Ringo rocks: Blackberry Smoke's Brit Turner

(Image credit: STEVE MARCUS/Reuters/Corbis)

Atlanta southern rockers Blackberry Smoke first came onto our radar with the release of 2012's The Whippoorwill, and it was in no small thanks to drummer Brit Turner's tasteful beats and thick groove.

So it should come as no surprise to hear that Brit honed his chops to the sounds of possibly drumming's biggest ever drum hero - Ringo Starr.

"My aunt took me and my brother to a record store told us we could pick out a record. I picked Yesterday and Today. My brother picked Ray Stevens The Streak, so we were at opposite ends right there! I think my mother used to buy these compilation cassettes and those had The Beatles so I liked them from then, but I fell in love with them from then.

"At that point I knew I as interested in the drums and I felt like I could really hear everything that he was doing. I put the headphones and just listened. I could hear it and understand it, even though I maybe couldn't even begin to play it. In later years when you really try to play it you're like, 'Wow, this guy is really locked into what he does and what the band is doing.'

"Even today I go back and think about how Ringo really plays for the song. You see so many drummers where it's like they're auditioning for a band while they're playing a show with the band that they're in. Ringo just played perfect parts. After you've recorded a lot and toured a lot you realise that Ringo is the best as far as drumming goes.

"What stood out to me about Yesterday and Today was that every song had a different feel and beat to it, that was what I liked about it. On Nowhere Man there's a cool swing to it, Drive My Car is just very driving, perfect! He sings on some songs as well. I just thought they were all so talented.

"I felt like I could relate to their music. When I was learning to play drums I felt like I could understand what Ringo was doing. That made me want to play drums more. Playing for the song is the most important thing ever. You need to step outside of the song and play. Everything that he does is tasteful."

Read more on the genius of Ringo Starr in the Summer issue of Rhythm, which is available here!

Rich Chamberlain

Rich is a teacher, one time Rhythm staff writer and experienced freelance journalist who has interviewed countless revered musicians, engineers, producers and stars for the our world-leading music making portfolio, including such titles as Rhythm, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, and MusicRadar. His victims include such luminaries as Ice T, Mark Guilani and Jamie Oliver (the drumming one).