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Seventeen top drummers

[Derek the drummer]by Derek K. Miller

When people hear that I'm a drummer—and one who makes a living at it, as long as I wear a wig (as in the photo)—they usually ask me who my favourite other drummers are, or which ones most influenced my playing.

Mine are all rock players, since that's what I do. Oddly enough (or not, given drumming's demographics), all are also men. This list of "greatest rock drummers" from Australia's Triple J radio might also interest you, although it lacks any commentary and inexplicably excludes both Gary Mallaber and "Jabo" Starks (see below).

I'm self-taught on the drums, so I guess those guys showed me how to play. There are, of course, many honourable mentions too, from Kenny Aronoff (of John Mellencamp, John Fogerty, and the Smashing Pumpkins) and Pistol Allen (of Motown's Funk Brothers) to Manu Katche (Peter Gabriel, Robbie Robertson) and Jim Keltner—just to mention some As and Ks. Meg White of the White Stripes is great, even though (or, more precisely, because) she has almost no technique at all. Some influence me more than others—I play a lot like Ringo (or Meg), but very little like Copeland (or Crash)—but I enjoy hearing them all.

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Page BBEdited on 30-Mar-05 (originally published February 2003)

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