Who Are The Worst Drummers That Are Good In Spite Of How Lousy They Are?

evolving_machine

Silver Member
All three, Elvin, Rich and Bellson were a lot more diverse then just the work with Miles, Elvin, or doing drum solos on the tonight show, Rich, or working with Duke Ellington, Bellson. I do suggest a brief tour of those three drummers accomplishments before writing them off. Who knows, you may actually become a better drummer in the process.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
It's not fair to judge a fish on how well they can climb a tree. Some drummers are fish, some are monkeys, some are ocelots. Each one is good at what they do. The who is better, who is best is a waste of time and ignores so much. Music is not a competition, but musicians seem to treat it like one. Why is that? We could be setting a way more intelligent example.

Art doesn't belong in a neat little box, it's human expression. It's complicated and messy sometimes. The only sane thing to do with music and art is to accept it. Maybe try and let it teach us something. Mind/parachute analogy.

Plus it doesn't matter anyway who is "better". There is no such thing. Everyone has something to offer. Negatively judging art or artists...what's the reason we do that again?
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
"Art doesn't belong in a neat little box, "He's" human expression. "He's" complicated and messy sometimes. The only sane thing to do with Art is to accept him." Dang thanks Larry for looking after me-I get all claustrophobic in small places, and I can be a little messy and complicated but thanks for the acceptance. I guess I finally made it on one of your list LOL. I like this thread cause I'm "Superbad" so I'm bad in spite of how lousy I am.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
The issue here in my opinion is a predisposition that jazz/swing is the epitome of the art form. I would beg to differ.

I agree with this 100%. Jazz is one facet of the percussion world, as is orchestral and Indian tabla. No one of these things is the sole definition of the epitome of the art form. I think in the drum set world we have created this imaginary line in the past 50 years that supposedly defines "legitimacy" as jazz drum set playing...so all other styles of drum set playing are just a waste...

what really is "legit" in the drum world? I don't think it is one kind of playing, but the way that you play. I think being legit is a combination of many things musical and non-musical....

I struggle with the thought that Charlie Watts isn't to be considered a "good" drummer. The material doesn't require flash or craziness, and no one is more solid. The man plays jazz when away from the Stones...

like I mentioned above, playing jazz does not automatically elevate you to gold status...I personally think that Watts playing is not revolutionary. Many people DO think it is because of the Stones popularity status, not because of actual musical skill, and that is what bothers me.

The key here is that this is my opinion...and that is where the subjectivity of art gets involved. Personally, the Stones bore the hell out of me, so I gravitate away from them...but I LOVE the simplicity of Joan Jett, and her drummers. Honestly, it is the same drum beats being played, but surrounded by different sounding guitars, stage looks etc...so what makes Watts better than Lee Crystal? Fame.

But then again, I'm a hack, so what do I know?

you know what you do...your accumulated knowledge is valid regardless of where your skills are, so don't count that out.

If you're a drummer, or musician, who simply plays or mimics what's written or recorded/already created by someone else that might be somewhat lost but listen to The Beatles and Rush, both Ringo and Peart came up with many great drum licks/tracks.

agreed in a way. I think that many times "playing the groove" / "simple beats, man" is a cop out for those who don't want to woodshed and actually understand the role of drums in music. I do have a problem with people that live in this mind set slamming people who are actually studying drumming, and the art form. This is because I personally have always lived in the world of studying the art form of percussion to it's deepest roots. I know I am in the minority with how much I live and breath it. MOST of my buddies who drum are into it for the "top layer" reasons: they want to "jam man" and "get free drinks at the bar". That is fine too. But when they start making comments about drumming that are not rooted in educated awareness, it gets me going. And I feel that in the world in general, A LOT of musical commentary is made by people who are not really educated about what they are talking about.

I think that happens in the public forum in all things in life: sports; politics; engineering...there are always "armchair quarterbacks"...and with the internet, those types have a much easier time reaching audiences who are vulnerable and also only looking to get "partially involved" in an activity
 

BruceW

Senior Member
like I mentioned above, playing jazz does not automatically elevate you to gold status...I personally think that Watts playing is not revolutionary. Many people DO think it is because of the Stones popularity status, not because of actual musical skill, and that is what bothers me.

