Great drummers - quotes

These quotes are from Mr. John Bonham:

"Drumming was the only thing I was ever good at."

"Not everybody likes or understands a drum solo, so I like to bring in effects and sounds to keep their interest."

"I remember in the early days when we played six nights a week for a month and I was doing my long drum solo every night. My hands were covered in blisters."

"There were times when I blundered and got the dreaded look from the lads. But that was a good sign. It showed I'd attempted something I'd not tried before."

They are profound with an strong meaning in our lives.

Someone else wants to share? Any other drummers?



Senior Member
Vladimir Horowitz once said, "If I miss practicing 1 day, I know it. If I miss practicing 2 days, my wife knows it. If I miss it for three days, my audience knows it." He was a pianist, but this is still a good quote to remember in regards to practice and dedication to the instrument.


Platinum Member
"First of all, you have to want to play for the song. Then you'll start seeing musical value and fulfillment in that. You won't even think,"I could have done this really cool lick there." That is defeatist, non-musical thinking...

Anytime you strike the drums, you have to be aware that you're creating a musical event. If you think of it as something more or less technical, you're thinking reductionistically.

What I see happening a lot within drumming is a microcosmic example of what's happening in society, which is sensationalism...but now, if it's not sensational, its value is diminished. That kind of mentality contributes to short attention spans...

There's nothing wrong with personal development through playing an instrument, but what happens when it's treated as a sport? If you want razzle-dazzle...if you want to beat somebody up, be a boxer. All this time I thought drumming was art.

There are a lot of guys out there with skills who have not contributed to the evolution of the instrument. It's about more than's an emotive language, an aesthetic. Skill is an aspect, but it's what you do with that skill, or say with that skill, that matters. "
"You must show respect and compassion towards the other musicians, and at the same time try to guide things along. I think this is most important. Obviously, you need the capacity and the skills, but technical skill alone is not enough."
-- Vinnie Colaiuta

"I've found over the years that the feel overcomes everything. If you get a good groove happening, that carries it along. If it feels good, there's not a lot you have to do. You can pick and choose your spots to dynamically respond to what's going on, but you don't have to technically, constantly challenge yourself to fill in those spaces.
When you play live, it's another ballgame. People can see the excitement, and that helps them put it together with the audio. When you don't have that visual thing, it's better to keep it simple. It's a lot more understandable."
And easily my favorite piece of advice ever given by a drummer:

"Never pet a burning dog."
-- Steve Gadd


Platinum Member
And easily my favorite piece of advice ever given by a drummer:

-- Steve Gadd
Is this for real, Boomka? Gadd? My respect for him only grows : )

Well, this aint a drummer quote but sort of is too..

“We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”

-Didnt Oscar Wide play drums too?

..and here is one from Bill Evans, a eulogy for all those exploded and imploded jazz threads on this forum:

“Actually, I'm not interested in Zen that much, as a philosophy, nor in joining any movements. I don't pretend to understand it. I just find it comforting. And very similar to jazz. Like jazz, you can't explain it to anyone without losing the experience. It's got to be experienced, because it's feeling, not words.”
- Bill Evans quotes (American jazz Pianist. 1929-1980)


Platinum Member
While you’re crashing you can’t hear the vocal and you can’t hear the guitar part, you know? I just always felt like the drums shouldn’t take over the song.
Moe Tucker

My first experience in the studio was when Spinozza called me to do an R&B record. And I remember I played on the bell of the cymbal and everyone went, “Wow…how’d you do that?”
Rick Marotta

I became a drummer because it's the only thing I could do. But whenever I hear another drummer, I know I'm no good.....I'm not good on the technical things, but I'm good with all the motions, swinging my head, like.

To get your playing more forceful, hit the drums harder
Keith Moon

Eat drums! Eat cymbals!
This quote is from Ian Paice:

That technical side of drumming has never been of any interest to me at all. I’ve taken the technique I have, the things I need to use, and you see some of these kids doing this extreme fantastic stuff, to me its like an exercise, I don’t see a lot of music in it. It’s purely for a very small part of the population.

