Saturday, November 17, 2018

(NOT) FOR DRUMMERS ONLY: 20 Hard Hitters Who Hit Me Hardest

(NOT) FOR
DRUMMERS ONLY
20 Hard Hitters Who
Hit Me Hardest
__________

This is NOT some inane
"Best Drummers" list.
It merely is a personal
overview of some of the
players who influenced
me musically as a kid,
inspired me as a young
adult and who motivate
me to stay in the game
during my golden years.
__________

It was an unexpected scenario. After being out of the drum game for the last several years, I found myself being offered a recent opportunity to join a developing new music project — a Florida-based country combo called the Blue Diamond Band. Truth be told, at age 55, I simply no longer had any interest in joining any band — especially given my alarming array of escalating physical limitations. Heck, my hands barely even work anymore. And often, my arms now go numb to the point of not even being able to clutch my coveted Hello Kitty coffee cup. My kick foot is solid as ever, it's just the rest of my body that's disintegrating. Oh, to be young again! But Blue Diamond's founding force, frontman / guitarist Thomas Tritt delivered a heartfelt pitch. And he clearly wasn't gonna take "no" for an answer.

These days, I gotta clutch Kitty with BOTH hands!
So, there I was late last summer, learning a host of new "outlaw"-type country tunes and a fistful of timeless classics, as well as original material. And before I knew it, I'd pieced together an adequate "practice" kit and was attending weekly rehearsals. A pro photo shoot and a live debut showcase performance followed in short order. I also began perusing area music stores and gear-related websites, pondering which "proper" new kit I wanted to purchase — cymbals, hardware etc. I also began reflecting on the players who inspired me to first pick up a pair of sticks in the first place — at age 16, back in 1978.

Onstage with my short-lived band,
the Glitter Dö
llz back in 2006.
Looking back, there were so many amazing drummers in those days who first energized me. There also were many cats who captivated me further during the '80s — not to mention the myriad heavy hitters who continue to ignite my current percussion passion.

Be sure, this is not a numbered ranking, but rather a simple chronological overview. And while I'm barely qualified to change out their drum heads, they're the artists who have made the most impacting personal impression on me. It's an eclectic collective — and there are SO many more I could have included, but that list would easily have surpassed 100. So, in the interest of time, I ramped it back to a concise 20. Dig it!
__________

EARLY INFLUENCES

KAREN CARPENTER

While the Carpenters were known
primarily for producing sugar-coated
pop confections, Karen Carpenter
was a jazz / rock virtuoso. And she
pulled it all off while dropping pitch
perfect lead vocals. My first drum hero!

SEE FOR YOURSELF
Watch the Carpenters live - 1971
___________

JAMES "DIAMOND" WILLIAMS

Combing heavy guitars with nasty
grooves, the Ohio Players were my
"Led Zeppelin." Driving this down
and dirty Dayton troupe was monster
badass, James "Diamond" Williams.
I recall clearly first getting knocked
out by Skin Tight. 45 years later,
I still can't cop any of "Diamond's"
licks, however, he remains one of
my all-time favorite "players."

SEE FOR YOURSELF
Watch Diamond getting hot with
the Ohio Players on "Fire" - 1974
__________

BUN E. CARLOS

The perfect rock drummer, playing
in the perfect rock band that had just
released the perfect rock record. When I
first discovered Bun E Carlos' irresistible
work on the 1977 Cheap Trick album,
In Color, it was "game on." I had to
get a kit and start a band, posthaste.

SEE FOR YOURSELF
Watch Cheap Trick live - 1977 
__________

MICHAEL DEROSIER

Possessing a stylistic feel similar
to John Bonham, Heart drummer,
Michael Derosier was my guy.
Truth be told, "Sing Child" and
"Kick it Out" just spoke to me in
ways "Dazed and Confused" and
"Whole Lotta Love" never could.
An equally masterful live player,
Derosier energized my passion
every time I saw Heart perform
in concert — particularly on the
band's 1980 Bébé le Strange tour. I
left that show literally spellbound.

