Sunday, April 26, 2015

It’s All About That Beat, ‘Bout That Beat

Born To Drum – Tony Barrell (Dey Street Books)

What’s the best way to get a drummer off your front porch? Pay him for the pizza! Cue Rim Shot…bah, dump bump. There’s something different about drummers and veteran British music journalist Tony Barrell has set out with the goal of determining what exactly it is that makes drummer tick in his new book Born To Drum.

Barrell litters the book with interviews and insights about a range of drummers ranging from veteran classic rockers like John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) Keith Moon (The Who) Ginger Baker (Cream), Phil Collins (Genesis) Nick Mason (Pink Floyd) and Joey Kramer (Aerosmith) to a new generation of stickmen like Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters/Nirvana) and Butch Vig (Garbage).
Barrell explores this interesting cast of characters from a variety of perspectives including whether or not some of these guys shouldn’t be in residence at a local asylum or be fitted out for a straight jacket. Based on the actions and proclivities of so many of these guys, it’s not a wild stretch to say that the answer to the question of these guys sanity is an unequivocal YES!

Throughout the book Barrell makes a clear case that drummers are a breed cut from a different cloth. They display an amazing ability to multi-task as both hands and feet become a blur of sound. Deeply comprehensive, Barrell covers a range of players that is staggering; as a long time music fan, he had me dipping back into music that I hadn’t dusted off in years which gave this book a new layer of depth.  

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