Top 10 Influential Drummers

In thinking more about pursuing drumming in a way I haven’t done before, I’ve given more thought to those players that I admire. Should any of these guys run across this post, please don’t take offense at your placement. I’ll have no qualms bumping you up the list should you contact me.

  • 10. Darren King, MuteMath
    Have yet to see him live, but any drummer that has to duct tape headphones to his head has to either have serious chops or a muscle control problem. It’s most of the former, as far as I know. Wikipedia says he’s “well known for intense drum beats that showcase a vast amount of energy.”
  • 9. Will Champion, Coldplay
    Steady. Deceptively simple yet evocative. As with all those in this list, he’s a perfect fit for the band he’s in.
  • 8. Keith Moon, The Who
    Some might think, “Really, Moon is this low?” Well, I’m not well aquainted with The Who oeuvre, but I know he had the chops. And have you heard about the Keith Moon biopic staring Mike Myers?
  • 7. Larry Mullen, Jr., U2
    A working-man’s drummer. Steady as a rock. Never overplays. Does exactly what is necessary. In some respects, he reminds me of Ringo Starr: the bedrock player for the world’s biggest band.
  • 6. Taylor Hawkins, Foo Fighters
    A quintessential rock drummer. A perfect blend of simple complexity. Aggressive without being overbearing. Just knows how to rock.
  • 5. Stewart Copeland, The Police
    A musician, then a drummer; a rare breed indeed. Purposefully and tastefully plays nearly anything that isn’t four-on-the-floor, snare-on-two-and-four kinds of beats. Inimitable.
  • 4. John Bonham, Led Zeppelin
    Because no respectable drummer can make a list like this and not include Bonzo. A drummer to be emulated (at least stylistically).
  • 3. Dominic Howard, Muse
    Fat. Powerful. Heavy. Orchestral. Emotive. Impressive. The more I listen, the more I want to be that kind of drummer. And possibly placed so high in the list because he’s a recent influence.
  • 2. Carter Beauford, Dave Matthews Band
    Carter was one of my early drumming heroes. One of the most technically skilled drummers in the business. He plays busy, but it works perfectly as part of DMB. I always have and always will marvel at his abilities.
  • 1. Brandon Graves, Waterdeep
    [Upper left in photo] You probably haven’t heard of Brandon. The first time I ever heard him play a solo, on Waterdeep’s Live at the New Earth, I was sure I was going to quit playing drums because I couldn’t imagine ever being that good. Alternately, I thought he might have been a multi-armed Hindu deity, until seeing him perform live. (He’s not). To me, his style, technical proficiency, and flat-out ability to rock are what I aspire to.