SEE FOR YOURSELF
Watch Heart playing "Barracuda" - live 1977
__________

MARKY RAMONE

Executing crisp, concise tracks at break-
neck speed, drummer Marky Ramone
crushed many of my favorite Ramones
records, including Road to Ruin, End
of the Century and Pleasant Dreams.
I'm forever thankful to have seen the
band play live during that glorious era.

SEE FOR YOURSELF
Watch the Ramones live concert performance
from the movie Rock and Roll High School.
___________

TOMMY ALDRIDGE

In December 1978 I saw a promising
combo called the Pat Travers Band
perform in concert. Behind the white
Sonors  red cotton-headed former
Black Oak Arkansas drummer,
Tommy Aldridge. I'd never before
seen anybody play like him. After
buying my first drum set in 1979, I
spent most of the summer trying to
copy his licks. I still haven't come
close. His subsequent work with
the likes of Ozzy and Whitesnake
— also frustratingly magnificent.

SEE FOR YOURSELF
Watch Tommy Aldridge playing
"Crazy Train" with Ozzy - live 1980
__________

KEITH MOON

I must have gone to see the movie,
The Kids Are Alright more than
a dozen times back in 1979. As a
result, Who drummer Keith Moon
became a major hero of mine. To
this day, I still fantasize about living
in a perfect world where I can nail
"Won't Get Fooled Again."

SEE FOR YOURSELF
Watch the Who performing
"Won't Get Fooled Again" - live 1977"
__________

CHARLIE WATTS

The guy with the big beat, playing the
little kit — Charlie Watts of the Stones.
But he's a tricky one — although his stuff
seems simple from a distance, playing
those songs always is more complicated.
He's reason I still play a four-piece set.

SEE FOR YOURSELF
Watch Charlie and the Stones
"getting Happy" - live 1972
__________

ALAN GRATZER

While many of my fellow teenage drummers
were hanging out with "Tom Sawyer," I was
double-parked on "157 Riverside Avenue."
The co-founding REO Speedwagon drummer,
Alan Gratzer's rock cred can't be calculated
by their cotton candy '80s content, but rather
by the punch and crunch of such '70s staples
as You Can Tune a Piano and Nine Lives.
NOTE TO SELF: Seek out Alan Gratzer.
Give him a hug and say, "I love you, man!"

SEE FOR YOURSELF
Watch REO Speedwagon performing
"Flying Turkey Trot" - live 1982
__________

ROGER EARL

I've burned through more copies of
Foghat Live than I can count CDs,
8-tracks and vinyl. And I got so tired
of replacing Stone Blue, I finally just
broke down and bought it off iTunes.
So, what's my insatiable fascination
with this legendary British boogie
brigade? Well, aside from Foghat's
iconic songs, it's (for me) ALL
about drummer, Roger Earl. Back in
the day, he had fat chops, a bitchin'
stache, a cool kit, hot chicks and
groovy threads. What else does a
guy need to be a legend? To this day,
"Honey Hush" (live) can still make
my heart race, while "Stay with Me"
still makes me weak in the knees.
The last surviving member of the
band's classic line-up, Earl continues
to carry on the proud Foghat tradition.
BRAVO!

SEE FOR YOURSELF
Watch Foghat playing "Stone Blue" live
__________

'80s INSPIRATIONS

ERIC CARR

Eric Carr gave KISS the kick in the
ass the band needed exactly when
it was needed most. While his first
KISS record hardly was a landmark
effort, his second set, Creatures of
the Night brought him worldwide
acclaim. Carr also was a consistent
live tour de force. I began playing
Ludwig drums because of Eric Carr.
Ludwig remains my go-to brand.

