The tragic death of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins in March was the unwanted inflection point of rock drumming's 2022, so it's fitting that many of your votes went to players who starred in this summer's emotional tribute concerts.
1. Roger Taylor (Queen)
Roger Taylor is - obviously - bonafide rock royalty. “I’m getting toward the end of my career now,” the Queen drummer recently told billboard, “but I’m still at work and loving it, really enjoying it.”
Long may that continue, and he’s certainly kept himself moving in 2022, starring at both the Wembley and LA Taylor Hawkins tribute concerts, receiving an OBE (dedicated to Hawkins), playing through Europe with Queen + Adam Lambert AND recently releasing The Outsider Tour Live, recorded during his solo UK tour last year.
2. Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters)
The 2022 drum landscape was scarred by the tragic death of Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins. A seemingly unstoppable force of nature, Hawkins was taken from us suddenly at the age of 50. The twin concerts that paid tribute to him in LA and London over the summer were a testament to the regard in which he was held and - apart from anything else - a celebration of a life devoted to drums. RIP.
3. Rufus Taylor (The Darkness)
Sewing up two of the top three spots for the Taylor family, The Darkness drummer Rufus was another artist who shone at the Hawkins tribute concerts. Elsewhere this year, he completed a mammoth live tour with The Darkness in support of 2021’s Motorheart album.
4. Scott Phillips (Alter Bridge and Projected)
A founding member of titans Alter Bridge, Phillips has been a stalwart in our annual awards, appearing as one of your top rock drummers on multiple occasions. This year, you voted in your droves following his never-less-than-virtuosic chops on full new releases by Alter Bridge (Pawns and Kings) and Supergroup Projected (Hypoxia).
5. Scott Hammond (Jethro Tull)
"I wouldn't describe myself as a prog rock drummer,” Hammond has said, “although it's obviously a part of what I do. My rock roots are based in bands like Deep Purple although I have always enjoyed listening to Jethro Tull's Minstrel in the Gallery since I was a teenager."
Which is just as well because a) this is the rock list and b) he’s been a starring presence with The Tull this year, featuring on Zealot Gene, his first recorded output with the band after officially joining the full-time line-up in 2017 (he first toured with them in 2011), and will also be taking the studio throne for the band’s next album, slated for a 2023 release.
6. Stewart Copeland
A man who surely needs no introduction here, Copeland absolutely nailed the Hawkins tribute gigs - he was close to the sadly-departed Foo Fighters man - is currently gearing up for more massive Police Deranged outings next year, continues to reach new audiences on social platforms AND recently released the first new Animal Logic tracks in 31 years. Keep your eyes peeled for a wide-ranging interview with The Drummer’s Drummer right here on MusicRadar very soon.
7. Dom Howard (Muse)
Muse, the band Howard cofounded with Matt Bellamy and Chris Wolstenholme in 1994, returned to the fray with LP Will of the People this year. The band is currently gearing up for a mammoth US and UK tour in 2023.
8. Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Resurgent is the word for Smith’s Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2022. This year saw the return of John Frusciante and the release of not one, but two fully-fledged double albums, Unlimited Love and Return of the Dream Canteen, accompanied by an ongoing, relentless jaunt around some of the globe’s biggest stadiums.
9. Dave Grohl
Our admiration for the ever-impressive Grohl went to another level this year. Following the death of his “brother from another mother”, Taylor Hawkins, it would have been understandable if the Foo Fighters star had retreated from the public eye. Instead, he alchemised a glittering array of rock and pop royalty into an emotional, at times euphoric celebration of his tragically-departed compadre’s life and the redemptive power of rock music.