The key here is that this is my opinion...and that is where the subjectivity of art gets involved. Personally, the Stones bore the hell out of me, so I gravitate away from them...but I LOVE the simplicity of Joan Jett, and her drummers. Honestly, it is the same drum beats being played, but surrounded by different sounding guitars, stage looks etc...so what makes Watts better than Lee Crystal? Fame.

I believe that I understand where you are coming from. To continue the discussion, I added that Watts plays jazz while away from the Stones to merely point out that he is versatile, not that jazz is the end all. Not a one-trick pony. And if serving the song, without over-playing, is a knock, then I suppose he (and many others) is guilty. Try to imagine The Stones material with someone playing all kinds of flashy stuff...it just wouldn't work the same.

If you are looking for drummers who are doing "revolutionary" stuff, your list must be fairly short. At least to my definition of what "revolutionary" would indicate.

Different strokes, both literally and figuratively, I suppose...
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I believe that I understand where you are coming from. To continue the discussion, I added that Watts plays jazz while away from the Stones to merely point out that he is versatile, not that jazz is the end all. Not a one-trick pony. And if serving the song, without over-playing, is a knock, then I suppose he (and many others) is guilty. Try to imagine The Stones material with someone playing all kinds of flashy stuff...it just wouldn't work the same.

yeah...I get the versatility thing, and now see where you were going with that. I think part of my response was still being influenced by my response to the other comment about jazz. And I definitely don't think that the Stones stuff should have some kind of "technical display" going on in their songs.

To sort of put a bigger picture answer to the question that seems to be happening in the post...I feel like people confuse "best" with either "most technically proficient" and/or "most well known" when asking the question.


If you are looking for drummers who are doing "revolutionary" stuff, your list must be fairly short. At least to my definition of what "revolutionary" would indicate.

Different strokes, both literally and figuratively, I suppose...

hmmm...I still find stuff many times that blows me away...sometimes it is something as simple as(or complex as) the placement of one beat in a groove, to someone melding odd time signatures together at 250 beats a minute...

so revolutionary is sort of "different strokes" I guess. I would hate to get to a point in my drumming journey where nothing blows me away or excites me....I feel like if that happens, I am not searching hard enough/any more
 

Juniper

Gold Member
agreed in a way. I think that many times "playing the groove" / "simple beats, man" is a cop out for those who don't want to woodshed and actually understand the role of drums in music. I do have a problem with people that live in this mind set slamming people who are actually studying drumming, and the art form. This is because I personally have always lived in the world of studying the art form of percussion to it's deepest roots. I know I am in the minority with how much I live and breath it. MOST of my buddies who drum are into it for the "top layer" reasons: they want to "jam man" and "get free drinks at the bar". That is fine too. But when they start making comments about drumming that are not rooted in educated awareness, it gets me going. And I feel that in the world in general, A LOT of musical commentary is made by people who are not really educated about what they are talking about.

I think that happens in the public forum in all things in life: sports; politics; engineering...there are always "armchair quarterbacks"...and with the internet, those types have a much easier time reaching audiences who are vulnerable and also only looking to get "partially involved" in an activity

I probably didn't word my post very well and I feel bad that it could be interpreted that I'm bashing or dismissive of drummers who do not create music as everyone is walking their own path and has their own opinion, preference on what they choose to do with their craft.

I just personally feel that if you have that experience of creating parts or thinking about how drum parts effect a song you can appreciate the thought process maybe a little more in terms of songwriting and the drums being a musical element, regardless of the actual drumming technical ability of the player playing them.

I'm not saying it's rocket science but there's sometimes an element of credit missing from critique.

Just irks me somewhat when people bash Ringo, Charlie Watts, Meg White...etc players who may not be the most technical - who create/created parts perfect for the music they made.

