"For me, a great drum album is a game-changer in some way," says Alice Cooper drummer Glen Sobel. "You know it when you hear it: ‘Wow, something’s going on here! I’ve really got to sit down and listen to this.’ Albums that fit into this category can really have an effect on your playing. They make you realize that there’s a whole new world out there that you have yet to explore."
Like many sticksman of his generation, Sobel's first drum heroes were John Bonham and Neil Peart. But while most budding players were wearing out copies of Led Zeppelin II and Moving Pictures, Sobel gravitated towards the live recordings. "Bonham’s Moby Dick drum solo on The Song Remains The Same was a pivotal moment in my life," he says. "And Peart’s solo on Exit… Stage Left just left me speechless, it was so phenomenal. More than anything else, it was those two records that made me want to be a drummer."
However, when compiling his list of essential drum albums, those records he strongly recommends to players of all levels, Sobel omitted his early faves. "Me telling people to listen to Bonham and Neil Peart is almost a cliché," he says. "Of course, you should study those guys."
Rather, Sobel decided to focus on left-of-center choices and forgotten gems – "gateway records," he calls them. "They're the kind of records that lead you to other albums," he says. "You discover a drummer you never heard of before, and then you go out and get everything he did. And then you start talking to other drummers who have discovered them. It's so cool when that happens, and all it takes is that one seminal record to start it off."
Listed alphabetically, the following are Glen Sobel's picks for 10 essential drum albums.