconic drum intro. The beat actually isn't as complicated as it sounds, but Gadd's touch is something special.
Lenore - Chick Corea
More Steve Gadd. More of the best possible thing.
Limb By Limb - Phish
I could do an entire list about Jon Fishman alone. Maybe 5 lists. Probably more. In trying to pick which Phish song to add to the list, I chose this one because I will never forget the first time I heard it. I think my head exploded when I first heard Jon come in on this track. I had never heard anything like it, at the time. Fishman's use of polyrhythms is insane, but he knows when to be flashy and when not to be. To me, he is the True-Phunk-Soldier.
Holocene - Bon Iver
Bon Iver's use of percussion has shaped what a lot of musicians/drummers are doing these days, myself included. Whether it's sparse, or wildly frantic, it's always appropriate for the track. It's pretty much impossible to not feel good when you listen to this song. To me, this is some of the most emotional drumming I've ever heard.
(Untitled) 8 - Sigur Ros
Speaking of emotional drumming….