Driving The Strokes

Drummer Fabrizio Moretti of the StrokesFor Fabrizio Moretti, the twenty-year-old drummer with The Strokes, his role in the New York buzz band is all about propulsion: Watch him pound out 32nd-note-ride patterns in perfect sync with the group’s two frantically strumming guitarists and you can’t help but think of a subway train hurtling full-speed down the tracks.

“There’s something about the driving force of the drums,” Moretti says. “I don’t mean to belittle anyone or say anything bad about any drummer, but sometimes I feel like some people just want to put the spotlight on themselves and fill as much as they possibly can. But it doesn’t help the rhythm and the drive of the song. I feel like a steady beat – or even a consciously unsteady beat – is more important than all those fills.”

Raised in midtown Manhattan, Moretti started playing drums by soundproofing a closet in his mom’s apartment so he could bash along with albums featuring his favorite players, Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Maureen Tucker of The Velvet Underground. He also studied for a year in his mid-teens at the prestigious Turtle Bay Music School. “I guess it’s like when you do art: You can’t break away with your own style unless you know the fundamentals,” he says. “All those rudiments really help you to keep your left hand very steady and bring it up to par with your right hand. And it stabilizes your body, because while you’re doing stick control with your hands, you have to keep a beat with your foot. Later, you can strip all that away and just play the simplest beat, but play it steadier than you would have had you not learned that.”

Jim DeRogatis