Modern Drummer: Top 10 Up & Coming Drummers 1979-2023 (Neil Peart!!!)

Modern Drummer Poll voters selected the first woman for its coveted Best “Up and Coming” prize in 2023, the magazine announced this week.

Paulina “Pau” Villarreal Velez of The Warning was selected for the title that’s been claimed by a Who’s Who of modern drummers – including a couple of the very best.

After combing through the archives (and analyzing results with an advanced algorithm), Son of Vistalite is impressed with how much voters got right over the years.

We’ll look at other aspects on the poll at a later date. For now, Son of Vistalite celebrates Promising Drummers (a category that later became Up & Coming Drummers). Here are the Top 10:

10. Dave Abbruzzese –Pearl Jam – 1993 (Fired in April 1994)

9. Larry Mullen Jr. – U2 – 1985

8. Greyson Nekrutman – Suicidal Tendencies as of May 2023 (Beat Nic Collins of Genesis in 2022 based on YouTube alone!)

7. Carter Beauford – Dave Matthews Band – 1996

6. Greg Bissonnette – David Lee Roth Band – 1987

5. (Tie) Stewart Copeland of The Police and Terry Bozzio of Missing Persons -- 1983

4. Mike Portnoy – Dream Theater – 1994

3. (Tie) Tim “Herb” Alexander of Primus and Dave Grohl of Nirvana – 1992

2. Jeff Porcaro – Toto -- 1979

1. Cornelius Ellwood Peart – Rush – 1980 – Also scored top Rock Drummer and Recorded Performance in the same year.

The 2023 Nominees for Up & Coming Drummer included two women:

Savannah Harris -- She’s performed with Jason Moran, Ambrose Akinmusire, Kenny Barron, etc.)
Mark Whitfield Jr. -- Black Jazz Collective
Daniel Fang – Turnstile
Garrett P. Tyler – R.LUM.R, Local Sound, Christy Nockels
Paulina “Pau” Villarreal Velez – The Warning

Modern Drummer Readers Poll: Pau Villareal Vélez Wins "Up and Coming"
Add Anika Nilles to this list and I'm down. At first, I didn't get her style, but she's grown on me for sure.
I have been nothing but impressed by The Warning. An all-female (three sisters) hard rock power trio from Mexico, singing in both English and Spanish, and slaying it. I recommend checking them out. Paulina does double duty with lead vocals on a number of songs too. Very cool.
@Son of Vistalite Black must be mistaken; Copeland and Bozzio “promising” or “up and coming” in 1983?!! @Al Strange is aghast!! :oops:

Mr. Strange, your skepticism is appreciated and warranted, but Modern Drummer readers thought so highly of the hyper-conversational Stewart Copeland that they named him the top "Up and Coming" tub-thumper in 1983 after having voted him "Most Promising" the previous year and in 1981.

Not the strangest decision Modern Drummer ever made -- which may have been, as you note, declaring a tie between Stewart and the electronics-playing drummer of the oddly-costumed Missing Persons. Still, it's quite odd.

One bit of clarification. Son of Vistalite Black is aware that Bozzio played for Frank Zappa in the 70s -- making it more strange for him to be a "Promising" drummer in 1983. When one measures the Police against Missing Persons, though, it seems a tie resulted from readers being weirdly hypnotized by the clear acrylic costumes of Bozzio's wife at the time, the former Ms. Dale Consalvi.

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Wasn't '83 the last Police album release?

Peart was named “Most Promising” by MD on Rush’s seventh release, “Permanent Waves.”

Are you implying MD was slow to recognize the best young drummers? So cynical

It was a question, but don't let that stop you.