The 90s began hungover with the thrash and heavy metal influence of its predecessor. Bands like Metallica and Guns N’ Roses released multi-platinum albums early on in the decade.
But a new generation of bands, fans and genres was shedding skin and exploring a different musical dimension. This resulted in a new genre of rock music, grunge.
It combined elements of hard core punk and heavy metal into a sound never heard before, often dubbed as ‘ugly’ by critics. It used heavy distortion with dark lyrics while not necessarily relying on speed or power. The drum sets were smaller and not as massive compared to the 80s.
Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron’s set-up was a six-piece kit while Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl’s initially used a four-piece set-up.
Whatever the genre, the high speed and power drumming from the 80s was fading.
This week we feature some of the prominent and influential drummers from the 90s.
A jazz music student, Danny Carey is best known for his work in the Grammy Award-winning American band Tool. His technical ability, frequent use of odd time signatures, rudimental drumming and insane creativity gained him popularity among drummers and non-drummers alike. Danny is known to treat his feet like his hands and is one of the most progressive drummers in the rock and heavy-metal scene. With Danny at the drum throne, other band members could experiment within a wide musical scope.
Starting off as a bassist, Chris would practice on the double bass kit set up his band mate would leave at his garage. With no major influence, he would practice listening to Aerosmith’s Joey Kamer’s drum solos. He followed the pattern with some other drummers resulting in a sound unique to him. Chris has a different approach to double bass playing and often mixes it with toms and cymbals. He writes most of his stuff to compete with the guitars. The drummer, a founder of the groove metal band Lamb of God, and Megadeth, has a huge fan base in India which was evident in the turnout for his recent tour.
When Chad Canning quit Nirvana, Grohl was invited to audition and he nailed it in the first go. Just like most kids, he would play the drums using household items. A self-confessed John Bonham fanatic, his style is powerful and straight to the point just like his idol. Keeping the rhythmic structure and playing style simple has won him tons of admirers. Grohl writes his drum parts to ensure they are as important to the song’s identity as the guitar and vocal parts. The nicest man in rock music is also known to be a full-blown musician. After Nirvana Grohl founded the Foo Fighters and has been a part many other projects.
He’s arguably one of the fastest drummers in the world. The Slipknot drummer showcases amazing speed and control over his hands and feet. Apart from this, the most commendable thing is his endurance and the ability to stay in time. Joey has time and again proved that a drummer can play with interesting rhythmic figures along with speed. On stage he wears the Kabuki style mask his mother traumatized him with when he was 5 years old and is seen headbanging like a maniac while playing at incredible and demanding speeds.
The German-born American drummer has been hailed as the ‘most potent part’ of punk rock/pop punk band Green Day. He replaced the band’s former drummer John Kiffmeyer in 1990. His playing style has been compared to John Bonham’s and on stage persona to Keith Moon. Mostly known for his unpredictable style, he is also a singer and songwriter. Not only that, Cool also sang and played the guitar on “Dominated Love Slave”.
By the turn of the millennium, rock music has further sub divided into new genres. Some new kids got a rapper to the band while some added a DJ. This changed the role of the drummer completely.
The drummers listed are not ranked but it is just a compilation of a few out of the many that ruled the 90s.
Next week we shall feature some drummers from the 2000s.