Axel Sjöberg - GRAVEYARD Drummer - MD BlogSince this is a blog for Modern Drummer, I thought I’d talk about drummers I like. I rarely like it when drummers play straight beats (no rule is without an exception, though); I prefer drummers who play melodies or play along with the melodies that the other instruments play. That doesn’t mean I only like drummers who are all over the place all the time. Subtlety can be very effective and raise just as many goose bumps as any double bass drum mania that Dave Lombardo sets off.

The first drummer I’d like to salute has meant a lot for my own style of playing. It is no other than Michael Tegza. I’m guessing you’ve got no clue who this guy is. I actually had to go back and look up his name when I wrote this, because I suck at remembering names. Anyway, he played in the psych band H.P. Lovecraft, a band that in my opinion recorded one of the best live albums ever, Live: May 11, 1968. Open a new page, Google it, and order it straight away! Read about the band here:

Mike Tegza is phenomenal at catching the mood of the song he’s playing and intensifying it. He’s got chops as good as any drum hero from the past that you can think of. He can show off without taking over the song, always following the rest of the band very closely. My favorite song on the album is “It’s About Time.” The snare work is brilliant. I’m sure there are drummers who can play more complex stuff and whatnot. That’s not the point, though. The point is how well it fits with the song. You can listen to it on YouTube right here:

But I really suggest you buy the album and play it loud through a good pair of speakers. This is a drummer and an album that are worth paying close attention to—no background cocktail party music. Goose-bump-raising, I tell you! And live! No cut-and-paste, plug-in, over-polished piece of shit.

The other drummer I’d like to raise to the skies is Brann Dailor of Mastodon. Mastodon, amazingly enough, flew under my radar until just recently. Guess I’m a damn fool. I knew of the band, but I hadn’t listened in on them until recently. And damn. Mr. Dailor must be from outer space or something. My jaw hit the floor like an anvil dropped off a skyscraper. So sick. He can really be all over the place without turning it into a Brann Dailor & the Mastodons show.

I haven’t listened to Mastodon long enough to feel comfortable posting any YouTube links, but judging from what I’ve heard so far, you can just go ahead and pick any song and get ready to be blown away. What’s so special about Brann Dailor is that he plays really technically advanced stuff but without ever losing feeling. Feeling, as in what an old blues song has, not sterile, technically advanced super-metal. I am so looking forward to playing at Sonisphere in Sweden because then I’ll get the chance to see that guy blow everything and everyone off the stage.

Sincerely yours,
Axel Sjöberg of Graveyard