From the emergence of grunge and nü metal to evolutions seen in alternative and indie styles, rock music underwent significant change throughout the 1990s. Here we check in with our readers and social media followers to see which rock drumming performances from that transformative decade are their favorites.


Superunknown by Soundgarden [1994]. Matt Cameron’s drum parts on that album are perfectly crafted. He grooves in odd times, bridges between each song’s different parts in such great taste, and saves energy during verses before releasing it in fills. His playing is so precise and clean. And his drums sound fantastic. The drum fills he lays down in the instrumental sections of “Limo Wreck” and “Black Hole Sun” are exquisite. I sing those drum parts by heart.

Pablo Torterolo

Jeff Buckley’s Grace [1994] with Matt Johnson on drums. That album completely opened my mind to how drumming could serve the music in a beautiful and emotional way.

Johnny Freeman

I’d have to say 311’s self-titled album [1995]. I remember hearing it for the first time and marveling at how dark Chad Sexton’s cymbals were, how his snare cracked, and how the whole album grooved while maintaining a heavy rock feel.

Ashton Tallmadge

Ten by Pearl Jam [1991]. Dave Krusen’s playing on that record made me stop being a metal head for an entire decade. From beginning to end, that album and his chops do not disappoint.

Marc Rodriguez

Pork Soda by Primus [1993]. Tim Alexander’s drumming was like nothing I’d heard before. From the syncopated double kick patterns to the grooves built around toms to the use of tension and release, it taught me more than almost any other album, video, or book since.

Ernie Learn

No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom [1995] was the first album I studied extensively, and I dissected every one of Adrian Young’s parts. I always enjoyed his snare’s pitch and the tone of his toms. And that’s not to mention his awesome syncopation, which had just the right amount of complexity.

Javier Morataya

Live’s Throwing Copper [1994]. This album has always been an inspiration to me. Chad Gracey’s use of dynamics and unconventional grooves upended my fourteen-year-old self’s sense of rock drumming when it came out. I spent an entire summer learning every note Gracey played and tried my best to emulate his parts. It took me from being a straight four-on-the-floor guy to a musician who had a much better handle on thinking outside of the box.

Andrew DeLaubell

The Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness [1995] with Jimmy Chamberlin on drums. His jazz elements and syncopation never overshadow the song, but rather complement the music completely.

Elizabeth Goodfellow

Jimmy Chamberlin is great on all of the Smashing Pumpkins’ albums, but my favorite would be Siamese Dream [1993]. I was always dazzled by his four-way independence on “Geek U.S.A.” He kept time with his hi-hat foot at blistering paces while his other limbs explored complex tom phrases and ride patterns, all while keeping the figures crisp.

John Fitzpatrick

Blood Sugar Sex Magik by the Red Hot Chili Peppers [1991]. Chad Smith is groundbreaking on that record. He introduces ideas and concepts from the drummers that came before him and completely molds them into his own style. Flea and Smith revolutionized rock rhythm-section relationships and set the tone for musicians to come. That album inspired me to pursue music as a career.

Landon Blackburn

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Dropped Beat

In the Style and Analysis piece in the November issue, Eric Fischer’s photo on page 65 was taken by Michael Spleet.

In October’s Jazz Drummer’s Workshop, the Essential Al Foster records should have been listed as the following:

Joe Henderson The State of the Tenor, Vols. 1 & 2

Red Garland Feelin’ Red

Carmen McRae Carmen Sings Monk

Miles Davis Star People

Blue Mitchell The Thing to Do