Well two bass drums is an amazing effect, but that’s all it is. If you overplay it loses its effect, like a Ferrari and you go everywhere at 180 mph. That starts to become a little less interesting than you think its going to be, but if you go along at 30 mph for a couple of hours and then you do 180 mph then that’s sort of exciting and it’s the same thing with two bass drums. If they come from nowhere, they are shattering but when you hear them every two minutes, the effect is lost. Some of the really good players understand this and they use them when they need them, the same way as the tom-tom or the cow bell, you use it for the moment. Lots of young kids get carried away with the pure thunder of it and in the end there are no patterns.
Quote from Bill Ward:

When I started playing in Sabbath, there was an energy of truth about us. We believed in what we were saying, the music we were making and the lives we were living.

Sabbath have been, and are, my greatest teachers, and I am forever grateful for the musical journey so far.

I am humbled to know many of you. Music lives and brings and maintains life. Music has always brought me through.
Nigel Glockler - Saxon:

" I’m not knocking young musicians at all but I want to hear the next young John Bonham. I’m always terrified that music standards are slipping."

" But generally my thing is, if it feels slow, its right, because that’s compensating for the adrenaline."
From Bernard Purdie:

"feel my way into nearly every kind of music, 'cause I had to know all styles and was never afraid to try something new."

Peace Always.........
From Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz:

Besides the regular paycheck, I also enjoyed respect from other musicians for being able to successfully balance careers. Players who claim that having a day-job will interfere with their music could learn from my example."

"I get to be a dozen different drummers on every album... I don't know of another drummer who has a gig like that. It's always fun and often a genuine challenge. Al's made me play parts I didn't know how to play. I need to thank him for that."


Senior Member
"A good groove releases adrenaline in your body. You feel uplifted, you feel centered, you feel calm, you feel powerful. You feel that energy. That's what good drumming is all about."
Mickey Hart

"Sound is power and the first sound we hear is the pulse of our mother's blood. No sound has a more powerful effect on our consciousness. Drumming is the musical expression of this primal power. Rhythm is a means of organizing sound into specific energy formulas to harmonize the mind and body. Chanting, rhythmic breathing and drumming form an ancient technology for directly synchronizing the mind/body complex, creating conditions for psychological and physical healing".
Layne Redmond

"In many cultures there is a belief that the sound of the drum actually rearranges matter and spirit on the atomic level - correcting imbalances in emotion by bringing to the surface those feelings that require release. It is not surprising then that the drum has been the tool of the Shaman for all time"
Robin Adnan Anders

"Life is about rhythm. We vibrate, our hearts are pumping blood, we are a rhythm machine, that's what we are."
Mickey Hart

“Everytime we put a record out, we lose people that can't deal with the growth.”
Neil Peart

"Almost everything I've done, I've done through my own creativity. I don't think I ever had to listen to anyone else to learn how to play drums. I wish I could say that for about ten thousand other drummers."
Buddy Rich

"That damn fool knows the instrument".
Jo Jones about Buddy Rich:)

"Drummers don't write - or at least, that's what everybody believes."
Tony Williams

“I'm the greatest rock and roll drummer on the planet and you suck.”
“I never completed high school and I am very rich and very successful.”
Tré Cool (Green Day)

jon e rotten

Senior Member
"I'm not trying to KILL people, I'm trying to HEAL people"

Elvin Jones

"When you can't feel anything else, you can always feel the beat"

Don't remember who said that.
“ When a man is playing, it’s up to the drummer to give him something to make him feel the music and make him work. That’s the drummer’s job. The drummer should give the music expression, shading, and the right accompaniment. It’s not just to beat and make a noise”. -- Baby Dodds



Silver Member
I've always liked this quote by Jabo Starks, although he was paraphrasing what some more seasoned band members told him when he started to play professionally:

"They taught me: "I don't care what you play, I don't care how you play, I don't care if you don't ever play fancy, I don't care if you don't ever play the greatest solos in the world, all I want you to do is remember this: Play time. Play the time. Hold the time. You're the heartbeat. Once that time starts, you hold it right there. Whatever anybody else does, don't you go there. Make them come back to you."

This quote doesn't come from a drummer, but it relates to drumming, and I really like it. It's from Thelonius Monk:

"Just because you're not a drummer doesn't mean that you don't have to keep time."

Also from Monk:

"You got to dig it to dig it, you dig?