Top 12 Drum Parts in a Song by mat
U2 – The Joshua Tree “With Or Without You” :: @04.29, There was a time in my live where a tambourine in a song could make or break a tune. I still live by this for the most part. And this song exemplifies it. The drums keep this song going, but the heart of the drums is the tambourine and the less notable shakers. Yes, the tambourine is very necessary during the verses and choruses, but it isn’t entirely 100% necessary until the later part of the song. Before the big crescendo “ooooh oh oh ohhhhs” you have the typical tambourine hits on the 2 & 4. That is typically the backbeat (where you here the snare. the gah!) of 95% of all songs. Notice around 03.03 and you’ll hear the tambourine start doing 1/8th notes. Then at 03.04 you got your climax of 1/16th notes on the tambourine. Big release. Then Bono does his weeping emotion thing and the song dies down. The outro is key here. At 03.40 the tambourine fades out. At 03.57 it re-enters adding a tad of tension on 2 & 4. 04.22 you get a little release with 1/4 notes and 1/8th notes with the shakers (which is almost a foreshadow of what is to come). Then 04.30 comes and the tambourine hits the 1/16th notes. Right then is when the song is allowed to end and and fade. It’s wondrous and beautiful. The song would have been completely less effective without that simple tambourine part. I love it. I wonder who played it? Eno or Lanois?
U2 – The Joshua Tree “Mothers of the Disappeared” :: @02.46, Besides being one of my favorite cuts on this record, the drums are vocoded. That is just plain cool. But around 02.46 after the last line heard was “we hear their heartbeats” you can faintly here a drum part seeping through the left channel. Adds so much to the attack-less vocoded drums.
The Who – Who Are You “Who Are You” :: @00.44, I am quite the advocate half time. And when this song breaks in to half time you just want to rip shit up like no other. Keith Moon was a maniac. In mind and playing style. His tasty hi-hats showed that here as well. But it’s that jump from half time to double time that really does it. And vice versa. I have always felt a punk band would do madness to this song. Raw power.
Tortoise – millions now living will never die. “Gamera” :: @02.38, Two words: Johnny Machine. Quite possibly my favorite drummer ever. Lays down a groove like no other. Stays in the pocket. Even moves in and out and you can feel that tension sway with the other instruments. That power of his playing is quite cumbersome at times. Two words.
Soul Coughing – Ruby Vroom “Blueeyed Devil” :: @02.20, Yuval Gabay on drums. I think in the 90s he could have been the most innovative and interesting and soulful drummers in pop/rock music. Yeah, the drummer from Dave Matthews is quite good, but he is the wankiest and most “white” sounding drummer of all time. He was too textbook. Just like Don “No Soul” Simmons. Worse than Dave Weckl. Yeah, so at 02.20 Yuval goes in to this unfathomably played part. Watching him play this always reminded me of an octopus. But he played it effortlessly. I bet Daniel can play it. That fucker.
Sonic Youth – Goo “Dirty Boots” :: @00.34, Like i’ve hinted at before. I love percussion. Not like those dirty ass hippies in those drum circles. You know what I mean. Here Steve Shelley lays the 1/8th notes down on the shaker. Genius. His simplicity and incredible groove always attracted me.
Hum – You’d Prefer An Astronaut “Why I Like the Robins” :: @01.45, This is the section of the song where you hear a loud snare drum hit when everything else drops out. Then the down beat is an onslaught of distorted yet dreamy and cloudy guitars. That snare sets it all up. A very underrated band from the late 90s. Look them up.
Fugazi – s/t ep “bad mouth” :: @00.05, Brendan Canty was another big influence, at least in my drumming. Definitely taught me dynamics. And he was the king of rim shots. Those hi-hat hits are incredible. Most likely just a tempo setter. Then they come in on the off beats. Anger release starter. Whatever it is, the drums are perfect. Not “perfect” in the cliche rock song perfect. But perfect. The 1/16th notes on the hi-hats are insane. it betrays a bad mind
The Beatles – Rubber Soul “In My Life” :: @00.10, In addition to being an incredibly emotional and endearing John Lennon song, Ringo’s drums are great. Simplicity was always his key to success. I love all of Ringo’s parts and especially the placement of the hi-hat note. Anyone who says he wasn’t a good drummer is just fooling themselves in ignorance.
Led Zeppelin – IV “When The Levee Breaks” :: @00.00, The drums are fucking, fucking, fucking HUGE! That is all that can be said. Except, the hugeness is so huge the drums ‘verb other drum parts. It’s huge I tell you. Huge!
Poster Children – Tool of the Man “Outside In” :: @02.40, Johnny Machine was the little slut of Chicago Bands. He played on this Poster Children record as well. At 02.40 coming right out of the guitar solo and in the middle of 1/16th notes on the hi-hats, you get these accented open hats on the upbeats. Incredible and flowing. Perfect placement. Johnny Machine is perfection in my eyes. No one knew how much I loved Johnny Machine more than Feetnik. She’s a super trooper.
the Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream “Hummer” :: @04.31, At this point in the song, you end off with these harmonizing blazing guitars. It goes here, in to a blissful and light section. The ghost notes are beautiful on the snare. Ghost notes are typically felt and not heard. But since the section is very mellow and soft, you hear them quite well. I remember Jimmy talking about this in an issue of Modern Drummer (yes, i subscribed at one point in my life) how they spliced in this other snare drum. At the time I thought that was revolutionary and amazing. Not all that clever looking back. You’d think mounting another snare drum to the left of his normal one would have sufficed. Oh well. Great rock drummer.