I’m not big on all these throw-away marketing and social media holidays we seem to celebrate constantly now: Happy Chocolate Day! Happy Have Coffee With a Neighbor Day! Happy It’s the Third Thursday of the Second Month in the Twelfth Year of the Second Millennium Day!
Oi with the poodles already! I’ll stick with the classics, like Halloween and Christmas, thankyouverymuch.
And let me tell you…this Good Groupie loves herself a good drummer. Since age 13 when I developed my first drummer crush on Mr. Zac Hanson, I have been a drummer boy devotee. Their instruments sparkle and gleam on stage in a way that’s always caught my eye before guitars, bass or keys. Drummers sit in the back, quietly keeping everything going in their own little world – they’re always the most interesting person on stage to me. And drummer arms. Saaa-woooon. I’ll spare you the gushing, but I’m pretty sure drummer arms are why I’m in love with Clay Matthews – drummer arms in overdrive, that one.
Plus, as Rob Sheffield so smartly notes in his book “Talking to Girls About Duran Duran,” drumming is girl code. Go to a show, and you will find nearly every girl in the place tapping her foot along to the beat. There’s something about rhythm – we can’t help but be overcome by it.
So in honor of Hug a Drummer Day…here’s a few drummers I’d like to hug:
Jon Shiffman – Steel Train
Steel Train weren’t my favorite the first time I saw them live…but their sound changed and they grew on me. And the drums had a lot to do with that – instead of backing their music, suddenly they drove everything. Songs like “S.O.G. Burning in Hell” and “I Feel Weird” always find me playing air drums – in my car, at my desk at work, while standing in front of the stage watching Jon play. They suck in me. Every. Single. Time.
Jason Schwartzman – Phantom Planet
I went from being a casual Phantom Planeteer to a die-hard like someone flipped a switch inside me. I’d always been aware of them, but suddenly I couldn’t get enough. Unfortunately that happened just after Jason left the band to pursue his acting career. And while Jeff Conrad was a good second option…Jason is the one who created those iconic grooves in songs like “California” and “Lonely Day” that I could listen to for, well, days.
Ned Brower – Rooney
When I’d see Rooney live…I’d quite literally stand there with my eyes glued on Ned, watching his every move. Up until then, I’d never seen someone play like him. The way he’d get completely into the song, swinging his hands and head back and forth to the exact beat he was keeping – flawless. (See what I’m talking about in this video at the 2:50 mark.) I lived for those moments during Rooney shows. Plus he sings. Is there anything better than a singing drummer?
Dennis Wilson – The Beach Boys
Perhaps one from a legendary band? His death might have come five months before I was even born, but Dennis was the drummer of my all-time favorite band so that automatically earns him a spot on this list. And I’ll confess – there’s so many other beautiful things going on in Brian Wilson’s masterpieces that I rarely drill down to paying attention to just the drums. But that also means Dennis was always doing his job perfectly. (And you don’t get to do all the amazing, orchestral things Brian did with a crap drummer.)
Zac Hanson – Hanson
For all the times I’ve seen these boys, you might find it hard to believe this is one drummer I’ve never hugged. But it’s true – I’ve never hugged Zac. Partly because Hanson aren’t the hug-our-fans types; mostly because seeing Zac in person terrifies me, and I never know what to say to him. (Apparently 13-year-old girl crushes die very, very hard.) He was the beginning of my drummer boy love and the drummer I have spent the most time watching as a music fan. Zac might not be the end-all, be-all of drummers…but he’s my end-all, be-all – and that’s enough for me.
When I made my list, I felt like five was a good number to share…but here’s a few that I just couldn’t miss before publishing this post:
John Stamos – The Beach Boys
HAVE. MERCY. I finally fulfilled my dream of seeing him play with The Beach Boys (aka Mike Love & Co.) this past weekend…and though his early drumming was a little timid, watching him play simpler songs solo and the bongos made hearing the same set list with the same stale Mike Love jokes a new experience. Plus, I can now say I saw Uncle Jesse in person. I repeat: HAVE MERCY.
Drew D’Entremont* – Quiet Company
Okay, okay…Drew really doesn’t need to go on this list because I’ve already given him a hug or two since he joined the band. But he is probably my favorite drummer Quiet Company has ever had. Usually drummers skulk around, unwilling to talk to anyone but their friends. Not Drew – he is warm and funny, always a pleasure to chat with. (Plus I’ll take any chance to tell you that you should be listening to my favorite band from Texas.)
*Updated in 2015
Weston DuPree’s drums – Eisley
Yes, the drums. They are the set pictured at the top of this post and they are jaw-droppingly, breath-takingly beautiful. WANT. Even though I can’t play drums to save my freakin’ life. These are by far my favorite set of drums I’ve ever seen in person. Just…WANT. (Plus Weston’s a pretty fun drummer to watch as well if you can get past being intoxicated by those three siren sisters he has in front of him.)
Who are some of your favorite drummers?
What about you – who are the drummers you’d give a hug in honor of today?
Getting lost in the beat,