The Six Best Sloppy Drummers

Categories: Nitpick Six

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Of all rock and roll instruments, drums require the most physical ability and coordination. Sometimes musicians get so preoccupied with the technical aspect, they forgot that drums are also these loud things that sound cool when you hit them. Here are the six best sloppy drummers. Let us know your favorites in the comments, but don't be a drag about it.

See also:
-The Six Most Misguided Career Moves By Ska Bands
-The Six Best "Hey!"s in Rock and Roll
-The 15 Most Ridiculous Band Promo Photos

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6. Georgia Hubley (Yo La Tengo)
Georgia Hubley is the dollar-store masking tape that holds Yo La Tengo's freewheeling indie pop tunes together. Her looseness is chameleonic. She can keep a YLT track like "Ohm" from the band's new album Fade from rocking too hard, or she can push her dynamics to propel a song like "The Story Of Yo La Tango" into emotional overload. Her best work, though, is her dainty pseudo-Latin beat on "Last Days Of Disco," in which every kick, every brushed snare has purpose.

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5. Ringo Starr (The Beatles)
Ringo gets a lot of crap from musicians for being the least proficient Beatle at his instrument. He is not a great drummer, but he's a great sloppy drummer. It's hard to imagine the band "invading" our country without Ringo's all-smiles backbeats. Some of the most interesting elements of The Beatles, especially in its early stages, come from Starr. His contribution to the song "Help!" is genius; intentional or not, he subversively shifts between a shuffle and straight eighth feel throughout, going especially rigid with his snare fills before the chorus. Ringo isn't Neil Peart, but Neal Peart would have probably played some bullshit on "I Feel Fine."


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7 comments
daverdinj
daverdinj

As a drummer I am always working to improve my technique and tightness, while always looking for opportunities to break away from this foundation. While its unwise for a drummer to aim or settle for sloppy drumming, it is important to remember that perfect timing and precision doesn't always make for superior drumming. A lot of it depends on the genre, song and other bandmate's styles. Some of the most intense, exciting music I've heard lacks much in the way of rhythmic precision, but often that is what makes it exciting to listen to and gives it unique personality. While precise drumming is impressive and has it's place, always knowing exactly when and how the next snare, kick or cymbal hit will strike can be boring to listen to after a while, and can suck a lot of feeling out of a song.  Look at your drumming as a screw ...tighten it as much as possible, but when the music allows for it loosen it just enough so that it's still holding things together while allowing things to move.

daverdinj
daverdinj

As a drummer I am always working to improve my technique and tightness, while always looking for opportunities to break away from this foundation. While its unwise for a drummer to aim or settle for sloppy drumming, it is important to remember that perfect timing and precision doesn't always make for superior drumming. A lot of it depends on the genre, song and other bandmate's styles. Some of the most intense, exciting music I've heard lacks much in the way of rhythmic precision, but often that is what makes it exciting to listen to and gives it unique personality. While precise drumming is impressive and has it's place, always knowing exactly when and how the next snare, kick or cymbal hit will strike can be boring to listen to after a while, and can suck a lot of feeling out of a song.  Look at your drumming as a screw ...tighten it as much as possible, but when the music allows for it loosen it just enough so that it's still holding things together while allowing things to move.

kdj368
kdj368

Ok.    Kidding!


How the number of Big Time Bands that either broke up or whose albums thereafter became pretty lame after losing their drummer?  Hint -- lots of em.  Drummers are the backbone of the band.

kdj368
kdj368

What do you call a person that likes to hang out with musicians? 


A drummer.  ;)

JackGrimshaw
JackGrimshaw

Then-heavyweight champ Sonny Liston's priceless comment on seeing the Beatles (at Shea Stadium?): "My dog can play the drums better than that kid with the big nose."

delmarva
delmarva

I've heard Ringo called "fluid" but not sloppy before. But never mind that. Ringo was the last little bit of Tabasco sauce the Beatles needed to make themselves THE BEATLES. I'm not talking music; I'm talking presentation & public persona. The other 3 Beatles took themselves too seriously on stage -- John the moody rebel, Paul the stiff businessman and George the blend-in-with-the-drapes-&-just-play guy (though he's my fave). 

They needed a smiling, lovable clown or stuffed animal to help them all loosen their collars a bit. To help the public love *them*, not just their music. Pete Best in that role? No way. 

Ringo was that guy.

patrick355
patrick355

Ringo was brilliant and the Beatles wouldn't have been the Beatles without him.  "Ringo gets a lot of crap from musicians for being the least proficient Beatle at his instrument."  There's so much wrong with that sentence.  Not everyone who owns a guitar, a drum set or an opinion is a musician, and their opinions are worth less than a bucket of cold sweat.   Ringo's "problem" is precisely that he was too musical a player to stick out of the mix as a 'holy-shit, did-you-see-that?' drummer.  In the Venn diagram of Great Drummers and H.S.D.Y.S.T.? drummers, there's only one man in the intersection: John Bonham.  Everyone else who aspires to the latter obviates membership in the former.  

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