I personnally never was fascinated by the drums as a kid, it all came naturally and gradually. I first listened to a lot of old english rock or pop records my parents bought back in the days and then only I started to make some beats with my fingers on a table at the age of 12, much like a retard (the splash cymbal was the neary heater, you got the picture...), but I thought then it won't go any further some day. Things suddenly fell into place for me in a land far from any blasphematory rock filth and fury.
I was in the Sahara desert, not so far from the morrocan/western sahari border and I was with some folks who wanted to meet black people from the Drâa Valley. Those people are the descendants of former slaves brought from the South by their muslims owners. They converted to islam, and at some point, I dunno anymore, they got freed. But while losing their original animist beliefs they never gave up playing their music and they became famous in the French colonial Morocco.
So I met some of them, and they played traditional songs of their own, like they do in order to earn some money from the white weirdos coming in those remoted places. They invited me to play with them, because I had long hair back then, much like a cliché metalhead. I suppose, I still don't really know why they chose me. They might have wanted to make some fun of me I guess. But fact is I wasn't as shitty as they expected and they soon started to teach me some things about rythms. When we left one of them told me in French I had to continue once at home because "I had potential".
Only a month later I played on my first drum kit in a remoted garage lost in the middle of fir forests with a good friend of mine who learned the bass guitar and since then I've never stopped. If the first song I could play right was 'My Sharona' by the Knacks, that guy and I soon started to search more stuff and so began my music nerd career. I will never be Mario Duplantier, Hellhammer or another random drum star. I'm just me and that's fine because I've worked on what I liked the most and on what I enjoy drumming, that's all that really matters in the end. Now that I'm way older I still see the progresses I made and I have to admit the records below have a special place in my record collection.
From time to time I meet people who are interested in drums, and although I'm not a genius at all, they usually ask me one or two good records to learn the drums basics. I thought it could be somewhat useful, so here are finally the 20 records I recommend to you all, new drummers.
PART ONE : BASICS
01. High Voltage - AC/DC (1979)
With AC/DC you'll never have this kind of problem, they go straight to the point the good old way the 50s blues rock forefathers did. But don't get me wrong this record and the others from the Bon Scott era contain everything you need to learn. Breaks, crescendos, decrescendos, right use of the bass drum, the snare and the hanging toms, everything is here. Rudd's work is generally underrated because it is repetitive and relatively easy to play but what many musicians miss is his awesome use of cymbals. I read when I was younger that he didn't really thought about his drum skills except for the cymbals. He managed to play in such a way they'll slowly stun the listener. How many technical bands are mising this point, forgetting to use correctly their cymbals I can't tell... If you want to be effective and gain a lot of power without double kick or blast beats, use the cymbals !
No matter what people say about this band, about his stupid lyrics or the fact they're too nice or too horrible according to the asshole you're talking with, AC/DC are still living gods because they were able to talk to every dirty white loser like me and because they shaped the way half of the rock to come without betraying the true roots of rock'n'roll. They took 50s blues rock and made it a little bit more agressive, making it full of energy, something we should all be grateful for.
02. Ramones - Rocket to Russia (1977)
03. Exile on main street - The Rolling Stones (1972)
04. All summer long - The Beach Boys (1967)
Alright you just read the Stones were the ideal starting point for someone interested in drums but the fact is I never liked a whole record from them like I liked my old Beach Boys records. On this blog, I often say that american music is stupid and only about merchandising, but sometimes you'll have to be fair, without the american bands we would still have to hear Edith Piaf or Georges Brassens every fucking day and not to "real" rock (uh, wait, it happens everyday in my shitty country !). What the Boys introduced into rock'n'roll was a huge work on complex polyphonic vocals and that happy, sweet vibe you can only associate with surf music. They later influenced to death bands like the Ramones or remoted punk acts, but they don't receive very often gratefulness. Although drummers of both bands remained faithful to the old blues rock style, I always found that "surf beat" be it slow or fast more satisfying than the standard, boring blues beat. This sweet happy beat was used to death during the 60s and many now forgotten bands played it the way hipster bands of today are using the D-beat. If you wanna play some hard stuff later, I recommend you to know how to play some 60s stuff because the basics are roughly the same, only the tempo changes. And finally I'd like to add that during the 60s there's a lot of good French songs that mimicked the Beach Boys' ones, some are really worth to dig (this might actually be the only good era for french pop music !).
05. The Doors - The Doors (1967)
06. Definitely maybe - Oasis (1995)
07. No need to argue - The Cranberries (1994)
08. In Utero - Nirvana (1993)
For a beginner the most affordable "brutal" band might be Nirvana. No double-kick, repetitive rigid hooks, plain rock'n'roll rythms put into "extreme" forms and that's all. Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl had a deal : the drumming had to be efficient but not technical. And you can hear all along those bitter-sweet disturbed rock songs the result. 'In Utero' had many qualities, making it a better album than 'Bleach' and one with even more guts than 'Nevermind' or every Guns'n'Roses album. One of those qualities lied in the drums perfectly stressing the poppy soft rock/ depressed absurd hard rock alternation. With those songs you'll learn to play both, guaranteed. 'In Utero' might be Grohl's last great album as a drummer, the 'Foo Fighters' first release being quite disappointing on this point (too 70s soft rock influenced, too easy to play, too much snare, too predictable).
