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.

Guided By Voices drummer auctions drum set for $55,000, gets fired from band


Last week, Guided by Voices drummer Kevin Fennell put up his drum kit for sale on eBay for a whopping $55,000. That didn’t go over too well with frontman Robert Pollard, who promptly announced Fennell’s dismissal from the band. “For the record, the band Guided By Voices has nothing to do with the sale of Kevin Fennell’s drums. He is acting on his own and is no longer in the band,” a statement read.

The auction ended today with zero bidders. However, the drama’s hardly over between Fennell and Pollard. The auction’s Facebook page has shared an e-mail thread between the ex-bandmates, because “Kevin feels that the truth of it is important.”

According to the post, Fennell “resigned,” while Pollard argues he was “already fired.” What’s more, Fennell apparently turned down two full-time job offers at Ohio State University in order to be part of the “classic lineup” reunion gigs, arguing that his finances are in trouble because “there has never really been much communication” and that he’s been “‘on call’ at the drop of a hat.”

As expected, Pollard’s response wasn’t too friendly, calling him an “amateur” and a “fool”. He adds that “most people would like to know who the fuck you think you are and who you think Guided By Voices is that you can warrant that kind of asking price for your fucking drums.”

Before Pollard’s equally damning post-script, he writes: “I owe no sense of loyalty to you whatsoever. 100% of the gratitude should come from your end. Good luck in gouging someone for your fucking drums and don’t ever fucking bother me again.”

Read the full rapport here and then grab a Fresca. Needless to say, no one’s drumming on that kit anytime soon.

Clive Burr, Ex-Iron Maiden Drummer, Died Last Night

Clive Burr of Iron Maiden

CLIVE BURR of Iron Maiden

Clive Burr, the former drummer of Iron Maiden, died lastnight at the age of 56. Burr had been suffering from multiple sclerosis, and he died in his sleep.

“This is terribly sad news,” said Maiden founder/bassist Steve Harris on the group’s official site. “Clive was a very old friend of all of us. He was a wonderful person and an amazing drummer who made a valuable contribution to Maiden in the early days when we were starting out. This is a sad day for everyone in the band and those around him and our thoughts and condolences are with his partner Mimi and family at this time.”

Born on March 8th, 1957, in East Ham, London, Burr was a member of another up-and-coming British metal band, Samson, before joining Maiden in 1979. As one of the leaders of the “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” (which included such groups as Def Leppard, Saxon and Diamond Head), Maiden quickly showcased a sound that, early on, merged the energy of punk with the power of metal.

It was Burr’s drumming that proved a major ingredient on such early Maiden classics as 1980’s self-titled debut, 1981’s Killers and 1982’s The Number of the Beast, and such headbanging anthems as “Running Free,” “Wrathchild” and “Run to the Hills.” However, during this early era, Maiden members would often come and go, and by December 1982, Burr had exited the group – just as they were about to become a global stadium headliner.

After leaving Maiden, Burr appeared on recordings by such metal acts as Trust, Stratus, Gogmagog, Elixir, Desperado (which included Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider) and Praying Mantis. Burr was eventually diagnosed with MS, and his former Maiden bandmates came to his aid by performing charity concerts and helping to form the Clive Burr MS Trust Fund. In the last years of his life, Burr was confined to a wheelchair.

“I first met Clive when he was leaving Samson and joining Iron Maiden,” added Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson on the group’s site. “He was a great guy and a man who really lived his life to the full. Even during the darkest days of his MS, Clive never lost his sense of humour or irreverence. This is a terribly sad day and all our thoughts are with Mimi and the family.”

Stairway To Heaven: Led Zeppelin’s Drummer John Bonham (aka Bonzo)

John_Bonham of Led Zeppelin.

John Bonham of Led Zeppelin.

Get over FM radio, forget black lights and cheap weed and wait until that awful memory of slow-dancing to “Stairway” dies a quiet, smothering death deep in the frustrated folds on your 9th-grade brain. Get past indie rock, forget techno and see punk rock for the marketing technique it’s become.

Then try Led Zeppelin again.

They changed music, they never died, they never had any goals or grand artistic mission beyond forming up like five fingers on the hand of God and rocking you like a giant floppy sock puppet. They do it time and again, year after year and squeal after squeal — they are thunder, they are the thudding ocean and a perfect glass of bourbon on a hot summer evening.

Talk about Page all you like — his guitar was hot lava, but Bonham’s drums were the plate tectonics that let that lava squirt up so pretty in the first place. Every beat was perfect and every hit was an asteroid making a crater. Bonham did for drums what Leatherface did for chainsaws — nobody will ever hear them the same way again.

In Through the Out Door is the eighth studio album by the band, and their final album of entirely new material. It was recorded over a three-week period in November and December 1978 at ABBA’s Polar Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, and released by Swan Song Records on 15 August 1979. In Through the Out Door was the band’s sixth and final studio release to reach the top of the charts in America, and was the last released by the band before the death of Bonham in 1980.

The album was named by the group to describe its recent struggles amidst the death of Robert Plant’s son Karac in 1977, and the taxation exile the band took from the UK. The exile resulted in the band being unable to tour on British soil for over two years, and trying to get back into the public mind was therefore like “trying to get in through the ‘out’ door.

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin

John Bonham is the most influential Rock Drummer of all-time.

