The Greats

Modern Drummer is the world’s most widely read drum magazine, is dedicated entirely to the art of drumming and caters to the needs of amateur, semi-pro, and professional drummers.


Drum Instructor Sam Ulano Passes

Sam Ulano, a beloved yet controversial player and instructor who Modern Drummer readers will recognize from the many ads he ran in the magazine over the years, passed away last week, at the age of ninety-three. MD published an interview…

Modern Drummer
Jan 8, 2014

Alex Van Halen: The Hard-Rock Archetype

After changing its name from Mammoth, Van Halen strutted a glam-punk attitude when it burst onto the national scene in 1978 with its self-titled debut album. Featuring the template-smashing talent of the whammy-bar-happy, two-hand-tapping guitarist Eddie Van Halen and his…

Modern Drummer
Feb 2, 2012

Mel Lewis: A Quiet Fire

This is an adaptation of the Mel Lewis In Memoriam article that ran in the June 1990 issue of Modern Drummer magazine.   Often, when Mel Lewis was playing with his Jazz Orchestra, he would break into this little smile.…

Modern Drummer
Jan 10, 2012

Marky Ramone: Punk Legend

by Michael Dawson photo by Paul La Raia Although he’s not the only drummer to have adopted the Ramone surname—Tommy was the group’s original drummer and Richie took over for a period in the mid-’80s—Marky Ramone held the longest tenure…

Modern Drummer
Dec 28, 2011

Tom Roady: Down Home Percussionist

An interview with the late, great Nashville percussionist, which originally appeared in the May 1996 issue of Modern Drummer magazine. Nineteen seventy-nine brought pressured days for Tom Roady, who was in the midst of a major life decision. After working…

Modern Drummer
Dec 8, 2011

Paul Motian: Embracing The Past, Forging the Future

by Burt Korall Following is an interview with post-bop master Paul Motian, which ran in the April 2005 issue of Modern Drummer magazine. Paul Motian’s place in jazz drumming history is secure. His classic performances in the 1960s with mainstream…

Modern Drummer
Nov 22, 2011

Billy Higgins: The Shape of Jazz

Billy Higgins, who would come to play on more than five hundred albums, including three of the biggest jazz crossover hits of the 1960s (Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man,” Lee Morgan’s “The Sidewinder,” and Eddie Harris’s “Freedom Jazz Dance”), was born…

Modern Drummer
Nov 3, 2011

Tony Allen: Afrobeat Innovator

Tony Allen, who along with vocalist/activist Fela Kuti created one of groove music’s most glorious subgenres, Afrobeat, deserves a place on the list of the greatest funk drummers of all time. For more than forty years he has been honing…

Modern Drummer
Oct 18, 2011

John Guerin: All-Around Powerhouse

John Guerin was one of the most prolific and influential drummers of the L.A. studio scene, contributing to recordings by Frank Sinatra, the Byrds, Thelonious Monk, Lou Rawls, George Shearing, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Linda Ronstadt, George Harrison, Nelson Riddle,…

Modern Drummer
Oct 4, 2011

The Greats: Jean-Paul Gaster

Clutch has been somewhat of an under-the-radar band since its formation in 1990, but to those who are aware of the Maryland-based rockers, there are few who can match their eclectic sound and locked-in groove. Jean-Paul Gaster’s gritty playing and…

Modern Drummer
Sep 20, 2011

Bruce Gary: Controlled Bombast with the Knack

Bruce Gary’s muscular tom-tom introduction helped the Knack’s “My Sharona” and their debut album, Get the Knack, break out of the late-’70s doldrums of disco and drum machines. The Knack was formed in Los Angeles in 1978. Their music was…

Modern Drummer
Sep 1, 2011

Kenney Jones: British Drumming Royalty

by Adam Budofsky Among the most dynamic of all the groups who came out of England in the mid-’60s was the Small Faces, featuring singer/guitarist Steve Marriott, bassist Ronnie Lane, keyboardist Ian McLagan, and drummer Kenney Jones. After a number…

Modern Drummer
Aug 18, 2011

Chris Adler: Lamb of God’s Uniquely Heavy Drum Star

Chris Adler, drummer for metal megastars Lamb of God, has a voice and approach all his own, yet he didn’t even begin to play drums seriously until he was already in his twenties. He did, however, grow up studying piano,…

Modern Drummer
Jul 21, 2011

Airto Moreira: World Traveler of the Highest Order

The term “world music” wasn’t invented specifically for Airto Moreira, but it might as well have been. As a percussionist/drummer in his native Brazil in the mid-’60s, Airto was recognized as a leading cutting-edge figure, mixing jazz and Brazilian ethnic…

Modern Drummer
Jul 7, 2011