Meg White is a perfect example. Regardless of her actual ability she played a very simple pattern on The White Stripes 'Seven Nation Army' that is replicated/danced to by thousands of people in various sporting arenas all over the world, still to this day. That's a proper and pure musical legacy.

I feel that she deserves a little more respect than she sometimes gets, sometimes from people with a very narrow minded opinion/lack of musical experience.

Regarding Neil Peart...etc anyone at the other end of the technical spectrum. Non drummers air drum along to the drum breaks on Tom Sawyer I'm sure without anything other than enjoyment and maybe without an understanding of what parts they are hearing. I think one of his best drum compositions is 'Subdivisions' as each part works perfectly with that song. It's not as technical as a lot of other Rush songs but it's effective.

The casual listener may not realise they are subconsciously reacting to the drums if done well, but there was (I'm sure) a lot of thought put into those parts from all the players above and that's a very big part, for me, that makes a good drummer for players who play in popular music.

Just wanted to explain myself a little better.

....Hopefully!!
 
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acsunda

Junior Member
Freaking Lars Ulrich, am I right?
 
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Florian

Gold Member
getting paid rarely is a requirement of having talent...it is usually a result of a bunch of lucky events coming together...even events that seem orchestrated started out with some luck
I dont disagree...however, they are still being paid to play in well known bands
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I dont disagree...however, they are still being paid to play in well known bands

yep...which to me doesn't seem fair sometimes, but again, the "luck" thing
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Plus it doesn't matter anyway who is "better". There is no such thing. Everyone has something to offer. Negatively judging art or artists...what's the reason we do that again?

I have always found it interesting how drummers have drumming competitions where they score the performance to determine who is “better” or “best”. And I can’t find where they do this with other musical instruments.

.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
If you know what I mean...:)

For example, Ringo is not technically great in many ways, but nevertheless he is GREAT. He overcomes whatever skills he may lack with creativity and feel and playing cool licks and playing the right thing for the song, etc etc etc.

Who else do you think is great like that?
I'm curious ... if you can make music feel and sound great what other skills would you possibly need?

I think most drummers have their priorities completely ass backwards

we have become a "lick" and "chop" drumming society and it's kinda sad

when drummers like Bill Ward and Ringo etc are noted as "the worst drummers that are good in spite of..." we've completely lost site of everything

do you want to be an acrobat or a musician ?

turn off the "chop of the week" video and go play music ... please

if you are not playing with other musicians you are doing it wrong
 
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Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I have always found it interesting how drummers have drumming competitions where they score the performance to determine who is “better” or “best”. And I can’t find where they do this with other musical instruments.

.

drum and bugle corps; all high school bands go to contests of different sorts. Solo and Ensemble is an even that is specifically geared towards each instrument playing a solo in front of a judge, and then getting a score;

when you audition for any college, you are being ranked, and your acceptance is based on a score...and also millions of scholarship dollars are given out based on this ranking system
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I'm curious ... if you can make music feel and sound great what other skills would you possibly need?

I think most drummers have their priorities completely ass backwards

we have become a "lick" and "chop" drumming society and it's kinda sad

when drummers like Bill Ward and Ringo etc are noted as "the worst drummers that are good in spite of..." we've completely lost site of everything

do you want to be an acrobat or a musician ?

turn of the "chop of the week" video and go play music ... please

if you are not playing with other musicians you are doing it wrong

again, playing Devils Advocate:

..and then there is the other demographic that believes that "being an acrobat" is actually defined as "being proficient" at your craft. Again, Ringo and Bill gained their fame via the non-musical parts of being in a band, or vicariously through the other musicians in the band. NO ONE would have known who Bill Ward was if it wasn't for Tont Iommi and Ozzy...

I honestly think the bigger shame is that these guys who are working to get good are getting slammed...but that is a direct reflection of how society has shifted from a "do the work and get the reward" mentality to a "just be born, and get the reward" mentality. Everyone gets a trophy. <- F THAT!!!!! "No one should feel bad about them selves, or be forced to adhere to a standard". We will just lower the standard, or. get rid of it all together.

