Have You Hugged a Drummer Today? Five of Our Favourites
I was wandering aimlessly around the web this afternoon when I came across a post over at thesceneandheard.tumblr.com. It invited readers to give a shout out to drummers from their favourite bands, which is cool because many times drummers are the last to get any attention, unless they're suffering from ADD or an alcoholic, or both (anyone see our post on Keith Moon a couple of weeks ago?). This got me to thinking of not only my favourite bands and their drummers, but just my favourite drummers, period. I then realized this would be a fairly long list, so I narrowed it down the drummers that influenced me when I was a young musician-type, many years ago. So, this is not an 'all time greatest' list-far from it-but they are the guys who I tried my best to mimic as a player, usually with disastrous results (what can I say? These guys were a few degrees above my skill level).
The first four, in no particular order:
Simon Phillips: Seen here live with Pete Townshend's Deep End, 1985. This particular track, 'Give Blood' from Townshend's 1985 album White City: A Novel ends in a fit of double bass disco fury. He looks kinda dorky and barely passes a hobbit in the height department, but Phillips was a beast behind the kit.
Phil Collins: I know-Phil Collins…seriously? Sure, Phil has taken his fair share of heat over the years for you know, destroying music, but he's always been a great drummer. And he's a lefty who plays a kit with concert toms (no heads on the bottoms), so bonus marks for originality. Diss him all you want, but I challenge you to find another drummer who could pull off the vocal/drum gymnastics Phil does at the end of this 1986 performance of 'In The Air Tonight'.
Larry Mullen Jr, U2: Larry has never had a lot of the flash or pizzazz of some drummers, but his style of playing is perfect for U2 songs. Often times Larry's playing is the identifying trait of many of the group's earlier hits, and this version of 'Sunday, Bloody Sunday' is a pretty good demonstration of that.
Omar Hakim: Before Hakim started playing with Sting in 1985 he was an in demand session player in both the rock and jazz fusion worlds. It was when I saw Sting's 'Bring on the Night' film (which chronicled the making of and tour for his album The Dream of the Blue Turtles) that I really began to appreciate Omar's playing. This version of the Police's 'Burn For You', taken from 'Night' shows how Hakim is fine sitting in the pocket but can unleash the big guns when needed (and the last minute of this song will have your jaw dropping).
And finally, my main man, who I put at the top of the list. To this day, he remains my absolute favourite, hands down. I'm talking about The Police's Stewart Copeland, and just about anyone who has ever lifted a drum stick will agree with me. And not just because he had 'F*&6 Off You Assholes' written on his toms. How else can put I this? Copeland is the shit, and he proves it on this 1979 live clip of the The Police preforming their lesser known gem 'Peanuts'.