It’s official: drummers are smarter than you (and everybody else)

Drummer Meg White

Drummer Meg White

 

Far too often, drummers have been given the shaft. Second to only, maybe, bassists, they’re the member in the band considered most replaceable: you can just pull some chump off the street, sit him behind a kit, and on with the show.
 
According to science, however, drummers aren’t the mouth-breathing neanderthals humorists have made them outto be. News and analytics site PolyMic compiled a group of studies that indicate drummers are not only generally smarter than theirbandmates, they actually make everyone around them smarter too.
 
The research suggests that drummers have innate problem-solving skills and a positive impact on communities.
 
Researchers at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute found that, after playing a series of beats, drummers who had better rhythm scored better on a 60-question intelligence test. Seems using all the various parts of a drum kit to keep one steady beat is actually an expression of intrinsic problem-solving abilities.Furthermore, other studies show that rhythmic music can actually make other people smarter.

 
A University of Washington psychology professor found that his students got higher scores after undergoing rhythmic light and sound therapy. A University of Texas Medical Branch researcher using the same method on elementary and middle school boys with ADD noted an effect comparable to Ritalin. In fact, the boys’ IQ scores actually went up and stayed up.It gets even crazier, and more primordial, with reports suggesting drumming played a role in our own civilization.

 
Researchers at the University of Oxford discovered that drummers produce a natural “high” when playing together, heightening both their happiness and their pain thresholds. The researchers extrapolated that this rhythmic euphoria may have been pivotal in mankind establishing communities and society.
 
Essentially, drum circles were the very foundation that made human society possible.And for one final bullet into the heart of drum machine enthusiasts everywhere: When drummers make errors in beat, they’re actually tapping into a natural rhythm found all over Earth.
 
Harvard smarty-pants discovered that a drummer’s internal clock doesn’t move linearly like a real clock, but rather in waves. This wavy rhythm pattern is found in human brainwaves, sleeping heart rates, and the nerve firings in felines’ ears. So when a drummer slips up, they’re actually just matching the elemental beat of the world.To boil it all down, drummers are smarter than you, more in-tune with nature than you, and are the whole reason you and I have a society in which to mock drummers in the first place. Kind of puts a whole new perspective on our “Greatest Drummer of All Time” poll, don’t it?
 
PolyMic also recently looked at research on guitarists’ brain power, determining that shredders are more intuitive and in fact slightly psychic.Next, we’ll learn how bassists are better than the rest of us at 2048.

Echo & The Bunnymen’s ‘Bright And Beautiful’ Pete De Freitas Remembered

Echo Bunnymen

Echo & The Bunnymen

This month the music industry remembers the inspirational life and untimely death of Echo and the Bunnymen’s Pete De Freitas, remembering the fallen drummer’s extraordinary arc through the testimonies of his bandmates, family, and friends. We learn that on the day of De Freitas’s fatal motorcycle crash in June 1989, the surviving members of the fractured Liverpool group made a pilgrimage to the flat that De Freitas had shared with guitarist Will Sergeant and bassist Les Pattinson. “No one was invited, no one was asked,” Pattinson said. “We just went and sat in Pete’s room. We were in shock, but we ended up laughing. Not at the situation, but at how Pete was. All these memories… and virtually all of them funny.” A cultured kid raised in a picturesque Goring-on-Thames in Oxfordshire (his parents had relocated from the Caribbean), De Freitas’ natural musicianship and affable charm made him an invaluable foil to his notoriously quarrelsome bandmates. bunnymen-opener-mojo But drug escapades, insecurity, and manic delusions were to take their toll on the man manager Bill Drummond says was once “the sanest and most balanced of the Bunnymen.” The madness peaked in 1986 when he relocated his freewheeling solo project, The Sex Gods, to New Orleans, where his behaviour became even more unpredictable. “Pete basically was having a breakdown,” says his brother, Geoff. Shortly after returning to the Bunnymen in 1987, De Freitas married, and his daughter Lucie Marie was born the following year. But whatever personal strides he was beginning to make, they would be cut short by the motorcycle accident that ended his life at age 27. The Bunnymen’s Ian McCulloch says, “I remember the day he died, playing Marquee Moon and crying over the line ‘I fell sideways laughing with a friend from many stages…’ because that’s exactly what he was.”

R.I.P. Scott Asheton, drummer of The Stooges

The Stooges
The Stooges

The Stooges (L-R Dave Alexander, Iggy Pop in front, Scott Asheton in back and Ron Asheton) in the studio in 1970, during the making of their second album, Fun House.

Drummer Scott Asheton (August 16, 1949 – March 15, 2014) best known as the drummer for the rock band the Stooges and founding member of the pioneering punk band died on Saturday at the age of 64 following an unspecified illness.

Scott Asheton and his brother, guitarist Ron Asheton, were a couple of bad boys roaming around Southeastern Michigan in the late 1960s when they met the ultimate musical partner in crime, Iggy Pop. They began playing with bassist Dave Alexander as The Stooges – experimental sounds that broke down the rules of rock ‘n’ roll nearly a decade before punk bands like the Sex Pistols made punk a threat to good households everywhere.

GLOWERING LIKE A ROCK’N’ROLL golem behind Iggy Pop and brother Ron on the iconic cover of The Stooges’ eponymous 1969 debut album, Scott “Rock Action” Asheton (pictured above, right) was the real thing: a personification of defiant street attitude whose atavistic beat powered his band ever onward, in the teeth of audience hostility, critical ambivalence and other trifles.

He appeared indestructible, but after a medical emergency on a plane in 2011, Asheton had to wind down touring commitments with the reformed Stooges, though his contributions to their most recent album, 2013’s Ready To Die, were familiarly boisterous. Whenever behind the drums there was a part of him that looked and sounded like it was beating a 50 gallon oil barrel with mallets – just as Asheton did for real at the earliest Stooges shows in 1968.

“Scott was a great artist,” Iggy Pop said in a statement on his Facebook page. “I have never heard anyone play the drums with more meaning than Scott Asheton. He was like my brother. He and Ron have left a huge legacy to the world. The Ashetons have always been and continue to be a second family to me. My thoughts are with his sister Kathy, his wife Liz and his daughter Leanna, who was the light of his life.”

For an instant understanding of what made Asheton great, listen to the tribalistic boogie of 1969, the relentless zombie march of I Wanna Be Your Dog, the trashy Elvin Jones clatter of Real Cool Time or the chest-wound snare blam of Down On The Street. Appreciate the telepathic meld of Scott’s drums with the saw-blade riffing of brother Ron. There have been fewer sonic experiences more thrilling in the entire pantheon of music made with guitars.

And when the Stooges reformed in 2003, it was Scott’s beat that underlined the authenticity of the experience. Anyone who witnessed the Iggy, Ron, Scott, and Mike Watt line-up rolling back the years in their soap-opera version of The Unforgiven – say, at Glastonbury in June 2007 – will attest to their scabrous glory.

Sadly, the death of Ron from a heart attack in 2009 drew a line under that version of the group, though Iggy and Scott ploughed on, with guitarist James Williamson helping revive the Raw Power era of the band.

In a statement he released, Iggy Pop wrote:

“Scott was a great artist, I have never heard anyone play the drums with more meaning than Scott Asheton. He was like my brother. He and Ron have left a huge legacy to the world. The Ashetons have always been and continue to be a second family to me.

My thoughts are with his sister Kathy, his wife Liz and his daughter Leanna, who was the light of his life.”

Best wishes go out to the Asheton family, and anyone touched by the music of The Stooges.

Watch select highlights from Asheton and The Stooges’ career below.