I’m a drummer, you know? I’m a really good drummer, and…I’m just living in a guitarist’s world. The line came to me after hearing a quote by Adam DeMamp (Comedy Central’s Workaholics), where he somberly states “I’m just a lat guy, you know? I’ve got these amazing lats, and… I’m just living in an ab guy’s world.” Obviously, the correlation is a bit of a stretch on my part, but in my mind it seems to work. Historically, guitarists receive most, if not all of the glory in the music world (aside from the singer of course). There are close to an infinite amount of publications praising the top guitarists of today, yesterday and a combination of the two. While I wholeheartedly agree with this credit, as a drummer, I just want a bigger piece of that pie. I want to live in a world where we honor lats…I mean, drummers.
Not only do I plan on honoring the drummer, but I desire to call out the ones of my generation. The “Y-Generation” is categorized by any person born between 1982 and 2001. My reasoning is quite simple. Take a brief moment away from this article, open a new tab and Google search “Best Drummers of All-Time.” I’m going to pass and just guess as to what you will find: Tool’s Danny Carey, Dream Theater’s Mike Portnoy, Rush’s Neil Peart, The Who’s Keith Moon, Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham, Big Band great Buddy Rich…You get the picture? While I again agree with all the praise they receive, I also have another point to drive home: Why are all these percussionists part of a band from your parents or grandparents generation? I refer to this condition as “Rolling Stone Syndrome.” Don’t get me wrong, Danny Carey is my idol. I am simply trying to balance the recognition – something Rolling Stone Magazine has a hard time accomplishing.
Here are some drummers from the Y-Generation that you should know:
Aaron Gillespie (Born July 18, 1983) – Underoath (1997-2010), The Almost (Recorded for Southern Weather in 2007)
Drumming is difficult. Drumming and singing is extremely difficult. With that being said, I base the credit solely on Gillespie’s drumming abilities. He was listed as one of DRUM Magazine’s Top Drummers of 2010. The fact that he is no longer behind the kit is a bit unsettling, but I have always claimed that Aaron Gillespie is the most talented musician of our generation. The proof is in the pudding folks. Listen to: “Desperate Times, Desperate Measures” off Lost in the Sound of Separation.
Brett Powell (Born March 10, 1986) – The Human Abstract (2004-Present)
Jazz musicians who cross over into metal bands should be more prevalent. Proof: Brett Powell. The entire band is technical beyond means, but Powell puts most of the greats to shame. Watching the man perform is a spectacle and I encourage it. Amidst all the lineup changes in such a short period, Powell has remained a thunderous constant for THA.
Moe Carlson (Born February 21, 1986) – Protest the Hero (1999-Present)
I always try to plug something with punk roots/influence. Much like jazz to metal, punk to metal just seems to work for me. Carlson does an amazing job mixing the technicality of metal with the speed of punk. Fan videos dedicated to his work have filled up YouTube making it apparent I seem to share this admiration for his technique and style. The toughest drummers to imitate are the ones who don’t follow any set structure; that holds true with Moe Carlson.
Matthew Nicholls (Born March 22, 1986) – Bring Me the Horizon (2004-Present)
Nicholls doesn’t use triggers during his live shows, which may surprise people. The bass drops are just a matter of precision timing. The growth he has shown since Count Your Blessings should be noted, as he has grown in technicality, creativity and speed.
Matt KuyKendall (26-27 years old, date of birth unknown) – All Shall Perish (2002-2010)
KuyKendall is a big fan of complex polyrhythms and limb independence, which he says are at the forefront of drumming today. All of his techniques and beats are self-taught. Apparently, lessons just weren’t his thing. It is a travesty that he and All Shall Perish parted ways in 2010.
Cartland Blake Richardson (26-27 years old, date of birth unknown) – Between the Buried and Me (2004-Present), Glass Casket (2001-Present)
Aside from Aaron Gillespie, Richardson is probably the most acclaimed drummer on this list. He is categorized with Danny Carey, Mike Portnoy and Gavin Harrison (Carey and Portnoy previously mentioned) as one of the top progressive drummers by DRUM Magazine. Richardson was also lucky enough to solo with Portnoy at the Progressive Nation Tour in 2008. While he is known for his blast beats and double bass, he is superior in blending death metal with the odd-timing signatures of jazz.
Andrew Forsman (Born September 2, 1985) – The Fall of Troy (2002-2010), 30 Years War (2002)
Mathcore and prog-rock are two genres full of musical talent and ability, and a perfect example was The Fall of Troy’s Andrew Forsman. He along with the rest of the band used intricate song structures and a complete disregard for the conventional to stand out from other bands/artists in the same field of study.
Hannah Ford (21 years old, date of birth unknown) – The Hannah Ford Band
I may have felt it necessary to include at least one female on this list. However, Hannah Ford has been noticed by DRUM Magazine and was listed on their Rising Stars list two years in a row (2010 and 2011). At 21 years of age (per Facebook), she already has a band named after her (yes, a band named after the drummer; Fleetwood Mac?) in which she drums and sings. Ford also has a one woman multi-media show called “Peace, Love & Drums.” She has won multiple awards in the jazz genre, but she dabbles in all areas. Oh, and I’ve never seen anyone punish a drum-set so intensely while smiling. Cute.
Donnie Marple (Under 30, date of birth unknown) – Guitar Center 2007 Drum-Off Champion
Donnie Marple, although only in his early 20s, is a jazz drummer brilliant beyond his years. He is a perfect example of an artist who could fit into any band and create a backbone with dangerous strength. Unfortunately, drummers typically have to play to the rest of the band’s strong suits, making it very hard for him to shine. In the video, pay attention to the last minute and a half.
Calum Blair (16-17 years old, date of birth unknown) – 2012 Young Drummer of the Year
At only 16 years old, Calum Blair has developed a technique that ranges over several genres. Much like Donnie Marple, Blair is a mastermind behind the kit. He makes it look as though any person can sit back there and ball-out. When a drummer makes it look easy, I mean that their movements are few and far between. When you exert too much energy with the upper body, you wear down and you see what is known as “Sloppy Drummer.” A great drummer’s feet do the majority of the moving and that is the situation with Blair.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQMWTIBNAm0
Now that we have restored a little bit of order to the World of Drummers, I can rest easier. Maybe in 20-30 years we can look back at this time and say “Damn, those were some of the best drummers ever!” Hopefully Google is still around.