Gregg Bissonette has not only lived the drummer’s dream, with a long and successful career as a sideman to huge names such as David Lee Roth, Andy Summers, Steve Lukather, Joe Satriani and more, but he continues to live it by fulfilling the role as his favourite drummer’s drummer in Ringo Starr’s All-Starr band.
Bissonette — a musical sponge who is known for his ability to authentically turn his hand to pretty much any style of music thrown in his direction — has backed Ringo since performing double-drums with the former-Beatle in 2003, and recently took to YouTube with a 20-minute video explaining why Ringo is his favourite drummer.
“Who would have known — I sure wouldn’t have known — that in 2003 I would start getting to play double drums with Ringo!” he reflects at the start of the video. “I’ve learned so much getting to play double drums with him. I’ve got this bird’s-eye view and i can see his bass drum, and his hands so well.
"My goal is to lock in with my favourite drummer. He’s my favourite drummer for many reasons. He’s got the most amazing swing to his playing, he’s got the most amazing dynamics.”
Gregg goes on to highlight some examples, pinpointing the iconic beat and various sextuplet, double-stopped and flam fills from Ticket to Ride.
He continues by exploring Ringo’s floor-tom-riding groove from She Loves You, his hypnotic beat from Tomorrow Never Knows (including the Anthology II version), and recounts how Ringo once demonstrated the correct way to play TNK without breaking the flow of the ride cymbal.
Key to Ringo’s ‘song-drummer’ style is his awareness of the vocals and melody, and Bissonette uses Drive My Car as an example of Ringo’s attention to these details, demonstrating how he mirrors the rhythm of the vocal melody.
Also included in Bissonette’s breakdown are In My Life, Here Comes the Sun, Come Together (complete with tea-towels) and his “favourite eight bars in music”, Ringo’s solo from The End. It’s an interesting insight from a world-class drummer who has had the opportunity to study one of the most revered drummers of all time, up close for two decades.