The early part of the 80s had a ton of great music, but toward the end hair metal bands had become all the rage.
In the early 90s, the “Seattle Invasion” came on strong and the youth of America welcomed it with open arms. Musicians were “playing” their instruments again. Gone were the overproduced massive drum explosion and in came a more focused drum sound. As the Godfather of Soul James Brown used to say, it was time to “give the drummer some.”
Here are my Top 5 Drummers of the 90s:
I was watching MTV when I first heard this funky acoustic guitar riff followed by three gunshot-like snare drum hits. The song was “What Would You Say” by the Dave Matthews Band. Although they paid their dues for many years on the college music circuit, DMB was a new band on the scene and Carter Beauford was going to get noticed. Carter plays with an “open handed” style, reminiscent of fusion drummers Billy Cobham, Lenny White and Simon Phillips.
Another song that starts out with three gunshot-like snare hits is the Spin Doctors’ “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong.” There is no mistaking the drumming of Aaron Comess. That distinct snare drum made by the Brady Drum Co. is Aaron’s signature sound. The Spin Doctors have a unique mix of funk, rock, r & b and jam band. Their debut album Pocket Full of Kryptonite was all over the radio in the early 90s. Although they didn’t achieve much commercial success after Kryptonite, the original lineup is still touring. Perhaps a new record is in the works.
While both Carter Beauford and Aaron Comess favor high-pitched snare drums, Eric Kretz of Stone Temple Pilots is a California boy who obviously spent a lot time listening to John Bonham. Kretz’s Bonham-esque drumming with gated reverb is a throwback to the 70s. Eric plays for the song, and although his drumming sounds simple it’s not.
I first heard Matt when I saw the video for “What I Am” from Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians. Although I wasn’t a fan of the tune, I really liked the groove. I’m not sure what it was but I knew Matt was a schooled drummer. Chamberlain attended the prestigious North Texas State University. Soon after graduation, Matt joined Pearl Jam.
Matt toured extensively with band but didn’t play drums on their debut record Ten. After his short stint in Pearl Jam, he became the house drummer for the legendary Saturday Night Live Band under the direction of G.E. Smith. After one season, he headed back to the west coast to pursue a career as a studio musician. Chamberlain has played on The Wallflowers’ Bringing Down The Horse and Fiona Apple’s Tidal.
I’m willing to bet that most people don’t realize that they’ve heard or seen Shawn Pelton. He attended Indiana University, studying percussion with John Cougar Mellencamp’s original drummer, Kenny Aronoff. Shortly after graduation, Shawn moved to NYC and quickly became a 1st call studio and live drummer for Joan Osborne, Bruce Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, Five For Fighting, Billy Joel, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Shawn Colvin, Bon Jovi and many others. Not a bad resume for a kid from Kansas City.
One of my favorite songs that Pelton played drums on is “Sunny Came Home” from Shawn Colvin’s A Few Small Repairs, which won a Grammy for Record and Song of the Year in ‘98. Pelton has been the house drummer for the Saturday Night Live Band since ’92.
John Rogers is a drummer/vocalist and a member of three groups: The Eastside Mix (corporate band), The Retro Kings (classic rock) and Two Johns (acoustic duo), having played in venues all across the United States. He studied at the Berklee College of Music majoring in Performance. John is endorsed by GMS drums and uses Sabian cymbals, Evans drum heads and Vater drumsticks. For more info, go to: www.myspace.com/jrdafunkydrummer and www.facebook.com/dafunkydrummer.