A few people have been badmouthing Ringo Starr in their posts, but I gotta put in my two cents for the guy. Ringo was just the right drummer for The Beatles -- steady, solid, great feel, and his fills were subtle but really added something to the songs. He didn't play to show off, he played to suit the music, and that's more important than doing a 30 minute solo that's going to bore 98% of the audience anyway. (And listen to any of the recordings the Beatles did with Pete Best and you realize they traded up big time when they got Ringo.) I dig Charlie Watts for the same reason; never does anything fancy, but his sense of time and groove is dead solid perfect. The Rolling Stones wouldn't sound half as good with anyone else.
If we're talking about great drummers, not just great rock drummers, you really need to mention some classic jazz players like Elvin Jones, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Tony Williams, Philly Joe Jones, Kenny Clark ... for sheer technique and imagination, those guys could slay practically anyone.
Someone mentioned Karen Carpenter (probably as a joke), and the truth is she actually started as the drummer with the Carpenters before becoming the lead singer, and she was pretty good. But on most of their records, the guy playing the drums was Hal Blaine, who was arguably the greatest session drummer of all time -- you name the big act of the 60s and 70s and chances are Blaine played with them, and he always earned the big session fees he demanded. Great technique, knew just how to approach any song he played on. Bernard Purdie, Earl Palmer and Roger Hawkins are a few other great session drummers you've probably never heard of but whose work you've enjoyed.
And some rock players whose work I love: D.J. Bonebrake (X), Todd Trainer (Shellac), Mac McNeilly (Jesus Lizard), Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello), Brendan Canty (Fugazi), Chuck Biscuits (DOA, Black Flag, Danzig), John McEntire (Tortoise), Joey Burns (Calexico).
Last edited by zipcity : 05-20-2010 at 01:46 AM.