SEE FOR YOURSELF
Watch this fantastic Eric Carr
drum solo - live 1984
__________

JIMMY MARINOS

Holy crap! NOBODY rocked with the
unbridled, shirtless ferocity of Romantics
drummer, Jimmy Marinos. The sky-high,
jet black coif, the skintight leather pants,
the Zebra-striped, four-piece Ludwigs and
the left-handed caveman-caliber chops. I'd
have given my "left one" gleefully to be
 Jimmy Marinos back then. I still would.

SEE FOR YOURSELF
Watch the Romantics playing
"Rock You Up" - live 1984
___________

RIKKI ROCKETT

Poison drummer, Rikki Rockett
is a superstar showman / musician
of the highest order. THIS guy still
inspires me like NOBODY else!

SEE FOR YOURSELF
Watch this glorious Rikki Rockett
drum solo - live 2007
___________

CURRENT KINGPINS

DARLA RAE PERLOZZI

I first had the privilege of seeing
Darla Rae Perlozzi perform live
in 2017, as the drummer for
country legend, Mark Chesnutt.
Simply put, Darla "plays for the
song." Her tasty style is based on
skintight kick, snare and hi-hat.
Sometimes, less IS more, indeed.
And when I started shopping
recently for a new kit, I asked
myself one question  WWDP?
(What Would Darla Play)

SEE FOR YOURSELF
Watch this cool set-ending live
snippet of Darla Rae Perlozzi 
__________

TOMMY CRAIG

I've admired Tommy Craig for years,
as I've watched him work his way up
through the ranks — from the L.A.
club scene in the '80s to his recent
international notoriety. But it wasn't
until we worked on a studio project
together a couple of years back that
I truly appreciated his impeccable
talent. As the current drummer for
the chart-busting Pat Travers Band,
Tommy is crushing it, unmercifully.

SEE FOR YOURSELF
Watch the Pat Travers Band playing
"Snortin' Whiskey" - live 2017
__________

MYRA GALLARZA

As the drummer for sizzling So-Cal
punk sensation, Bad Cop / Bad Cop,
Myra Gallarza is one of the most
exciting players I've discovered in
a VERY long time — on record
and on stage. She hits like a beast
and she makes every whack count.

SEE FOR YOURSELF
Watch Bad Cop / Bad Cop - live 2018
__________

TRIS IMBODEN

Tris Imboden: "Go fetch my
sticks and an ice-cold beverage."

Me: "Yes, Master!"

SEE FOR YOURSELF
Watch Tris' "master"-ful solo - live 2013
__________

KYLE HORVATH

On record, Jule Vera drummer, Kyle Horvath
always is on point. On stage, he delivers the
goods and always leaves behind a quart of
sweat. His style is intense. He packs plenty
of punch, while refusing to overplay. In
other words, he gets it ALL right. PLUS,
he plays Gretsch, which is completely cool.

SEE FOR YOURSELF
Watch Jule Vera - live 2016
__________

MEGHAN HERRING

Don't be fooled. Doll Skin drummer,
Meghan Herring might be petite, but
holy Toledo — she's a powerhouse, fully
capable of unleashing mass destruction.
She also has restored my passion for
playing — single-handedly. Thanks!

SEE FOR YOURSELF
Watch Doll Skin in concert - 2017
__________


THE BIG DADDY!

MICK FLEETWOOD

For years, the top item on my personal
bucket list was to seek out co-founding
Fleetwood Mac drummer, Mick Fleetwood
— hug him, and tell him I love him. And
in 2015 that mission was accomplished.
His reaction? A reciprocated hug, along
with his seemingly heartfelt reply 
"I love you too, mate!"

SEE FOR YOURSELF
Watch Fleetwood Mac performing
"World Turning," featuring a brilliant
drum solo from Mick - live 2015
__________

I hope you had fun with this feature. I sure did. Maybe you even discovered a couple of new names. Okay, drummers — now it's YOUR turn. Who has influenced YOU the most. See the "Comments" section.

-Christopher Long
(November 2018)



SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
(2012)

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