Over the years I have had many conversations with people who wanted to know who I had been inspired by as a musician while seeking a path to my own voice. I have also had many conversations with people who were sure they already knew my influences. I'm not sure that those in the second group have ever been close except for once or twice. I came along early enough in underground metal that there were not very many "superstars" to look up to as inspirational figures. Metal was pretty clumsy at first, and its sheer aggression was still exciting enough that bands didn't have to find so many ways to set themselves apart. The term "underground" was synonymous with "not so slick" which meant that only the guitarists had really developed ideas at that point in metal's evolution. Rhythm sections had not caught up yet, though they would in a very big way years later.
I would like to run through some of the drummers who really made an impression with me as I have tried to refine different aspects of my own style. Not all of these guys have had the same kind of impact on me, but they have all made me think about different things I might be able to try in the bands I have played with. Some will be well known to other drummers while others, even if they are famous in their own right, may not be so well respected or often considered when dude talk leads to drummers. I like different drummers for different things, which is the same way I process music. I don't listen to a handful of bands with really similar sounds. Instead, I like to find the one band that paints a picture the way I like and then I look for something different . It's easier for me to hear the subtle differences in drummers than it is to hear noteworthy differences in similar bands. Most drummers are at least good enough at what they do that they can pull their weight, and plenty are far better than that. The ones that stand out to me have more than just subtle finesse and solid chops. Those drummers are a dime a dozen. The ones that raise my eyebrow apply something familiar in new ways. They seem much more creative to me than everyone else, or they find ways to be busy without jumping out as the star of the band. You may not agree. Agreeing with me is essential to the success of this blog, so I suggest you rethink your positions if you find yourself at odds with my own.