Career In Beats: Travis Barker's 11 greatest drum beats
You can't have failed to notice that Travis Barker adorns the latest Rhythm cover. And with good reason. The punk upstart-turned-hip-hop pioneer has classic beats coming out of his ears, and here's the proof...
The song that introduced the world to Travis Barker. Within 30 seconds you've heard Travis' inventive snare work and raw power, before his uncanny ability to pull awesome fills out of the bag and sheer intensity come to the fore in the chorus. Not a bad way to start his career with Blink-182, really.
Anthem Part II
Another album opener, and another early statement of intent from Travis. Anthem Part II features a fantastically mental repeating tom/hats/splash/ride/snare pattern. Back in our May 2002 issue we asked Travis how long that gem took him to come up with. Well, not long at all it turns out. He explained: "I actually came up with that verse part in the studio on the spot. I just asked for a minute to get it together and then we rolled tape."
Here's where things started to get a little different for Blink. The band's self-titled album is full of experimentation, and that included Travis' drum parts. Of the beats found on the album's lead single, Travis told us: "It has five different parts. The intro has very cool drums – very Bonham-y. The verses used to be double-time with a drum 'n' bass beat, but they've been slowed down. The chorus obviously has a cowbell and a Roland 808 and the dance/hip-hop beat really worked well. I had so much freedom and Mark and Tom loved it! The bridge has big Bonham drums, breakbeat drums. Nothing is looped, there are just lots of different beats and we used lots of different drum kits. The end is very Blink-esque with 4/4 time and me doing a crazy bunch of fills."
The Fallen Interlude
A strange choice on first glance, but this one shows that even in the pop-punk surroundings of Blink-182, Travis isn't afraid of bustin' out some hip-hop beats. Back in Rhythm 97 he told us that this was one of his favourite tracks he had ever recorded, noting the drum'n'bass and hip-hop feel running throughout the song, which he also revealed was in the bag after one take.
All Systems Go
New band. New mature sound. Same Travis. Here he wows us with his mixture of groove, power and scattergun chorus fills with are punctuated with perfectly-judged hi-hat work. Travis is a big fan of this drum track as well, as he told us in Rhythm 97 that he loves Boxcar Racer's 2002 self-titled record from start to finish. And we love it too.
As Blink-182 split Travis kept on working, putting out an album with fellow Blink alumni Mark Hoppus under the moniker +44. Shortly after the album's release, Travis told us that Chapter XIII was a big favourite of his. "I remember 'Chapter XIII'. Mark had just written that song and I went in one day, tired out of my mind and recorded the drums and that first take is on the record. It was the first time I'd heard the song, which is kind of cool. Just before we finished the record I thought we were going to change it, but the guys loved it. It was kind of special."
Diamonds and Guns
For many of us this was the first material we heard from Travis' link-up with Rancid mainman Tim Armstrong, and what a belter it was! Not just a killer song, but an awesome drum track from Travis as he lays down one hell of a groove built around an eight-note hi-hat feel. Not his most technical work, but it has an almighty swagger.
Always one keen to push his own boundaries, it wasn't long before Travis began dabbling in remixes, working on tunes by heavyweights like Rihanna and Soulja Boy, with the latter proving something of a breakthrough moment for the drummer.
"They've been a lot of fun. And the point I'm at now means that a label will contact me to remix one of their artists because they've heard stuff I've done already. It kind of started with me remixing Rihanna's 'Umbrella', which actually wasn't the biggest thing ever, and didn't have my tag on it and people didn't really know it was me. But from that I got to remix the Soulja Boy track (the awesome 'Crank That'), which has had a great response. One thing leads to another and now I'm asked to do stuff for artists, or if I come across a song I love I'm in a position to ask if I can do something with it."
Can A Drummer Get Some
Undoubtedly buoyed by his remix work, Travis then set about putting together a solo record – and what a record. Give The Drummer Some featured everyone from The Game and Lil Wayne to Corey Taylor and Tom Morello. Can A Drummer Get Some is a big favourite in the Rhythm office, thanks in no small part to its booming drum work and neat, intricately layered mix of acoustic and electronic beats.
Heart's All Gone
With all of this going on we were skeptical whether Travis would have time for a Blink reunion, but he somehow found a window and laid down some blistering beats for the band's Neighbourhoods record. Perhaps our favourite is Heart's All Gone, with its lightening fast ride pattern injecting some classic pop punk fury into an album filled with more introspective moments than most Blink fans will have been accustomed to.
In A Warzone
If Blink's return marked a continuing evolution, the brand new Transplants record is a nod to the Tim Armstrong-led band's hardcore roots. The record's opener and title track is a two-minute blast of rage-fueled punk pushed along by Travis' pummeling toms and scatter-gun snare.
For more on Travis, pick up the August issue of Rhythm.