Comparing Phils to Neils

A few months ago I posted a video on YouTube (see below) in which I praised Phil Rudd. It’s no secret that Phil is among my favorite drummers for his incredible simplicity, feel and groove. He is also the most tasteful rock drummer I can think of and his signature sound has propelled the music of AC/DC for close to four decades. Titled “Phil Rudd: Master of Minimalism” the video was shot quickly during a practice session. It is as raw as it gets. I highlight “Let There Be Rock” as one of the quintessential Phil Rudd performances. Since then the video has received close to 69,000 views and dozens of comments both good and bad. (In retrospect if I could have foreseen the number of hits this video generated I would have spent a lot more time crafting something professional.)  Some comments praised my insights and examples while others ripped me to pieces. The one series of negative comments that I don’t quite understand are the ones chastising my enthusiasm for Rudd when compared to virtuoso drummers like Neil Peart and Mike Portnoy.  One stated “I can’t believe this guy is going crazy over Phil Rudd. Maybe he should listen to a RUSH song.”

Obviously these folks didn’t get it. The comparison of Rudd to Peart and Portnoy is ridiculous. Each drummer has their ‘thing’ and just because you favor a pocket player versus some progressive player doesn’t make that pocket player any less of a virtuoso. Sometimes it’s what you don’t play that matters most. I would rather groove on 4/4 than listen to a million beats played at record tempos. Despite his current legal troubles Phil Rudd fits AC/DC’s style perfectly and I hope he returns to the band soon. Nobody brought in to replace him has been able to lock in like he has. Simply put, AC/DC sounds better with their original drummer in the line-up. And praising him does not detract from the Pearts and Portnoys of the world. Phil Rudd is not them and vice versa.

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