The 10 Best Drummers of All Time (According to Me)

In the world of music, there are legends who have the power to move souls with their rhythmic magic. Among them, the drummers stand tall as the untamed giants of the beat, the fiery guardians of the groove. Spanning across genres, from the smoky realms of jazz to the thunderous realms of rock, these sonic revolutionaries ignite fires within our hearts. Now, behold the divine pantheon of the ten awe-inspiring drummers who have transcended mere virtuosity to become symbols of passion, power, and pure musical wizardry!

(In no particular order, although Gavin Harrison and Simon Phillips are my 2 absolute favorites)

πŸ₯ Drum roll, please! πŸ₯

Gavin Harrison

  • Biography: Born in 1963 in England, Gavin Harrison showed an early interest in drumming. He joined Renaissance at 19 and later became a sought-after session drummer. His work with Porcupine Tree and King Crimson has earned him numerous awards and accolades.
  • Current Projects: King Crimson, Solo Work
  • Artists/Bands: Porcupine Tree, King Crimson, The Pineapple Thief
  • Equipment: Sonor Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Remo Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Gavin’s precision and creativity are unmatched. His ability to weave complex rhythms into accessible music is pure genius.
  • Fun Fact: Gavin has authored several drumming books!
  • Watch Him in Action:

Simon Phillips

  • Biography: Born in 1957 in London, Simon Phillips began playing professionally at the age of 12. He’s played with a wide range of artists, including The Who and Toto. His powerful style and versatility have made him one of the most respected drummers in the world.
  • Current Projects: Solo Work, Protocol
  • Artists/Bands: Toto, Mike Oldfield, The Who, Judas Priest, Michael Schenker
  • Equipment: Tama Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Pro-Mark Sticks, Remo Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Simon’s versatility and power behind the kit make him a force to be reckoned with.
  • Fun Fact: He’s played on over 400 albums!
  • Watch Him in Action:

Mike Mangini

  • Biography: Born in 1963 in Newton, Massachusetts, Mike Mangini’s drumming journey began at age 2. He’s played with Extreme and Steve Vai, and in 2011, he became the official drummer for Dream Theater. His incredible speed and precision have earned him several World’s Fastest Drummer records.
  • Current Projects: Dream Theater
  • Artists/Bands: Dream Theater, Extreme, Steve Vai
  • Equipment: Pearl Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vater Sticks, Remo Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Mike’s technical prowess and speed are jaw-dropping. His solos are a rollercoaster ride!
  • Fun Fact: He holds five World’s Fastest Drummer records.
  • Watch Him in Action:

Gergo Borlai

  • Biography: Born in 1978 in Hungary, Gergo Borlai was a child prodigy, starting to play drums at age three. He’s known for his fusion of jazz, rock, and funk and has played with artists like Scott Kinsey and Gary Willis. His unique style has made him a prominent figure in the drumming community.
  • Current Projects: Solo Work, Various Collaborations
  • Artists/Bands: Scott Kinsey, Gary Willis, Tribal Tech
  • Equipment: Ludwig Drums, Meinl Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Evans Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Gergo’s fusion of jazz, rock, and funk is a rhythmic feast for the ears.
  • Fun Fact: He started drumming at age three!
  • Watch Him in Action:

Nick D’Virgilio

  • Biography: Born in 1968 in California, Nick D’Virgilio is known for his work with progressive rock bands like Spock’s Beard, Big Big Train and Genesis. He’s also a talented singer and has contributed to numerous albums as a session musician. His melodic sensibility and technical prowess have earned him a dedicated fan base.
  • Current Projects: Big Big Train, Solo Work
  • Artists/Bands: Spock’s Beard, Genesis, Tears for Fears
  • Equipment: DW Drums (and many others), Sabian Cymbals, Pro-Mark Sticks, Evans Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Nick’s progressive rock chops and melodic sensibility are second to none.
  • Fun Fact: He’s also a talented singer and plays the guitar!
  • Watch Him in Action:

