Best Zappa drummer?

Supernoodle

Senior Member
it's difficult but for me it is Terry Bozzio, for the sound and feel he brought to it. Just listening to Wind up workin in a gas station, from „You can't do that on stage anymore, Vol. 6“, incredible...

What were those hats by the way?? Immediately recognisable.

However Ralph Humphrey's studio work on Overnite Sensation is absolutely stunning as well.
 

Icetech

Gold Member
For me it's Humphrey.. While i used to be a big bozzio fan (til very recently) and he is amazing, Humphrey for me has alot more feeling and groove to his playing. Less mechanical.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Tough to pick between Vinnie, Bozzio, Humphrey, Humphrey/Thompson. David Logeman is great on that one record, too. Vinnie is obviously the most talented, and the most at home with Zappa's rhythmic/metric stuff. That doesn't necessarily translate into him being my favorite drummer of them, though. I don't know what those cymbals were-- I assumed maybe 15" 602 heavy or extra heavy. That is one of the more distinctive sounds ever-- I think about his open hihat sound all the time.

Thinking about it, Bozzio is my favorite as a drummer; Ralph Humphrey and Chester Thompson, together with Ruth Underwood, seem the most classically Zappa.
 

Supernoodle

Senior Member
Maybe someone could ask Terry at the upcoming shows - about the Zappa hats - and if he still has them... always wanted to know!
 

Brian

Gold Member
"best"....ah, here we go again. The most talented were probably Vinnie, followed by Gordon and then maybe Bozzio.
 

Brian

Gold Member
Aynsley Dunbar is right up there with the "Best", though Terry is just about my favorite.
I like his drumming but can't put him in the same category as Vinnie for ex. My understanding is that he couldn't sight read; well, little if any. Great drummer though. As always "best" being subjective
 

Alain Rieder

Silver Member
I started really listening to FZ when I was 16 in 1971, and I really liked Ainsley Dunbar's feel and I still do.
I was a survivor of the 1971 Montreux concert, when the hall burned down... I had a mono cassette from the show and listened to it many times.

Before Ainsley Dunbar, there was some great drumming in Hot Rats, especially by John Guérin.

I like Ralph Humphrey a lot, saw him play with FZ in 1973 and studied with him at MI at the start of the 80s.
If you like his playing in Apostrophe, do yourself a favor and listen to The Crux Of The Biscuit which just got out in July.
Also, Ralph plays on this interesting CD by The Tierney Sutton Band - The Sting Variations. You can even download the tracks for free on the link.

Bozzio played some amazing stuff with FZ, and to me Vinnie is obviously the most amazing, although I like the others a lot.

I recently read (bassist) Arthur Barrow's book which is very much interesting : Of Course I Said Yes!: The Amazing Adventures of a Life in Music
 
The best for frank was Vinnie, Zappa loved his drumming and says so in his book. But all the guys frank had were seriously great and brought their own unique-ness to everything he did :)
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
Too many to answer, but the first time through Overnight Sensation had me saying holy hell what did that guy just play? So my fave performance would be OS with Ralph Humphrey.
 

Supernoodle

Senior Member
Yeah, the drumming on that album is phenomenal. An antidote to the usual 'keep it simple' doctrine... he is busy and all over the place, but at the same time so relaxed and precise. Recorded drum sound is great too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEqBhfg5VOc&list=PLnBpugCTbNiLjJunopmpjH6zInuaIi0bu

the Bozzio period is well recorded on this one: (and the Sheik Yerbouti album)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBoHSQqudlY

lots of visual antics on the Baby Snakes DVD, probably the most entertaining Zappa lineup over the years, wish I had seen them in those days!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZrPka35mGE
 

12x7

Senior Member
Chester Thompson played in the band everyone. I cannot believe I did not see his name in this thread. Did I miss it?
His work on Sleep dirt is amazing as well as OSFA. Come on Chester had the funkiest grooves of all Zaps drummers. I also dug Chad.
 

mesazoo

Member
I like his drumming but can't put him in the same category as Vinnie for ex. My understanding is that he couldn't sight read; well, little if any. Great drummer though. As always "best" being subjective
Bozzio reads really well.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
My favourite drumming with Zappa was by Chester T and Ralph H on Roxy and Elsewhere. Even better with Ruth Underwood.

Next favourite drumming performances were on Grand Wazoo with Aynsley D.

The Bozzio period was great too, like Sheik Yerbouti, City of Tiny Lights etc.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Too many to answer, but the first time through Overnight Sensation had me saying holy hell what did that guy just play? So my fave performance would be OS with Ralph Humphrey.
Agree! without a doubt stands out. But like Steely Dan, FZ never ever had a bad drummer (whatever that is). These questions are like 'what is the best ice cream'
 
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