Vivid by Living Colour. Will Calhoun plays masterfully and with tons of power. It was perfect: playable but loaded with nuance.
Manu Katché on Peter Gabriel’s Secret World Live. I was around five, and it just blew my mind. That’s when I realized drumming was what I wanted to do with my life.
John Coltrane’s Impressions (Live at the Village Vanguard). Elvin Jones changed how I approach drums after this.
Charles McCormick III
Meg White with the White Stripes. Her beats may be simple, but they are catchy and rhythmical. She inspired me to become a drummer because you don’t see a lot of girl drummers.
Axis: Bold as Love by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Mitch Mitchell’s groovy intro to “Little Miss Lover” had me mesmerized at age four. My parents were never the same.
Charlie Watts on the Rolling Stones’ “Get Off of My Cloud,” opening fill. That’s all it took!
Dr. Jeffrey Weintraub
Gene Krupa playing “Sing Sing Sing” on Benny Goodman’s Live at Carnegie Hall. I found it in my dad’s cassette collection as a child, and from that point on I was going to be a drummer.
Larnell Lewis on “Shofukan” from Snarky Puppy’s We Like It Here album. Changed drumming for me forever.
In 1970 at age ten I heard Led Zeppelin I [John Bonham] for the first time and listened to “Good Times Bad Times” with headphones. Pop radio died for me that day.
Chris Daddy Dave on the Robert Glasper Experiment album Black Radio. It’s the first time I’ve heard a drummer approach the drums as if it were an electric guitar. There are so many colors and textures when he plays.
U2’s War changed the way I saw drums and the role drummers played in a band, especially Larry Mullen Jr.’s playing on “Sunday Bloody Sunday.”
Alex González on Maná’s “De Pies a Cabeza.” In school the band teacher had me and another kid listen to the song on a boombox and learn it.
Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, The Drum Battle. My grandfather used to play it for me.
Hearing the Flintstones and Batman theme songs.
Exit…Stage Left by Rush [Neil Peart]. I was eight years old. I’m still playing, thirty-six years later.
Brian Downey on Thin Lizzy’s Live and Dangerous. My dad would always turn the radio up when it got to the drum solo on “Sha La La.”
Hearing Sandy Nelson’s “Let There Be Drums” and Cozy Cole’s “Topsy II” as a ten-year-old.
Dennis Chambers on Tom Coster’s Let’s Set the Record Straight album.
Tommy Lee on Mötley Crüe’s self-titled album (without Vince Neil). The sounds of the drums totally caught me and had me asking, “How did he make that sound?”
Album: Rainbow’s Rising (vinyl), Song: “Stargazer,” drummer: Cozy Powell, me aged twelve: mind blown!
Seconds Out by Genesis [Phil Collins, Chester Thompson, Bill Bruford]. I was nine years old when I first heard it. The rest is history.
The Who’s Quadrophenia [Keith Moon]. I was nine when my older brother gave it to me for Christmas. He knew my parents had bought me a drumkit! I was never the same.
Vincent E. Naman
The one and only Stewart Copeland on Outlandos d’Amour by the Police. I was eleven and rode my bike to the record store to buy it.
Roots and Herbs by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Dad’s record! “Ping Pong”! First drums to really grab me—still do!
Nirvana’s Nevermind [Dave Grohl]. I used to beat up my parents’ couch for kick and toms while using my middle school music stand as a cymbal and Pearl practice pad for the snare.
The earliest drumming I remember was definitely Def Leppard. I used to play drums like [Rick Allen] when I was very little. But the drummer that really changed the way I play and view the drums today is Greg Saunier from Deerhoof. His style is just so freeform and creative.
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