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With almost 20 years of recordings under his belt, including those with Paul Gilbert, Mike Keneally, Eddie Jobson and Steven Wilson, as well as a pair of studio discs by his own band, The Aristocrats (their newest, Culture Clash, hits in July), drum virtuoso Marco Minnemann has more than a few albums bearing his name that fellow sticksmen would deem 'essential.'
Asked what distinguishing factors he looks for in a great drum record, Minnemann says it's more about sound and spirit, along with an unpretentious approach to musical unity, rather than the usual chops a-plenty. "For me, if the drummer has really aimed high compositionally or sonically and contributed to the uniqueness of an album, that's a bigger deal than flashy playing," he says.
As it is with people, Minnemann asserts, character counts. “It’s all about personality," he says. "You don’t have to overplay to make a statement. Records by Queen and, of course, The Beatles, didn’t have wild drumming, but you can tell right away who's siting behind the drums. That's more meaningful than anything I can imagine."
In compiling his list of 10 Essential Drum Albums (which he stretched to a nice and even 13), Minnemann discovered that the old adage 'a band is only as good as its drummer' proved to be indeed true. "Interesting players flock together, definitely," he says. "All of these albums have drummers who are very creative and exciting. A great drummer helps make a great band, and together they'll make music that you want to listen to."
On the following pages, Minnemann runs down his picks for 13 Essential Drum Albums (listed alphabetically by artist). Drumroll, please...