Sarah Thawer

  • Biography: Based in Toronto, Canada, Sarah Thawer is a self-taught drummer known for her unique blend of traditional Indian rhythms with modern jazz. She’s a YouTube sensation and has performed with various jazz ensembles. Her innovative approach to drumming has made her a rising star in the music world.
  • Current Projects: Various Collaborations, Educational Work
  • Artists/Bands: Independent, Various Jazz Ensembles
  • Equipment: Yamaha Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Remo Skins
  • Why I Love Her: Sarah’s blend of traditional Indian rhythms with modern jazz is refreshing and unique.
  • Fun Fact: She’s a self-taught YouTube sensation! And she drums with her face, too. Her facial expressions are something!
  • Watch Her in Action:

Buddy Rich

  • Biography: Born in 1917 in Brooklyn, New York, Buddy Rich was a jazz drumming legend known for his incredible technique and showmanship. He led his own big band and played with greats like Frank Sinatra. His influence on drumming continues to be felt today.
  • Current Projects: Passed away in 1987
  • Artists/Bands: Buddy Rich Big Band, Frank Sinatra, Tommy Dorsey
  • Equipment: Slingerland Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Buddy Rich Signature Sticks, Remo Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Buddy’s showmanship and technique are legendary. He’s the original drumming superstar.
  • Fun Fact: He once had a drum battle with Animal from The Muppets!
  • Watch Him in Action:

Jeff Porcaro

  • Biography: Born in 1954 in Connecticut, Jeff Porcaro was a founding member of Toto and an in-demand session drummer. His groove in songs like “Rosanna” is timeless, and his feel for the music made him one of the most recorded drummers in history.
  • Current Projects: Passed away in 1992
  • Artists/Bands: Toto, Steely Dan, Michael Jackson
  • Equipment: Pearl Drums, Paiste Cymbals, Regal Tip Sticks, Remo Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Jeff’s groove in songs like “Rosanna” is legendary. His feel is simply magical.
  • Fun Fact: He’s one of the most recorded drummers in history.
  • Watch Him in Action:

Marco Minnemann

  • Biography: Born in 1970 in Germany, Marco Minnemann is known for his incredible independence and creativity on the drums. He’s played with The Aristocrats, Steven Wilson, and Joe Satriani. His ability to play a different rhythm with each limb is mind-blowing.
  • Current Projects: The Aristocrats, Solo Work
  • Artists/Bands: The Aristocrats, Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani
  • Equipment: DW Drums, Zyn Cymbals, Pro-Mark Sticks, Evans Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Marco’s creativity and independence on the kit are out of this world.
  • Fun Fact: He can play a different rhythm with each limb! He always seems to have the most fun behind the kit.
  • Watch Him in Action:

Chris Coleman

  • Biography: Born in 1977 in Michigan, Chris Coleman is known for his gospel chops and has played with a wide range of artists, including Prince, Chaka Khan, and Stevie Wonder. His soulful playing and finesse have made him a favorite among musicians and fans alike.
  • Current Projects: Various Collaborations, Educational Work
  • Artists/Bands: Prince, Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder
  • Equipment: Sonor Drums, Meinl Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks, Remo Skins
  • Why I Love Him: Chris’s chops and musicality are insane. He plays with soul, power and finesse. Very hard hitter, super groovy.
  • Fun Fact: He’s played with everyone from Chaka Khan to Prince.
  • Watch Him in Action:

So, there you have it, my personal top 10 drummers who’ve ever graced a drum throne. From legends of the past to modern maestros, these drummers have shaped the way I hear and feel music. πŸ₯πŸ’₯


person holding man wearing clown face art

Brexit: The Massive After Party Hangover

Ah, Brexit. The political equivalent of deciding to break up with your long-term partner because you’re tired of them leaving the cap off the toothpaste. It was a decision that promised sovereignty, prosperity, and control. But, like waking up after a night of heavy drinking, the reality has been a little less rosy. Let’s take a look at the ‘morning after’ effects of this political bender.

