Billy Cobham: My Concept is My Own

Scott K Fish

Silver Member
Billy Cobham: My Concept is My Own

SKF NOTE: A glimpse at Billy Cobham's drumming concepts 41 years ago in Different Drummer magazine.

Billy Cobham: My concept is my own, my personality is my own. Dynamics enhance my playing and gives a lot of contrast to the amount of intensity and volume that I project off the drums naturally. When the band is really in a level of intensity, I like to let it all hang out and then drop back and let it build again.

The more drums you have the wider your scope in what you can think to do. Drums aren't just drums to me, they don't all work in every situation. I don't record with the drums you see. I record with other drums that have a mellower sound, and, to me, they record better.

Depending on who I play with is what I'm gonna use. If I'm gonna work with people that don't play hard, I'm gonna use smaller drums to cut down on my projection. I want to play with people, not against them.

I've always considered myself a better rhythm player than a soloist, so I learn toward team playing. I have nothing to prove. First I want to be an artist. I want to share my emotional thoughts with the people through the musical medium. I'm going for something where I can say here it is right here all the time, but there it is up there too. You can't grasp that, but you can grasp this. So grasp it, and we'll take you.

Source: "Billy Cobham," by John Stix, Different Drummer, November 1974

Scott K Fish Blog: Life Beyond the Cymbals


Senior Member
What an amazing kit! Such a change to see one without all the glittery chrome. I want one!

Is he left handed or does he just like his drums the other way round?


Cobham was recently in Argentina doing some shows and buying a few pedals from an artisan that works in the city of Mar del Plata. I think that's the second time he buys them, the brand is "RB". It's amazing, a guy of his fame and talent coming to my country and buying some pedals with all the big brands out there.