Shinedown's Barry Kerch: My 10 Most Influential Drum Albums
If you're looking for hard rock success stories of the 21st Century, look no further than Shinedown.
The Florida four-piece have racked up more than six million album sales since releasing their debut in 2003. High-octane rockers like The Sound of Madness and Cut The Cord alongside slowburners in the ilk of The Crow and the Butterfly have helped the band find the kind of mass audience that rock acts have struggled to reach in the last decade or so.
The band pack out arenas in the US and their increasing popularity in the UK was evident on the recent Carnival of Madness tour, on which they played second on the bill to Black Stone Cherry but undoubtedly earned hoards of new fans thanks to their blistering performances.
Key to said energy-swathed shows was drummer Barry Kerch. The dreadlocked sticksman shows that playing head down hard and heavy is an art in itself. Before the carnival kicked off at Nottingham's Motorpoint Arena we sat down with Barry to find out the records that helped shape his thunderous playing.
Iron Maiden – Piece of Mind (1983)
"That was when Nicko came into Iron Maiden. When the Trooper came out was right when MTV was kicking off and seeing that video and seeing him play was incredible.
"I was introduced to Iron Maiden through Number of the Beast but Nicko's hi hat work was amazing, his pedal work as well and then finding out that he used a single pedal I was like, 'Are you kiddin' me?!' It was amazing. I've always been a Maiden fan and that album really solidified that for me.
"It was something that I could listen to around the house because my parent's didn't mind as the lyrics were kinda like a history lesson so they tolerated it.
"At that time I wanted that huge set up, you couldn't even see the guy, just the top of his head. The Trooper was my first introduction to that record, although I'm usually terrible with song names as I'm not listening to lyrics, I'm listening to the rhythms, my brain just works that way.
"It's amazing that Nicko is still killing it as well all these years later. I've actually never seen them live but I think this year we're on the same day at Download so I will watch them there and be like a kid in a candy store. I might even shed a tear."
Guns N' Roses – Appetite For Destruction (1987)
"That was sleazy and slinky and had a vibe to it. It was a polar opposite to all the drummers of that time who had huge kits and Steven Adler turned up with a five-piece kit and just killed it and he actually used cowbell.
"Songs like Welcome To The Jungle and Mr Brownstone were incredible. It was unique but had that LA eff you spirit to it. It wasn't as operatic as the rest of the '80s, it made you want to get into a fist fight.
"Steven's drumming reflected that, it had an attitude. He may not have been a big chops guy but his playing had an attitude that was totally rock 'n' roll. Matt Sorum is great but by the time he came in it had become more cinematic but you could never replace the rawness of that first record.
"That record was huge. I have an older brother and he turned me onto all of this stuff. We never listened to Poison and Bon Jovi because that was the fluff, we listened to the harder stuff like Guns N' Roses."
Def Leppard - Hysteria (1987)
"That is one of the best put together records of all time. They went through so much s*** with Rick Allen losing his arm.
"I got turned onto Def Leppard through Pyromania and then went back and listened to On Through The Night and High 'n' Dry. You hear what they went through with Rick's car wreck before Hysteria and you're wondering how he could pull it off. Then you hear the record and every song is a hit.Obviously there's some electronics in there on the drums but it's really cool and different.
"I saw them on the Hysteria tour when I was 11 years old. They played in the round and to see that with Rick Allen killing it up there with one arm was incredible. He had all of these electronic pads and the sound was fantastic. That made me want to play on a stage. They had all the girls as well, who wouldn't want to be in that band?
"It was great rock and pop music, it was the best song crafting. It's a good drum record as well, it was the beginnings of hearing a lot of electronic drums coming in. Drummers were scared of that at the time, thinking the electronics were going to take over. I was that way for a minute.When I was a kid I bought a Ludwig sparkle kit with all the hardware and Zildjian cymbals in mint condition. It was the '80s so my dumb ass took the kit and traded it for a Boss drum machine...I've been chasing that Ludwig kit ever since!"
Van Halen – 1984 (1984!)
"Hot For Teacher came out and kicked everybody's ass. I don't think there's a single drummer that can play that song the way that Alex Van Halen does.
