Home New Influential Drum Legends: Shaping the Rhythmic Paths of Rock’s Iconic Drummers

Influential Drum Legends: Shaping the Rhythmic Paths of Rock’s Iconic Drummers

by Madonna

The evolution of rock music is intricately tied to the rhythmic prowess of its drummers, each influenced by a distinct set of legendary percussionists. Let’s explore the drumming inspirations that ignited the passion and shaped the sound of six iconic rock drummers.

Lars Ulrich: Power and Precision Inspired by Bonham and Peart

Lars Ulrich, the driving force behind Metallica, has left an indelible mark on the world of drumming. When asked to pinpoint his inspirations on The Howard Stern Show, Ulrich credited drumming luminaries such as Ian Paice of Deep Purple, Phil Rudd of AC/DC, and Dave Lombardo of Slayer. However, his pivotal mentorship came from Neil Peart of Rush, who not only shared drumming techniques but also imparted invaluable wisdom on developing a unique style. Despite the reverence for Peart, Ulrich ultimately chose the thunderous beats of John Bonham, particularly citing Bonham’s work on “When the Levee Breaks” as a profound influence on Metallica’s signature pocket.

Phil Rudd: Master of Simplicity in AC/DC’s Backbone

Phil Rudd, the rhythmic anchor of AC/DC, is celebrated for his simplistic yet powerful drumming style. Esteemed by fellow drummers like Charlie Benante of Anthrax, Rudd’s ability to maintain a steady meter without unnecessary embellishments sets him apart. Tommy Lee of Motley Crue describes Rudd as a “human drum machine,” emphasizing the precision and solidity of his playing. Influenced by Ringo Starr and other ’70s rock icons, Rudd’s minimalist approach perfectly complemented AC/DC’s legendary guitarist, Angus Young, and contributed to the band’s timeless sound.

Jon Farriss: INXS’ Rhythmic Pioneer with a Tai Chi Twist

Jon Farriss, the rhythmic force behind INXS, brought a unique blend of rock, funk, and disco to the band’s sound. Growing up surrounded by diverse musical influences, Farriss integrated unconventional elements into his drumming. His self-taught style, inspired by tai chi principles, allowed him to deliver powerful strokes with a meditative finesse. Collaborating with legends like Mick Jagger and Nile Rodgers, Farriss carved his niche by incorporating electronic elements into his live performances, showcasing innovation in the rock drumming landscape.

Tommy Lee: Motley Crue’s Drumming Maverick

Tommy Lee, known for his dynamic drumming with Motley Crue and Methods of Mayhem, traces his influences back to iconic drummers who left an indelible mark on his style. Terry Bozzio’s massive drum kit and Phil Rudd’s emphasis on power and timing played crucial roles in shaping Lee’s approach. However, it was the legendary John Bonham of Led Zeppelin who stood out as Lee’s ultimate inspiration. Bonham’s heavy foot, laid-back snare drum, and unique cymbal placement resonated deeply with Lee, influencing his quest for the perfect groove and rhythm in Motley Crue’s music.

Nick Mason: Pink Floyd’s Architect of Rhythmic Experimentation

Nick Mason, the rhythmic backbone of Pink Floyd, seamlessly blended jazz and rock elements to contribute to the band’s experimental sound. Witnessing Ginger Baker of Cream live was a transformative moment for Mason, inspiring him to pursue a career in drumming. Mason’s admiration for Baker’s double bass and jazz-influenced cross-rhythms became the catalyst for his rhythmic exploration with Pink Floyd. Additionally, Mason drew inspiration from Mitch Mitchell of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, appreciating his ability to transition seamlessly between intricate and powerful drumming styles.

Ben Gillies: From Plumbing Drains to Drumming Fame

Ben Gillies, hailing from a working-class background in Newcastle, defied expectations to become the acclaimed drummer for Silverchair. His journey into drumming began after a revelation during a plumbing job with his father. Influenced by a mix of ’70s rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, and Kiss, Gillies found inspiration in the dynamic styles of drummers such as Terry Bozzio and Alex Van Halen. Embracing the double bass setup and unconventional techniques, Gillies forged his own path, showcasing the impact of diverse influences on his drumming evolution.

In tracing the drumming roots of these iconic figures, it becomes evident that the fusion of inspiration, innovation, and personal style has been instrumental in shaping the rhythmic landscape of rock music.

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