  1. Economic Contraction: The UK is the only major rich economy that remains smaller than prior to the pandemic. The UK is projected to be 4% worse off than it would have been if it had voted against Brexit. Source: BBC News, OECD.
  2. Decrease in Real Income and Per-Capita Income Level: A UK exit has been predicted to lead to a decrease in real income by 6.3%-9.5%. Source: Michigan State University. Surveys of economists showed overwhelming agreement that Brexit would likely reduce the UK’s real per-capita income level. Source: Wikipedia.
  3. Trade Disruptions and Adverse Impact on Trade: New rules and paperwork for companies trading with the EU led to an initial dip in exports and may have deterred some small exporters. The variety of goods exported has also decreased. Brexit has had a significant adverse impact on UK trade, reducing both overall trade volumes. Source: BBC News, Politico.
  4. Increased Import Costs and Inflation: The price of food imported from the EU has risen, potentially by as much as 6% over 2020 and 2021, leading to higher costs for consumers. Brexit is weighing on imports and exports, sapping investment, contributing to labor shortages, and worsening Britain’s inflation. Source: BBC News, CNN Business.
  5. Stalled Business Investment and Exacerbated Economic Weaknesses: Uncertainty surrounding Brexit has led to a stall in business investment. If investment had continued its pre-referendum trend, it could be about 25% higher than it is now. Brexit has exposed and exacerbated underlying weaknesses in the British economy, such as low productivity and low business investment. Source: BBC News, Institute Global.
  6. Labor Shortages and Worker Shortage: Changes in immigration rules have resulted in labor shortages in sectors such as transport, hospitality, and retail, leading to service disruptions and increased costs for consumers. About 20,000 EU citizens left the UK after Brexit, leading to a significant shortage of workers in fields such as retail, hospitality, and goods transport. Source: BBC News, StudySmarter.
  7. Slow Progress on New Trade Deals: While the UK has struck 71 trade deals, most of them replicate deals that existed when the UK was part of the EU. New deals with Australia and New Zealand are expected to provide only a small boost to trade and deals with major players like the US and China remain elusive. Source: BBC News.
  8. Job Losses in Financial Services: The financial services sector have lost 7,000 jobs due to Brexit. Source: BBC News.
  9. Negative Impact on Irish Trade: Brexit has had negative impacts on Irish trade, with adverse knock-on effects on Irish production and ultimately Irish GDP. Source: Copenhagen Economics.
  10. Decrease in Imports: Research shows a 25% decrease in UK imports from the EU compared to imports. Source: Open Access Government.
  11. Reduced Competitiveness: Brexit has damaged Britain’s competitiveness and is expected to make the country poorer in the decade ahead. Source: Resolution Foundation.
  12. Impact on People Flow: Brexit has affected the flow of people, with EU citizens now having to apply for work or study in Britain. Source: The Economist.
  13. Increased Business Costs: The drop in the value of the pound after Brexit raised import prices, business costs, and inflation, but did not boost wages, exports, or the competitiveness of the UK economy. Source: Financial Times.
  14. Impact on Developing Countries: Brexit could cause the number of people living in extreme poverty in developing countries to rise by up to 1.7 million. Source: Deutsches Institut fΓΌr Entwicklungspolitik.
  15. Impact on Supply Chains: The new rules have led to drastic consequences for some companies, with 17% of surveyed companies ceasing their export trade with the UK due to Brexit. Source: KPMG Germany.
  16. Impact on the EU: The EU lost about one-sixth of its economic output due to Brexit, and the negative consequences and challenges go beyond the GDP effect. Source: The Guardian.
  17. Higher Barriers to Trade, Capital Flows, and Labor Mobility: When the United Kingdom left the European Union, higher barriers to trade, capital flows, and labor mobility affect output and jobs not only in the UK but also in the EU. Source: International Monetary Fund.
  18. Negative Impact on Globalization: Brexit is seen as a vote against globalization, which has weakened forces in the EU that favor integration. Source: The Balance.

