Simon Collins picks the eight greatest drum albums
25th Jul 2013 | 13:43
Grohl, Perkins…and his dad
If you pick up this month's issue of Rhythm you will be introduced to Simon Collins and his band Sound of Contact. You'll also notice that Simon is son of uber drum legend turned pop hit maker Phil Collins, so when it comes to drummers, he really should know his stuff.
That's why we scratched the surface of Simon's drumming appreciation by asking him to pick out his favourite ever drumming albums. And yes, before you ask, his dad is in there.
Nirvana - Nevermind
"There are few moments in my life that I can honestly tell you my jaw has literally dropped from listening to an outstanding piece of music. One of those moments would definitely have to be the time I first heard Nirvana's Nevermind album with Dave Grohl behind the drums. This album has dynamite song craft, amazingly engineered drums, guitars and vocals.
"There is no denying that the drum style here had a big impact on me when I first emerged as a drummer in high school bands back in Vancouver. Although his sound on that record must give some credit to Butch Vig's superior engineering skills, a drummer needs to already have a defined sound of their own and Dave has this. Specifically his fills are technically quite simple yet brilliant. They have all the impact a fill needs and then some.
"Reason why I chose Dave Grohl here is mainly because of the impact and shear power of authority in which he plays. He played a vital role next to Kurt Cobain, and was a solid backbone for this power trio. This record showcases some of the best alternative rock drum grooves and fills you will ever hear. There are many elements of Nirvana that push the envelope and Dave's drumming was a big part of that evolution at the time. His style clearly taken from a combination of post punk / grunge rock and refined to perfection. This is a timeless album and its drum arrangements and grooves are killer from beginning to end. Nevermind changed my world forever and I haven't heard anything like it since."
Living Colour - Time's Up
This album was in fact my favourite from LC and one of the best examples of Will's skills. This album is explosive with mighty fat grooves and some tricky time signatures here and there to keep you on your toes. I used to practice playing drums to this album and it was a die-hard work out. Will plays with an abundance of energy and much of the time at really fast tempos, it’s a real blast to listen to him have so much fun.
"LC were a very modern and quirky rock band with hints of progressiveness that kept things exciting and original, I have been a big fan for years. Although their debut album "Vivid" was a breakthrough and a pop commercial success I think this album showcases their experimental side and top notch musicianship the best. William Calhoun tears it up behind the kit in an all original fashion that still shouts back a pretty solid "Oh Yeah !?!".
Jane's Addiction - Nothing's Shocking
"I really dig Steve Perkins' playing on this album. This band has always had a quirky way of putting songs together and Steve's style has been an adhesive for Perry Ferrell and Co. This is one of those drummers whose got variety of styles all blended in to one and I hear him having fun with it. That said, Steve rips it up on this album on tracks like 'Mountain Song' and is a really solid drummer when it comes to just providing a strong foundation for the band to work the song with.
"He's got skills no doubt but he doesn’t go out of his way to over play and lose the plot. Steve has never been afraid of using the dreaded cowbell and woodblock either, and that to me gets immediate brownie points and A for effort. Perkins also has an affinity for using concert toms in an Alt- Rock setting which in most cases wouldn’t work. I'm a big fan of this in my own work, so now you start to see my influences here. Best example of this style on the album would be the loose spacious Ted Just Admit it', where Steve delivers a performance that best sums up the dynamics of his skill set. Combined with killer songs and top notch vocals from Perry Ferrell, this is one of my faces from the '90s without a doubt."
Porcupine Tree - Fear of a Blank Planet
"Now this is one of my favourite drummers on the planet. I love the attention to detail and technical ingenuity. To me a big part of being a good drummer is all about the finishing, the execution of a great fill in the pocket ending it off with a clinical finish right on the one count. Gavin nails this with ease and it's so exciting to listen to him play. I love the sound of his drums with the added refreshing approach of his metal work.
