Born to Drum: The Truth About the World's Greatest Drummers--from John Bonham and Keith Moon to Sheila E. and Dave Grohl
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he pulse of rock 'n' roll—the drummer—finally gets its due in this unique, all-encompassing inside look at the culture and history of drumming
Beating the hell out of a drum kit is hard, sweaty, demanding work. Yet instead of being showered with respect, drummers are often viewed with derision—stereotyped as crazy, borderline psychotic, or just plain dumb. But as every musician knows, to have a great band you need a great drummer: Ginger Baker. John Bonham. Chad Smith. Stewart Copeland. Neil Peart.
For the first time, Tony Barrell shines a long-overdue spotlight on these musicians, offering an exciting look into their world, their art, and their personalities. In Born to Drum, Barrell explores the extraordinary history of the world's most primitive instrument and the musicians who have made it legend. He interviews some of the most famous, revered, and influential drummers of our time—including Chad Smith, Ginger Baker, Clem Burke, Sheila E., Phil Collins, Nick Mason, Patty Schemel, Butch Vig, and Omar Hakim—who share astonishing truths about their work and lives. He investigates the stories of late, great drummers such as Keith Moon and John Bonham, analyzes many of the greatest drum tracks ever recorded, and introduces us to the world's fastest and loudest drummers, as well as the first musician to pilot a "flying drum kit" onstage.
Filled with fascinating insights into the trade and little-known details about the greats, Born to Drum elevates drummers and their achievements to their rightful place in music lore and pop culture.
huge, but they didn’t feel good, so they had me playing beats over the top. But the natural drum sound was a little small-sounding in relation to the machine beats, and I thought, ‘We need to get some more bottom end here.’ So I got a seven-inch speaker, wired it so it became a microphone—which is an old trick—and put it in a little drum shell. It only picks up the low end of the drum sound, and adds so much more to it.” Other drummers now use Miller’s Subkick to give more oomph to their bass
countries entered the 2012 contest, and the entrants received votes from more than four hundred thousand people around the globe. The winner in the over-eighteen category in 2013 was the twenty-five-year-old Chilean drummer Valerie Sepulveda, who won with a flashy, jazzy piece of music in 7/8 time. Alexey Poblete from Las Vegas, just ten years old, triumphed in the under-eighteen category of the competition with her performance of a tune by the LA metal band Five Finger Death Punch. For many of
mother in dramatic circumstances), and Jess Bowen has mentioned her girlfriend in interviews. “Well, maybe drums make you gay,” joked Mindy Abovitz. “No, I don’t think it’s uncommon for women drummers to be gay. I think it’s to do with the fact that whenever you find women defying the norm or breaking down barriers, like female drummers, you find women who are already trailblazing in some way, already defying something.” Julie Edwards echoed Abovitz’s thoughts. “Homosexuals forge the pathways,”
continue to suffer. Just because you’re sitting down on a cozy drum stool while the rest of the band are on their feet most of the time, don’t think for a moment that this is going to be an easy ride. The drums are usually the most kinetic instrument in the band: in order to play your parts, you have to move a whole lot more than the other musicians do. The singer and guitarist might be running all over the place, contorting their bodies and throwing all kinds of shapes as they sing and play,
of a single drummer—the creation of the drum kit. The much-asked question “Who invented the drum kit?” is unanswerable. Its creation is a perfect example of what the intellectual musician and producer Brian Eno has called “scenius.” When we explore the history of a particular technology, the traditional human tendency is to find the solitary genius who created it; but often it has been created by a whole cultural “scene” involving any number of people. New Orleans has been cited more than any