Born to Drum: The Truth About the World's Greatest Drummers--from John Bonham and Keith Moon to Sheila E. and Dave Grohl
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he pulse of rock 'n' roll—the drummer—finally gets its due in this unique, all-encompassing inside look at the culture and history of drumming
Beating the hell out of a drum kit is hard, sweaty, demanding work. Yet instead of being showered with respect, drummers are often viewed with derision—stereotyped as crazy, borderline psychotic, or just plain dumb. But as every musician knows, to have a great band you need a great drummer: Ginger Baker. John Bonham. Chad Smith. Stewart Copeland. Neil Peart.
For the first time, Tony Barrell shines a long-overdue spotlight on these musicians, offering an exciting look into their world, their art, and their personalities. In Born to Drum, Barrell explores the extraordinary history of the world's most primitive instrument and the musicians who have made it legend. He interviews some of the most famous, revered, and influential drummers of our time—including Chad Smith, Ginger Baker, Clem Burke, Sheila E., Phil Collins, Nick Mason, Patty Schemel, Butch Vig, and Omar Hakim—who share astonishing truths about their work and lives. He investigates the stories of late, great drummers such as Keith Moon and John Bonham, analyzes many of the greatest drum tracks ever recorded, and introduces us to the world's fastest and loudest drummers, as well as the first musician to pilot a "flying drum kit" onstage.
Filled with fascinating insights into the trade and little-known details about the greats, Born to Drum elevates drummers and their achievements to their rightful place in music lore and pop culture.
sketch show Portlandia, has shown that drumming humor doesn’t have to be clichéd or simple-minded: it can be dry and subtle as well. Around the time he reached his forties, in the mid-noughties, Armisen fused his talent for comedy with his ability on the drums (he had played in the Chicago-based “post-hardcore” band Trenchmouth in the 1990s). He began playing the comedy character Jens Hannemann, a supposed virtuoso who gives earnest and utterly ridiculous video drum tutorials that smartly parody
coaster that can pack up and travel from city to city,” he said in 2010. “It will have all the workings of a roller coaster, but I’ll get rid of the car and replace it with a drum riser with two seats in the back. I’ll run out into the audience, grab a couple of fans, strap them in and go.” Within a year, the tattooed daredevil’s drum roller coaster had become a reality, doing full 360-degree circuits at the Crüe’s concerts. “Now everybody expects you to come up with something more over-the-top
275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 INTRODUCTION I think drummers are amazing. I’ve been listening to them and watching them now for a long time, having been a fan of pop and rock music since I was a boy. Drummers play the most wonderful, exciting, and complex rhythms. A band without a drummer is like a rocking chair that somebody has cruelly bolted to the floor: while it may appear to rock, it actually
computer and a sampling machine. As Selway explained, “I went in and drummed for a quarter of an hour, and we took the three seconds’ worth of any value out of it, and then put it back together to form this angular track that you don’t generally get from programming or loops.” In 2011, the Flaming Lips pushed the envelope by recording a six-hour song, “I Found a Star on the Ground.” While it doesn’t feature drums for its full duration—it has periodic chilled-out and drumless passages—its long
just hold on to the drumsticks by the end of the show. I’ve since had operations, and I have physiotherapy now, but I can’t grip a stick like I used to. So basically my playing career, in terms of how I used to play, is over. And that applies to playing the piano, as well: a couple of my fingers are numb, so they don’t do what they’re supposed to.” “I get more aches and pains now,” said Nicko McBrain, who turned sixty in 2012. “It’s the fact that I’ve abused my hands, my arms, and my knees for