GOAT hunt: The greatest drummers of the 21st century

Steve Jennings / Getty
(Image credit: Steve Jennings / Getty)

We recently began our epic GOAT Hunt: the search to put together a fantasy band line-up made up entirely of the players who are considered the Greatest of All Time. 

 Continuing into the third round of our search for the most important band member, we asked you to choose the greatest drummers since the Year 2000.

Now, the votes are in and we have our Top 10, as decided by you. But it's not all over yet, the top five drummers from each era will eventually face-off to claim the throne in our band of GOATS. Check out the results below.  

1. Taylor Hawkins

The one-time Alanis Morissette drummer found his forever throne when he joined Foo Fighters. Bringing with him the perfect mix of classic influences from Copeland to Peart, his style has emerged more and more with each album from alt rocker to prog-tinged bombast. On top of that, he’s proved he can handle lead vocals at stadium levels. It’s no wonder he’s topped this era.

2. Josh Freese

For most of the first part of the millennium, drummers who so much as stood up from the drum stool would likely return to find Josh Freese in their place. Avril Lavigne, A Perfect Circle, Sting, The Offspring, Nine Inch Nails, Guns N’ Roses, Weezer and hundreds of others have all benefited from Josh’s chameleon-like ability to not only fit right in, but do it better than anyone else. 

3. Marco Minnemann

The Noughties was a purple patch for technical playing, and Marco Minnemann helped lead the way. Arriving on a DW kit that could fill most stages, and enough pedals to win the Tour De France, the only thing more awe-inspiring than his kit was his playing. A master of progressive concepts, limbs that seem to have discrete brains and chops that remain next-level, Marco is showing no sign of slowing down his prolific output even now.

4. Meg White

The White Stripes’ Meg White joins Ringo and Lars Ulrich on the podium of heavily divisive drummers. Does she have chops? The evidence suggests not, but she did play on some of the most popular indie anthems of the last 20 years, and as the old argument goes - would it have sounded anywhere near as good with a slick technical drummer? We don’t think so.

5. Travis Barker

Barker's enigmatic style has seen him conquer punk drumming, while also being formidable in the world of hip-hop for two decades too. Who else could have burst out of the gate with marching band chops, World rhythms and the breakneck power and speed required? To us, it’s no coincidence that Blink 182 became huge once he was on board, and we’re glad that he’s not putting his feet up just yet.

6. Joey Jordison

We can’t think of a player who helped shift as many double pedals as Joey Jordison. His work with Slipknot put him at the forefront of metal drumming for the new millennium, cementing his influence for years to come. While his tenure with the band was cut short after suffering with transverse myelitis, Joey thankfully returned to the kit with Vimic and Sinsaenum in 2016. Here’s hoping we hear more from JJ soon.

7. Jojo Mayer

Close your eyes while listening to Nerve and you’d swear you were hearing chopped-up and resampled breakbeats. The fact that it’s a human with four limbs doesn’t stop blowing our minds. Jojo Mayer’s pursuit of the mechanics of hand and foot technique run deeper than any other drummer we can think of in modern times, and his style is unmistakeable as a result. 

8. Benny Greb

In an age of streaming, Benny Greb’s The Language of Drumming and The Art & Science Of Groove DVDs are modern masterpieces, while his solo work - especially Grebfruit and Grebfruit 2 - have positioned him as a true icon of our times. That’s before you consider his output with Ron Spielman, Strom und Wasser, Nick Johnson and more.

9. Jay Weinberg

Jay had a successful career before Slipknot, but stepping into the shoes of not only one of your heroes, but one of the most influential drummers in decades is no small task. Not only did he prove himself up to the task, he made it his own. We’re not here to debate the drummers of Slipknot, but we can’t think of anyone better than Jay Weinberg to propel the masked juggernaut into the future.  

10. Mario DuPlantier

There’s overnight success, then there’s the slow burn. Gojira prove with every album that the latter can pay off, just listen to the bands most recent output for a masterclass in modern metal proficiency. Mario DuPlantier delivers the goods with power, precision and unrelenting stamina every time, and Gojira’s profile is finally hitting the heights it deserves.


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