"We got to tour with them for a few months when they did the Sammy Hagar reunion. Getting to see Alex play those songs you realise that his background is deeper than just being a rock guy. There's a lot of jazz as well and then you listen back to those records and his playing has a swing.
"Michael Anthony is holding down the rhythm while Alex and Eddie are dancing around it. What a great record that is and it helped that they had fun and funny videos as well.
"Alex is phenomenal on that record, that swing made him different. I'm a groove drummer and that's what I love. I respect people that have a ton of chops but it doesn't make me feel anything. All of the super speed metal, after a while my brain shuts off, I don't want to have to get out a calculator to listen to music.
"Alex had the rototom kit as well and made it sound good. As soon as you hear that record you know that it's Alex playing."
The Police – Ghost In The Machine (1981)
"Typically not the album everybody picks but I love that record. It was more polished. Stewart is so, in a good way, off the rails. He's got that punk rock and reggae influence.
"The first Police records are very loose which is good, but this on has more polish to it. It has almost a darkness to it. I heard Spirits... come on the radio and I thought, 'Is that The Police?' It was different and it blew my mind.
"That was almost a reintroduction for me to The Police and then went back to listened to the older stuff. No one can top Stewart's playing."
Peter Gabriel - So (1986)
"Stewart Copeland played on this record and his playing puts him out on his own. He's another guy that you know it's him as soon as you hear him.
“He guest stars on a couple of songs Big Time and on Red Rain he plays the hi hat work over the top of Jerry Marotta. Manu Katche also plays on that record so it really is a great drumming record.
“But on Red Rain even just through the hi hat work you know that it's Stewart Copeland. It's impossible to copy Copeland. I've sat there forever trying to play those songs and it still sounds like a cheap version of what he does. That Peter Gabriel record as well is just a fantastic, well written record.”
James Brown – Star Time (box-set, 1991)
"I got turned on to r'n'b a little later in life. My dad loved r'n'b but my mom didn't like loud nosies so music didn't really get played in our house that much.
"My dad would always listen on headphones and so would we. My dad introduced me to rhythm and blues and I heard James Brown and thought, 'Holy crap, where has this been all my life?'
"I loved the rhythms on that Star Time box set. You're listening to these songs thinking, 'Is that one drummer or two drummers?' There so much percussion going on.
"They're the most sampled drummers of all times and influenced all of this hip hop music. How cool is that, to no only be the funkiest of all funky drummers but also being the funkiest of all the rap drummers. That's two different genres spanning 40 years, that's a feat in its own. Too bad they don't get royalties for that though. That's the lot of being a drummer, I suppose."
Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral (1994)
“I was in high school when Pretty Hate Machine came out and I was sill stuck in the '80s. I was the metal head.
"I played on the tennis team and a guy on the team said, 'I think you might like this,' and gave me Pretty Hate Machine. That changed my world. It was all programmed and it blew me away.
"That album had already been out for a while at that time so fast forward six months I was working at a music store and The Downward Spiral came out. March of the Pigs came on with bars of 7 and 8 and this great groove and it was angry and different.
"Chris Vrenna was great on that album. That record changed my perspective on programmed drums. I wore that record out.
"I remember taking that record home and leaving it on the counter and mom started reading the lyrics. That didn't go down too well. That record was perfect for that time when you're a teenager and full of angst and want to put on the black eyeliner [laughs]."
Deftones – Adrenaline (1995)
"Abe Cunningham's playing on that album is totally linear playing and getting introduced to that from Rick Latham and those books and it being all fusion, to see Abe putting that into a metal environment was great.
"That was at the beginning of the rap rock thing but it wasn't as loose as Korn and the playing was so much better. Abe is an innovator, especially when it comes to playing in a metal band with pocket and a bounce."
Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against The Machine (1992)
"Aside from Led Zeppelin that is probably the best rhythm section in rock music. That rhythm section is just unstoppable.
"You can put that album on today and it still stands up and everyone in the audience is going to bounce. Anything that has a groove and feel to it is something I get into that those guys did that.
"Even if you don't like hip hop if you put on this record and don't start bopping your head, you're dead inside. I don't care if you're a jazz head you're still gonna bounce to that. Brad Wilk is super inventive, super funky and he gets a lot out of a small kit."