PART TWO : NOT SO BASIC STUFF
09. ZZ Top's first album - ZZ Top (1971)
10. Love over gold - Dire Straits (1982)
11. Boston - Boston (1976)
12. Outlandos d'Amour - The Police (1978)
13. ABBA - ABBA (1975)
14. Homegrown - Dodgy (1994)
15. Invisible touch - Genesis (1986)
PART THREE : METAL, LET'S FACE IT...
16. Shout at the devil - Mötley Crüe (1983)
ötley Crüe they could never have raffined their sound. This record defined what hard rock had to be for 5 years or so, and is also an excellent way to begin with the whole metal spectrum for a drummer wannabe.This should be enough to declare the day Nikki Sixx nearly died from overdosis in the same bed as Slash a new holiday, no ?
17. Blackout - Scorpions (1982)
ötley Crüe, but most of the time less ridiculous, Scorpions can be a very effective way to go into the metal realms too. It's a common thing in Europe that people now in their 50s/60s bought all the stuff from this german band and played it with their kids around. So for many metalheads on the good old sinkin' Europe Scorpions has strong ties with childhood, much like Ozzy Osbourne for the US metalheads. But unlike the Crüe the Scorps also had the advantage to be without any stupid satanic imagery, so our moms could also like them. Musically speaking the germans are great for beginner because they'll set in your mind all the metal basics, be it with tempo, lengths, or the parsimonious use of cymbals. Faster than most of the old heavy or hard rock stuff Scorpions are definitely a great band to go from the rock field to the darker and harder metal ones. What you learned with the mainstream old rock bands is starting here to be what we understand now as metal. But there are also their famous ballads, a kind of song you'll probably have to know how to play some days if you're planning to play with other real people. And believe me, those dudes are the almighty masters of the ballad songs...
18. The Fourth Crusade - Bolt Thrower (1992)
19. We are French fukk you - Gronibard (2008)
When you've enough of death metal you can begin to play grindcore, more chaotic, frantic, punkish but still technical. But things also work in the opposite direction because many regular death bands started to play as grind bands. Clear right ? Nevertheless I'm not a huge grindcore fan, it goes too far most of the time for me, both in the lyrics and in the music. But I always loved the french band Gronibard (meaning "Huge Boobs") since the day a teenager named "Michel from Angers" came in 2004 to a singing contest close to American idol and started to growl 'Vas faire la vaisselle sale teupu' ("Go do the washing-up you dirty whore"). This brief moment where the politically correct representants of the french good tasted elite had to face one of the worst act from the french undergound "true" metal scenes was like a third kind encounter. This became cult for stupid youngsters like me, it sounded like a little revenge against the musical french nomenklatura giving massive funds to untasty parisian folk singers or to hateful (most of the time of muslim background) rappers. Gronibard like many grind acts play short noisy pieces with mainly a very raw sound, influenced by D-beat and the early death metal. Although their lyrics are mostly about sodomy, violence towards "superficial girls" or dick sucking in the worst way possible, the music is great. On their third record they've softened a little their sound and if you want to improve what you learned with the previous metal records on this list, this might be a very effective album. Everything from the extreme scenes is on this record, but affordable even for a not-so-beginner. So guys, give this french fuckers a try, you probably won't understand their lyrics anyway.
20. Master of puppets - Metallica (1985)
For years Metallica meant what almost every fucking metal band meant to me : nothing but shit. Anarchopunk was creepier, D-beat was more violent and old heavy like Rainbow was cheesier. But all my hatred didn't protected me, and some day I had to listen to the whole fucking record and to adapt myself, before finally learning to play the way the fucking Lars Ulrich played. I had no choice. At the beginning it was harsh, rude and I hated this band even more. Today I've played this record a thousand times, and sometimes I do want to play it. Because in the end, it is good to go out your comfort zone, and yeah sometimes play tunes you hate. Because in the end you'll never learn to play the classical thrash beat with another record, and because this record is an affordable step forward in your own career.
21. III : So long suckers - Reverend Bizarre (2005)
So that's it fellow rock drummers ! I hope this list could have helped you somehow, or a least had entertained you the time you read it. Keep in mind that the drums world is wide open before you and that there's a lot of genres I didn't talked about, be it native musics, african or latino rythms, hip-hop beats or the good old regular schlager songs. For example one of the best records I've ever heard when it comes to drums is one of those Red Army records. Don't be too narrow-minded and find your own way, that's the most important thing. Don't listen those who are obsessed with technicity for the sake of technicity, they're just kids liking way too much masturbation. Remember Tommy Ramone made his own carrer with some of poorest beats ever, but those beats gave Ramones' songs their soul ! And if you have some favorite records who helped you learn the drums, please feel free to leave a comment trolololo.