So, there you have it. The ‘Brexit Bonanza’ in all its glory. A smorgasbord of economic contraction, trade disruptions, labor shortages, and a whole lot more. But hey, at least they’ve got control, right? And isn’t that what it’s all about? Control over your own destiny, even if that destiny looks a bit like a car crash in slow motion. But don’t worry, I’m sure it’ll all work out in the end. After all, they’re British. A stiff upper lip, a love of queuing, and a knack for making the best of a bad situation. Let’s raise a cup of tea to Brexit, the gift that keeps on giving. Cheers! And remember, that’s what happens when you decide to jump off a cliff and then try to build a parachute on the way down.

A Personal Take On Rammstein

I’ve always been one to appreciate a wide range of music, but there’s one band that I’ve never been able to get on board with: Rammstein. The German metal band has long been a source of controversy, and for me, their actions and representations have always been a step too far.

Let’s start with their performances. Rammstein is known for their grandiose shows, complete with pyrotechnics and dramatic theatrics. Generally, not really my thing. Plus, beneath the spectacle, there’s an element that’s deeply unsettling. The band’s use of Nazi propaganda aesthetics and right-wing iconography is, in my opinion, a blatant disregard for the historical trauma associated with these symbols.

As the taz article “Verharmlosung von Rammstein: Eiertanz ums Eiserne Kreuz” aptly points out, their shows “[deliver] a celebration of flame-encircled masses as updated staging strategies of the NS propagandists Leni Riefenstahl and Albert Speer and imitate these models under the insignia of the musical shock troop, an Iron Cross.”

Some might argue that this is all part of their artistic expression. But let’s cut the crap here. This isn’t just about pushing boundaries or being edgy. This is about using loaded symbols for shock value and, as some suggest, as a marketing strategy. And that, my friends, is where I draw the line.

But the controversy doesn’t end there. The band’s lead singer, Till Lindemann, is currently embroiled in a MeToo scandal, facing allegations of sexual assaults against young female fans. This, coupled with Lindemann’s past lyrics that fantasize about the rape of a drugged woman, paints a troubling picture.

The taz article states, “If the just exploding scandal gains further substance in the face of the alleged pattern of sexual assaults by frontman Till Lindemann against young female fans, Rammstein would again be number one in Germany, but in the biggest MeToo case.” This is a stark reminder that we need to hold our idols accountable, regardless of their artistic contributions.

And then there’s the academic trivialization of Rammstein’s actions. A book titled “Rammstein’s ‘Deutschland’. Pop – Politics – Provokation” presents the band’s controversial actions as “complex works of art”. The taz article criticizes this perspective, stating, “The reader ‘Rammstein’s ‘Germany’. Pop – Politics – Provokation’… presents the result of cultural science research on Rammstein’s pop-cultural total work of art permeated with fascist aesthetics, right-wing iconography, and sexual violence fantasies.”

To me, this feels like a dangerous oversimplification that overlooks the potential harm such portrayals can cause. It’s like saying, “Sure, they’re playing with fire, but look at how pretty the flames are!” It’s a way of avoiding the hard questions, of sidestepping the uncomfortable truths.

While some may appreciate Rammstein’s boldness and refusal to conform, I find their actions deeply problematic. The controversy surrounding Rammstein serves as a reminder that as consumers of art, we need to keep our eyes open and our minds critical. We need to hold artists accountable for their actions, especially when they exploit historical trauma and personal boundaries for shock value.

At the end of the day, it’s not just about the music. It’s also about the message. And when that message is wrapped up in controversy and exploitation, it’s time to take a step back and ask ourselves: is this the kind of art we want to support?