Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thursday Randomness

I'm a drummer. (That's me above in Japan, playing an old Tama kit I borrowed from an air force base.) I began playing the drums on December 1, 1997, when I was in the seventh grade. I know this because that was the day of my first drum lesson in the basement of Phil Coury (thanks Phil, wherever you are!) when I picked up my first pair of sticks (I still have one of them in my stick bag!) and started pounding on a snare drum. Over the years, numerous bands and drummers have influenced me in unique ways. Every so often, an entire album made an impact on my drumming abilities by challenging me with new ideas or techniques. 

Here is a list of significant albums that influenced my drumming. They may not all be my favorites or the greatest albums of all time (though some are!), but they shaped the drummer I am today. Here they are, in chronological order:

Everclear - So Much for the Afterglow (1997): This is one of the first CDs I ever owned back in junior high. I literally wore it out playing along to the simple pop beats from drummer Greg Eklund. Not a spectacular record, but it was the first time I could successfully play an album in its entirety, so it will hold a special place in my drumming heart for years to come.

Radiohead - OK Computer (1997): It's one of the best albums of all time, and one of my top 10 favorites. Phil Coury threw this in the stereo during one drum lesson and it rocked my world. Phil Selway is a remarkable drummer that can play some of the most chill-yet-complex beats. Enough has been said about this album. It's that good. Go buy it now.

Foo Fighters - The Colour and The Shape (1997): Started by Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, this is this rock band's second album. The incredible intensity and ferocious drum fills from Grohl have significantly influenced how hard I hit the drums (think: loud). This also might be one of my top 10 favorite albums.

Five Iron Frenzy - Our Newest Album Ever! (1997): This is Christian 90s ska music at its best. I loved this stuff in junior high. Drummer Andrew Verdecchio introduced me to playing really fast for an extended period of time. I learned how to have endurance playing to this album; when I play it now, it doesn't seem quite as fast as it did 10 years ago. Maybe I've learned something!

Incubus - Morning View (2001): This album challenged the eclectic/funk side of my brain. The subtle technique on the hi-hats and cymbals in one song would lead to driving tom fills in the next. Jose Pasillas earned a special place by influencing me to be more complex and subtle in my drumming.

Jimmy Eat World - Jimmy Eat World (2001): Nearly every Jimmy Eat World album has challenged me to create simple-yet-driving beats, but this one was the first exposure I had to their incredible music. It's simplicity on the other side of complexity. I read drummer Zach Lind's blog regularly, and I'm proud to live in Mesa because of them.

Vanessa Carlton - Be Not Nobody (2002): I really enjoy the combination of female singers and piano (Regina Spektor, Leslie Feist, Marketa Irglova, Cat Power, Ingrid Michaelson, etc.), and I am not ashamed to say that I like this album a lot. The studio drummer for this album was Abe Laboriel Jr. (he's worked with Paul McCartney, Sting, and Eric Clapton, to name a few), and the drumming is phenomenal. Listen to "Prince" and hear one of the coolest grooves I've ever heard.

Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002): The beat to "In My Place" is incredibly basic, but incredibly good. Love the simple beauty of it. Will Champion rocks. Period.

David Crowder Band - Illuminate (2003): This album redefined worship music for me. I was used to playing incredibly basic beats to "Shout to the Lord" for Baptist church services, but learning to play "O Praise Him" and "No One Like You" was something totally new. I learned the value of a driving bass drum beat and dynamics.

Mute Math - Mute Math (2006): I saw these guys live in Portland before this album even came out, and they blew me away. Their energy and intensity were stunning. Drummer Darren King literally duct-taped his headphone monitors to his head, then proceeded to go completely insane on stage. I am still attempting to play the drum part to "Chaos" after 2 years, and I can't. This album is pushing me to another level of drumming.

Any drummers out there? What albums have influenced you? What should I be listening to in order to expand my list?


  1. December 1st is also my birthday.

    This fact brought to you by Cam.

  2. i have a fondness for five iron frenzy and always have.