i guess then it really does come down to the individual song. some demand listening to the hihat first and others bass drum comes prime. we are a fourpiece band and often i hear that missing guitar you are talking about, plus with studio overdubs sometimes what i am listening to is essentially is one and a half drummers. one thing i sometimes do is NOT listen to the original song. Jason at a practice will say, 'hey guys i want to cover this song...(eg: the clash: i fought the law), do you guys know it?' and i will say yes even though i have only heard it on the radio a couple of times in the last decade. then i play my own drums to his guitar and, although they are perhaps not anything like the original drumtrack they fit the guitar jason is playing and so the end result is an original sound version that, more importantly than anything else, grooves right. sometimes i play a song differently every night...like 'play that funky music' - james brown can be played so many different ways.
ps: good luck with JO's release this season. i'll look out for it.
pps: congrats on your cool interview in RHYTHM magazine this month. comes off really well.
ppps: if you have a mo please have a listen to my playing on this thread below. its a recent live recording of 'play that funky music'. i just love my cymbal sound in it and the snare is sweet.