Punk Drummers Get Their Due

Today I would like to briefly discuss the most neglected and least respected drummers in all of music. I am speaking of Punk Rock drummers. Despite the simplicity of their genre these players have contributed just as much innovation to the art of drumming as their counterparts. Some of these drummers have even come from epic bands that redefined an entire generation of music. This includes The Ramones and The Clash.

The drummers for these and many other Punk Rock bands beg both our attention and admiration if only for their energetic and unconventional styles. According to LA Weekly: “For a musical genre so driven by the beat, where lightning fast technique is a prerequisite for acceptance, the punk drummer rises above the rest. Unlike the guitar and bass players, drummers can’t turn down their instrument or increase the distortion….the position of punk drummer meant you needed to be talented and machine gun fast.”

Punk Rock came about long before the double bass pedal and intentionally utilized simple, stripped down kits that frequently took abuse that would make other drum sets cringe. Endurance was the foundation of Punk Rock drumming. This style of play later influenced the thrash and speed metal movements that utilized larger, double bass kits in order to capture the same reckless feel of their forefathers. Here is a list of the top 15 Punk Rock drummers IMO (*in no particular order):

  • Earl Hudson, Bad Brains (Introduced Reggae feel to the scene)
  • Bill Stevenson, The Descendants (A heavy-hitter with incredible power)
  • DH Peligro, Dead Kennedys (Multi-instrumentalist with unapologetic flair)
  • Chuck Biscuits, Circle Jerks (A true rocker and roller who kept it tight)
  • Tommy Ramone, The Ramones (The godfather of punk drumming)
  • Markey Ramone, The Ramones (Great replacement and lighting fast)
  • Don Bolles, The Germs (A speedy player with a style all his own)
  • “Topper” Headon, The Clash (The ‘original’ Clash drummer)
  • Tre Cool, Green Day (Brought punk rock to the masses)
  • Josh Freese, The Vandals (Studio journeyman with monster chops)
  • Robo, Misfits, Black Flag (Backed up the incomparable Henry Rollins)
  • Paul Cook, Sex Pistols (Minimal chops but maximum attitude)
  • Rat Scabies, The Damned (Way better drummer than he gets credit for)
  • Brooks Wackerman, Bad Religion (Enormous diversity and chops)
  • DJ Bonebreak, X (Classically trained, incredible live performer)

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