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Queen Now I'm Here drum lesson and drumless backing track

Queen's Roger Taylor on stage, 1977
Queen's Roger Taylor on stage, 1977
(Image credit: Jorgen Angel / Getty)

Now I’m Here is taken from Sheer Heart Attack - Queen’s third album, and was performed on every tour between its release and Queen’s final shows in the 80s. More recently, Now I’m Here makes an appearance in the Queen biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. The song itself having been written about Queen’s experiences supporting Mott The Hoople in the US. 

Intro

The drums first enter with the familiar choked cymbal crashes on the ninth and thirteenth bars after the vocals enter, before Roger’s anticipated crashes and fills around the kit kick things up a gear.

Here the crashes fall on the last eighth-note of the bar while the fills are mostly single-stroke sixteenth-note based and move from high tom to low. After eight bars a crescendo, played as a double-stop between the toms, leads us into the main groove.

Main groove

Roger Taylor lays down a driving eighth-note hi-hat based feel embellished with his signature open hi-hats on the backbeats. This is a sound that appears on most of Roger's hi-hat based playing and was perhaps something developed to increase the impact of the snare against the loud amps and poorly amplified/monitored drums of the time. 

To replicate this accurately the hi-hats are closed almost as soon as they're opened which, in conjunction with different bass drum patterns, can require a high degree of independence.

Verse/chorus

In short the piece then moves around the verse/chorus, played with the eighth-note hi-hat based feel, and the fills of the intro one more time before heading to the bridge and eventually the guitar solo, both also played over essentially the same eighth-note feel.

As well as the aforementioned hi-hat move, one of the other essential elements in Roger's performance on this track is the size of the drums. Throughout his career he's always favoured large shells, with this kit most likely featuring a 26" bass drum and 13" to 18" toms. 

Playthrough and backing track

Once you have each part of the song down, we've provided a complete playthrough video so you can see how it all fits together. And finally, there is a drum-less backing track of the whole song for you to jam along to yourself!