I would hate it if doctors, engineers, construction workers etc. took the same mentality: "well, the building/bridge looks good. It feels good. It doesn't have to be structurally sound. All that "math" is just people showing off"

and we are actually NOT a lick, or chop based drumming society....if you listen to ANYTHING that is the mainstream, it is as banal and simple as it gets....hell, it is now even acceptable to rip off other peoples stuff and call it your own. It is now acceptable to use a machine, and then say "yeah, I play the drums/bass/piano...whatever"...

if I talk to 10 drummers, 8 of them are saying "meat and potato grooves man". Only a few are talking about actual drumming stuff

I admit that I am in the minority of people who feel that both chops based, and meat and potatoes drumming are valid mind sets...I don't think that one mentality is "more important" than the other. In fact, I feel like the best meat and potatoes guys are the ones who actually work on chops based stuff, because the HAVE to learn how to manipulate time and subdivision, which leads to understanding space, which leads to understanding feel, which leads to groove...

...but I do hate it when the chops guys get the s**t thrown at them by people who should not really be throwing s**t, but that should be practicing...

/ rant
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
drum and bugle corps; all high school bands go to contests of different sorts. Solo and Ensemble is an even that is specifically geared towards each instrument playing a solo in front of a judge, and then getting a score;

when you audition for any college, you are being ranked, and your acceptance is based on a score...and also millions of scholarship dollars are given out based on this ranking system

OK, I guess there are other "scored" musical instrument competitions. But it still seems that drummers enjoy scored competition more so that other musical instrument players. Thanks for your input.

.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Again, Ringo and Bill gained their fame via the non-musical parts of being in a band, or vicariously through the other musicians in the band.

Whaaaat?? The drums in a band are non-musical???

And, I think fame as a drummer comes from helping make those "other musicians" in the band sound good. Drummers may not be the up front performers, but they can make the up front performers look and sound good.

.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
again, playing Devils Advocate:

..and then there is the other demographic that believes that "being an acrobat" is actually defined as "being proficient" at your craft. Again, Ringo and Bill gained their fame via the non-musical parts of being in a band, or vicariously through the other musicians in the band. NO ONE would have known who Bill Ward was if it wasn't for Tont Iommi and Ozzy...

I honestly think the bigger shame is that these guys who are working to get good are getting slammed...but that is a direct reflection of how society has shifted from a "do the work and get the reward" mentality to a "just be born, and get the reward" mentality. Everyone gets a trophy. <- F THAT!!!!! "No one should feel bad about them selves, or be forced to adhere to a standard". We will just lower the standard, or. get rid of it all together.

I would hate it if doctors, engineers, construction workers etc. took the same mentality: "well, the building/bridge looks good. It feels good. It doesn't have to be structurally sound. All that "math" is just people showing off"

and we are actually NOT a lick, or chop based drumming society....if you listen to ANYTHING that is the mainstream, it is as banal and simple as it gets....hell, it is now even acceptable to rip off other peoples stuff and call it your own. It is now acceptable to use a machine, and then say "yeah, I play the drums/bass/piano...whatever"...

if I talk to 10 drummers, 8 of them are saying "meat and potato grooves man". Only a few are talking about actual drumming stuff

I admit that I am in the minority of people who feel that both chops based, and meat and potatoes drumming are valid mind sets...I don't think that one mentality is "more important" than the other. In fact, I feel like the best meat and potatoes guys are the ones who actually work on chops based stuff, because the HAVE to learn how to manipulate time and subdivision, which leads to understanding space, which leads to understanding feel, which leads to groove...

...but I do hate it when the chops guys get the s**t thrown at them by people who should not really be throwing s**t, but that should be practicing...

/ rant
ok

I'll go practice
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Whaaaat?? The drums in a band are non-musical???

And, I think fame as a drummer comes from helping make those "other musicians" in the band sound good. Drummers may not be the up front performers, but they can make the up front performers look and sound good.

.

no. I didn't mean the drums are non musical. I meant that the bands/individuals sometimes got fame for their back stage antics; hotel room smashing; visual shows etc...the non-musical elements that go along with bands. I didn't word it as clear as I should have
 
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