On Saturday night, drummer Greg Fox of New York black metal foursome Liturgy will play one of his final shows with the band at the Black Cat. Look for us in the front row with mouths agape, devil horns raised and salty tears drizzling down our cheeks. This guy is one of the most jaw-dropping drummers out (see above) there and we hope it doesn’t take him long to bring his next band back to Washington.
Like the New Yorker’s James Wood, we think that experiencing good drumming is one of the greatest joys in this Earthly life. So who’s the best drummer playing today? Which drummers are the most vital cogs in their respective bands? Who would you pay to watch play by his or herself for two hours? We mulled it over in this week’s Taking sides post.
Allison Stewart: There’s no one I would pay to see do anything for two hours except George Clooney, but I do think Travis Barker is pretty amazing. He's technically amazing, fun to watch, and he seems to have tried really hard to break out of the "pop-punk drummer" box. He's worked with everyone from Britney Spears to Game. It’s hard to think of anyone else as good as he is who's also as versatile. Honorable mention: When I was in grade school, I went to see Motley Crue play (I know! Where were my parents?) and Tommy Lee drummed upside down, in a cage above the stage. That was pretty awesome.
David Malitz: One drummer that I've been tracking for almost half my life now is the Walkmen’s Matt Barrick. Back in the ’90s I saw him behind the kit plenty of times for the star-crossed Jonathan Fire*Eater, and he was absolutely the driving force behind that band's proto-Strokes dirges. For the past decade or so he's been the main attraction for post-JF*E band the Walkmen, with a giddy, full-body style that’s as fun to watch as it is to hear. He looks like he’s about to jump out his stool half the time, or maybe it's just due to the force with which he’s whacking his kit. He’s like a little tornado and the most irreplaceable member of the band.
Chris Richards: This honor should go to Greatest Drummer Alive Dave Grohl, but since Them Crooked Vultures aren’t active at the moment, I’ve got the likes of Han Bennink, Susie Ibarra, and Charles Hayward on my mind. But my favorite drummer working right now might be Tony Allen, Fela Kuti’s afrobeat co-pilot. The man’s touch is unparalleled. How much do tickets for the “Fela!” musical cost? I’d pay that to watch Allen play drums for five minutes.