The Six Best Sloppy Drummers
2. Meg White (White Stripes)
If Meg White sucks, as people often say she does, then why has every Jack White project not called White Stripes been inferior? Part of this phenomenon is certainly the creative energy the Whites bounce off each other, but a bigger part is Meg's fearless sloppiness. "Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground" sounds like her drum kit is made of bombs. It's hard to find a drummer in an important band in modern history who cares less about keeping a solid tempo. She pushes, pulls, shoves, yanks. But each "imperfection" is human, and it makes The White Stripes' music breathe. Next time somebody complains about Meg White, put on a Raconteurs record and try to figure out why it's kind of lame.
1. Bill Ward (Black Sabbath)
Like most sloppy drummers, Bill Ward eventually became un-sloppy. But, man, those first few Black Sabbath records, Ward was a straight-up caveman. The first big drum fill on "Iron Man" will always remind me of the scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey where the ape man figures out he can use bones as a weapon. When "Sweet Leaf" speeds up around the solo, Ward barely pulls off those runs around the toms. He hits the rim on accident at 3:00 and trails off a few seconds later on a different fill. The band had the resources to fix or redo these parts, but the band thankfully also had the resources to leave them in. Sabbath gets credit for inventing the "doom metal" genre, and that laid-back sledgehammer feeling that defines the style is textbook Bill Ward. In the lexicon of metal drummers, he's up there with Lars Ulrich, and Lars Ulrich sucks. More specifically, Ulrich's sloppiness on early Metallica comes off as weakness. Bill Ward is the best sloppy drummer because his sloppiness gave him strength.