"This was the first PT album I heard. My A&R guy at the time gave me this CD most likely to plant a seed and also give me a good idea of what direction pro rock was going at the time. I particularly love the minimal primal tom work, a perfect example of this would be 'Anesthitize'. It seems as though his arrangements are written and executed to perfection. This album and specifically Gavin's drumming truly inspired me to take a closer look from a different perspective at how you can use your cymbals as more of an ornamental instrument. In addition, I also love much of the heavier side of Rock drumming, so I dig some of the more aggressive grooves on the album. His meter is close to the tightest I've ever heard. Gavin has a wide spectrum of styles and I love his wide dynamic range of intensity. He can play with supreme authority but also with a delicate and intricate style that creates a contrast I just really enjoy hearing. A truly dynamic drummer."
Genesis - Second's Out
"Now here we have a big part of my musical education and a big part of why I drum the way I do. My sweet spot on tour was always sitting right behind these two kits on stage. Every night I would make sure I went there to witness some of the best call & response drum battles on the planet.I used to play to this album beginning to end everyday for years when I was in my early teens. This was my workout and a tough one at that.In my opinion this drum duo remains an unrivaled creative force in the drum world.There is an unparalleled chemistry between them and this concert in Paris captures that magic in spades.
"What I love about this album is the diversity of primal drum grooves, call and response drum arrangements, a multitude of some of the most original use of time signatures (Apocalypse in 9/8) and all the while this is all being performed live in concert. Most exciting part of the drumming on this album would still have to be the abundance of epic drum fills from both Collins and Thompson, at the same time in many cases. It's always ear candy hearing either one of these drummers go at it, but two of them together? It doesn't get any better than this my friends. All the amazing song craft would be enough but with the addition of these two drummers going at it in their prime it's definitely one of the most epic drum albums I can think of. Honestly this is in no way a biased opinion, one of them just happens to be my old man."
Tears For Fears - The Seeds of Love
"This is one of my all time favourite albums for so many reasons. It is a perfect example of how you can still keep drumming extremely interesting on a very poppy album. It can be hard to remain creative and keep things fresh when you have a tight fit arrangement and obvious job to do. I love TFF because they write amazing songs but they also keep the musicianship tip top and that results in a fine rock-pop album. As you can tell this 8-song record showcases quite a few different drummers and all chosen specifically for what they can deliver and contribute to their selected songs.
"'Women in Chains', and the title track are some of the finest songs ever written by TFF. Fine production and wonderful drum sounds and everyone delivers an incredible performance. That is surely due to the fact they all had amazing songs to work with no doubt. My top choice on this album would have to be "Bad Man's Song" played on the kit by one of my faves, Manu Katche. This performance showcases some slick hi-hat and kick work with an impressive feel at an exciting tempo that earns my respect right off the top. A brilliant display all around from brilliant drummers and all the while they all bring the record together with class and style."
Sting - The Soul Cages
"Manu is a real pleasure to listen to. His performance here is tastefully refined by the production process to meet the needs of the song. I love how relaxed Manu sounds while executing some of the more challenging grooves, arrangements and time sigs. Tamed and refined in many cases but then you have a wonderfully epic and slow build climbing to an intense climax in the track 'The Wild Wild Sea'. This performance is a shinning example of how Manu can explode with inventive depth of intensity when called for. This album showcases some of my favourite work from Manu and defines him as a truly unique drummer."
Peter Gabriel - So
"This album is a drummer's utopia from start to finish. It is perfection in many ways and a big example of Manu and Jerry's unique styles. On 'Red Rain' Lanois and Gabriel showcase Stewart Copeland's fine hi-hat work along with Jerry Marotta behind the rest of the kit. I love the subtle direction on this record in all it's technical brilliance. What Manu and Jerry deliver throughout the course of "So" is no doubt just one piece of the very complex production and instrumentation. I love the attention to detail and every song is a winner here.
"I chose this album also because, as you can tell, I'm a big fan of albums that showcase multiple drummers. It's really exciting if you are a drummer to hear some of the best drummers in the world all coming together to play on some of the best songs by some of the best artists in the world. To me it doesn't get any better than that and I have learned so much from listening and playing to all these albums. I took drum lessons for one year and then decided to just learn by playing to records. These selections are just some of the most exciting, enjoy!"