Bash That Kit: The Importance of Drums in a Band’s Sound

Cover Photo by Keagan Henman on Unsplash

Phil Collins, Ringo Starr, and Gil Moore: three drummers who don’t get mentioned enough in the discussion of great drummers.

Who can forget the iconic drum solo from In The Air Tonight? To this day, over forty years after its release, that song continues to haunt and inspire new generations of fans – especially drummers. Not only does it feature the aforementioned drum solo and a unique interplay between acoustic and electronic drum sounds, it also features Collins’ superlative songwriting and singing.

Ringo Starr, with his long history of playing with The Beatles and countless other musical greats throughout the years, is a drumming icon but is rarely mentioned as one of the truly great drummers. Side 2 of Abbey Road, in the song medley at the end, features some of Starr’s best drumming in my opinion.

Gil Moore, although lesser known outside of Heavy Rock, is a fantastic drummer in his own right. He helped shape and support the sound of the mighty Canadian band, Triumph. During their heyday of the late seventies and early eighties, they put out hit after hit and played to hundreds of thousands of fans around the world.

In this, our third and final interview, my good friend and drummer, Mike Drolet, talks about some more of his favourite drummers. As usual, we get sidetracked into all kinds of more or less related topics. But we bring it all back to the topic at hand – drumming.

The end of the video features some of his playing with the snare beads released, which makes a hollow and slightly more aggressive sound. I had a bit of chat with Mike a couple of days ago and we got into a bit of back and forth about well known songs that have that snareless snare drum sound. A few excellent songs that feature that sound are:

  • “So This is Love?” by Van Halen
  • “Naveed” by Our Lady Peace – a Canadian band that had quite a bit of North American success in the nineties
  • “Birmand” also by Our Lady Peace
  • “Tomorrow” by Silverchair
  • “Californication” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

All this to say is that drummers do definitely influence the sound and feel of a band. Listen to “Neon Knights” by Black Sabbath followed by “The Mob Rules.” Both songs were released in successive years. The first featured original drummer Bill Ward. The second featured drummer Vinny Apiece, who later went to play with Ronnie James Dio when he left Black Sabbath and started a very successful solo career. I believe there is definitely a difference in sound between the two songs partly because of the drumming.

It’s common knowledge that the invention of the bass drum (or kickdrum) pedal was critical in creating the modern drum set, which allowed one person to play snare, bass, cymbals, and toms. All of those functions were formerly performed by different people. That configuration has evolved into all kinds of permutations incorporating acoustic and electronic drums, as well as various percussive elements. Neal Peart of Rush fame was one of the best examples of combining all of these elements.

The drummer, as the centre and base of the rhythm section, is hugely important in creating the band’s sound and personality. I disagree with Mike when he says that a drummer has limited ability in convey emotion to the band’s sound. Would the The Who sound the same without Keith Moon? Of course they did when they released their Face Dances. I’m sure Kenney Jones is an excellent drummer but The Who’s magic was definitely lacking without Moon on the drum kit.

Other than spellcheck, no AI was used to write this article.

Thank you Wikipedia, as always for being there to support my research into the writing of this article.

Please click on the links below to view all the videos in this series. Thanks for joining us at the In-Tune Guitar Academy.




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