Phil Seamen was the Charlie Parker of drums. Born of the swing era, he absorbed the bop revolution and played with passion and feeling. Phil wasn't a showman in the stick twirling sense. What made him special was his timing and creativity.Witty, acid-tongued and charismatic, Phil was a world class player. He inspired fans and fellow musicians including Ginger Baker and was one of Britain's be-bop pioneers. Yet his great talent was undermined by a drug addiction that blighted his career and ultimately took his life.
Earl Palmer was the original rock'n'roll session drummer, the man who put the backbeat into rock. In 1955 the cradle of jazz, New Orleans, hosts sessions by the outrageous Little Richard. At Cosimo Matassa's studio, a bunch of erstwhile jazz musicians are stirred to create pop history by Richard's riotous rock’n’roll. 'Tutti Frutti', 'Long Tall Sally' and 'Lucille' encapsulate the untamed force that scared the pants off parents worldwide. The unlikely drummer behind these classics was Earl a serious music student, war veteran and a straight-up jazzer who, even late in life, couldn't quite reconcile himself with the fact that he'd invented rock'n'roll drumming.
Stephen Morris pioneered the mixing of electronic and acoustic drumming and helped create that Manchester sound that dominated British music in the '90s. Often imitated, but never bettered, he remains one of British music's originals. Stephen joined the hugely influential Joy Division and, following the death of vocalist Ian Curtis, he, Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner formed New Order with keyboardist Gillian Gilbert. New Order ventured into dance music, blending electronic disco beats with hooks, the formula reached critical mass in 1983 with the release of 'Blue Monday' which became the best-selling British 12" single of all time.
As a pioneer of live drum'n'bass, Jojo Mayer'sspeed of hand and foot, precision and sound and ultra-hip beats inspire drummers worldwide. Born in Switzerland, Jojo relocated to New York and it was here that his advanced musical skills, his desire to think outside the box and embrace new cultural ideas that put him on the cutting edge. Jojo developed the idea of 'reverse engineering', finding ways to express digitally created beats live, founding the successful and influential club/party Prohibited Beatz. His DVD, Secret Weapons For The Modern Drummer, has made him teacher to a whole generation.
Fusing punk with disco, Clem fired New York new wave legends Blondie to chart success in the late '70s and early '80s. His drumming on such classic hits as ‘Heart Of Glass’, ‘Rapture’, ‘Atomic’ and ‘Picture This’ put the CBGB’s scenesters on the map, creating lasting hits that still sound great today. Clem has also had stints drumming for Bob Dylan, Eurythmics, The Ramones and Iggy Pop. His Clem Burke Drumming Project, which analyses the physical and psychological effects of drumming recently earned him an honorary doctorate from the University of Gloucestershire.
Just when we though we knew Arctic Monkeys - all skittish beats, skanking guitar and wry lyrics, Brit-rock to the core - the Sheffield songsmiths hopped over the Atlantic, and forged a new, harder-edged sound with the help of Queens Of The Stone Age's Josh Homme. It’s a direction they have continued to explore, with Matt Helders' drumming continuing to develop and impress, and 2012's drum feature 'R U Mine' confirming him as one of the UK's finest young rock drummers.
100 Drum Heroes - out now!
For more Drum Heroes, get yourself a copy of Rhythm Presents 100 Drum Heroes, available in the shops, online at My Favourite Magazines and on Newsstand for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch right now! It’s got loads of interviews and profiles with a ton of drummers, plus it’s beautifully illustrated with classic and new photographs!