Describing the style of John Bonham’s drumming instantly conjurs up visions of the thunderous power he created. His contributions to rock music were revolutionary, and his talent unmatched and irreplaceable. You can only imagine Jimmy Page’s reaction to first seeing him in 1968, ending his search for a new drummer to form a new band, the New Yardbirds (later renamed Led Zeppelin.)

johnbonham550A childhood friend of Robert Plant, they played together in the ‘Band of Joy’, resulting in local gigs and a few studio demos. At first, Bonham was reluctant to join the well-known guitarist because of a steady gig with Tim Rose. But… the rest of history…

As John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant have all stated many times, Led Zeppelin wouldn’t have been half as good without him. Along with JPJ, they provided the solid foundation and backbone of the band, which made it all possible. Live performances truly showcased his abilities during the numerous improvised jams throughout every concert and of course his famous “Moby Dick” drum solo; reaching a half-hour in length at times! Immitators are usually left frustrated, since Bonham made it look so easy – not only in his playing but also in the incredible drum sound he achieved. His legendary right foot (on his bass pedal) and lightning-fast triplets were his instant trademark. He later refined his style from the hard skin-bashing approach to a more delicate wrist controlled one – which produced an even more powerful & louder sound with less effort.

On Sept. 25, 1980, John Bonham choked on his vomit and died at the tender age of 32. He drank a significant amount of vodka the night before, resulting in Pulmonary edema.

John Bonham was one of the greatest drummers of all time, and his legacy lives on with his music.

Whether he was showing off his talent on “Moby Dick” or contributing to the historic beat of “Kashmir,” Bonham was a true master of his craft. He has been recognized by many as one of the best drummers to have ever played the instrument.

His death was a tragic loss to the world of music and Led Zeppelin fans still adore his passion and expertise. He was one-fourth of one of the greatest bands to ever make music, and without him the band would never cease to be the same. No Bonham meant no Led Zeppelin, and it was the most suitable solution.

R.I.P. Bonzo. Your music will live on forever.


Gojira – Mario Duplantier Drum Solo @Babelec Festival

Mario Duplantier

Mario Duplantier (born June 19, 1981) is a French musician and artist who is the drummer of the French Death Metal band, Gojira. Dude’s a beast. And he’s funny and cute too.

Earlier this year MetalSucks polled its staff to determine The Top 25 Modern Metal Drummers, and after an incredible amount of arguing and name calling, they finalized the list! The only requirements to be eligible for the list were that the musician in question had to a) play metal (duh), b) play drums (double-duh), and c) have recorded something in the past five years.

“Following the conclusion of our list of The Top 25 Modern Metal Drummers last month, we asked you, our beloved readers, to weigh in, and weigh-in you have: Gojira’s Mario Duplantier is the winner, with 212 votes from people who understood how to follow instructions and properly vote in the poll, and five votes from people who did not. Duplantier, you may recall, was actually #2 on our list, so it seems that the discrepancy between our tastes and your own is not that vast this time!, wrote MetalSucks.

Mario Duplantier

It can’t be easy being the drummer of one of the heaviest, best and critically acclaimed metal bands on Planet Earth. Especially not when your brother is the [handsome] frontman and guitarist, two roles that usually attract more attention from the masses than drummers do. But perhaps there’s nothing like a good old fashioned case of sibling rivalry to motivate a fire under one’s ass; not only has Mario Duplantier managed to make his presence in the band felt in an incredibly tangible way, but he’s become a bonafide standout superstar within Gojira’s ranks and he’s absolutely, without question, one of the greatest drummers in modern metal.

Of course, when all this began in 1996, in a garage near the Basque city of Baiona (Bayonne in french), South East of France, under the GODZILLA moniker the motivations of the Duplantier brothers (Joe on guitar/lead vocals and Mario on drums) and their band fellows Jean Michel Labadie (on bass) and Christian Andreu (guitar) were less than sophisticated. But even through the thinnest booklet of their first demo cover issued under the predictable title Possessed still emerged the first signs of their future emancipation.

GODZILLA might have been a big green monster smashing down cardboard buildings, taken from Japanese science-fiction films from the 60s deemed out of style today, but it was also a metaphor about the threat of nuclear weapons with which man plays, unconscious of the consequences

Due to legal rights, GODZILLA changed its name to GOJIRA right before their first album. GOJIRA is in fact the Japanese translation of its original name. Even though the music had already changed, the way of doing things stayed the same. So call it whatever you want: an ecological thought, a politically correct speech, a 50% new age and 50% hippie mentality the band, itself, remains the same since birth.

Take a look at the signature sticks developed for Mario Duplantier, the powerful and technically precise drummer who forms the backbone of France’s extreme metal monster Gojira.

Today, there is much blabbering about how to take care of our planet and watch over its well-being. There is idle talk about the future shortage of petrol, about the ozone layer or even about the extension of the webbed footed rabbit of Uzbekistan. But nothing is done about it. Nothing at all

But GOJIRA does react. They put their foot down. They even take a hammer and give a blow to a blind audience. We have forgotten our planet, this Unknown Planet which we have lost track of Terra Incognita(Latin “unknown land”) being the first warning shot in 2001). We must then renew our links with it before its too late (The Link, being second call to order 3 years later).

After more than 300 concerts in France and abroad, and a live DVD sold to 2500 copies nationally without the support of a big distributor and after the recognition from the public (more than 8000 copies of The Link album sold in France) it was about time for GOJIRA to explode which is currently happening.

Recorded at home in the studios of the Milans, From Mars to Sirius is an album of revolt, where ancestral forces of dragons are mentioned, the ocean shows its anger and all codes are red lighted. An album where action has taken over speech. Revolution is coming. So take a step ahead of it before it crushes you…


Gojira – Mario Duplantier Drum Solo